ThinkFast: December 3, 2009

President Obama will host a jobs summit at the White House today, summoning “130 corporate executives, economists, small-business owners and union leaders to the White House to sound out ideas for accelerating job growth during the worst labor market in a generation.” “We want to make sure it is not just the public sector doing this in a vacuum,” said White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett.

In congressional testimony about administration’s policy on Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday, “Quite frankly, I detest the phrase exit strategy…because we are looking over time at a relationship” with the government where it can accept responsibility for the country’s security. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added, “I do not believe we have locked ourselves into leaving.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will place a hold on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, an attempt to block the Senate from confirming him to a second term. The move is unlikely to derail Bernanke’s reappointment, “but it could slow the confirmation process and give the Fed’s critics additional opportunity to press their case.”

A new study released by the bipartisan Constitution Project has found that “[g]rowing numbers of noncitizens, including legal immigrants, are held unnecessarily and transferred heedlessly in an expensive immigration detention system that denies many of them basic fairness.” A separate Homeland Security Department report confirmed some of the Project’s “critical conclusions.”


Obama’s top science advisor John Holdren told lawmakers yesterday that it is urgent to act to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases, and that the uproar over leaked climate change research emails should not obstruct progress. “However this controversy comes out, the result will not call into question the bulk of our understanding of how the climate works or how humans affect it,” Holdren said.

U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said yesterday that promises by U.S. and other developed countries to cut CO2 emissions are insufficient to avoid the worst effects of climate change. These countries “are not yet where science says they need to be if we’re going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” he said urging the industrialized nations to increase emissions cuts.

“The National Institutes of Health approved 13 human embryonic stem-cell lines for use in federally funded research” yesterday. The move follows a March decision by President Obama to overturn President Bush’s ban on using federal money to expand stem-cell research.

Bank of America will repay $45 billion in bailout money, “helping free the bank from curbs on executive pay that have hampered its search for a new leader.” The bank will payback the TARP through “excess liquidity” and the sale of securities, helping it replace C.E.O Ken Lewis, who announced his departure in September.

Ten members of the Congressional Black Caucus boycotted a House committee vote on financial regulations yesterday, nearly allowing Republicans to kill the major Democratic bill. The lawmakers cited concerns about the administration not doing enough to help minority-owned businesses.

And finally: The Bush years…in food art.

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