ThinkFast: February 18, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) insisted last night that the GOP is “not going to be bullied” or “intimidated” by the massive protests against his anti-union bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) backed Walker as a governor who is “daring to speak the truth.”

President Obama accused Walker of unleashing an “assault” on unions by pushing legislation to nullify collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees. The President is mobilizing state and national union officials to organize thousands of protesters in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.

The Egyptian military is aggressively opposed to an open economy, notes the New York Times, and many scholars, economists, and business groups say the military is already taking steps to keep the Egyptian economy operating under its strict control.

“The specter of a government shutdown grew exponentially” yesterday when House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) drew a hard line on government spending, refusing to accept a temporary government-funding extension that doesn’t include deep cuts. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) fired back, saying, “It is unproductive to resort to threats of a shutdown without any negotiations.”


The AP reports that “[m]ore than half the states are not complying with a post-Virginia Tech law that requires them to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system to prevent them from buying guns.” Of those, nine states haven’t provided any names to the database. Gun-control groups estimate that more than 1 million files are missing nationwide.

Republicans in the GOP-controlled State House are pushing two bills to repeal same-sex marriage in New Hampshire. First approved in 2009, Republican lawmakers argue that the law “has deeply impacted what is taught in schools” and believe “it is imperative that government only promote the best, most ideal household arrangements.”

New documents show a Tucson firefighter refused to respond to the shooting rampage in that city last month that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) because of political differences with his crew. The 28-year-old firefighter has since resigned, facing disciplinary action.

Congress granted final approval to an extension of the PATRIOT Act yesterday. The extension is only for three months, “a step that merely postpones a burgeoning political debate over the controversial anti-terrorism law and its implications for civil liberties.” And finally: D.C.’s Madame Tussauds wax museum has a bit of a counting problem. The museum, famous for its wax presidents, staged a promotional photo with all 44 commanders in chief — except there were actually only 43, Glover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president. To get to 44, Madame Tussauds included two President Obamas.