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ThinkFast: February 25, 2011

Before Democrats “realized what was happening,” Wisconsin state Assembly Republicans this morning abruptly passed a measure stripping collective bargaining rights from most public workers. The bill now heads to the state senate, but minority Democrats recently fled to Illinois to prevent a vote. Republicans sent state troopers to their homes looking for the missing legislators, but “they turned up nothing.”

Security forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi have opened fire on protesters in the Libyan capital Tripoli after rebels repelled an assault by pro-government troops in cities nearby. Gunfire erupted in other Tripoli neighborhoods, “suggesting that some protesters were attempting to take to the streets.” Hours earlier, Libyan state TV announced that the government would give each family $400 to remain loyal to the state.

Violent protests spread across Iraq today, as protesters demanding better government services took to the streets in at least ten cities and burned government buildings while engaging in clashes with security forces. The protests were modeled after uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and “brought together a chorus of anger and frustration over government corruption, instability and shoddy public services.”

Virginia lawmakers approved a bill that would require all abortion clinics in the state that provide first-trimester abortions to “meet the same standards as hospitals.” Opponents of the bill, which include pro-choice advocates and Democrats, claim that the bill is a backdoor way to shut down abortion clinics.

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Fox News President Roger Ailes urged a former employee to lie to federal investigators, a federal crime, court documents obtained by the New York Times show. Ailes urged a publishing executive to lie about her affair with Bernard Kerik, the disgraced former New York City police commissioner, when he was being considered to head the Department of Homeland Security.

A 20-year-old Saudi student in Texas was arrested yesterday for allegedly plotting a terrorist plot. The government says Khalid Aldawsari was close to building a bomb and had researched targets, including the home of former President George W. Bush.

And finally: While he may be involved in an emerging cronyism scandal, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Grey is happy because he still has his “Sex and the City.” At a press conference Wednesday, Grey announced his love of the HBO series, saying, “For those of you that don’t know, I have a big poster of the four ladies in my office upstairs that you[‘re] welcome to come and see.”

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