ThinkFast: January 12, 2011

In a scathing Facebook post and web-video tirade, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accused the media of “blood libel” against her for mentioning her infamous cross-hair map in the wake of the shooting in Tucson. Palin called journalists and pundits’ focus on her “reprehensible,” and said it “serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

According to his spokesman, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is rejecting Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) gun-control bill which would prohibit people from carrying guns within 1,000 feet of members of Congress. While Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is reserving judgment, Boehner’s rejection “illustrates the difficulty gun-control advocates will face in moving forward with any legislation.”

Police investigating the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) discovered a standard form letter from the congresswoman in the suspect’s home, on which he wrote “die bitch” and “die cops.” Jared Loughner appeared in court yesterday to face federal charges that include the attempted assassination of a member of Congress and two counts of murder.

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) yesterday urged support for the building of a civil rights museum in Jackson, just weeks after the GOP governor expressed sympathy for a white supremacist organization that operated in the segregated south. “The civil rights struggle is an important part of our history, and millions of people are interested in learning more about it,” Barbour said.  Three Republican House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen view the ban on earmarks as temporary and want to retain the power to direct spending for their districts. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) don’t have a plan to resume earmarks but believe they “should be restored once the public has more confidence in the process.”

According to new Pentagon figures, insurgents in Iraq killed more than 21,000 civilians and wounded 68,000 with IEDs — including roadside bombs, car bombs and suicide bombers — over the past five years. Insurgent bombs killed 1,770 coalition troops — most of them American — and wounded 14,055 U.S. troops.

The presidential commission in charge of investigating the BP oil spill said yesterday the government should impose higher fees on oil and gas firms to finance a more robust, independent regulatory system. The panel also proposed several other safeguards against future spills, including establishing an independent safety agency within the Interior Department.

And finally: Fear not lovers of bubbles baths, for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is on the case of fake bath salts. His office sent out a press release announcing, “Today, Governor Bobby Jindal will be joined by local elected and law enforcement officials…to make an announcement on bath salts.” Actually, the press conference was about drug enforcement, as “fake bath salts have been used by drug dealers as a way to repackage speed-like amphetamines.”

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