ThinkFast: January 19, 2010

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said health care reform will succeed, regardless of the outcome in today’s special senate election in Massachusetts. “Let’s remove all doubt, we will have health care — one way or another,” Pelosi said. “Back to the drawing board means a great big zero for the American people.”

Contrary to an intelligence judgment made in 2007, U.S. intelligence agencies now suspect that Iran never halted work on its nuclear arms program in 2003. “Differences among analysts now focus on whether the country’s supreme leader has given or will soon give orders for full-scale production of nuclear weapons.”

The Washington Post reports that the FBI “illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records.” A DOJ inspector general’s report due out this month “is expected to conclude that the FBI frequently violated the law with its emergency requests.”

President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address on Wednesday, Jan. 27, and release his budget for 2011 on Feb. 1, the White House said yesterday. “The date had been up in the air as the White House and leading Democrats in Congress have been trying to hash out a final health care bill.”


House Democrats rejected “an idea floated by the Obama administration to freeze or cut discretionary spending in 2011,” citing the need to improve the economy before dealing with the deficit. “We cannot invite a W-shaped recession, or an M-shaped recession,” noted Rep. John Oliver (D-MA).

Women are “increasingly better-educated than their husbands and have emerged as the dominant income-provider in one of five marriages,” according to a new Pew Research Center study. “What’s radically changed is that marriage now is a better deal for men,” said report co-author Richard Fry. These trends have been reinforced by the recession, which has “hurt employment of men more than that of women.”

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) suspended his Senate campaign and traveled to Haiti Saturday to help with relief efforts. “Meek represents the largest Haitian-American community in the country and has a long history of championing the poor Caribbean nation.”

The “Paris Club of international creditors issued an appeal Tuesday for nations owed money by Haiti to cancel the debts to help reconstruction after the devastating earthquake a week ago.” Haiti’s public external debt was nearly $1.885 billion at the end of September 2008.

President Obama will reportedly “ask Congress for $1.35 billion in his 2011 budget proposal to extend an education grant program for states.” Senior administration officials said, however, that the Education Department is still months away from announcing its first round of awards.

And finally: President Obama personally tweeted for the first time yesterday.

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