ThinkFast: July 13, 2010

Nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in President Obama to make the right decisions for the country, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll. Regard for Obama is still higher than it is for members of Congress, but just 43 percent of all Americans now say they approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy.

At least 1.4 million Americans have been unemployed for 99 weeks, the maximum period that an unemployed worker is eligible to receive unemployment insurance. “Their numbers have grown sixfold in the past three years.” Nearly 46 percent of the 14.6 million unemployed people have been out of work for more than six months.

Democrats appear to have “won the 60 votes” needed to pass Wall Street reform in the Senate. With Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe (ME) and Scott Brown (MA) announcing their support on Monday, Democrats will not have to wait for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s successor to secure better oversight of the financial system in “the second major legislative overhaul, after healthcare reform.”

A “bipartisan crusade” to end “secret holds” used to “surreptitiously block bills” has been “thwarted” five times by one Republican Senator, Sen. Jim Demint (SC). In his newest attempt to block the “anti-secrecy amendment,” Demint offered a “wild card” amendment on the “hotlining process” that could “jettison reform by providing senators with an excuse to vote against it.”


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “issued revised rules on Monday for a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, replacing an earlier one that had been declared invalid by federal courts.” The new rules “would allow some drilling rigs to resume operating” if the rig’s owners prove that they have met certain safety standards.

“Federal bank regulators have agreed to give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. unlimited authority to investigate banks,” lifting a 2002 agreement that barred the FDIC from “examining banks that were deemed financially healthy by their primary regulators.” The agency is currently $20.7 billion in debt after facing a wave of bank failures caused by the “toughest economic climate since the 1930s.”

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has ordered an inquiry following reports “that Afghan forces fired on international troops Tuesday in the country’s south, killing several coalition soldiers.” “If it is confirmed, it’s a very unfortunate attack and the government of Afghanistan will do everything to make sure the proper traitors are brought to justice,” said Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar.

An Israeli military investigation into its raid of the Gaza-bound humanitarian aide flotilla last month “found that it was plagued by errors of planning, intelligence and coordination but that the killings of nine Turks on board were justified.” Investigators faulted the Israeli military for not knowing who was on board one of the ships.

“I’ve never been this serious” about running for president, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said yesterday. “It’s fair to say that by February the groundwork will have been laid to consider seriously whether or not to run.”


And finally: Comedy Central adds a new satirical news show to its lineup. Set to premier in the summer of 2011, the comedy program “Jon Benjamin Has a Van” will mock newsmagazine programs like “Dateline” and “20/20.”

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