ThinkFast: June 11, 2010

“Whites are on the verge of becoming a minority among newborn children in the U.S.” The Census Bureau reported yesterday “that nonwhite minorities accounted for 48.6 percent of the children born in the U.S. between July 2008 and July 2009, gaining ground from 46.8 percent two years earlier.” “Minorities made up 35 percent of the U.S. population between July 2008 and July 2009, up from 31 percent in 2000.”

Congress went on a four day break “after failing again to extend jobless benefits for an estimated 325,000 people, fund summer jobs for at-risk youths or help newly laid-off people pay for health care.” Money for extended unemployment benefits expired on June 2. The House voted to continue them until Nov. 30, but the Senate failed to act.

The House-Senate conference to finalize the Wall Street reform bill opened yesterday with “sharp attacks” between Democrats and Republicans. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) warned against a “lobbying blitz” during the committee’s negotiations, while Republicans claimed they were being sidelined. Democrats vowed wrap up the process by the July 4 recess.

“A government panel on Thursday essentially doubled its estimate of how much oil has been spewing” from BP’s oil gusher into the Gulf. The new estimate is “25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil a day,” up from the 12,000 to 19,000 barrels originally estimated.

The Senate defeated a Republican-led effort yesterday to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from setting new limits on greenhouse gas emissions. In a nearly party-line 53–47 vote, the Senate rejected the bill proposed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would have stopped the EPA from carrying out its 2009 endangerment finding, which determined that the gases are a pollutant.

British intelligence officers foiled a Taliban plot to kill Prime Minister David Cameron in Afghanistan yesterday. Officials diverted Cameron’s helicopter after tapped telephone calls revealed that Taliban members were close to where it was set to land. The Prime Minister “was less than ten minutes of flying time from where the Taliban forces were apparently lying in wait.”

An Army Inspector General investigation has found that at least 211 graves at Arlington National Cemetery “were mismarked, missing headstones or burial cards, or were not recorded at all.” There were also “at least four burial urns that had been unearthed and dumped in an area where excess grave dirt is kept.” Army Secretary John McHugh apologized to veterans and disciplined the cemetery’s top officials.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor wants “to rebrand the GOP as ‘a party that gets it’ and would focus on spending — not ideology — if Republicans win a House majority in November.” “People are receptive to a message of responsible leadership,” Cantor told Politico. “They’re just pissed, and they’re not going to take it anymore.”

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) is calling for a federal investigation into the candidacy of Alvin Greene, who surprisingly won the South Carolina Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. Senate Race. “There were some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary,” said Clyburn during a radio interview.

And finally: BP spills coffee.

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