ThinkFast: May 11, 2011

Senate Democrats unveiled a plan yesterday to save $21 billion over the next decade by eliminating tax breaks for big oil companies. The plan would go towards paying down the deficit and force Republicans to “either to drop their rigid stance against new taxes or to defend taxpayer subsidies for some of the world’s most profitable corporations.”

In his speech to Wall Street Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “built his case on several assertions that are contradicted by market indicators and government reports,” Bloomberg News reports.

In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and popular uprisings across the Middle East, President Obama is preparing to renew his outreach to the Muslim world. Perhaps as early as next week, Obama will give a speech arguing that al Qaeda can no longer claim to speak for the religion and asking Muslims to begin a new era of relations with the United States.

On Tuesday, the Presbyterian Church became the latest denomination to accept gay relationships when they voted to approve the ordination of gay clergy. A majority of regional churches ratified a proposal that removes the celibacy requirement for unmarried clergy.


Obama and Senate Democrats are renewing their push to pass the DREAM Act. Obama called for its passage in his immigration speech yesterday, while Senate Dems will hold a press conference today to revive the act, which narrowly failed in December. “It was a tremendous disappointment to get so close and then see politics get in the way,” Obama said.

Yesterday, a federal judge temporarily blocked Utah’s immigration law that “required police to demand evidence of citizenship or immigration status” of those detained for serious crimes. Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) said that the state will adhere to the ruling but that the bill was crafted to withstand constitutional scrutiny and that “Utah will have ample opportunity in court to demonstrate this bill is on solid footing.”

“Under pressure from more than five dozen House lawmakers, the Navy late Tuesday abruptly reversed” its decision to allow chaplains to perform same-sex unions. Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, the chief of Navy chaplains, said the policy had been “suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination.”

Politico reports that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals appears to be leaning towards rejecting challenges to the individual insurance mandate of the federal health care law, given the questions by the three judges in the case. The “panel appeared sympathetic to the government’s argument” that it is using the mandate to address a “massive social problem.” The Wonk Room has more coverage.

And finally: Real estate mogul Donald Trump’s flirtation with politics has imploded in recent days — his golf courses are even taking a hit — and now even his “buddies” in commercial real estate have soured on The Donald, according to a recent poll, which found that most of his peers think he is just looking for publicity.

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