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ThinkFast: November 1, 2007

A USA Today/Gallup poll finds “a nation of discontent.” 72 percent say they are dissatisfied with how things are going in the USA while just 26 percent are satisfied. “Not since April have even one-third of Americans been happy with the country’s course, the longest national funk in 15 years.”

As Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld wrote 20 to 60 “snowflakes” — his trademark missives for developing policy — each day. In a sampling of them obtained by the Washington Post, Rumsfeld “argued that Muslims avoid ‘physical labor’ and wrote of the need to ‘keep elevating the threat,’ ‘link Iraq to Iran’ and develop ‘bumper sticker statements’ to rally public support.”

The number of Americans without health insurance “rose by nearly 8.6 million to 47 million from 2000 to 2006, with children and workers from every income level losing coverage,” according to the Economic Policy Institute. The increase was “driven primarily by the continued erosion in employer-provided health insurance.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its vote on Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey on Tuesday, Nov. 6. CQ writes, “Once again, a controversial nomination in the Judiciary Committee may hinge on” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who was “noncommittal” Wednesday.

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Senate Judiciary Committee leaders said yesterday that they had “serious concerns” about immunity for telecoms who participated in the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called immunity “an after the fact free pass” while Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said those suing the telecoms “ought to have their day in court.”

Earlier this week, John Ashcroft wrote to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and urged him to grant immunity for telecomm companies that cooperate with the government’s spying program. It is “a necessary policy for promoting the national security interests of the United States,” he wrote. But as OpenLeft points out, AT&T; employs the Ashcroft Group as lobbyists.

67 percent: Americans who “support giving contraceptives to students, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. About as many — 62 percent — said they believe providing birth control reduces the number of teenage pregnancies.

And finally: Yesterday, the Senate was full of “bipartisan Halloween spirit.” Right before “a hearing on nuclear-waste storage,” Boxer “donned a white angel halo in the anteroom just off the committee floor. After good-natured prodding from Madam Chairwoman, Inhofe happily donned the red devil horns Boxer gave him, relishing his role as Beelzebub to enviros enraged by his pro-business views on global warming.” A top aide wore “bunny ears.”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.