ThinkFast: November 16, 2010

On CBS’s “The Early Show” today, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) praised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for signing on to the earmark ban yesterday. He credited McConnell “with listening to fellow GOP lawmakers and also to voters who showed their anger over federal spending at the polls in this month’s elections.”

The British government has announced that it will be offering monetary compensation “to former detainees at Guantánamo Bay who have complained that the British intelligence agencies colluded in their torture.” The compensation is expected to “total several million dollars.”

The House ethics committee found evidence to support 13 counts of misconduct by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). The findings came after Rangel walked out of the proceedings, claiming he couldn’t continue to afford a lawyer; the committee will now begin considering whether to formally convict Rangel and recommend punishment.  A new USDA report released yesterday found that “about 15% of U.S. households — 17.4 million families — lacked enough money to feed themselves at some point last year.” The study “also found that 6.8 million of these households — with as many as 1 million children — had ongoing financial problems that forced them to miss meals regularly.”

President Obama met with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) yesterday to discuss the chances of passing comprehensive immigration reform or the DREAM Act in the lame duck session. Menendez said the White House is “ready and willing” to talk about immigration reform.

Blue dog Democrat Rep. Health Shuler (NC) said yesterday that he will challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the Democrats’ top leadership position when the party moves into the minority in the next Congress. Although Shuler acknowledged that it will be an uphill battle, he noted he is following through with a campaign promise to challenge Pelosi.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today to discuss a two-year freeze of the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate change agenda, which Rockefeller has been seeking all year. Rockefeller says Reid previously promised him a vote this year on the bill, which would block EPA’s climate change regulations for power plants, petroleum refiners and other major stationary sources.

In a unanimous decision Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants who graduated from state high schools can continue to receive in-state tuition to California’s public universities and colleges. While California is one of 10 states that permit in-state tuition for undocumented students, the ruling is “the first of its kind in the nation.”

And finally: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) “has made no secret” of the fact that he is a “superfan” of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards –- he even pardoned the rockstar for a 1975 misdemeanor in Arkansas. But in his new autobiography, Richards is less than grateful, and even criticizes Huckabee’s guitar chops, writing, “Governor Huckabee also thinks of himself as a guitar player. I think he even has a band.”