ThinkFast: November 30, 2010

Republican MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tells the GOP in a Politico op-ed today that it needs to dump Sarah Palin, who he says “cannot get elected” president. Scarborough is particularly perturbed by Palin’s recent criticism of Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush. “Who wouldn’t agree that finishing third in the Miss Alaska beauty contest is every bit as treacherous as risking your life in military combat?” Scarborough asks.

Federal officials have begun an inquiry into whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws, in particular the Espionage Act, when his organization released hundreds of thousands of secret government documents. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation.’’

The leaked results of a 10-month long Pentagon survey of enlisted troops asked about their opinions on lifting the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly find that “a clear majority of respondents don’t care if gays serve openly.” 70 percent of respondents said “that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results.”

Following this weekend’s arson attack against an Oregon mosque that a terrorism suspect frequently visited, the mosque has become a hub for community members and Corvallis religious leaders to unite “to offer prayers and support against the ‘abhorrent’ act of arson.” “This shouldn’t happen here — it shouldn’t happen anywhere — but Corvallis is a wonderful, open community,” said one community resident.


A federal judge temporarily blocked an amendment to the Oklahoma state constitution, passed by referendum earlier this month, which is aimed at stopping the use of Islamic Sharia law in courts. The judge said the amendment suggests “the state favors one religion or particular belief over others,” and thus violates the First Amendment. Congressional Budget Office report released yesterday found that the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street’s top financial institutions, is expected to cost the federal government $25 billion. “Clearly, it was not apparent when the TARP was created two years ago that the cost would turn out to be this low,” the CBO report says.

Global climate talks began in Cancun yesterday, though as has been the case at many recent meetings, key issues remain unresolved with little hope of a breakthrough. Mexican President Felipe Calderon urged participants to reach an agreement: “It would be a tragedy if our inability to see beyond our personal interests, our group or national interests makes us fail,” he said. “Climate change is beginning to make us pay for the fatal errors we as humanity have committed against the environment.”

During a live chat with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg yesterday, former President Bush explained his reason for appearing at the forum. “You’ve got a lot of people paying attention to us, and I’m trying to sell books” he told the audience, adding, “The truth of the matter is, I’m shamelessly marketing.”

And finally: Freshmen Reps. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and Billy Long (R-MO) “may not see eye to eye politically…but the pair has found common ground in their love” of cowboy hats. The two members of Congress have dubbed themselves the “Cowboy Hat Caucus,” and Wilson is attempting to change an archaic House rule that prohibits members from wearing hats on the house floor.

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