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ThinkFast: November 6, 2009

A new labor report this morning indicates 190,000 jobs were lost last month. Unemployment rose to 10.2 percent in October, the highest rate since April 1983 and “much higher than analysts expected.”

Nidal M. Hasan’s name “appears on radical Internet postings,” including “posts that equated suicide bombers to soldiers who throw themselves on a grenade to save the lives of their comrades.” A fellow officer says Hasan “argued with soldiers who supported U.S. wars,” and while an intern at Walter Reed, Hasan reportedly had some “difficulties” that required counseling and extra supervision.

President Obama will make his first visit as president to Walter Reed Army Medical Center this afternoon. The White House says the visit was scheduled before the fatal shootings at Fort Hood yesterday. Obama is also pushing back a planned trip to Capitol Hill “aimed at discussing the proposed health care overhaul with lawmakers” from today to Saturday.

House Democratic leaders are trying to secure 218 votes to pass a health care reform bill this weekend. Of the 258 House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — while “confident of victory” — is “working to limit defections to the roughly 25 Democrats viewed as ‘hard no’ votes.”

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The editorial boards of both the New York Times and the Washington Post today sharply criticized Congress’s plans to expand a home buyer’s tax credit as stimulus. “This costly giveaway to the real estate and mortgage industry will spend far more in taxpayers’ dollars than it can ever deliver in economic benefit,” writes the NYT. The Post called the extension “a bad idea.”

President Obama made a surprise appearance at yesterday’s White House press briefing where he announced that the AARP and the American Medical Association endorsed health care reform legislation drafted by House Democrats. AARP CEO Barry Rand told reporters that the bill meets the goals of “making coverage affordable to our younger members and protecting Medicare for seniors.”

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has warned that he will not seek re-election, an indication that President Obama’s push for a Middle East peace deal “has fallen into disarray.” Abbas’ move comes among “tensions over the administration’s failure to extract an Israeli settlement freeze or any concessions from Arab leaders.”

The former chairman of Citigroup, John S. Reed, apologized for his role in leading the legislative charge that led to the merger that created the megabank. He said it was a mistake for Congress to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act and endorsed the breaking up of big banks.

Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik “pleaded guilty to charges of lying to Bush administration officials who vetted his unsuccessful 2004 nomination to be homeland security secretary.” Kerik, a close friend of Rudy Giuliani’s, “admitted to eight counts as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, who are recommending a 27- to 33-month prison term.”

And finally: A dramatic reading of Levi Johnston’s tweets by William Shatner.

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