ThinkFast: October 18, 2010

In a Huffington Post op-ed yesterday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan argued that “a national, blanket moratorium on all foreclosure sales would do far more harm than good.” Donovan joined White House Advisor David Axelrod in allowing for foreclosures with valid documents to move forward, as the administration resists “calls for a more forceful response.”

Picking up on research conducted by ThinkProgress’ Brad Johnson, the New York Times editorial board notes today that “with one exception, none of the Republicans running for the Senate — including the 20 or so with a serious chance of winning — accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming.” The editorial accuses these Republicans of “parroting the Cheney line.”

The head of the U.N. Environment Program offered a stern warning at a meeting aimed to combat the loss of plant and animal species today: “We are destroying life on Earth.” The two-week conference hopes to prompt nations and businesses to more drastically protect and restore threatened ecosystems, which provide necessary resources and could also reduce climate change impacts.

President Obama’s Senior Advisor David Axelrod and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs “continued the administration’s offensive” yesterday against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s refusal to disclose donors. Axelrod said that “journalists needed to probe the source of the groups’ donations” while Gibbs “directly called out” a Chamber executive to “simply open the books” to “prove the group’s claim that foreign money isn’t used” to fund its political ad campaigns.


Congressional debates turned personal over the weekend as GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul refused to shake the hand of Democratic opponent Jack Conway, citing attacks on his faith. Meanwhile, in Colorado, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) slapped away his rival’s hand while he was questioning him about health care.

Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) daughter Meghan McCain said yesterday that many young Republicans see Delaware’s GOP U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell as “a nut job.” “Christine O’Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office,” she said, adding that O’Donnell’s candidacy shows that “one day, you can just wake up and run for Senate, no matter how [little] experience you have.”

The Tides Foundation, one of the progressive groups targeted by California freeway shooter Byron Williams, has called for an advertising boycott of Fox News host Glenn Beck. Williams appears to have been motivated by Beck, whom he called a teacher who “blew my mind.” Tides warned, “The next ‘assassin’ may succeed, and if so, there will be blood on many hands.”

As many as 500,000 Iraq war documents could be released by the website WikiLeaks this week, and the Pentagon has a 120-member team prepared to review them. If the reported size of the leak is accurate, it would be much larger than the release of 70,000 Afghan war documents in July, which was the largest security breach of its kind in U.S. military history.

And finally: President Obama will make a cameo appearance on the Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters” as part of effort to increase interest in math and science education. The episode, to air in December, will test the myth that “Greek scientist Archimedes really set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun,” though it’s unclear how the president will be involved.

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