ThinkFast: October 24, 2008

Despite being sidelined with a brain tumor, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has been “orchestrating meetings with lobbyists and lawmakers from both parties to craft legislation that would greet the new president with a plan to provide affordable medical coverage to all Americans, a measure he has called ‘the cause of my life.’” Kennedy’s goal is to introduce the bill as soon as the new Congress convenes in 2009.

35 percent: The share of Americans who are “now ‘very concerned’ that they or someone else in their household will be out of work and looking for a job within the next twelve months,” according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll. The percentage is a 12 point increase from last week.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) said President Bush should consider nominating his successor’s Treasury secretary to facilitate a “seamless transition” during the financial crisis. Dodd said Bush should send the nomination to the Senate in time for a “lame-duck” session in mid-November.

According to Los Angeles Times, Gov. Sarah Palin’s “approach to government was business as usual.” One quarter of state posts went to campaign donors or relatives — “without regard to qualifications.” Leading donors “received state-subsidized industrial development loans” and an ethics complaint is pending against Palin “for allegedly helping another donor and fundraiser land a state job.”


11 days to go: John McCain talks to voters in the Colorado towns of Denver and Durango, while Sarah Palin is in Pittsburgh. Barack Obama is in Hawaii with his ailing grandmother, and Joe Biden is campaigning in Charleston, WV.

Gov. Sarah Palin will give a policy speech in Pittsburgh today “highlighting her commitment to families with special needs, according to campaign officials.” It will be Palin’s first policy speech.

“After the White House intervened, the Environmental Protection Agency last week weakened a rule on airborne lead standards at the last minute so that fewer polluters would have their emissions monitored,” McClatchy reports today. The White House Office of Management and Budget forced the EPA to slash they number of sites it would regulate by 60 percent.

In its final weeks, the Bush administration will try to “revive a stalled crackdown on U.S. companies that hire illegal immigrants.” If a federal court agrees, the government “could begin mailing notices to 140,000 employers regarding suspect Social Security numbers used by an estimated 8.7 million workers, pressuring businesses to either resolve discrepancies or fire workers within 90 days.”

“The U.S. is the only industrialized country where youths are less likely than their parents to earn a [high school] diploma,” a new report from the Education Trust finds. Nationally, one in four children drop out of school before graduating, according to the report.


And finally: Will Ferrell reprised his role as President Bush and joined Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) for a “Saturday Night Live” election special yesterday. In the segment, Bush offered an unwanted endorsement of the McCain-Palin ticket and declared the White House a “bummer-free zone.” Todd Palin was also dispatched to find Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who was hiding in the Adirondacks to avoid being photographed with Bush. Watch it here.

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