ThinkFast: September 14, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) will move a defense authorization bill next week that includes a repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. The Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky makes the case thateven senators who support the policy should vote for cloture.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said yesterday that he is considering “every option” for what to do with the proposed Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero in New York, “including delaying its construction or relocating it.” Rauf also said it is “disingenuous” to say Ground Zero is “hallowed ground.” “There is a strip joint around the corner, betting parlors,” he said, “Let’s clarify that misperception.”

A White House official “strongly denied” that President Obama will name Elizabeth Warren the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency “to circumvent a confirmation vote.” While a Wall Street reform provision would allow an interim appointment, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) “absolutely” believes that any nominee should receive Senate confirmation.

The U.S. crime rate — from murders and rapes to robbery and theft — dropped 5 percent last year, “continuing a 20-year trend that has cut the incidence of major crimes nearly in half.” Crime experts cited “better policing, a swelling of the prison population, the decline of the crack cocaine epidemic and an aging population.”

In court yesterday, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of trying to blow up a plane last Christmas, said “he no longer wants to be represented by federal defenders” and hinted that he may choose to plead guilty. “If I want to plead guilty to some counts, how would that go?” Abdulmutallab asked the judge.

The student loan default rate rose 7 percent for fiscal year 2008, with loans for students at for-profit colleges making up the lion’s share of the increase. 238,000 students defaulted on their loans during that span of time.

“Continuing his makeover from Republican to independent” Florida Gov. Charlie Crist embraced a wide array of LGBT equality measures, affirming “his support for civil unions, adoption by same-sex couples, and doing away with the military’s ban on openly gay soldiers.” While Crist earned praise from LGBT groups, he had previously opposed “almost all” of these equality measures before he supported them.

And finally: Norfolk County, MA District Attorney William Keating (D), who is running for Congress, ran down a purse snatcher Sunday. The chase began in a restaurant and “continued for roughly 10 minutes along Main Street, down a side street and through several lawns, Keating said, until he and another man cornered the suspect.”

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