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ThinkFast: June 22, 2007

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"ThinkFast: June 22, 2007"

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“House Judiciary Committee Democrats warned yesterday they would pursue a contempt of Congress motion if the White House fails to respond to subpoenas for testimony and documents” related to the U.S. attorney scandal by June 28. “If the White House does not comply, it opens the possibility of a constitutional showdown between the two branches.”

29: Percentage of Americans who say the U.S. is winning the war against terror networks.

“The recent rise in U.S. troop deaths in Iraq is the ‘wrong metric’ to use” in assessing the effectiveness of escalation, outgoing Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Peter Pace said yesterday. “[I]t’s not about levels of violence. It’s about progress being made, in fact, in the minds of the Iraqi people, so that they have confidence in their government in the way forward.”

Asked about the National Archives’ effort to have the Justice Department determine whether Vice President Cheney is exempt from an executive order designed to safeguard classified information, a DOJ spokesman said, “This matter is currently under review in the department.”

Pollution and smog standards are “too weak to protect people from the air they breathe,” EPA administrator Stephen Johnson said Thursday. Yet, “under pressure from big business,” Johnson ignored the recommendations of EPA scientific experts and “left the door open to keeping the rules as they are.”

In a “rebuke to President Bush,” “House Democrats narrowly passed a measure yesterday to provide contraceptives to overseas organizations that had been banned from receiving foreign aid because they provided or promoted abortion.”

Congressional leaders yesterday released a “Greening the Capitol” report, which listed “recommendations to make the House carbon-neutral by the end of the 110th Congress. It also called for a 50 percent reduction of energy consumption in 10 years.”

A House committee voted yesterday to give the Food and Drug Administration “more power to monitor the side effects of medicines after they reach the market,” though lawmakers also “lowered the potential fines for failure to comply with FDA directives to $50 million from $100 million after Republicans complained they were too high.”

And finally: A dozen Senators celebrated the first day of summer yesterday by donning seersucker outfits. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) “made the unpardonable sin of wearing black shoes” with his outfit. Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), wearing matching pink socks and tie set, boasted that he was “looking good.” “The clear fashion winner, though, was the debonair Sen. John Warner (R-VA), who accessorized his suit with a red tie and brown and white spats.” See photos here and here.

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