ThinkFast: March 1, 2006

ThinkFast is a new feature of ThinkProgress. (It’s still a work in progress – let us know what you think.)

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “clarifies” his February 6 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A letter to the committee from Gonzales suggests “the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic surveillance operations may extend beyond the outlines that the president acknowledged…”

Bush says Bin Laden helped him get reelected.
Shortly before the election Bin Laden released a tape critical of the president. Reporter Bill Sammon quotes Bush in his new book: ”I thought it was going to help. I thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesn’t want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush.”

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said of Bush’s 2007 Homeland Security budget proposal: “It’s a hollow budget and I can’t understand it.”

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said yesterday that a civil war in Iraq could lead to a broader conflict in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the AP reports that a “civil war looms” in Iraq. (The WSJ, however, thinks “We’re winning in Iraq.”)

President Bush made his first visit to Afghanistan yesterday with a surprise, four-hour stay that “comes at a time of increasing violence in the country.” The Defense Intelligence Agency director told Congress “the Taliban-dominated insurgency remains a capable and resilient threat” to the central government.

The $72,550 that for-profit colleges have given to new Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH) has paid off. Congress passed a “boon for the commercial education industry,” a new measure to eliminate the requirement that colleges conduct “at least half their courses on a campus instead of online to qualify for federal student aid.”

Former Rep. Duke Cunningham “bullied and hectored D.O.D. officials in order to ensure that his co-conspirators received their pound of gold.”

Rep. Katherine Harris’ former schedule coordinator took a job with MZM, suggesting the contractor was more tightly tied to the congresswoman’s office than previously known.

Baby steps: The Senate Rules Committee unanimously voted to force lawmakers to fully disclose gifts and travel paid for by lobbyists, but the “measure did not include the tough restrictions that some lawmakers had proposed.”

And finally: Doh! “Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment…But more than half can name at least two members of the TV cartoon family [The Simpsons], according to a survey.”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.