ThinkFast: March 3, 2006

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

The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation to renew “the sweeping antiterror law known as the USA Patriot Act.” Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), one of ten senators to vote against the bill, said, “This fight is not over, Mr. President. … I am convinced that in the end, the government will respond to the people, as it should.”

Attorney General Gonzales said yesterday “that the administration is not conducting any warrantless domestic surveillance programs beyond the one that President Bush has acknowledged,” contradicting claims by the NSA whistleblower who helped expose the first program.

After furor grew over the reclassification of National Archives documents, Allen Weinstein, the nation’s chief archivist, announced a “moratorium” on the process until an audit can be completed to determine which records should be secret.

“Four years after the Taliban were ousted from power by the American military, their presence [in Afghanistan] is bigger and more menacing than ever,” the NYT reports.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said yesterday “Dubai cannot be trusted” to manage U.S. ports. He vowed to scuttle the Dubai Ports World deal and push legislation to block a second Dubai company’s efforts to acquire two U.S. plants that manufacture precision components for military aircraft and tank engines.

The Homeland Security inspector general’s office “says it can’t widely distribute electronic announcements of new watchdog reports” because “the department lacks capacity to create a mass email list.” DHS spokesperson: “We don’t have a fix at this point.”

Former FEMA director Michael Brown this morning called for Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s dismissal. Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are calling for an independent commission to investigate the Katrina response, in light of the new Katrina tapes.

Science Magazine publishes a new paper today with the first evidence that the Antarctic ice sheet is rapidly melting.

“Worried about arsenic in your bottled water, mercury in your fish or pesticides in your vegetables?” These are “among hundreds of different warnings” that could disappear under a conservative bill “moving toward House approval.”

A Senate committee yesterday “rejected a bipartisan proposal to establish an independent office to oversee the enforcement of congressional ethics and lobbying laws,” marking the second bipartisan buckling on ethics reform this week.

And finally: A Clemson University student newspaper is raffling off an AK-47 to “start a discussion about the Second Amendment.” What could go wrong?

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