ThinkFast: March 17, 2006

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"ThinkFast: March 17, 2006"

All 21 airports in a recent government test failed to detect bomb-making materials during security screenings. “Even when investigators deliberately triggered extra screening of bags, no one stopped these materials.”

Don Wildmon, president of the right-wing American Family Association, repeats misinformation on average gay incomes: “I mean, good gracious, the average homosexual makes four times more than I do.”

$29.3 million: The amount spent in the last round of port security grants — more than 20 percent of the total — on projects that “did not meet national security priorities,” according to the Homeland Security Inspector General.

The New York Times profiles former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s new life as a Washington lobbyist. Ashcroft tries to hard to position himself as the anti-Abramoff. But for someone with no business experience, “What is he selling other than connections and knowledge of how to game the system from being attorney general?”

Senate conservatives introduced a bill yesterday that would allow President Bush to continue spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. Despite new oversights, Arlen Specter (R-PA) said, the government could still “do whatever the hell it wants” for 45 days without seeking judicial or congressional approval.

The Justice Department has approved an election plan for New Orleans that includes no arrangements for balloting in states such as Texas, Mississippi and Georgia, “where many evacuees are dispersed.”

The right-wing Family Research Council (FRC) has asked the Department of Homeland Security to revoke the “designated status” of this summer’s Gay Games. Such status allows non-citizens with HIV/AIDS to visit Chicago for the event. FRC’s President, Tony Perkins, called the designation an “almost unprecedented waiver,” but a federal official said the designation is very common, having been applied to past Olympics and para-Olympics.

1: Number of meetings held by the White House civil liberties panel, “created more than a year ago to monitor the effects on ordinary citizens of the war on terrorism.” (The first meeting was this week.)

“Key congressional Republicans yesterday harshly criticized their colleagues for pork-barrel requests, calling the practice a ‘gateway drug’ to a spending addiction.” American Progress Senior Fellow Scott Lilly testified, and told the committee, “True reform is dependent on the nation recognizing the pitfalls of earmarking and electing members who will use the powers of the purse more judiciously.”

And finally: Cheerleading in crisis: “[A] growing maelstrom of sex, substance abuse and violence has rocked the sport to its core,” the Guardian reports.

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

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