ThinkFast: March 22, 2006

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"ThinkFast: March 22, 2006"

In a policy shift, the Bush administration will now “bar statements made under torture from its Guantanamo Bay military courts.” The reversal is an effort to prevent the special military commissions from being struck down by the Supreme Court, which is to review their legality next week.

$157 Million: The amount the Bush administration has given to “organizations run by political and ideological allies” under the guise of “religion-based initiatives and other federal programs.”

The government will auction off former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s bribery loot on Thursday. Among the spoils: “Silver-plated candelabras. A cedar-lined lingerie cabinet. Persian rugs. An oak hutch carved with lions’ heads, tree limbs and acorns. “¦ A solid cherry sleigh bed. Nearly a dozen rugs. Marble-topped nightstands, armoires and sideboards, many featuring stained glass, brass fittings and intricate carvings.”

Did a group financed by Exxon prompt IRS to audit Greenpeace?” From Aug. 2003-Jul. 2004, the nonprofit Public Interest Watch — which wrote to the IRS — received $124,094 in contributions. $120,000 of that money came from Exxon Mobil, a frequent target of Greenpeace.

The government watchdog group Public Citizen filed a lawsuit in the D.C. District Court yesterday asking for the nullification of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The suit argues that the law violated the “bicameral clause” of the Constitution because the House and Senate did not pass identical versions of the bill.

A New York Times study found most Katrina evacuees “have not found a permanent place to live, have depleted their savings and consider their life worse than before the hurricane.” The evacuees “believed that the rest of the nation, and politicians in Washington, have moved on.”

Black leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, are touring Southern cities rallying opposition to the New Orleans voting plan for the mayoral election next month. They want the election postponed because Louisiana officials have not done enough to ensure that displaced voters will be able to vote.

As conservatives fight against granting citizenship to illegal immigrants because they’re “taking [U.S.] jobs,” a new report shows that “Hispanic-owned businesses now comprise one of the fastest-growing segments the U.S. economy.” “Hispanic immigrants are not just job takers. They’re job creators,” said Michael Barrera, of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Pentagon approves its own propaganda. The Department of Defense has found that “an American public relations firm did not violate military policy by paying Iraqi news outlets to print positive articles.” The firm’s contract remains “fully in effect.”

And finally: “Here’s your *$@#ing report.” Some company executives reportedly appreciate “a potty mouth now and then because it indicate[s] passion.” One CEO “felt that if you weren’t swearing, you probably didn’t care enough.”

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