"ThinkFast: April 17, 2006"
Senate Cover-Up Committee Chairman Pat Roberts says his intelligence panel has “not made…progress on our oversight of Iran intelligence, which is critical.” The panel has done only piecemeal scrutiny of the spy agencies’ work on Iran. “There is no organized committee staff effort to look at Iran right now,” says majority staff director Bill Duhnke. “It’s all sort of on hold.”
48: The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq for the first half of April, a sharp increase from the 30 casualties last month.
As seven retired generals call for Rumsfeld’s resignation, the Secretary’s “firm grip on the Defense Department is slipping.” Officers are increasingly questioning Rumsfeld’s judgment, “publicly questioning or quietly trying to undo some of [his] initiatives.”
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has canceled a U.S. visit to avoid being photographed with President Bush, claims The Huffington Post. Blair decided the photo op would be “too toxic for his image.”
The federal income tax has become less progressive over the course of the Bush presidency. The Los Angeles Times asks, “Has leveling out federal income tax rates produced a cornucopia of financial benefits? The answer is probably yes “” if you’re a millionaire. And probably no “” if you’re almost anyone else.”
Congress leans on CPAs. When it comes to their own tax returns, many members of Congress – including three of the top four lawmakers on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees — who specialize in writing tax laws turn to professional preparers rather than completing the paperwork themselves.
Conservatives in Congress are resorting to gimmickry to try to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. “A Senate rule designed to make it harder to increase the deficit would be circumvented with a maneuver that would end up increasing the deficit. And a tax cut for wealthier Americans that would cost $50 billion over 10 years would be ‘paid for’ in part by another tax cut for the well-off, which would end up costing billions more.”
Bush orders national parks to “to show that they can function at 80 percent or less of their operating budgets.” “But park officials in the field said the initiative was forcing ‘gut-wrenching’ decisions that visitors will notice.”
A revolt over “emergency” spending: “Senate appropriators have inserted language into the fiscal 2006 supplemental spending bill chastising the Bush administration for using the now twice-yearly ‘emergency war’ supplementals as a shadow appropriations and policy process.”
And finally, Time Magazine lists the ten best and five worst U.S. Senators. Among the worst: Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) (who “is so bland that his critics have dubbed him ‘Dullard.'”), Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) (for his “erratic behavior”), and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) (who “shows little interest in policy unless it involves baseball.”)
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.