"ThinkFast: May 1, 2006"
“There’re some dumb ideas in this,” Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) said of the conservative plan to ease the pain of high gas prices, such as handing out $100 rebate checks. Aides to conservative senators “reported a surge of calls and e-mail messages from constituents ridiculing the rebate as a paltry and transparent effort to pander to voters.”
In 2003, President Bush supported an executive order requiring all agencies and “any other entity within the executive branch” to provide an annual accounting of their document classification. But Vice President Cheney continues to insist that he’s exempt from the rule.
Bruce Springsteen plays New Orleans at “the biggest musical happening since Katrina struck last summer.” “I saw sights I never thought I’d see in an American city,” he said. “The criminal ineptitude makes you furious.” He then “launched into a song titled ‘How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?’ and dedicated the song to ‘President Bystander.'”
Tens of thousands rally to stop the genocide in Darfur. (See photos.) “With tears in his eyes,” one Sudanese refugee who came to the U.S. six years ago said: “I’m personally moved by the way the American people are supporting us.”
To meet recruiting shortages, U.S. Army recruiters are “overlooking applicants’ gang tattoos and getting waivers for criminal backgrounds.” Gang members are increasingly enlisting, raising concerns that they are learning “urban warfare techniques they can teach when they go back to their neighborhoods.”
3,501: The number of U.S. citizens and legal residents whom the FBI secretly sought information about last year “from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court’s approval.”
Oil addiction limiting our diplomatic options with Iran: “Record-high energy prices are weakening Bush’s prospects of assembling an international coalition to counter Iran’s nuclear ambitions. They are diminishing his chances of influencing energy-rich nations such as Russia and isolating troublesome ones including Venezuela and Sudan. And they are straining U.S. economic and diplomatic ties with China, whose oil needs are skyrocketing.”
Gas prices are high “because suppliers are unable to keep up with demand, a situation that could persist up to three more years,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said yesterday. Meanwhile, “senior Wall Street analysts” warned of crude prices topping $100 a barrel.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “pushed through Parliament a two-year extension of an emergency law, a measure that for almost 25 years has effectively allowed the Egyptian government to detain prisoners indefinitely and without charge.”
And finally: “Germany applauds tougher fines for streakers”: “A court decision clearing the way for harsher penalties against streakers who disrupt soccer matches by running on to the pitch was welcomed by Germany’s World Cup organizing committee on Saturday.”
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