"ThinkFast: May 10, 2006"
After months of stonewalling, the White House will today release its visitor logs documenting “when Abramoff was at the White House, how long he was there, and who signed him in for the visit.” A “Bush loyalist” hints that there “are a bunch of visits, (but) he [Abramoff] didn’t get into the West Wing very often.”
Former NSA director Bobby Ray Inman criticized Bush’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program earlier this week, “making him one of the highest-ranking former intelligence officials to criticize the program in public.” “This activity is not authorized,” Inman said. The administration, he said, “need(s) to get away from the idea that they can continue doing it.”
More than 1.9 million U.S. workers earned the federal minimum wage ($5.15) or less last year. States are taking action by “using legislation and ballot initiatives to do what Congress has not done since 1997, when it last increased the federal minimum wage.”
As the May 15 deadline approaches for enrolling in the Medicare prescription drug program, at least 7 million eligible Medicare members – or half of those who didn’t have drug coverage before – still have not signed up. Yesterday, President Bush “rejected renewed pleas for an extension of the May 15 deadline to sign up for the coverage.”
95. The number of journalists and their support staff killed in Iraq since the war began three years ago. “Seventy-five of the 95 killed have been Iraqis. Two Americans are among the victims.”
Stanford University researcher Jennifer Eberhardt, who is studying the relationship between race and the death penalty, found the “more ‘black looking’ an African-American man charged with murdering a white victim, the more likely he is to be sentenced to death.” “The study adds to other research showing murderers of whites are more likely than murderers of blacks” to receive the death penalty.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is holding up extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, insisting that the House strip away the provision requiring bilingual assistance at certain polling places. People who need the assistance “either they are naturalized citizens who did not meet the required language proficiency or they grew up in an ethnic enclave without benefit of learning English. If that’s the case, it’s high time they learned it,” said King in April.
900 more pages of Michael Brown emails have been released. One exchange showed that at 9:53 am on the day Katrina made landfall, Brown received warning that “a levee breach occurred along the industrial canal.” Less than three hours later, Brown wrote, “I’m being told here water over not a breach.”
The United States has the second highest infant mortality rate in the developed world. “For African-Americans, the mortality rate is nearly double that of the United States as a whole, with 9.3 deaths per 1,000 births.”
And finally: Rev. James Dobson ran into some trouble on the Senate subway yesterday. Roll Call reports “Just as Dobson entered the car, the doors closed on him. Bam! Right across the midsection “” ‘in the ribs on his right and in the butt on his left.'” An unnamed Senate staffer remarked, “Looks like at that particular moment Jesus had turned the other cheek to let Dr. Dobson take it in his.”