ThinkFast: March 1, 2007

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"ThinkFast: March 1, 2007"

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Walter Reed officials have known of the deplorable conditions for at least 3 years. Joyce Rumsfeld, the wife of then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, was taken to Walter Reed last October “by a friend concerned about outpatient treatment.” Mrs. Rumsfeld was told that her husband was being given a rosy picture of the hospital. Walter Reed officials proceeded to ban the friend who brought Mrs. Rumsfeld in.

For five years, the U.S. accused North Korea of pursuing a secret path to developing enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, an accusation that “resulted in the rupture of an already tense relationship.” Now, the administration has quietly admitted its intelligence may have been faulty.

Amb. Tim Carney, a U.S. coordinator for Iraq’s reconstruction, said on NPR yesterday, said the post-war decision to exclude Iraqis from governing the country was “incompetent, foolish, dubious in all of its aspects.” Carney was recently flown to Baghdad by the administration to avoid testifying before a congressional committee.

Bush administration regulators approved children’s lunch boxes that were laden with more than 10 times hazardous levels of lead, then lied about it and refused to release details of their tests, an AP investigation revealed. The administration’s excuse: food in the lunch boxes “may have an outer wrapping, a baggie, so there isn’t direct exposure.”

Military reporter James Crawley says yesterday’s Army Times revelation “that Walter Reed patients had been barred from speaking with reporters is not the first case of tightened restrictions. In recent months, he says several MRE members have reported similar crackdowns. What’s worse, many of the denials are apparently in reaction to the potential negativity of a planned story.”

The departing U.S. attorney in New Mexico, David Iglesias, charged yesterday “that two members of Congress attempted to pressure him to speed up a probe of Democrats just before the November elections.” All the members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation have denied involvement except for Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), who have not responded to “repeated requests” for comment.

President Bush has declared his intention to veto a “broad counterterrorism bill to implement many of the remaining recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission” if the legislation extends union protection to 45,000 federal airport screeners.

Six months since his last visit to New Orleans, and one month after failing to mention the Gulf region in his State of the Union address, President Bush “will find…a city of extremes, where life abounds in isolated areas and is eerily lacking in others.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) “is in talks to become the Philadelphia Inquirer’s newest op-ed columnist.”

And finally: Richard Simmons gets Hill staffers sweatin’. Roll Call reports, “Simmons was in the Capitol and House office buildings on Wednesday, spreading joy — and some unsolicited advice — to unsuspecting staffers. … He accosted one group of House staffers leaving the Longworth cafeteria. ‘I need to check your lunches,’ Simmons announced, according to one of the surprised, sandwich-toting aides. ‘He approved of our sandwiches, but made me look him in the eye and promise not to eat my chips.’”

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