ThinkFast: March 8, 2007


The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to “vote today to authorize subpoenas for Justice officials” involved in the purge of U.S. Attorneys, including Michael Battle, who carried out the firings, and Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto A. Gonzales.

Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the day-to-day commander of American forces in Iraq, has recommended in a private memo that President Bush’s escalation of U.S. troop levelsbe maintained through February 2008.”

Internal memorandums circulated by the Bush administration’s Federal Fish and Wildlife Service “appear to require government biologists or other employees traveling in countries around the Arctic not to discuss climate change, polar bears or sea ice if they are not designated to do so.”

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency hurriedly bought 145,000 trailers and mobile homes just before and after Katrina hit, spending $2.7 billion largely through no-bid contracts. Now, it is selling off as many as 41,000 of the homes, netting, so far, about 40 cents on each dollar spent by taxpayers.”

Yesterday, C-SPAN announced that it would grant public access to many of its video feeds. The network explained, “These actions are intended to meet the growing demand for video about the federal government and Congress, in an age of explosive growth of video file-sharers, bloggers and online ‘citizen journalists.’

According to the AARP, the “prices for about 200 prescription drugs commonly used by seniors in the United States rose nearly twice the rate of inflation…making a case for letting the government negotiate drug prices.”

69: Percentage of Americans who feel “less confident” about a “successful conclusion in Iraq.” Only 20 percent express more confidence. A similar number believe the war in Afghanistan is fairing poorly.

188: Death toll in Iraq from “from three consecutive days of attacks on Shiite Muslim pilgrims” who are “streaming to the holy city of Karbala for weekend rites commemorating the death of…one of Shiite Islam’s holiest figures.”

“New House ethics rules that restrict lobbyist-funded travel exempt trips paid for by colleges and universities,” which spent more than hospitals and nursing homes — at least $75 million — on federal lobbying in 2005.

Internal documents show that the Pentagon “lacks a comprehensive plan to identify and treat tens of thousands of troops who may suffer from traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the Iraq war.” ABC anchor Bob Woodruff reported recently that the Pentagon is “withholding information about how widespread these debilitating wounds have become.”

And finally: You can now offset your own bodily “emissions.” An Australian company is “selling carbon credits for flatulent pets and people.” For just $16, you can make your body carbon neutral for two years, and the company will install “energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs and water-saving shower heads in houses in New South Wales, Australia.”