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ThinkFast: April 17, 2007

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"ThinkFast: April 17, 2007"

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During an interview on Sunday with congressional investigators, Kyle Sampson said that Gonzales was “‘inaccurate,’…in asserting that he had no role in the deliberations about individual United States attorneys who were later dismissed.” He also revealed “that Gonzales remembered talking to Bush last October about concerns with then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.”

Gun control advocates said the Virginia Tech shootings “pointed to the need for tougher laws, while supporters of gun rights generally kept their heads down.” The Brady Campaign said the incident underscored “how easy it is for an individual to get powerful weapons in our country.” The NRA deplored the tragedy but declined to comment “until all the facts are known.” The White House said, “The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed.”

$2.3 billion: The amount in state taxes that Wal-Mart, now the largest company in the world, appears to have skipped out on using corporate tax shelters.

“The tax burden in the U.S. is shifting away from the rich, to the point where in a few years it could change from being progressive to effectively flat, a new study shows.”

“Over the past six months, American troops have died in Iraq at the highest rate since the war began… From October 2006 through last month, 532 American soldiers were killed, the most during any six-month period of the war. April, with 58 service members killed through Monday, is on pace to be one of the deadliest months of the conflict for American forces.”

While Paul Wolfowitz was serving as Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon directed a military contractor to hire his World Bank girlfriend Shaha Ali Riza to spend a month in 2003 studying issues related to setting up a new government in Iraq. Former Undersecretary of Defense Dough Feith “said he had no recollection of any request by his office to have Ms. Riza hired.”

President Bush has reneged on his promises to Katrina’s victims,” the New York Times editorial page writes. “Over a year and a half later, there are 64,000 people still sleeping in trailers in Louisiana and far too many communities without schools, hospitals and other basics. These are unacceptable failures.”

The arctic north is experiencing some of the worst impacts of global warming. “Inuit hunters are falling through thinning ice and dying. Dolphins are being spotted for the first time. There’s not enough snow to build igloos for shelter during hunts.”

“The national average price for gasoline in the U.S. rose for the 11th straight week, according to a government report released Monday.”

And finally: Fashion lessons for Congress from Xtina. “Next week, Members of Congress will be getting some fashion cues from pop star Christina Aguilera. Aguilera designed a scarf and tie that Lifetime TV and nonprofit partners including the National Center for Victims of Crime will distribute to every Member of Congress on Monday.” But Christina won’t be there to deliver them herself because she’s “on tour.”

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