ThinkFast: July 16, 2007


Roll Call writes, “Just a year ago, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) was disregarded, even by some in his own party, as a bleeding-heart liberal defeatist for his stance on the Iraq War.” When Feingold first floated the idea of setting a withdrawal date two years ago, few of his colleagues supported him. This week, Senate will take up the Levin-Reed redeployment bill, which is “nearly identical in scope to the amendment Feingold” last June.

Two suicide bombers struck the volatile northern city of Kirkuk this morning, killing 73 people and wounding 178 more. … The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers frantically dig through concrete and rubble in hopes of finding survivors.”

“Years before the war began,” Pentagon officials knew that armored MRAP vehicles better shielded troops from roadside bombs than Humvees. “But military officials repeatedly balked at appeals — from commanders on the battlefield and from the Pentagon’s own staff” — dating back to Dec. 2003, to provide the MRAPs, a USA Today investigation found.

“An internal investigation that the House Intelligence Committee has refused to make public portrays the panel as embarrassingly entangled in the Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham bribery scandal.” The report “describes the committee as a dysfunctional entity that served as a crossroads for almost every major figure in the ongoing criminal probe by the Justice Department.”

“Barring an unlikely confirmation of Leslie Southwick to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by the Judiciary Committee this week, Senate GOP leaders have privately mapped out a retaliatory plan that involves blocking passage of Democratic legislation from now until the August recess.”

“The Department of Homeland Security lost senior leaders at twice the rate of the rest of the federal government over the past two years, including 23 of 26 top officials who report to the secretary.”

“U.N. inspectors have verified that North Korea shut down its nuclear reactor, the watchdog agency’s chief said Monday, the first on-the-ground achievement toward scaling back Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions since the international standoff began in late 2002.”

$12.5 million: Amount of taxpayer money spent to store 85 million pounds of unused ice ordered by FEMA after Hurricane Katrina. FEMA has stored the ice for two years, even though the agency’s “own regulations required that they dispose of the ice after three months.”

And finally: “In the Bush White House, sports are a metaphor for life.” The AP notes that sports metaphors “have become a pervasive way for Bush and his team to describe almost anything.” “I’m going to sprint to the finish,” said President Bush of the rest of his time in office. When asked whether Bush will be vetoing more bills, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow replied, “The ball really lies in the court of those in Congress.” And of course, there was the infamous “slam dunk” comment by former CIA director George Tenet.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.