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ThinkFast: August 17, 2007

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"ThinkFast: August 17, 2007"

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Despite claiming he was at Ground Zero “as often, if not more” than 9/11 rescue workers, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s mayoral archive reveals that from Sept. 17 to Dec. 16, 2001, “he was there for a total of 29 hours.” In that same period, “many rescue and recovery workers put in daily 12-hour shifts.”

171,000: The number of U.S. troops that could be in Iraq by this fall — a record high for the war.

The FBI investigation into Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-AK) home renovation pay-to-play was officially acknowledged yesterday when a National Science Foundation spokesman confirmed newspaper reports “that the FBI was looking into $170 million in contracts” that Stevens steered to an Alaskan oil company.

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote a letter to Bush asking that he provide all documents and other information sought by the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in order to conduct oversight of the implementation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The State Department’s “$5 billion construction efforts abroad have come under increasing strain.” In a cable sent this summer, “U.S. diplomats complained of building delays and shoddy workmanship, underscoring problems with State’s one-size-fits-all approach to building.” The IG is now probing the use of sole-source contracts at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

“Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. was hailed last year when he took office as especially equipped to manage potential market crises.” But during the recent market swings, Paulson has stayed on the sidelines, leaving it to the Federal Reserve to act.

“The Federal Reserve, reacting to concerns about the subprime lending crisis and the volatility in the financial markets that have resulted from it, announced Friday that it is cutting its so-called discount rate temporarily by a half percentage point, to 5.75 percent.”

And finally: The Russian region of Ulyanovsk has “declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third year running is giving couples time off from work to procreate. The hope is for a brood of babies exactly nine months later on Russia’s national day. Couples who “give birth to a patriot” during the June 12 festivities “win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.”

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