ThinkFast: October 3, 2007


Yesterday, Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays responded to the Senate Democratic Leadership’s call for him to repudiate Rush Limbaugh’s “phony troops” remark. “While I certainly do not agree with all views that are voiced on our stations, I will not condemn our talent for exercising their right to voice them,” Mays wrote.

Though Blackwater USA CEO Erik Prince told a congressional committee yesterday that the company’s guards only opened fire on 195 occasions in Iraq since 2005, “two former Blackwater security guards” say they believe “employees fired more often than the company has disclosed. “The underreporting of shooting incidents was routine in Iraq,” said one guard.

Congress is pushing legislation to give Inspectors General “greater budgetary independence.” The measure would also make it harder for the administration to fire the the watchdogs. The White House is threatening to veto the bill.

The Bush administration has made “seemingly inconsistent decisions” when releasing prisoners they deem “among America’s most-hardened criminals” from Guantanamo Bay, according to Pentagon documents. “Human rights groups contend that the documents show” that the military panels are often “overridden by political expediency.”

The State Department launched its own blog last week, called “Dipnote.” People have already complained “that the white print on a black background makes it hard to read” Finally, “unbiased news directly from the federal government, a news source long noted for truthful, unbiased reporting,” the Washington Post’s Al Kamen mockingly writes.

Former Bush administration lawyer Jack Goldsmith said yesterday that the administration’s surveillance program “was the biggest legal mess I had ever encountered..” “[T]he White House so tightly restricted access to the National Security Agency’s program that even the attorney general and the NSA’s general counsel were partly in the dark.”

The Army has met its stated recruiting goal of 80,000 new active-duty soldiers for FY2007. But to achieve this goal, “the Army rushed enlistees into its ranks more quickly than usual, depleting the number in the pipeline for next year to less than 7,000 — the smallest in more than a decade.

The Polish ambassador to Iraq was wounded and a civlian was killed in a car bomb that went off in downtown Baghdad today. Approximately 900 Polish troops are currently stationed south of Baghdad training Iraqi personnel.

And finally: Final score: Boxer 3, Inhofe 0. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has repeatedly challenged Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) authority over the Senate environmental committee. During one hearing, she had to inform him, “You don’t make the rules anymore.” Yesterday, Boxer slammed down Inhofe’s assertion that she couldn’t invite sitting senators to the hearings, pointing out that in Sept. 2006, he invited Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). “I don’t mind if we have disagreements, but…let’s get the facts right,” she admonished him.