ThinkFast: November 7, 2007


Condoleezza Rice’s relationship with Vice President Dick Cheney in recent years was “much more conflict-driven than we have been led to believe,” according to a new biography of Rice written by the NYT’s Elisabeth Bumiller. “There was much more conflict on the Middle East and detainees and on Guantanamo Bay than has been written,” Bumiller said.

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants,” according to a new study by a nonpartisan group.

The ACLU reports the existence of a third secret torture memo, authored by the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel in May 2005. “The memos are believed to have authorized the CIA to use extremely harsh interrogation methods including waterboarding.”

Oregon voters defeated a measure to raise tobacco taxes to provide universal health care for children after a record-shattering negative ad campaign financed by cigarette companies. Tobacco companies opposing the measure outspent supporters by a 4-1 margin. “What happened was, the tobacco industry bought the election,” said Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D).

Steve Beshear, a former Democratic Lt. Governor of Kentucky, “won a landslide victory last night over Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R),” ousting the incumbent by an 18-point margin. Beshear’s victory was “a repudiation of Fletcher,” whose tenure had been mired by corruption.

“Michael Mukasey appears headed for confirmation as attorney general before Thanksgiving, but Senate Democratic leaders are leaving open the possibility that there might be an attempt to filibuster the nomination.” A Senate Democratic aide said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is neither encouraging nor discouraging a filibuster.

The DoJ is “prosecuting the fewest hate crimes in 10 years as civil rights activists cite noose hangings and other racial incidents to question the government’s commitment to such cases. … Last year, the department charged 22 people with hate crimes. That was down 71% from 76 in 1997.”

“The inspector general of the Department of Education has said he will examine whether federal money was inappropriately used by three states to buy educational products from a company owned by Neil Bush, the president’s brother.”

The House voted 361 to 54 yesterday to override President Bush’s veto of “a popular water projects measure.” “If the Senate follows suit,” it will be the first time Bush has a veto overturned.

And finally: In a new HBO production “Recount,” actor Antoni Corone plays Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL). But In an e-mail, Feeneysounded disappointed” with the casting. “Was Brad Pitt unavailable to play me?” he asked.

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