ThinkFast: November 8, 2007


The Dow plummeted 360 points and the dollar sank to a record low against the euro yesterday as “investors worldwide grew skittish over rising oil prices and the prospect of a substantial economic slowdown in the United States.” The markets are being “driven down by fear that the troubles in housing are likely to continue well into next year, contributing to further losses in credit markets and spreading pain to the rest of the economy.”

$9 trillion: Amount of publicly held U.S. debt — “the first time ever” it has breached $9 trillion. In September, “President George W. Bush signed a measure to increase the debt limit ceiling to $9.815 trillion from $8.965 trillion, allowing the government to keep issuing debt.”

A coalition of watchdog organizations will today launch Governmentdocs.org, the first online database of government documents that can be browsed, searched, and reviewed. The goal is to “promote greater transparency into the government’s inner workings.”

A new study by the National Alliance to End Homelessness has found that one in four homeless people in America are veterans, including more than 400 who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Aid workers say “Iraq and Afghanistan veterans appear to be turning up sooner than the Vietnam veterans did.”

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) “is drafting a compromise” on retroactive immunity for telecoms involved in the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Specter’s amendment “would make the federal government — instead of the phone companies” — the defendant in pending lawsuits.

Two separate bills offered by Sens. Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) would outlaw waterboarding, along with other extreme interrogation techniques. The legislation would make the Army manual the standard for all U.S. interrogators.

FEMA press secretary Aaron Walker yesterday resigned after participating in the agency’s staged press conference on wildfires. Walker is the second press official to “suffer the repercussions” of last month’s stunt.

“Strained by extended tours in Iraq, growing numbers of military reservists say the government is providing little help to soldiers who are denied their old jobs when they return home.” A Pentagon survey of reservists in 2005-2006 “details increasing discontent among returning troops in protecting their legal rights after taking leave from work to fight for their country.”

And finally: Even Congress has cliques. The House floor is like a high school “cafeteria,” a place “where lawmakers gather and sit with the same people every day.” Politico has a map of the seats HERE.

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