ThinkFast: February 27, 2008


With oil prices at record highs, the cost of gasoline could hit $4 a gallon by spring. “The effect of high oil prices today could be the difference between having a recession and not having a recession,” said Harvard economist Kenneth S. Rogoff.

“After promising last year to search its computers for tens of thousands of e-mails sent by White House officials,” the Republican National Committee said “it no longer plans to retrieve the communications by restoring computer backup tapes.” The decision makes it more likely those e-mails “will never be recovered,” said lawmakers and public records advocates.

Army Chief of Staff George Casey “told a Senate panel he would not embrace” going back to longer tours “even if President Bush decided to suspend troop reductions.” “The Army is under serious strain from years of war-fighting, he testified, and must reduce the length of combat tours as soon as possible.”

Liberal House Democrats are pushing for a closed session to discuss the legal underpinnings of President Bush’s intelligence surveillance program,” believing that “the more members know about it, the less likely they will be to support Bush’s wish to make it permanent.”

“Congressional leaders yesterday gathered support for aggressive changes to bankruptcy laws that would help troubled homeowners, even as the Bush administration threatened to veto the plan and emphasized its opposition to any program that would risk tax dollars.”

The Marine Corps has ordered a civilian scientist to stop work on a report that alleged “gross mismanagement” of the “program to quickly field Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles,” which resulted in the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of Marines in Iraq. “It’s gotten beyond its initial purpose,” a Marine spokesperson said.

The euro hit “a record high of $1.5057 in early European trading on Wednesday as sentiment increased that the U.S. Federal Reserve would continue its rate cut campaign.”

Three Democratic governors told Congress yesterday that an August directive by the Bush administration “has made it virtually impossible for them to expand health insurance coverage to more moderate-income children.” “A few states have gone to court attempting to void” the directive and now the governors are asking “lawmakers to intervene.”

“The coal industry is on the political offensive” for the 2008 elections. Industry group Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, which has already “paid $5 million to CNN to co-sponsor at least six presidential debates, plans “to spend some $40 million this year.” “That’s more than double its spending in 2007.”

And finally: Huffington Post catches right-wing pundit Ann Coulter chewing Nicotine before going on-air for an interview. When someone offered her a second piece, she turned it down, noting that she didn’t need it unless “you can chop it up so I can snort it. That would help.” Watch it here.

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