ThinkFast: April 9, 2008


On Friday, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) posted a video from his March 22 trip to Iraq, in which he is “gesturing to a building behind him” and naming two other places hit by rocket attacks. VoteVets.org sharply criticized McHenry, noting that the information revealed in his video could be used by terrorists to “kill Americans in the Green Zone” in the future. The Pentagon has now agreed with VoteVets, and has told McHenry that he cannot re-air the video.

You can’t tell the enemy in Iraq anymore without a scorecard,” writes the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank of Gen. David Petraeus’ and Ambassador Ryan Crocker’s discussion yesterday of Iranian-backed “special groups” in Iraq. “Of course, the new focus on the ‘special groups’ also served to highlight the fact that the American presence in Iraq is creating new and special enemies.”

Yesterday, on ABC’s Nightline, Gen. Petraeus said of Iraq, “We will need to be there for a while.” Ambassador Crocker described American involvement as a “multi-year project.” “We’re not looking for Jeffersonian Democracy. … Iraq is not there yet right now, and there is certainly more work to be done,” Petraeus added.

A congressional investigation has found that Julie Myers, the nation’s top immigration enforcement official, “ordered the destruction of photographs of an office Halloween party” that showed her with “a white agency employee dressed as a black detainee.” Myers had reportedly ordered the photos removed from a digital camera in a “‘coordinated effort to conceal‘ her role in awarding one of the top costume prizes to the employee.”

A federal investigation has concluded that Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) 2006 re-election campaign was to blame for the crash of its Web site “the day before Connecticut’s heated Aug. 8 Democratic primary.” In Dec. 2006, Lieberman campaign spokesman Dan Gerstein claimed, “Our Web site consultant assured us in the strongest terms possible that we had been attacked,” blaming supporters of challenger Ned Lamont.

A new GAO audit “found widespread abuses in a purchasing program meant to improve bureaucratic efficiency” with “[f]ederal employees [having] used government credit cards to pay for lingerie, gambling, iPods, Internet dating services, and a $13,000 steak-and-liquor dinner.” The audit said that “nearly half the ‘purchase card’ transactions it examined were improper.

The gap between rich and poor in many states has broadened at a quickening pace since the last U.S. recession, which could make it difficult for low-income families to weather the current economic downturn,” according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. The report found that “the average incomes of the top five percent of families” are now “12 times the average incomes of the bottom 20 percent.”

The Bush administration “plans to expand a government program that helps struggling borrowers keep their homes.” The expansion “is designed to help about 100,000 homeowners, including many who owe more than their houses are worth, reduce their monthly payments” and to encourage “lenders to write down the value of the loans.”

“In a major shift of policy,” the Justice Department “has put off prosecuting more than 50 companies suspected of wrongdoing over the last three years.” Instead, the companies “have avoided the cost and stigma of defending themselves against criminal charges with a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, which allows the government to collect fines and appoint an outside monitor to impose internal reforms without going through a trial.”

And finally: “Oliver Stone’s new film,W, portrays George Bush as a foul-mouthed, dried-out drunk with a baseball obsession and a difficult relationship with his father.” Bush, played by actor Josh Brolin, is depicted as “as a party animal living in the shadow of his esteemed father before he uses religion to turn his life around.” His new purpose in life? To “achieve the presidency ahead of his brother Jeb, who was being groomed for high office by his father.”

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