ThinkFast: May 21, 2008


Despite public pronouncements by members of the Bush administration expressing their interest in closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday admitted that they were “stuck” with it. “The brutally frank answer is that we’re stuck,” Gates told a Senate committee. “We have a serious ‘not in my backyard’ problem.”

Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen arrested in 2001 and held at Guantanamo Bay until 2006, told Congress yesterday “he was subjected to ‘water treatment,’ electric shocks and other abuse during the almost five years he spent in U.S. custody.” The testimony came on the same day the Justice Department released an investigation that cited reports of torture at Gitmo.

Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) suggested impeaching President Bush if he attacks Iran. “You’ve got the power of impeachment, now that is a very defined measure if you are willing to bring charges against the president at all,” said Hagel. Attacking Iran without Congress’s consent “would bring with it…outstanding political consequences.” Hagel also raised impeachment in March 2007.

In a 2 to 1 decision, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals “struck down a Virginia law that made it a crime for doctors to perform what the law called ‘partial birth infanticide.'”

Yesterday, after news broke that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, right-wing radio host Michael Savage mocked him on air by playing audio from Kindergarten Cop in which Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character says, “It’s not a tumor.” Savage also played a song by the punk band the Dead Kennedys “in some respect” for Sen. Kennedy.

23 percent: President Bush’s approval rating in a new Reuters/Zogby poll, which is down four percentage points and is “a record low for pollster John Zogby.”

The AP sharply criticizes the networks’ political coverage of yesterdays primaries, blasting the “campaign’s punditry disconnect.” “What was missing was any real attempt by the networks to find out directly from these voters what their misgivings were,” writes the AP’s David Bauder, “and why they came to the polls to express those feelings despite being told that the nomination fight was essentially done.”

“In a shift,” the U.S. military has postponed the release of a report “detailing allegations of Iranian support for Iraqi insurgents.” The military “instead turned the dossier over to the Iraqi government. … The Iraqis are using the information to pressure Tehran to curb the flow of Iranian weaponry and explosives into Iraq.”

A U.S. appeals court “has ruled that blind and other visually impaired people are discriminated against” because U.S. currency relies on “bills that are the same in size and color in all denominations.” Advocates for the blind said the ruling “will go a long way toward helping the visually impaired cope with their native currency.”

And finally: The Hill reports that for the past week, “a small brown bird has been living in the Senate Press Gallery.” The bird — named Robert C. — has reportedly been “pooping” on the fan of New York Times reporter Carl Hulse. “I’m not taking it as a comment on my journalism,” replied Hulse. “Some people say that bird poop is a sign of good luck but that is usually people who have been pooped on.”

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