ThinkFast: January 9, 2009


A 21-member bipartisan investigative committee of the Illinois House voted unanimously yesterday in favor of the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). The move “cleared the way for an impeachment vote by the full House, expected Friday. A majority vote there would send the matter to the State Senate for trial, where two-thirds approval would remove the governor.”

CentCom commander Gen. David Petraeus said yesterday that Afghanistan will require a “sustained, substantial” commitment from the U.S. and other nations to stop the spread of violence and the rise of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Petraeus added that Iran has common interests in Afghanistan and “hinted that such interests might make talks with Iran feasible.”

“Intent on blocking organized labor’s top legislative goal,” corporations are pouring money into lobbying groups like the Workforce Fairness Institute and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace as part of “a multimillion-dollar campaign” aimed at “killing legislation that would give unions the right to win recognition at a workplace once a majority of employees sign cards saying they want a union.”

The Congressional oversight panel charged with monitoring the Wall Street bailout slammed the Treasury Department in a new report. The report states the “U.S. Treasury has failed to reveal its strategy for stabilizing the financial system, not answered questions asked by a government watchdog, and has done nothing to help struggling homeowners.” It also cites “significant gaps” in Treasury’s ability to track the $700 billion financial rescue package.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate agreed on a voice vote to a non-binding resolution in support of Israel’s attack on Gaza. The House was expected to pass a similar resolution. See the draft text here.

Aid groups are increasingly critical of Israel’s military operations on the Gaza Strip. Yesterday, the UN “declared a suspension of its aid operations after one of its drivers was killed and two others were wounded.” After discovering “four emaciated children next to the bodies of their dead mothers,” the Red Cross said, “the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded.”

Yesterday, outgoing DNC Chairman Howard Dean was conspicuously absent from a press conference at which Barack Obama announced Gov. Tim Kaine as the new chairman. “If he had been asked to go to that event, he would have been there,” Jim Dean, the chairman’s brother, noted twice in an interview. Steven Benen writes that Dean “deserves his due.”

Yesterday, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for the first time called on Congress to enact a carbon tax, saying that it is a “more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach” than a cap-and-trade system. In 2007, Tillerson “said he didn’t support any particular policy for curbing carbon-dioxide emissions.”

And finally: For one night, U.S. soldiers in Iraq are getting a “taste of home: football and beer.” On Wednesday, Gen. Ray Odierno issued a waiver, allowing troops to have two alcoholic drinks on Super Bowl night, marking “the first time all American service members in Iraq will be allowed to break the ban on liquor in combat zones without risking being court-martialed.”

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