ThinkFast: April 16, 2008

A day of mourning on Virginia Tech’s campus began at midnight Wednesday, “exactly one year after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history left 32 people and the gunman dead.” Among the commemorative ceremonies taking place today, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has “ordered state flags flown at half-staff” and “a moment of silence at noon.” A candle lit on campus “at midnight will burn there for 24 hours.”

At 2:45 ET today, President Bush will give a speech outlining “goals for limiting” greenhouse gas emissions, a first for a White House that has dragged its feet “in addressing the problem of climate change.” Though Bush will “talk about a strategy for a way forward and principles for dealing with the problems,” Press Secretary Dana Perino said, “[t]his speech is not going to lay out a specific proposal.”

Freedom’s Watch has allegedly “coordinated its advertising” with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is illegal under federal election laws. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission today charging that a Freedom’s Watch script for a television ad in Louisiana originated with the NRCC.

Yesterday, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine told lawmakers that the FBI “might have committed as many as 6,400 intelligence violations in the course of its use of national security letters,” which allow investigators to obtain people’s personal information without first obtaining a warrant. A recent report by Fine found that “the FBI issued 49,425 national security letters in 2006 alone.”


Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) may give a keynote address at the Republican National Convention in September “on behalf of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)” “If Sen. McCain, who I support so strongly, asked me to do it, if he thinks it will help him, I will,” Lieberman told The Hill. Though McCain has yet to ask, “a Lieberman aide” says “it is a ‘likely possibility’ he will address the Republican audience in some form.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “was less than forthcoming” about his “rogue-state rollback” policy yesterday saying that it involves only “efforts to modify the behavior of other nations” which does not include “declar[ing] war.” But in 2000, McCain said he would “arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically- elected governments.”

“In my administration, there will be no more subsidies for special pleaders, no more corporate welfare,” McCain said in a speech on the economy yesterday. Yet “much of what he detailed was a corporate special pleader’s dream: a cut in the corporate income tax rate, from 35 percent to 25 percent, a proposal to allow businesses to write off the cost of new equipment and technology from their taxes…and a permanent tax credit for research and development.”

“Dangling the popular highway funding bill as his hostage,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “struck a deal Tuesday night with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to dislodge a handful of President Bush’s stalled appellate court nominees.” The plan will advance at least three outstanding appointments before Memorial Day.

“A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias. The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours.”


And finally: The Academy Awards planned to announce its 2009 Oscar nominees on Jan. 20. But it has moved the ceremony to Jan. 22, since the presidential inauguration will also be on Jan. 20. Andrew Malcolm of the Los Angeles Times writes, “It isn’t enough that the country must endure about 24 months of political blather and rhetorical positioning to choose the next leader of the free world. … But now the world must wait an extra 48 hours — 48! — to learn who’s been nominated to receive an Oscar. The outrage.”

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