ThinkFast: April 3, 2006

NASA administrator Michael Griffin recently said to a Houston audience: “The space program has had no better friend in its entire existence than Tom DeLay. “¦ He’s still with us and we need to keep him there.” Griffin now denies that statement was an effort to solicit votes for DeLay because, under the Hatch Act, a partisan endorsement cannot be made by a federal employee acting in an official capacity. The Office of Special Counsel is investigating.

President Bush’s new Medicare drug plan is so confusing “even the parents of the Michael Leavitt, secretary of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, ended up picking a plan that put their retiree medical coverage at risk. And this after Leavitt helped his parents in making their initial selection.”

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An official British “narrative” about the events leading up to last year’s July 7 London bombings states that Iraq war was a “contributory factor.” The report, ordered by home secretary Charles Clarke, claims that the war radicalized the bombers and provoked extremism among British Muslims.

Civil war watch: “Nearly eight times as many Iraqis died last month in execution-style sectarian killings as in terrorist bombings carried out by insurgents, new US military statistics show.”

Meanwhile, “more Iraqis than ever have been buying, carrying and stockpiling weapons, adding an unnerving level of firepower to Baghdad’s streets.”

After receiving a $200 million contract during the “flush, early days of reconstruction in Iraq,” U.S. construction firm Parsons Inc. has finished only 20 of the 142 primary health clinics they were hired to build over two years. The project was “expected to lay the foundation of a modern health care system for the country.”

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1,000: The number of internal e-mails Rep. Tom DeLay gave to federal prosecutors as a “Christmas present” for their ongoing corruption investigation. The “prosecutors are far from finished” with the probe, and “it’s unclear if the e-mails will clear or help implicate DeLay.”

As many lawmakers resist the administration’s plans to establish permanent bases in Iraq, the Pentagon is already spending millions of dollars to establish at least six “enduring bases” in Iraq.

With hurricane season two months away, President Bush has been struggling to recruit a new federal emergency management chief after seven candidates turned the job down. Acting FEMA director David Paulison is reportedly expected to soon be named Michael Brown’s official successor.

And finally: Condoleezza Rice has banned Playboy and Penthouse from State Department newsstands. “Alerted by an aide that the skin magazines, partially clad in brown paper covers, were placed beside newsmagazines and close to candy, nuts, and stuffed animals, she said, ‘I want them out.’” Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments section?