ThinkFast: August 10, 2006

Red: The security alert level “for commercial flights [to the United States] originating in the United Kingdom.” The move to the highest level of alert was made after “Britain said it had foiled a plot to blow up flights to the United States.” All other commercial flights to or from the United States will operate under orange (“high”).

New Orleans still struggling after Katrina. One big problem is affordable housing, after thousands of now-useless houses have been destroyed. Other problems include “a lack of public transportation, child-care services and hospitals.” More details in a report by the Brookings Institution.

The Department of Transportation announced yesterday a “U.S. government computer loaded with approximately 133,000 drivers’ and pilots’ records — including Social Security numbers — was stolen last month.”

A neocon cuts and runs. Prominent neoconservative Max Boot, writing in the Los Angeles Times, suggests “reducing U.S. forces from today’s level of 130,000 to under 50,000 and changing their focus from conducting combat operations to assisting Iraqi forces.”


$14.6 billion. China’s trade surplus with the United States in July, its highest ever. The number is “raising doubts as to whether any conventional policy measures will be able to significantly reduce the imbalance.”The “Prince of Darkness” speaks. Joseph Steffen, a former member of the administration of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R-MD) nicknamed “The Prince of Darkness,” admitted “he teamed with the governor’s appointments office in targeting workers to be terminated and that their political affiliations informed his recommendations.” Steffen’s admission appeared to be at odds with sworn testimony from other members of the Ehrlich administration.

Reports of “harassment and discrimination against Muslims are rising.” According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, 39 percent of Americans said they “felt at least some prejudice against Muslims” and 22 percent “wouldn’t want Muslims as neighbors.”

Emily Hesaltine, a 20-year-old intern for the Federation of American Scientists, took two months to single-handedly improve the Department of Homeland Security’s preparedness site, Check out her work at

And finally: Porn star Mary Carey is once again running for California governor against Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I think I’m more serious now,” Carey said. “As you can see I’m dressed more seriously. I’ve got brown in my hair because brunettes are taken more seriously.” Carey plans to “barnstorm across California colleges in a ‘shock the vote’ tour aimed at her core constituency: young men.”