ThinkFast: August 27, 2008

“There’s quiet buzz in Washington this week that convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and several colleagues — including scam-artist Michael Scanlon — will be sentenced soon for their roles in the 2005 tribes-and-bribes scandal.” The sentences “could come as early as next week, during the Republican convention.”

Though “President Bush has invested heavily in trying to forge a strong bond with key foreign leaders,” the Washington Post writes today that “new crises in Georgia and Pakistan are underscoring the limits of Bush’s personal diplomacy.” Bush “misjudged Putin” and when it was shown “his initial assessment of Putin was wrong, [Bush] tended to dismiss it,” said Stanford University professor Michael A. McFaul.

Embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens “won the Republican primary in his home state” yesterday, “soundly defeating six Republican challengers.” Stevens, who “was indicted by a federal grand jury for concealing more than $250,000 in gifts from an oil services company” last month, will now face Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich in November.

New Orleans is rushing to complete a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Katrina “by Friday’s third anniversary of the storm.” The slow progress on the $1.2 million project has been “seen as another example of the sluggish climate that has characterized the city’s rebuilding from the 2005 storm that killed 1,600 people.”


On the trail today: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has no public events. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will talk with veterans and military families in Billings, MT. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and former President Bill Clinton will speak tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney attacked Barack Obama for making an issue out of John McCain’s homes, arguing McCain earned his homes and Obama didn’t.

“Afghanistan’s opium harvest has dropped from last year’s record high, the United Nations announced Tuesday. … Poppy cultivation has dropped by 19 percent since 2007, and has fallen beneath 2006 levels as well.”

Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation warned yesterday “that the outlook for the ailing banking industry was bad — and getting worse.” Bair said “the swelling tide of toxic home loans is proving to be even more worrisome than initially feared,” adding that “we haven’t seen the trough of the credit cycle yet.”

International researchers said yesterday that “Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second-lowest level since record-keeping began three decades ago” illustrating “how rapidly climate change is transforming ecosystems in northern latitudes.” Because the ice usually “reaches its minimum level in mid-September, researchers warned that a new low might be recorded within weeks.”


And finally: Former Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson may have a new job as a Fox News commentator, but he’s also started another media venture. Wolfson is now writing about indie rock on his blog GothamAcme. Wolfson says music is his “real passion” and he’s been “an avid reader of music blogs for a long time.”

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