ThinkFast: December 12, 2007

Days after the CIA admitted it destroyed interrogation tapes, a U.S. appeals court ordered the Bush administration “to preserve any evidence relevant” to the case involving Majid Khan, a U.S. national held at Guantanamo Bay who alleges he was tortured while in CIA hands.

According to NASA scientists, “Through the first 11 months, 2007 is the second warmest year in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005.”

“Forty people were killed and more than 125 wounded when three car bombs exploded in quick succession in the Shi’ite city of Amara in southern Iraq on Wednesday.” The attacks “were among the deadliest this year in southern Iraq and came as tensions ran high across the region.”

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-MI) and Committee member Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) struck a deal “on a piece of housing legislation that would give bankruptcy-court judges more flexibility to alter the terms of certain mortgages.” A markup of the bill will be held today.

Attempting to break a congressional impasse on appropriations legislation, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) advocated eliminating all congressional earmarks. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she was open to the idea, the plan “ran into deeply skeptical senators from both parties.”

Yesterday, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) wrote to Attorney General Mike Mukasey requesting that he “immediately appoint an independent counsel to investigate the circumstances surrounding” the destruction of interrogation tapes by the CIA.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously yesterday to reduce the large disparity between punishments for crack and powder cocaine offenders, giving approximately 20,000 federal inmates incarcerated for crack offenses a chance to reduce their sentences. The Bush administration strongly opposed the vote, arguing “it will make thousands of dangerous prisoners, many of them violent gang members, eligible for immediate release.”

“Our main focus, militarily, in the region and in the world right now is rightly and firmly in Iraq,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen testified yesterday. “It is simply a matter of resources, of capacity. In Afghanistan, we do what we can. In Iraq, we do what we must.”

“President Bush hailed a decade-long decline in teen drug use as proof that his administration’s drug interdiction efforts are working. … Bush said he wanted to ‘celebrate progress’ while acknowledging that there is still work to be done on curbing teen drug use.”

And finally: Colbert is getting bored. “With his show in reruns while the writers continue to strike, Stephen Colbert needs something to do.” The comedian was spotted walking across the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday “with a large portrait of himself on his back.”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.