ThinkFast: January 11, 2008

President Bush wrapped up his visit to Israel yesterday, promising to return in May to “continue pressing the Israelis and Palestinians into reaching a peace agreement.” A recent poll of Israelis, however, found that “found that 77 percent of those questioned believed Mr. Bush would fail in the mission.”

“NASA’s watchdog office has sharply reduced its criminal investigations under a leader accused of mismanagement by a presidential commission and members of Congress, the space agency’s records show.”

The Department of Homeland Security will announce today that “driver’s license rules and procedures will be standardized across all 50 states” The new plan is expected to anger many, including states that have to implement the changes and civil rights groups who say “the changes will invade individuals’ privacy.”

Several analysts and former military officials argue that the Iraq surge “may actually have enhanced prospects for a bloodier civil war by effectively permitting the warring sides” — now more segregated than ever — “to re-group and re-arm in anticipation of a new round of bloodletting as U.S. troops withdraw.”


“The chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees joined in asking the Justice Department on Thursday for details of contracts that the department directed to former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other outside lawyers” following reports of favoritism by the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey.

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency records provided to USA Today, only about $1 billion of the $4.5 billion worth of infrastructure projects earmarked for Louisiana and Mississippi” after the 2005 Gulf coast hurricanes has been spent, “a sign that key pieces of the region’s recovery effort are languishing in red tape.”

“Presenting a bleak picture of a deteriorating national economy, Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, strongly suggested on Thursday that the Fed would cut interest rates soon, perhaps by a large amount.” “We stand ready to take substantive additional actions,” Bernanke said.

Shortly after ABC News reported on the rape of former Halliburton/KBR employee, Jamie Leigh Jones, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for answers. Her deadline of Dec. 21 passed with no reply. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has also wrote to Rice on Jan. 3, telling her of the “lack of cooperation from her department.” No response yet.

And finally: On Wednesday, the conservative Heritage Foundation hosted guests for a lunch event. They were served “turkey and brie on cranberry bread.” The reaction to the sandwich by the right-wing crowd? “This is kind of a liberal sandwich,” moaned one of the attendees.

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