ThinkFast: January 23, 2008

A new study by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism found that President Bush and his top officials issued 935 false statements about the threat from Iraq in the two years following 9/11. Bush “led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.”

A new Iraqi law said to “return former Baathists to public life,” could actually “set off a new purge of ex-Baathists, the opposite of U.S. hopes for the legislation,” according to “Iraqi lawmakers, U.S. officials and former Baathists.” At least 7,000 Baathists who have been allowed back into the government in recent years may lose their current positions under the new law.

In “private,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “has expressed growing pessimism about the economy,” reportedly saying that “the first six months of this year will be “bad.” He also suggested that “there is better than a 50–50 chance for a recession” and believes the ensuing recovery will be “weak.”

“Many of the poorest people in the United States are still struggling to recover from the effects of a recession that ended six years ago, making them very vulnerable as the country stands on the brink of a new downturn.” In 2006, “12.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty, compared with 11.7 percent in 2001, the year of the last recession.”


The House has postponed votes on “criminal contempt citations against White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers” in order to foster “bipartisan unity” while working on an economic stimulus package. Planned Parenthood “expects to raise at least $10 million over the next 10 months to recruit patients, as well as their friends and families, to lobby legislators and vote for candidates who support Planned Parenthood’s agenda. The campaign “will be the group’s most ambitious and expensive effort ever.” “House Democrats have scheduled a vote Wednesday to override President Bush’s December veto of the $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

The Writers Guild of America “will begin informal talks with studios” tomorrow “after agreeing to drop proposals to unionize reality and animation shows that had contributed to a negotiations impasse.” The talks “will be aimed at a resumption of full negotiations, both sides said in statements.”

“A new international ranking of environmental performance puts the United States at the bottom of the Group of 8 industrialized nations and 39th among the 149 countries on the list.” America “is slipping down,” according to researchers at Yale and Columbia, because of low scores on “greenhouse gas emissions and a pervasive problem with smog.”

And finally: Rep. Mike Simpson’s (R-ID) hair is “threatening to cascade past his shoulders in waves,” and colleagues are unhappy. Last week, a colleague “whisked past Simpson” in the Speaker’s Lobby and said, “Call Joe Q,” referring to the House barber. Simpson said that he also recently grew a beard after a trip to the Middle East, but he shaved it off after his wife “told him he looked like a terrorist.”

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