ThinkFast: January 25, 2007

Senate conservatives yesterday blocked legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25, “insisting it include new tax breaks for restaurants and other businesses.”

The Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday that President Bush “can balance the budget within five years, or he can get Congress to extend his tax cuts beyond their scheduled expiration — but he can’t do both.”

In the Scooter Libby trial yesterday, former Associate CIA Deputy Director Robert Grenier testified that — pursuant to a request — he told Libby that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA in June 2003, a month before Libby claimed to have learned that information from NBC’s Tim Russert. Another CIA employee said he delivered a stark warning that the Bush administration’s leak “could lead to the deaths of people who aided American intelligence gathering abroad.”

“It’s water over the deck — get over it,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said yesterday about the 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling, “drawing laughs from his audience” at Iona College in New York.

Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under George W. Bush, said the president “missed the ‘perfect opening’ to call for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.”

A Washington state school district’s controversial ban on the screening of Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” was “lifted Tuesday night, subject to rigorous conditions. Still, the action has appalled the film’s producers and triggered a ferocious national backlash.”

“After the bloodiest year in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion,” the Bush administration “will ask Congress for $7 billion to $8 billion in new funds for security, reconstruction and other projects in Afghanistan as part of the upcoming budget package.”

“Authorities at Tarleton State University said they plan to investigate a Martin Luther King Jr. Day party that mocked black stereotypes by featuring fried chicken, malt liquor and faux gang apparel.”

And finally: Senator, Dr. Frist will see you now. “The average age of members of the U.S. Senate is older than it has ever been,” and for “many senators, advanced age is starting to show.” Before his retirement from the Senate, former Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), “a noted heart surgeon, was being consulted for informal medical advice by two dozen of his colleagues — more than 20 percent of the Senate.” “They went to Frist complaining about a host of illnesses and chronic maladies, most related to aging.”

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