ThinkFast: January 26, 2007

“Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.” Yesterday in the Scooter Libby trial, Vice President Cheney’s former communications director displayed notes from 2004 “about how Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq’s nuclear ambitions.” Option 1 was “MTP-VP,” a Cheney appearance on Russert’s Sunday show, which would allow Cheney to “control message.” “I suggested we put the vice president on ‘Meet the Press,’ which was a tactic we often used.”

Prime Minister al-Maliki’s presentation of a new Baghdad security plan to the Iraqi Parliament yesterday “broke down in bitter sectarian recriminations, with Mr. Maliki threatening a Sunni Arab lawmaker with arrest and, in response, the Sunni speaker of Parliament threatening to quit.” They eventually approved the plan.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, has scheduled a hearing next Tuesday to explore whether Congress has the authority to cut off funding for the war in Iraq. “This hearing will help inform my colleagues and the public about Congress’s power to end a war and how that power has been used in the past,” Feingold said. See the witness list here.

“The word I would use to describe my position on the bench is lonely,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 73, tells USA Today. “This is how it was for Sandra [Day O’Conner]’s first 12 years,” she said. “Neither of us ever thought this would happen again. I didn’t realize how much I would miss her until she was gone.”


The White House has “authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranians who are believed to be working with Iraqi militias,” a shift from an old policy of detaining Iranians “and then releasing them after a few days, which the Bush administration felt didn’t go far enough.”

The Bush administration is asking a federal circuit court to throw out a lawsuit challenging the legality of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program because the government claims the issue is now “moot.” The Justice Department memo states that “the surveillance activity” being challenged “does not exist.”

Fox News said Thursday that it “planned to broadcast footage from ABC’s controversial miniseries ‘The Path to 9/11’ that was edited out of the docudrama amid criticism that it inaccurately portrayed the Clinton administration’s response to the terrorism threat.” It will be aired Sunday night on “Hannity’s America.”

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, who once worked closely with the Bush administration, has rejected President Bush’s escalation plan: “In my assessment, we do not necessarily need an increase in the strength (of US forces). We are not engaged in a conventional war against an invading army or something of the sort.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is “installing in her Capitol Hill office energy-efficient lights that dim in response to natural light.” At her urging, five other senators are doing the same. Boxer notes that efforts “could cut electricity consumption as much as 50 percent in participating offices.”


And finally: Who are you calling ‘freshman’? That term has become the latest politically-incorrect word, according to House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC). Newly elected Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) told the crowd that he “’suspected’ it had something to do with the word ‘new’ being more appealing to the public than ‘freshman,’ which can be seen by some as derogatory.”

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