ThinkFast: July 25, 2007

Yesterday, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) released a 52-page report “that for the first time alleges specific ways that several administration officials may have broken the law during the multiple firings of U.S. attorneys.” Today, the committee will vote on contempt charges for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and chief of staff Josh Bolten.

Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby, the commander at Fort Lewis in Washington state, is expected to decide today whether to go through with plans to hold memorial services for U.S. troops killed in Iraq once every month, instead of after each death. Military families and others have protested the proposal.

“A federal judge in California ruled Tuesday against the federal government’s attempts to stop investigations in five states of President Bush’s domestic spying program.” The judge ruled that “neither the Supremacy Clause nor the foreign affairs power of the government prevented a state from asking about phone records.”

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who championed the confirmation John Roberts and Samuel Alito, plans to review the Supreme Court justices’ Senate testimony to “determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation.”


“The Agriculture Department sent $1.1 billion in farm payments to more than 170,000 dead people over a seven-year period,” according to a new Government Accountability Office Report. Forty percent of those payments “went to those who had been dead more than three years.”

Since Congress imposed strict new documentation rules, Medicaid rolls declined in many states. But “most of the drop-off appears to be among people eligible for coverage — not illegal immigrants.” The “law that took effect July 1 requires states to obtain evidence of citizenship and nationality when determining whether people are eligible for Medicaid.”

“More than a quarter of the computer equipment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington could not be found by investigators, government auditors reported. Three other agency facilities — in San Diego, Indianapolis and the agency’s headquarters — could not find up to 11 percent of their equipment.”

“In an unusually heated face-to-face meeting, a U.S. ambassador accused Iran on Tuesday of increasing arms shipments for militias who are fomenting violence in Iraq.” Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said, “I would not describe this as a shouting match throughout, but we were real clear.”

Days after the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s chief spokesman said concerns about formaldehyde would not stop it from selling or donating surplus disaster trailers, the agency said Tuesday that it is reviewing the policy.”


And finally: On Monday, Rep. Gary Miller’s (R-CA) outfit received disapproving looks from his colleagues. According to Roll Call, Miller sported “a look better suited to a backyard cookout than the House chamber: a loose-fitting Hawaiian shirt, linen pants and slippers.” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), the presiding officer at the time, said, “The chair must remind Members that the proper standard of dress in the chamber is business attire, which includes both coat and tie for gentlemen.”

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