ThinkFast: March 15, 2007

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has turned down requests from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to testify on the Valerie Plame leak case. Fitzgerald said he did “not believe it would be appropriate for me to offer opinions…about the ultimate responsibility of senior White House officials for the disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s identity.”

Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claimed “responsibility for the 9/11 operation from A to Z,” according to 26 pages of transcripts released from Gitmo by the Pentagon yesterday. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said, “We need to know if this purported confession would be enough to convict him at a fair trial or would it have to be suppressed as the fruit of torture?”

New York Times editorial board today condemns Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace’s homophobic comments: “General Pace should still apologize for his remarks, forthrightly. Then perhaps some good could come out of his bigoted remarks if they added to the growing movement on Capitol Hill to finally allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.”

A new poll finds widespread agreement in 17 countries that climate change is a pressing problem. Eighty-five percent of Americans believe global warming is an important or critical threat.

With bipartisan support, the House passed three bills that would “roll back administration efforts to shield its workings from public view.” The measures would “streamline access to records in presidential libraries, expand safeguards for government whistle-blowers, and strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).”$2.45 billion: the revenues raked in by lobbyists last year. “The Center for Responsive Politics found that companies, unions and other organizations spent a record amount to lobby in 2006, in spite of the black eye from the Jack Abramoff scandal and a midterm election that caused Congress to close early.”

Sens. John Warner (R-VA) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) are drafting a joint resolution on Iraq that would consider a phased redeployment of U.S. troops — “but only after giving the White House until at least September to prove the current ‘surge’ strategy has worked.”

“Two key lawmakers are seeking independent investigations of military readiness after service officials said extended operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have left shortages of war stocks that could limit the military’s ability to respond to a crisis.”

And finally: Even congressmen “go ga-ga” and get starstruck. At a star-studded tribute to Stevie Wonder in Washington, D.C., “usually dignified folk were reduced to gushing fans. ‘I love Stevie Wonder,’ Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) exclaimed.” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), formerly a “teenage Wonder devotee,” remembered how in in college, “he could afford only nosebleed seats.”

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