ThinkFast: May 12, 2006

The Washington Post editorial board takes HUD Secretary Jackson to task today over his “anecdotal” story about issuing contracts based on political views: “Either Mr. Jackson broke the law and then lied about it, or he lied that he had broken the law. Which of those actions makes him fit to be secretary of housing and urban development?”

The Bush administration has once again refused to give the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to terrorism suspects being held secret detention centers.

Government officials said that investigators “are examining the activities of several members of the House Appropriations Committee, including Representative Jerry Lewis, the California Republican and chairman of the panel that wields influence over government spending.”

“Today, if the Defense Department were a private business it would be involved in a major scandal.” A new report by Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities finds that the “Defense Department’s accounting practices are in such disarray” that defense officials can’t track the military’s equipment or how they spend defense dollars every year.


The top U.S. spokesperson in Iraq yesterday acknowledged that attacks on Iraqi civilians in the last 10 weeks were “about 80% higher than the level of violence late last year. In the last 24 hours there had been 85 attacks around the nation.”

A new Center for American Progress report finds that household debt is not rising because people “are using credit cards to buy plasma TVs and premium coffee drinks at Starbucks.” “The real culprits…are the rising costs of housing, health care and education.”

Yesterday the House passed a defense authorization bill that “includes language intended to allow chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus at public military ceremonies, undercutting new Air Force and Navy guidelines on religion,” which call for nonsectarian prayers at public gatherings.

Demonstrators and journalists showing support for judges demanding independence from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were beaten by riot police officers yesterday. (Photos of the demonstrations here.)

And finally, everybody place your bets. is “offering odds” on whether President Bush’s approval rating will be over or under 35.5 percent on his birthday, July 6th. Bettors can also gamble on the answer to the question: “Will Donald Rumsfeld be U.S. Secretary of Defense on December 31, 2006?”