ThinkFast: May 15, 2007

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) yesterday defended the decision to place scandal-plagued Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) on the Appropriations Committee. “Where do you draw the line?” Boehner asked. “We do not want a blanket allegation to rise to the level of credibility where we are basing our decisions on it. It’s unfair.

“The military system of determining whether detainees are properly held at Guant¡namo Bay, Cuba, includes an unusual practice: If Pentagon officials disagree with the result of a hearing, they order a second one, or even a third, until they approve of the finding,” a practice that critics label “do-overs.”

“A United Nations human rights official said he was barred from visiting an immigration detention center in New Jersey yesterday. It was the second time he was denied access to an American immigration jail on a weeklong monitoring tour.”

U.S. forces swept up 2,000 prisoners a month in March and April, almost twice the average from the second half of last year.” As of the end of March, 20,000 people were crammed into overcrowded Iraqi-run prisons, detention camps, and police stations, where detainees are often tortured.


“U.S. Embassy employees in Iraq are growing increasingly angry over what they say are inadequate security precautions in the heavily fortified Green Zone.” Most staff members “still sleep in trailers that one described as ‘tin cans’ that offer virtually no protection from rocket and mortar fire. The government has refused to harden the roofs because of the cost, one employee said.”

Stretched thin by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the “number of senior captains, or captains closest to promotion, stands at just 51 percent of the Army’s requirements,” according to an Army memo.

Shirlington Limousine, the transportation service linked to the Duke Cunningham scandal, “was not qualified to receive” its Homeland Security Department contract and “instead was given an unfair advantage over its competitors by DHS officials,” the inspector general has found.

Debate over Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank has “ruptured the bank’s governance system so deeply that finance officials in many countries worry that it may be irreparable whatever happens to Mr. Wolfowitz. If he refuses to resign, many said he might find it hard to travel or issue directives. If he leaves, a fight over choosing his successor is sure to erupt.”

“Americans get the poorest health care and yet pay the most compared to five other rich countries,” according to a new report by the Commonwealth Fund.


And finally: “It seems the Capitol is now manifestly beyond salvation. The Center for Christian Statesmanship, launched in 1995 to convert members of Congress and their aides to evangelical Christianity, has shuttered its operations in Washington.” CQ suggests “the group brought in fewer converts than hungry staffers. Its best-attended Hill function had been its monthly ‘Politics and Principle’ luncheons, which supplemented evangelical appeals with complimentary sandwiches.”

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