ThinkFast: May 6, 2009

Though an internal Justice Department inquiry concluded that the Bush administration lawyers who authored the torture memos “committed serious lapses of judgment,” a draft of the report says “that they should not be prosecuted.” Instead, the report, which has yet to be approved by Attorney General Eric Holder, is likely to “ask state bar associations to consider possible disciplinary action,” such as disbarment.

For the “first time in memory,” “rebel members” of the RNC’s national governing body have successfully taken on the party’s powerful chairman. RNC Chairman Michael Steele “has signed a secret pact agreeing to controls and restraints on how he spends” party funds and contracts. Last week, Steele accused the resolution’s proponents of a power grab “scheme.”

At least one U.S. diplomat and a number of international relations experts believe that should Israel decide to attack Iran, the country would “seek forgiveness, not permission” by only notifying the U.S. after any such mission got underway. Israel would likely notify the U.S to ensure that “its jets would not be shot down by accident if overflying U.S.-occupied Iraq.”

Asked in a recent New York Times magazine interview whether he cared about a shortage of Jewish Republicans in the Senate, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) replied: “I sure do. There’s still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner.” Yesterday, however, he clarified his remarks. “In the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates,” he said. “I conclusively misspoke.”


The British government yesterday banned 22 people from entering Britain for “fostering extreme hatred.” American hate radio host Michael Savage (real name Michael Alan Weiner), who has called the Quran “a book of hate” and questioned autism cases, is one of them. Now Savage is suing the British government for defamation.

President Obama urged House Democrats to reach consensus on global warming and energy legislation during a closed-door White House meeting. “We’re talking to each other. And we’re working out these issues because we want to be together and we want to succeed in getting this legislation through,” said Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) will chair a hearing today on the future of newspapers. Among those testifying: Steve Coll, former managing editor of the Washington Post; Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post; and James Moroney, CEO of the Dallas Morning News

Yesterday, President Obama called Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who said that there would have to be “extraordinary circumstances” for Republicans to mount a filibuster of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. “He’s so nice,” Sessions said of Obama.

The government told Bank of America that “it needs $33.9 billion in capital to withstand any worsening of the economic downturn.” Should the bank be unable to raise the capital “by selling assets or stock, it would have to rely on the government, which has provided $45 billion in capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.”


And finally: On Tuesday, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) were traveling in the Senate subway when their car broke down. What were they to do? Luckily, McCaskill began tweeting, “Stuck in a tram from Capitol to Hart. Broken. Not moving. Lieberman and Alexander in next car. And Voiniitch.[sic] Wonder how long we’ll be here?” It seems that they were rescued; an hour later, McCaskill wrote, “Rescued from stuck tram awhile ago…in case you wondered. Now going back to Capitol for a vote, takes longer, but think I’ll walk.”