ThinkFast: May 7, 2008

“The Bush administration has not found disaster recovery files for White House e-mails from a three-month time period in 2003…raising the possibility that messages sent before and after the invasion of Iraq may never be recovered.” The White House claims a court proposal to search and preserve White House e-mail records would “yield marginal benefits at best, while imposing substantial burdens and disruptions.”

Despite scattered problems attributed to Indiana’s new photo ID law, a record-breaking 1.6 million voters cast ballots in Indiana’s Democratic and GOP contests yesterday. This figure “smashed the 1992 primary turnout of a little more than 1 million votes.” North Carolina also reported “unprecedented” turnout.

Today, the House is set to begin debating a sweeping housing rescue bill that “could see the government buy up $15 billion of abandoned homes.” It would also help half a million homeowners facing foreclosure by offering “fresh spending, tax credits and a new government guarantee on many risky loans to bolster the national housing market.” President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation.

Anti-war Republican Rep. Walter Jones (NC-03) “comfortably defeated” a primary challenger in his conservative congressional district yesterday by a margin of 60–40% after facing stiff opposition “over his outspoken stance” against the Iraq war. Camp Lejuene, one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the country, is located in Jones’s district.


House Veterans Committee chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) “lashed out” at Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake yesterday during a hearing for having previously attempted to “cover up” veterans suicide data. “What we see is a pattern — deny, deny, cover up, cover up,” Filner said.

In the “most specific assertions to date,” lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo Bay say they believe that government agents have “monitored their conversations.” One lawyer is so concerned that she said in an affidavit that she is “no longer accepting new clients of any type because she could not assure them of confidentiality.”

Yesterday, EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Jason Burnett — dubbed “the John Yoo of the EPA” — announced his departure from the agency. Burnett had been responsible for crafting legal arguments that promoted arsenic in drinking water, catered to industry on mercury regulations, overruled scientists on soot health standards, and defied the Supreme Court’s decision on global warming.

President Bush “sent the Senate a new slate of Federal Election Commission nominees” yesterday in an apparent effort “to break a Senate confirmation deadlock.” But the move was “greeted coolly” by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) because Bush retained Hans von Spakovsky and removed David Mason, who clashed recently with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

And finally: Radar writes, “Looking to steal a car? Tucker Carlson’s unlocked Volvo station wagon is available and probably in the parking lot at D.C. hub The Palm right now.” Carlson recently told The Hill that he never locks his car, even though a woman once stalked him. He also once found a man “asleep and wrapped in newspaper in the back seat of his Volvo station wagon. ‘I beat on the windows and made him get out,’ he says.”

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