ThinkFast: October 16, 2007

During his townhall meeting in Arkansas yesterday, “not a single questioner criticized” President Bush. With polls showing Bush’s disapproval at record highs, the White House is staging “let-Bush-be-Bush events” in front of “friendly audiences” with “increasing frequency.”

Verizon Communications told congressional investigators that, from January 2005 to September 2007, the company provided customers’ telephone records to federal authorities on an emergency basis 720 times. “Verizon also disclosed that the FBI, using administrative subpoenas, sought information identifying not just a person making a call, but all the people that customer called, as well as the people those people called.”

Air America radio host Randi Rhodes was mugged not mugged on Sunday night while walking her dog nearby her Manhattan apartment. “According to Air America Radio late night host Jon Elliott, Rhodes was beaten up pretty badly, losing several teeth and will probably be off the air for at least the rest of the week.”

The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today on the Jena Six case, with Rev. Al Sharpton and others testifying. Panelists will urge Congress to “expand hate crime laws to deal more forcefully with noose-hanging incidents like the one in the Jena Six case in order to squelch what he called a sharp rise in racism.”


Fearing his re-election chances are dim, the House GOP leadership “has held private discussions with Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) in an effort to convince him to retire.” But Doolittle, who is under federal investigation, is “promising to run for re-election.”

“For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water.

“Oil thundered towards $88 a barrel on Tuesday, hitting a new record and extending a rally that has added eight dollars in a week on tight supplies, strong demand and tension in northern Iraq. Oil is closing in on the inflation-adjusted high of $90.46 seen in 1980, the year after the Iranian revolution and at the start of the Iran-Iraq war.”

$15 billion: Amount seniors and other taxpayers could have saved this year if the government had “slashed administrative costs in the Medicare drug program and negotiated the same kind of discounts it does for poor people under Medicaid.”

And finally: While many Capitol Hill offices “proudly display their home-state” sports teams’ gear, the walls of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones’s (D-OH) office are blank. They’re hoping for the Cleveland Indians to go all the way, and remember the loss of the Cleveland Cavaliers in last season’s NBA playoffs when their walls were decorated. “In the past it’s been a jinx,” spokeswoman Nicole Williams said. “We are diehard fans. We hope the Indians go all the way, and then we’ll celebrate.”

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