ThinkFast: September 28, 2007

The decision by the four leading frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination to skip last night’s debate that focused on issues related to people of color elicited outrage from the rest of the field. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he was “embarrassed,” and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) said the absence of the leading candidates was a “disgrace.”

A partisan power-grab by some conservatives to apportion California’s electoral votes has run out of money. The LAT reports “the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected a U.S. Senate proposal calling for the partitioning of Iraq. “Iraqis are eager for Iraq’s unity. … Dividing Iraq is a problem and a decision like that would be a catastrophe,” he said.

One of members of the Jena 6 — Mychal Bell — “was released on bail on Thursday, a week after the case drew thousands of protesters to the small town in the central part of the state.” The Jena district attorney announced that “he would not seek to maintain adult charges against the teenager.”


An initial State Department report on a Sept. 16 shootout in Baghdad involving Blackwater USA says the private security contractors were “ambushed near the traffic circle and returned fire before fleeing the scene,” a depiction of events that contradicts Iraqi findings. Separately, State has confirmed that Blackwater personnel have been involved in 56 shootings while guarding U.S. officals this past year.

The State Department said yesterday that “the first American oil contract in Iraq,” between the Hunt Oil Company and the Kurdistan Regional Government,” is counterproductive towards the U.S. goal of “strengthening the country’s central government.”

“Fourteen “high-value” terrorism suspects who were transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from secret CIA prisons last year have been formally offered the right to request lawyers, a move that could allow them to join other detainees in challenging their status as enemy combatants in a U.S. appellate court.”

“It’s a lonely U.S. Senate for Larry Craig, whose uncertain status has upset his social and political standing in the clubby chamber.” McClatchy newspapers observed Craig’s interactions with his colleagues: “[He] mostly moved stiffly through their ranks without engaging much in the easy jocularity and bipartisan banter that go on throughout the day.”

And finally: Scooter Libby’s prison pseudonym lives on. In the season premiere of NBC’s My Name Is Earl last night, the show opened with Earl talking about his life in prison. He then mentioned that for the next two years, he’d be known as inmate 28301–016 — the same number that the Bureau of Prisons issued to “Scooter” Libby.

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