Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dollar diving in Japan & Brownback gets votes up...

From American Progress:

Think Fast...

The rapidly falling dollar "marked a milestone in Japan as it fell below 100 yen for the first time in 12 years" amid growing concerns about the health of the U.S. economy.

"The U.S. federal government ran a monthly budget deficit of $175.56 billion in February, a record for any month, the Treasury Department said Wednesday."

Sixty percent of Americans think the Iraq war was a mistake, according to a new USA Today poll. The same number also favors a timetable for troop withdrawal, regardless of the situation in Iraq, while 54 percent believe that history will judge the war as mostly or a total failure. A Pew poll found that 53 percent of Americans think the U.S. will ultimately achieve its goals in Iraq.

"A barrage of rockets targeting an American military base in southern Iraq on Wednesday morning killed three U.S. soldiers, bringing to 12 the number of Americans killed in Iraq in the past three days."

Top FBI officials "repeatedly approved the use of 'blanket' records demands to justify the improper collection of thousands of phone records." These blanket demands -- which do not require the approval of a judge -- were used at least 11 times in 2006 alone, "as a quick way to clean up mistakes" made since 9/11.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), traveling to Europe next week, said he wouldn't discuss differences with President Bush while abroad. "There are obvious differences," he said. "I certainly won't articulate them overseas."

When a Justice Department proposed rule requiring U.S. contractors "to report waste, fraud or abuse they encounter while doing work for the government" was published by the White House Office of Management and Budget last year, it included "language that would exempt from such reporting all U.S. contractors who do work overseas" including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has recorded nearly 50 videotapes of its interrogations of terrorism suspects Jose Padilla and Ali al-Marri, "the first official acknowledgment that military interrogators had videotaped some sessions with detainees."

And finally: Most senators and aides are dreading the "vote-o-rama" planned for the next few days. The dozens are votes will mostly focus on "obscure procedural motions." Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), however, is "truly thrilled at the prospect" of these votes. "I'm going to get my percentages up!' he gleefully told Roll Call, reportedly "pumping his arms in the air in the universal gesture of celebration." During his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, his voting record took a hit; he missed 28.2 percent of votes.


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