ThinkFast: April 14, 2006

64 percent of Americans “want all or some of the U.S. troops in Iraq to come home now,” according to a new USA Today/Gallup Poll.

Six senators have signed onto a bipartisan bill to curb the Pentagon’s plans to increase out-of-pocket healthcare costs on military retirees. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said, “Especially in a time of war, it is unthinkable that the administration would even consider dramatically increasing healthcare costs for those who have sacrificed for our country.”

In a move “decried by some as state-sponsored segregation,” Nebraska’s conservative state legislature has divided the Omaha school system into three districts: “one mostly black, one predominantly white and one largely Hispanic.”

FEMA’s massive post-Katrina housing program has produced “vast sums of waste and misspent funds,” now likely to “top $1 billion and perhaps much more,” a series of government audits show.

President Bush’s spat with Harry Reid over immigration
signals a shift to the right for Bush on the issue, the NYT notes. “[I]f Bush really wants compromise, why lash out at Reid? Or is he just looking for a face-saving way out of his guest-worker plan in light of conservative criticism?”

65,000: The number of Iraqis who have fled their homes for safer parts of the country, more than double the number from just two weeks ago, according to Iraq’s interior ministry.

Robert David Steele Vivas, the head of a private research company, is challenging John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, to an information duel. Steele wants DNI to embrace the creation of an open source intelligence agency. Steele wrote to Negroponte, “Got game? I don’t think you do…if you have the balls to take me on publicly, between us we will make a compelling case for the national intelligence reform.”

The Bush administration has been slow to spend money to stand up the Iraqi forces. According to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. military has spent just 40 percent of the $7 billion appropriated in 2005 for the training of Iraqi and Afghanistan security forces.

And finally, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has some good advice for today’s college students: “Lesson 1: Don’t run across a college campus wearing a ninja mask. Lesson 2: If you must, don’t run past a group of federal law enforcement officers.”