ThinkFast: May 3, 2006

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"ThinkFast: May 3, 2006"

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said yesterday that the Armed Services subcommittee he chairs “would reject one of the most controversial aspects of President Bush’s fiscal 2007 defense budget request, a proposal to charge some military retirees more for their health care.”

67: Number of U.S. troops who have died this year due to attacks on their Humvees caused by IEDs. The number of deaths is up from 27 at a comparable point last year.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) “warned the Bush administration Tuesday that he intends to ride herd on its efforts to crack down on leaks to reporters. He also said his panel would consider legislation that would establish a federal shield law for journalists.”

A government study commissioned by the Bush administration concluded there is “no statistically significant conflict between measures of global warming on the earth’s surface and in the atmosphere,” thus eliminating “a significant area of uncertainty in the debate over global warming, one that the administration has long cited as a rationale for proceeding cautiously” on curbing harmful emissions.

Two-thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students (ages 13-20) report having been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, a new study shows. More than a third have suffered anti-gay physical harassment.

10. Number of children who die every minute from malnutrition. A new UNICEF report finds that “146 million children under five in the developing world are suffering from insufficient food intake, repeated infectious diseases, muscle wastage and vitamin deficiencies.”

Critical Darfur peace talks have been extended, as high-powered diplomats from the United States and Britain worked to place pressure on the Khartoum government and warring rebels.

A new report by Amnesty International indicates that torture and inhumane treatment are “widespread” in U.S.-run detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba and elsewhere despite Washington’s denials. Amnesty accused the U.S. government of “creating a climate in which torture and other ill-treatment can flourish.”

A Roper poll for National Geographic found that 6 in 10 Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 could not locate Iraq on a map. Nearly a third could not locate the state of Louisiana, and “fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news.”

Iraq and Afghanistan rank among the world’s 10 weakest states, according to a new index released by the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer yesterday posthumously pardoned 79 Montanans convicted under the state’s harsh Sedition Act “for speaking out in ways deemed critical of the United States. In one instance, a traveling wine and brandy salesman was sentenced to 7 to 20 years in prison for calling wartime food regulations a ‘big joke.’” “I’m going to say what Gov. Sam Stewart should have said,” Schweitzer said, referring to the man who signed the sedition legislation into law in 1918. “I’m sorry, forgive me, and God bless America, because we can criticize our government.”

And finally: Cheney’s diet — Atkins approved. “At age 65, Cheney is easily 30 or more pounds overweight, seems to have slacked off on what was once a more rigorous diet, and appears to suffer from recurrent bouts of gout. At a roundtable lunch with reporters a couple of years ago, two who were present say, he cut his buffalo steak in bite-size pieces the moment it arrived, then proceeded to salt each side of each piece.”

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