ThinkFast AM: June 13, 2006

Republican House leaders unveiled a draft resolution that will be the subject of this week’s floor debate on Iraq. But the resolution cloaked the Iraq conflict under the broader war against terrorism. In a letter to House Majority Leader John Boehner, Rep. Ike Skelton, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said, “I think you well understand that the war in Iraq is a separate conflict, an insurgency with terrorist elements and sectarian violence.”

An EPA rule designed to keep “groundwater clean near oil drilling sites and other construction zones was loosened after White House officials rejected it amid complaints by energy companies that it was too restrictive and after a well-connected Texas oil executive appealed to White House senior advisor Karl Rove.”

The Washington Post reviews the writings of new White House domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister, who started his job yesterday. “With a sharp pen,” Zinsmeister personally attacked his opponents, for instance, calling Al Gore a “mad dog” known to “foam at the mouth.” Jacques Chirac, Nelson Mandela, Gerhard Schroeder and Kofi Annan were labeled “feckless fools.”

A new study shows the “bloody fingerprints” of global warming: Polar bears “may be turning to cannibalism because longer seasons without ice keep them from getting to their natural food.”

“Faced with a widening federal investigation into his ties to a high-powered lobbying firm, House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) has retained a criminal defense attorney. … Lewis is facing federal scrutiny over his dealings with the lobbying firm Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton & White. FBI officials recently pulled Lewis’ personal financial records, and several current and former Lewis aides also are being investigated.”

Iranian police beat women’s rights activists at a rally of about 200 people yesterday. The women “demanded equal rights for women and the nullification of a law allowing Iranian men to have four wives.” None of Iran’s state-run media outlets reported on the protest.

Private military contractors are earning billions of dollars in Iraq — much of it from U.S. taxpayers. … Lucrative U.S. government contracts go to firms called on to provide security for projects and personnel — jobs that in previous conflicts have been done by the military.”

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture, a group of twenty-seven distinguished religious leaders, have signed a statement urging the United States to “abolish torture now — without exceptions.” The statement, being published in newspaper advertisements starting today, states that torture “violates the basic dignity of the human person” and “contradicts our nation’s most cherished values.”

Al Gore is looking to spread his global warming message beyond movie theaters. Gore said yesterday “that by the end of the summer he would start a bipartisan education campaign to train 1,000 people to give a version of his slide show on global warming featured in the film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and book of the same name.”

And finally: locals and tourists in St. Andrews, Scotland, don’t seem to know much about Abramoff’s infamous golf junket. “For all the Beltway chatter…, locals in this windswept beach town are distinctly uninterested. [“¦] As for Americans misbehaving in St. Andrews, locals would rather talk about recent allegations that actor Kevin Costner acted inappropriately during a massage at the spa in the Old Course Hotel.”

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