ThinkFast AM: June 20, 2006

The Iraq war has added caused cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans from previous wars. “Figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs show that PTSD disability-compensation cases have nearly doubled since 2000, to an all-time high of more than 260,000. The biggest bulge has come since 2003, when war started in Iraq.”

The South Dakota Secretary of State certified yesterday that the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families had gathered enough signatures to put the state’s near-total abortion ban to a vote on November 7.

“A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.” The document was condemned “by medical professionals, members of Congress and other experts, including the American Psychiatric Association.”

Japan will withdraw its 550 troops from Iraq in the next few weeks.

“The Supreme Court on Monday came close to rolling back” the Clean Water Act, issuing a divided ruling that is “likely to preserve vigorous federal enforcement of the law,” but also “likely to lead to new regulatory battles, increased litigation by property owners and a push for new legislation.”

“In their biggest show of strength in nearly five years, pro-Taliban fighters are terrorizing southern Afghanistan – ambushing military patrols, assassinating opponents and even enforcing the law in remote villages where they operate with near impunity.” Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid said about the violence: “We are faced with a full-blown insurgency.”

“The Justice Department and attorneys for disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff have agreed to postpone for at least three months the day he has to report to federal prison – the latest sign that Abramoff’s continued cooperation with an ongoing corruption probe in Washington, D.C., is proving helpful to prosecutors.”

A group of Arab-Americans and Muslims sued the FBI and Department of Homeland Security yesterday, alleging that the federal government is “ignoring the plight of innocent Americans harassed repeatedly because of problems with the terrorist watch list.”

“The worldwide crusade against poverty has a robust new ally — big business.” The Initiative for Global Development, a coalition of 252 business leaders from around the U.S., gathered last week in Washington, D.C. to announce their commitment to the idea that “expanded cooperation between the public and private sectors and growth of trade can drastically help poverty-stricken areas around the world.”

And finally: A Fluffernutter is a “wonderful concoction of Marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter,” so wonderful that schools in Massachusetts have been serving it as an “alternative” school lunch. That may be about to change. State Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios (D) has introduced a bill to ban Fluff from school cafeterias. “A Fluff sandwich as the main course of a nutritious lunch just doesn’t fly in 2006.”

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