ThinkFast AM: June 26, 2006

“Climate experts have started to worry that the ice cap is disappearing in ways that computer models had not predicted.” Greenland’s glaciers are melting twice as fast as they were five years ago. Should all of the ice sheet thaw, sea levels could rise by 21 feet and swamp the world’s coastal cities.

As the summer heat soars to over 120 degrees in Iraq, “power supply still falls about 33% short of demand.” Power in Baghdad comes on for approximately 90 minutes once every six hours.

Former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller said he personally crossed out a reference to Iraq’s supposed mobile bioweapons labs from a classified draft of Colin Powell’s Feb. 2002 U.N. speech because he recognized the source (“Curveball”) as someone who was mentally unstable and a liar. Powell still claimed to “have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and rails.”

$135,000: Amount White House staffers have accepted in free trips since Nov. 2004. Among those picking up the tab are some of the President’s top business supporters and dozens of conservative and religious groups.

Leading conservative members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that the administration should talk directly with North Korea to resolve the ongoing tensions. “We need to talk directly with North Korea. The sooner we do that, the sooner we’re going to get this resolved,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) also lent his support to the idea.

“The White House and key congressional committees have begun crafting legislation that would try to overcome legal objections to the Bush administration’s controversial domestic surveillance program and subject it to review by a secret intelligence court.”

In July 2005, “Bush’s business backers were cheered by the appointment of Judge [John] Roberts.” After the completion of his first term, Bloomberg reports why: “Companies and business groups got most of what they sought in Chief Justice John Roberts’s first U.S. Supreme Court term, including limits on antitrust and securities suits and the prospect of new caps on punitive damages next year.”

Japan admits to buying pro-whaling votes: “Less than a week since Japan and its allies scored a stunning victory at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference – paving the way for a possible return to commercial whaling – the Japanese government has inadvertently revealed how it was done: by buying the votes it needed.”

2 million: Number of passports the Iraqi government has issued in the past 10 months as the country’s best, brightest flee from violence. More than 40 percent of Iraq’s professional class has left the country since late 2003.

And finally: British army mascot Billy the goat was demoted in disgrace “after it marched out of line before a host of dignitaries during a parade to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.” One soldier accused Billy of “trying to head-butt the waist and nether regions of the drummers.” “Since the goat’s demotion, soldiers of a lower rank are no longer expected to salute Billy as a sign of respect,” said a spokesman.

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