50: Percentage of Americans who support redeploying U.S. forces out of Iraq “immediately or within 12 months,” according to a Gallup poll. A Washington Post survey shows 47 percent backing a timeline, up 8 points since December.
150,000: Number of additional displaced Iraqis since the bombing of a prominent Shiite shrine in February 2006.
Taxpayers lost $2 billion to fraud and waste in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, representing 11 percent of the $19 billion spent by FEMA on those reconstructions.
Warren Buffett reiterated his support for the estate tax yesterday, saying he favored equality over “giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged.”
The Pentagon is speeding up “plans to deploy advanced Patriot interceptor missiles on U.S. bases in Japan,” in response to last week’s report that North Korea finished fueling a long-range ballistic missile. But Slate throws doubt on that report: “the missile could stay ready for only a few days since the fuel is corrosive stuff and eats through things like metal. It’s now been a week.”
A study done by the minority staff of the House Government Reform Committee reported yesterday that there has been a “precipitous drop” in enforcement activity at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the last five years. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said, “FDA can’t do its job when its enforcement arm is tied behind its back.”
$17 billion. Next year’s cost of replacing, repairing and upgrading Army equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than triple this year’s cost.
A ballot initiative to “establish full public financing for statewide elections” qualified yesterday in California. If passed, “candidates who collect a set number of small-$5-contributions and agree not to take more private money, qualify for a grant of public money to run their campaigns.”
And finally: Time to rethink DUI laws? “Four pelicans suspected of being drunk on sea algae were being tested at a Southern California wildlife center Saturday after one of them crashed headlong into a car,” Reuters reports. Three others “were found wandering dazed in the streets of Laguna Beach.”
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