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ThinkFast AM: July 6, 2006

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"ThinkFast AM: July 6, 2006"

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Rod Nordland, a former Baghdad bureau chief for Newsweek, says the U.S. military “has started censoring many [embedded reporting] arrangements.” “They want to know your slant on a story – they use the word slant – what you intend to write, and what you have written from embed trips before. If they don’t like what you have done before, they refuse to take you.”

The right-wing American Family Association is suing “to stop Michigan State University from offering health insurance to the partners of gay workers,” claiming the policy violates a 2004 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage “in substance if not by label.”

$75.19: the closing price of one barrel of crude oil yesterday, a record-high. “The unrelenting demand for oil in the U.S. and Asia and the nuclear standoff with Iran forced up oil prices even before North Korea pushed them into record territory by test-firing missiles.”

Cyber-insecurity at the FBI: “A government consultant, using computer programs easily found on the Internet, managed to crack the FBI’s classified computer system and gain the passwords of 38,000 employees, including that of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.”

Conservative Felipe Calderon has retaken the lead over left-leaning Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in a recount of Mexico’s “closest ever presidential election.”

Yesterday, Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) clashed over the definition of amnesty. Santorum: “If I am [mischaracterizing it], then so are”¦a lot of other folks who read that bill and see it for what it is.” Specter responded: “Sen. Santorum is entitled to his views. “¦ ‘Amnesty’ is a buzz word that is used in derogation…I think we’re moving past that.”

42%: President Bush’s approval rating among non-Hispanic whites, down from 61 percent in June 2004. Bush’s ratings “have remained virtually unchanged among blacks (15%) and Hispanics (38%)” during the same period.

Lawmakers have issued a subpoena demanding internal Pentagon communications about Army Spc. Samuel Provance, a whistleblower who says his rank was reduced after he reported abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. Sec. Rumsfeld did not respond to a letter requesting the documents voluntarily.

And finally: To “google” is now part of the dictionary. “Respectful of the trademark, Merriam-Webster has lowercased the entry but maintains the capitalization while explaining that the verb means ‘to use the Google search engine’ to retrieve online information.”

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