ThinkFast AM: July 11, 2006

“The Pentagon has decided in a major policy shift that all detainees held in US military custody around the world are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions,” the Financial Times reports.

Bush’s expected announcement today heralding the shrinking budget deficit is full of deception. “This will be the third year in a row that the administration put forth relatively gloomy deficit forecasts early on, only to announce months later that things had turned out better than expected.”

A federal judge ruled yesterday that the controversial seizure of records from Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-LA) legislative offices was legal. Investigators told ABC News “an indictment is likely sometime this summer.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) called new guidelines from the Bush administration on hurricane protection “nothing more than another slap in the face of Louisiana.”

The Army is staying on track to meet its target of 80,000 new soldiers this year. Lowered standards have helped. The Army has eased restrictions on high school drop-outs, raised the maximum age from 35 to 42, and admitted large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists.

“Rising interest rates and persistently high gasoline prices will pinch consumer spending more than previously estimated, weakening the U.S. economy for the rest of the year.”

“[I]inefficiencies and wasteful practices” plague the Pentagon. Projects are as much as 50 percent over budget and up to four years late in delivery. American Progress’ Lawrence Korb, a former Pentagon assistant secretary: “It’s always been bad, but I’ve never seen it this bad.”

A new study shows that global warming could wither many premium vineyards in California and across the nation by the end of the century.

“Members of the House International Relations Committee heard about President Bush’s proposed nuclear pact with Russia the same way average citizens did “” in the pages of Saturday’s Washington Post. And panel members and staff, from both parties, aren’t very happy about it.”

And finally: Sen. George Allen (R-VA) “snuffs” his spitting habit. “Allen has been spotted in hearings and even on the Senate floor dipping and, yes, dear heavens, spitting into a plastic foam cup,” Heard on the Hill reports. “But lately…Allen has been enjoying Camel Snus and Stonewall Hard Snuff, both of which get Allen around that unbecoming spitting problem.”

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