ThinkFast: July 20, 2006

“Today, al-Qaida has not only regrouped, but it is on the march,” Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Al-Qaida is now functioning exactly as its founder and leader, Osama bin Laden, envisioned it.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said if he were running for reelection this year, “you obviously don’t embrace the president and his agenda.” “The first thing I’d do is acknowledge that there have been mistakes made,” Thune said.

Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), who refused to back John Bolton to be U.N. Ambassador when he was first nominated last year, has caved. In an op-ed titled, “Why I’ll Vote for Bolton,” Voinovich said questioning Bolton’s renomination “would jeopardize our influence in the United Nations” and “undermin[e] our policies and agenda.”

Yesterday was the “deadliest day yet in the deepening two-front Middle East crisis.” “Israeli weaponry rained down on Lebanon throughout the day and into the night, killing 63 people by nightfall,” virtually all civilians, while two Israeli Arab brothers, ages 3 and 9, were killed by Hezbollah rockets “as they played outside in Nazareth.”

After promising to make its unconstitutional military commissions comply with the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the White House yesterday took a “harder line” and announced it would propose “only minor changes” to the tribunals.

Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) “has pulled an image of a burning World Trade Center from a campaign commercial attacking Rep. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) record on national security because the image was a fake.” The spot was produced by the firm responsible for the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” ads.

Yesterday the House voted to “bar federal courts from ruling on the constitutional validity” of the Pledge of Allegiance. “We are making an all-out assault on the Constitution of the United States which, thank God, will fail,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that many hospital patients who have a limited ability to speak English and who need a translator often don’t get one, which puts them at risk for poor and sometimes life-threatening medical care. One study showed that no interpreter was used in 46 percent of emergency department cases involving such patients.

“A federal Department of Homeland Security agent passed along information about student protests against military recruiters at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, landing the demonstrations on a database tracking foreign terrorism.”

And finally: No need to be scared of the giant inflatable shark that miraculously swam through the Discovery Channel’s offices in Silver Spring, MD. After just one day of being on display, it seems to have been attacked.

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