ThinkFast: August 23, 2006

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"ThinkFast: August 23, 2006"

The Apocalypse will have to wait. In response to an incentives package from Europe and the U.S., Iran said it was ready for “serious negotiations” about its nuclear program, but “did not agree to suspend the enrichment of uranium by the end of the month, the West’s primary demand.”

36 percent. Bush’s approval rating, unchanged from a week ago, according to a New York Times/CBS poll. 51 percent of Americans see “no link between the war in Iraq and the broader antiterror effort” and 62 percent said efforts to stabilize Iraq were going “somewhat or very badly.”

“A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Bush administration plan to allow commercial logging inside the Giant Sequoia National Monument violates environmental laws.”

Seventy-four percent of Americans “are more convinced today that global warming is a reality than they were two years ago.” The majority of those polled believe global warming has influenced the summer’s heat wave (65 percent), severe hurricanes (68 percent), wildfires (58 percent), droughts (69 percent), and decreased snowfall (68 percent).

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), who is pressing for tighter immigration rules, recently referred to his house painter as “a nice little Guatemalan man” who might be in the country illegally. “The other day, the little fella who does our maintenance work around the house, he’s from Guatemala, and I said, ‘Could I see your green card?’” Burns said. “And Hugo says, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Oh gosh.’”

Discontent among Afghans is “boiling.” “After months of widespread frustration with corruption, the economy and a lack of justice and security, doubts about President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and by extension the American-led effort to rebuild that nation, have led to a crisis of confidence.”

80 percent. Number of small businesses on the Gulf Coast that have not yet received loans promised by the federal government after Hurricane Katrina.

This week is Clean Elections Week, sponsored by a coalition of reform groups including Public Campaign, Common Cause, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG. Contact your representatives and demand support for meaningful campaign finance reform.

And finally: Pardon me if I repeat myself. Spike Lee’s new Katrina documentary answers the question “why the guy who famously redirected Dick Cheney’s one-time Senate-floor imperative to Patrick Leahy – ‘Go f*** yourself’ – back at Cheney during a news conference said it twice.” “Well,” the man thought to himself, “I better say it again just to make sure that he heard it.”

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