ThinkFast: September 5, 2006

After a five-week summer break, Congress returns today for 19 days before ending its work for the legislative year. The only legislation being considered this week in the House “is a bill to toughen rules against horse slaughtering.”

The new White House line: Iraq war critics would have tolerated slavery. Referencing Iraq, Secretary Rice said: “I know there were people who said, ‘Why don’t we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?‘”

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years, the latest study of ice drilled out of Antarctica confirms.”

“The Sudanese government has dramatically intensified the war in Darfur in a bid to finish off a tenacious, three-year-old rebellion before a U.N. peacekeeping force can deploy there,” the Washington Post reports.

54 percent. Number of Americans who believe things are going “badly.” Just nine percent see the economy as “very good,” compared to 22 percent who believe it is “very poor.”

One Afghan city into which the U.S. “poured so much building effort that it was called ‘Little America’” has become “the epicenter of a Taliban resurgence and an explosion in drug cultivation,” the New York Times reports.

Right-wing activists and at least one Republican lawmaker plan to file federal lawsuits challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 requires Justice Department oversight of states that have a history of voting rights discrimination.

$134.00. Amount spent by the federal government creating and storing new secrets for every $1 spent declassifying old secrets. “The current administration has exercised an unprecedented level of restriction of access to information about, and suppression of discussion of, the federal government’s policies and decisions,” notes a new report by OpentheGovernment.org.

And finally: Police “scoured a Brooklyn housing project yesterday looking for the person who threw a chocolate doughnut near Mayor Bloomberg.” “Nothing was ascertained with certainty,” an NYPD spokesman said, “but there is no indication it was directed at the mayor. It may have just been tossed out the window or dropped.”

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