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ThinkFast: September 13, 2006

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"ThinkFast: September 13, 2006"

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Vice President Cheney, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pressured senators on detainee legislation yesterday, urging them “not to be too restrictive in setting legal limits on CIA interrogations of enemy combatants.”

Tom Noe, a rare-coin dealer and “GOP fund-raiser at the center of a scandal that has rocked Ohio’s Republican Party,” was sentenced to more than two years in prison Tuesday for illegally funneling about $45,000 to President Bush’s re-election campaign.

$68 billion: The trade deficit in July, a record level for a single month. “This year the overall deficit is running at $776bn, which, if met, would set a record for the fifth year in a row.”

NATO announced suicide bombings have killed 173 people in Afghanistan this year. “Most of Afghanistan’s surge in violence has taken place in volatile southern provinces, where some 8,000 NATO forces took military control from the U.S.-led coalition on Aug. 1.”

BP announced it had spilled 1,000 barrels of oil in Long Beach, California. “The spill comes as BP is fighting to restore its public image amid a series of stumbles — such as leaks and corrosion problems at its oil field in Alaska and its safety shortcomings at its refineries and alleged trading misdeeds.”

Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer said yesterday that U.S.-led military operations are “stifling” the insurgency in western Anbar province but are not strong enough to defeat it. “[I]f that mission statement changes…then that is going to change the metrics of what we need out here.”

7,328: Number of landmine casualties worldwide in 2005, up 11 percent from 2004. Almost all the victims were civilians and many of them were children.

“Simply stated, short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of the Interior,” according to the department’s inspector general. “Ethics failures on the part of senior department officials, taking the form of appearances of impropriety, favoritism and bias have been routinely dismissed with a promise ‘not to do it again.”

Immigration poses no threat to English use in the United States, despite right-wing claims. “Based on an analysis of language loss over the generations, the study concludes that English has never been seriously threatened as the dominant language in America, nor is it under threat today,” concludes a new study.

And finally: Hair. “It’s one of the first things voters notice.” In Radar magazine’s examination of worst congressional coifs, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) ranked high for “dead animal hair,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) won for “painfully precise bangs,” and even Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) made the list — for “just-nuts hair.”

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