ThinkFast: September 14, 2006

Officials of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agencyangrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran’s capabilities, calling parts of the document ‘outrageous and dishonest‘ and offering evidence to refute its central claims.”

A new paper by a NASA climate scientist finds “the amount of ice being formed in the Arctic winter has declined sharply in the past two years.” The scientist called the new data from satellite imaging of ice formation and temperatures “the strongest evidence of global warming in the Arctic so far.”

74.5 degrees: The average temperature in the continental U.S. this summer, according to the National Climatic Data Center. “It was the second-hottest summer temperature the government has recorded since it started keeping track in 1895.”

Yesterday, a “nearly toothless” House resolution to require lawmakers to sign their names to earmarks became “bogged down” in a “three-way squabble.” “Nine months after Congressional leaders vowed to respond to several bribery scandals with comprehensive reforms, their pledges have come to next to nothing.”

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) said Tuesday “his recent trip to the Guantanamo Bay detainee camp showed excellent prison conditions, including ’24/7 medical care – better than many Americans’ get.”

Bush’s approval rating rose to 42% from 38% after his latest round of speeches on Iraq, a new WSJ/NBC News poll shows.

In the latest wave of violence in Iraq, “nearly 100 people were killed or found dead in the Iraqi capital over the past 24 hours.” During a tour of a 911 call facility in Baghdad, ABC News reported hearing 4,000 calls about the “chaos outside in the streets.”

Yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice kicked off “a lobbying campaign” to pressure the Senate to approve U.N. ambassador John Bolton. Bolton’s nomination remains in jeopardy after Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-RI) pushed to delay the vote.

A rush by state and local governments to prepare new voting machines and train poll workers is raising the possibility of trouble reminiscent of the 2000 presidential election standoff. “There are so many potential failure points this year that some of it could get ugly,” says R. Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center.

And finally: Last night’s results from “Dancing with the Stars” sent Tucker Carlson “back to punditry” after only one “dance.” Tucker “became the first bootee, and after a brief last dance, he was finished, sent home with his bow tie, though he vowed to dance again. The world may have shuddered at the thought, but at least it is safe from his performances for the rest of the season.”

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