ThinkFast: September 20, 2006

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"ThinkFast: September 20, 2006"

The Bush administration “has dropped its insistence” on redefining the obligations of the U.S. under the Geneva Conventions, congressional aides say, suggesting the White House “blinked first” in its standoff with senators over detainee policy.

Mideast commander John Abizaid said yesterday that the current level of 140,000 troops in Iraq will likely remain stable through next spring. The assessment runs counter to previous predictions of a sharp drawdown by the end of this year, underscoring “how unstable the country remains.”

“There is so much political corruption on Capitol Hill that the FBI has had to triple the number of squads investigating lobbyists, lawmakers and influence peddlers.”

Iraq is the deadliest place for journalists to work, a new study by the Committee to Protect Journalists found. Of the 580 journalists who have been killed over the last 15 years, 78 reporters died in Iraq.

“A state judge yesterday rejected a Georgia law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification, writing in his decision, ‘This cannot be.‘” The judge said the law, which critics call a modern day poll tax, “disenfranchises citizens who are otherwise qualified to vote.”

Restricting or taxing greenhouse gas emissions would be the “most cost-effective” global warming policy, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report. The report says climate change policy should “reduce carbon emissions by increasing the costs of emitting carbon… to reflect the damages that those emissions are expected to cause.”

“Federal judges decided Tuesday to require faster and fuller disclosure of their expense-paid trips, a response to criticism that the travel could undermine the public’s faith in an impartial judiciary.”

The nation’s airports face a looming crisis in their ability to screen checked luggage for bombs that will require billions of dollars to avert,” a new GAO report shows. Many airports “have too few screeners and use slow, labor-intensive bomb detectors that are being overwhelmed.”

And finally: Unibrow-gate drops in Pennsylvania. An anonymous tipster alerted Roll Call that someone on gubernatorial candidate Bob Casey’s “official Web site, apparently doctored an old photo of Casey to make it look as if he had normal eyebrows.” (Casey has a unibrow.) When presented with the ironclad proof, a Casey spokesperson responded, “I think we’ve hit upon the next great debate: to pluck or to wax.”

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