ThinkFast: October 11, 2006

655,000: The number of Iraqis who have died since March 2003, according to a team of epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University. The study “found a steady increase in mortality since the invasion, with a steeper rise in the last year.”

Former Bush Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman has set up a consulting firm that represents the oil industry. Among her clients is Hovensa LLC, an “oil-refining operation” partially owned by Venezuela’s national oil company.

“I don’t care if we offend our allies in the Middle East,” said Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), making his case for why President Bush should resume depicting the war in Iraq as part of a larger struggle against “Islamic fascism.”

For the first time, more Americans (36 percent) believe the terrorists are winning the “war on terror” than think the United States and its allies are winning (31 percent). Twenty-two percent (22%) say neither side is winning.

One in four. Number of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have filed disability claims.

70 percent of Americans “are talking politics with family and friends” as the “interest of American voters is at its highest level in more than a decade.”

“The FBI is investigating whether a member of Sen. Arlen Specter’s staff [Vicki Siegel Herson] broke the law by helping her husband, a lobbyist, secure almost $50 million in Pentagon spending for his clients.”

Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC), who once directed $3.8 million for a park “directly in front” of the “flagship of his financial empire,” is “one of at least a half-dozen House members whose public actions in directing special-interest spending known as earmarks have also benefited their private interests or those of business partners.”

And finally: A very public typo. Ottawa County, Michigan “will pay about $40,000 to correct an embarrassing typographical error on its Nov. 7 election ballot.” The county must “reprint 170,000 ballots that were missing the letter ‘L’ in the word “public.” “It’s just one of those words,” the county clerk said. “Even after we told people it was in there, they still read over it.”

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