ThinkFast: November 30, 2006

The Iraq Study Group “reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal.” The “implicit message” of the report is that the pullback process “should begin sometime next year.”

“Troposphere, whatever. I told you before I’m not a scientist,” Justice Antonin Scalia said yesterday after a lawyer corrected a misstatement. “That’s why I don’t want to have to deal with global warming, to tell you the truth.”

Senior State Department analyst Kendall Myers called Tony Blair’s relationship with President Bush “totally one-sided.” Myers said “we typically ignore them and take no notice – it’s a sad business,” and he admitted feeling “a little ashamed” of the way Bush has treated Blair.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) has decided to divest “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in his own mutual funds from “companies that do business with Sudan.” “With so many lives at stake, we should do all we can to stop this genocide, both as individuals and as a community,” Brownback said.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), whose tenure as chairman of Senate intelligence since 2002 led his panel to be nicknamed the Senate Cover-Up Committee, “may be looking for an exit” from the committee.

7 million: The number of people — one in every 32 American adults — that were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, a new record.

A federal judge ruled yesterday that “FEMA has to restore housing assistance and pay back rent to thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who had been deemed ineligible for long-term housing assistance.” FEMA also must “improve an appeals process that evacuees had long said was confusing, contradictory and amounted to an arbitrary denial of help.”

Former insurance mogul Maurice Greenberg, who is making a long-shot bid to buy the New York Times, is a “friend of Henry Kissinger, once mentioned as a Reagan appointee to help run the CIA,” and a major donor to conservative causes.

A Halliburton subsidiary agreed to pay the federal government $8 million to resolve accusations of overbilling related to the firm’s work for the Army in the Balkans, the Justice Department said yesterday. The company said in a written statement that it “was ‘pleased’ with the resolution.”

And finally: Global warming gets even hotter. During an appearance last night on the Tonight Show, Al Gore discussed the special features that the DVD of his global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth will contain. “Gore joked that it included an uncensored version called ‘Global Warming Gone Wild,’ including ‘hot glacier on glacier action.'”

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