ThinkFast: December 12, 2006

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"ThinkFast: December 12, 2006"

Democratic congressional leaders announced yesterday they plan to “place a moratorium on all earmarks until lobbying changes are enacted.”

President Bush met yesterday with three retired generals and two academics who disagreed with the Iraq Study Group’s plan “to reduce the number of U.S. combat troops in Iraq and to reach out for help to Iran and Syria.” It is another sign “the president is gathering support for a new plan that ignores several of the bipartisan committee’s recommendations.”

The group of experts “also recommended the president make some changes in his national security team,” which is “‘likely to fuel Pentagon rumors‘ that Marine Gen. Peter Pace will be removed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

“The founding pastor of a second Colorado church has resigned over gay sex allegations,” the AP reports, “just weeks after the evangelical community was shaken by the scandal surrounding megachurch leader Ted Haggard,” a long-time opponent of gay marriage.

Bienvenido a Miami, Rep. Tancredo. “After drawing criticism from Florida lawmakers for calling Miami a third-world country, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) will visit the city Thursday to speak on ‘The Need for Assimilation,’” The Hill reports. Tancredo agreed to visit Miami only if the trip included “a stay at a five-star beachfront resort.”

In the wake of a House ethics committee report that found the Foley scandal represented a “present danger to House pages and to the integrity of the institution of the House,” incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday that she will introduce legislation to increase oversight of the page program.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged another $83.5 million to fight malaria. “All totaled,” the Gates Foundation “the Microsoft Corp. chairman and world’s richest man, and his wife, Melinda, has donated $765 million to fight malaria, which kills one person every 30 seconds.”

In a recent interview, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), the incoming House intelligence committee chairman, could not identify the Muslim roots of Hezbollah and al Qaeda. Asked by a reporter whether al Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite, Reyes replied incorrectly, “Predominantly — probably Shiite.” Other members on the committee and several top counterterrorism officials also failed the quiz.

“Ice is melting so fast in the Arctic that the North Pole will be in the open sea in 30 years,” a team of NASA-funded scientists found. “Researchers assessing the impact of carbon emissions on the world’s climate have calculated that late summer in the Arctic will be ice-free by 2040 or earlier – well within a lifetime.”

USA Today reports on a Gallup poll that finds a “record high 62 percent of Americans say the war in Iraq isn’t ‘worth it,’ and a record low 16 percent say the United States is winning.”

And finally: SNL’s George Bush gets a makeover. “Previously played by Will Forte, Mr. Bush is now being played by Jason Sudeikis. Lorne Michaels, the NBC television show’s executive producer, said that where Mr. Forte played Mr. Bush as whiny and beleaguered, Mr. Sudeikis…is playing him as having ‘absolute confidence and buoyancy.’ But in a sign that the world is starting to look past Mr. Bush’s tenure, Mr. Michaels said he was freeing up Mr. Forte to play a new political role eventually: that of one of the 2008 contenders.”

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

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