ThinkFast: December 26, 2006

“President Bush is bracing for what could be an onslaught of investigations by the new Democratic-led Congress by hiring lawyers to fill key White House posts and preparing to play defense on countless document requests and possible subpoenas.”

“Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth.” Some uninhabited islands have been covered in recent years, but disappearance of Lohachara, an island off the coast of India that was “once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.”

British and Iraqi soldiers raided a police station in Basra on Monday, uncovering “appalling” detainee conditions. “More than 100 men were crowded into a single cell, 30 feet by 40 feet, he said, with two open toilets… A significant number showed signs of torture. Some had crushed hands and feet…, while others had cigarette and electrical burns and a significant number had gunshot wounds to their legs and knees.”

“Supplies of highly potent Afghan heroin in the United States are growing so fast that the pure white powder is rapidly overtaking lower-quality Mexican heroin, prompting fears of increased addiction and overdoses.” Heroin-related deaths in Los Angeles County “soared from 137 in 2002 to 239 in 2005, a jump of nearly 75% in three years.”

Sitting Missouri Circuit Judge Robert H. Dierker Jr. has published a book claiming to “expose the liberal judicial assault.” The first chapter, which has circulated online, “frequently uses the term ‘femifascists.'” Lawyers and judges believe “Dierker may have violated a state rule against a judge using his or her position for personal profit.” Dierker’s book roll-out begins with a Bill O’Reilly interview next week.

“Ethiopian warplanes attacked the airport in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Monday in another major escalation of fighting between the Ethiopian-backed Somali government and the Islamic Courts movement that in recent months has taken over much of the country.”

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, “a vocal abortion opponent, charged a well-known abortion provider with illegally performing late-term abortions, but a Sedgwick County judge yesterday threw out the charges after less than a day.” Kline lost his reelection bid and leaves office in three weeks.

“The tally for Hurricane Katrina waste could top $2 billion next year because half of the lucrative government contracts valued at $500,000 or greater for cleanup work are being awarded without little competition.”

The pouty Bratz dolls so popular as Christmas presents are made at a factory in southern China where workers are obliged to toil up to 94 hours a week, among other violations,” a new report finds. “Calls to the China-based spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a main distributor of the dolls, went unanswered Friday.”

And finally: “It’s come to this,” writes Kevin Drum Steve Benen. “Expectations for the president have fallen so low, the New York Times devoted an entire piece to Bush’s recent claim that he read a newspaper article.”

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