ThinkFast: January 10, 2007

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow admitted yesterday that Congress had funding control over the Iraq war but said “the president could ultimately do what he wants.” Snow told reporters, “The President has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way.”

Last year was the warmest in the continental United States in the past 112 years — capping a nine-year warming streak ‘unprecedented in the historical record’ that was driven in part by the burning of fossil fuels, the government reported yesterday.”

“Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they intended to hold symbolic votes in the House and Senate on President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Baghdad,” the New York Times reports, “forcing Republicans to take a stand on the proposal and seeking to isolate the president politically over his handling of the war.”

Faculty members at Southern Methodist University, the “likely site” of Bush’s presidential library, “are raising sharp questions about the school’s identification with his presidency.” Yesterday, 150 faculty members voiced “a range of concerns, particularly on whether the school’s academic freedom and political independence might appear compromised by an association with not only the Bush library but also a museum that would accompany it.”

Federal prosecutors have notified a former deputy secretary of the interior, J. Steven Griles, that he is a target in the public corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff’s lobbying activities.”

“Pentagon insiders say members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have long opposed the increase in troops and are only grudgingly going along with the plan because they have been promised that the military escalation will be matched by renewed political and economic efforts in Iraq.”

“An Army private charged with the slaughter of an Iraqi family was diagnosed as a homicidal threat by a military mental health team three months before the attack.” The private was given medication and ordered to “get some sleep,” then returned to duty the next day “in the particularly violent stretch of desert in the southern Baghdad suburbs known as the ‘Triangle of Death.'”

Former senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is now a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he “directs a program called ‘America’s Enemies,’” which will “focus on identifying, studying, and heightening awareness of the threats posed to America and the West.”

National taxpayer advocate Nina Olson told Congress yesterday to “repeal the authority it gave the Internal Revenue Service to use private debt collectors,” calling the program “inefficient, uneconomical and prone to abuse.”

And finally: Despite his “thin and slightly reedy” real voice, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) can “steal the show” when he “really sings, deepening his voice and slowing the tempo to a working-in-the-fields, sharecropper cadence.” On Monday, Kucinich sang (and spoke) to an audience at Jesse Jackson’s 10th annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Wall Street Project Conference.

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