ThinkFast: February 2, 2007


A new international climate report reveals that “there can be no question that the increase in greenhouse gases are dominated by human activities.” White House official Sharon Hays called the report “significant,” but stopped short of saying whether it would change President Bush’s policy on greenhouse gas emissions.

Britain plans to put children on “the front line of the battle to save the planet,” by making issues of sustainable development – such as energy saving and recycling – a compulsory part of the school curriculum. In contrast, many schools in the United States are banning An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s global warming documentary.

A long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq “outlines an increasingly perilous situation in which the United States has little control and there is a strong possibility of further deterioration.” The document cites sectarian violence — not al Qaeda or Iran — as the primary source of conflict.

-1 percent: The personal savings rate for Americans, now at the “lowest level since the Great Depression.” Economists “warn that the phenomenon exists at a particularly bad time with 78 million baby boomers approaching retirement age.”

The Senate’s vote yesterday to increase the minimum wage included $8.3 billion in tax cuts to small businesses. Since the minimum wage was last raised 10 years ago, Congress has given small businesses $36 billion in tax breaks.

“President Bush’s 2008 budget will call for the largest Pell Grant increase in three decades,” following proposals by the House and the Senate to raise it. The maximum Pell Grant “has remained at $4,050 a year since 2002, lagging behind tuition increases and inflation.”

“The U.S. military drive to train and equip Iraq’s security forces has unwittingly strengthened anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia.” Sadr’s militias have heavily infiltrated the Iraqi police and army units that U.S. troops have trained.

Federal Judge Reggie Walton agreed to let prosecutors show video clips of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan telling reporters in 2003 that former vice presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby “had nothing to do” with leaking information about the wife of a Bush administration critic. See our video compilation HERE.

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius on how the Libby trial reveals a “failed cover-up”: “The White House was worried that the CIA would reveal that it had been pressured in 2002 and early 2003 to support administration claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. … The machinations of Cheney, Libby and others were an attempt to weave an alternative narrative that blamed the CIA.”

And finally: Wolfowitz gets some decent socks. “The fashion police came to the rescue of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, who made worldwide headlines by revealing his holey socks at a mosque in Turkey last weekend.” See the photographic evidence here. “A Gold Toe rep delivered 21 pairs of dress socks to his office yesterday (labeled ‘rush delivery’), Turkish sock manufacturers mailed a dozen pairs, and employees also presented him with a pair.”

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