ThinkFast: April 23, 2007


The Great Wall of Adhamiya” is only one of at least ten Baghdad neighborhoods that are slated to become — or already are — “gated communities.” “They’ve been doing it in Florida, and the old people seem to like it,” joked the platoon’s leader, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Schmitt.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said that the American military will ”respect the wishes” of the Iraqi government regarding a barrier being built around Adhamiya, but he stopped short of saying construction would stop. Sunni Arab and Shiite groups sharply criticized the idea, saying the wall would increase sectarian hatred and fuel efforts to partition the country.

The London Times reported that the White House is drawing up a list of candidates to succeed Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. “Most prominent on the list is Ashraf Ghani, the man credited with overhauling the economy of Afghanistan after September 11.”

Classes at Virginia Tech are set to resume today. “Students and faculty were expected to gather at 7:15 a.m. Monday near the dormitory where the first victims. … At 9:45 – the time of the second shooting – the university planned a moment of silence, with a single bell tolling from the tower of the main administration building. A minute later, the bell will toll 32 times – once for each victim – as 32 white balloons are released from the field below.”

“A dramatic pay gap emerges between women and men in America the year after they graduate from college and widens over the ensuing decade,” according to a new study. “One year out of college, women working full time earn 80 percent of what men earn.” Ten years later, that number drops to 69 percent.

David Iglesias, the fired New Mexico U.S. attorney, said investigating the White House’s role is the logical next step. “If I were Congress, I would say, `If the attorney general doesn’t have answers, then who would?‘ There’s enough evidence to indicate that Karl Rove was involved up to his eyeballs.”

In contrast to her previous resistance to talks, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is urging Iran to join her at a high-level conference on the future of Iraq next week, “signaling that Washington is now ready for a serious exchange of views with Tehran after several months of resisting Iran’s advances in the region.”

FEMA exposed taxpayers to significant waste — and possibly violated federal law — by awarding $3.6 billion worth of Hurricane Katrina contracts to companies with poor credit histories and bad paperwork,” according to a new report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.

And finally: DOUTH U R GOOD AT TXTING? Over the weekend, 250 people competed to be U.S. Texting Champion, with txt tests ranging from “what we do in life echoes in eternity” to “OMG, nd 2 talk asap.” Eventually, 13-year-old Morgan Pozgar won the competition, after she typed “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” in 15 seconds. “It’s all about the thumbwork,” she said. “It’s about balance.”

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