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ThinkFast: June 25, 2007

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"ThinkFast: June 25, 2007"

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“President Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to ‘violations of the human rights’ of terror suspects held by the United States.” The handwritten letter said in part, “We do not want America to represent torture.” Bush “took a moment to read it and talk with a young woman who handed it to him.”

“Iraq’s conflict is exacting an immense and largely unnoticed psychological toll on children and youth that will have long-term consequences.” A World Health Organization survey of Iraqi children under 10 found that 47 percent reported being “exposed to a major traumatic event over the past two years.”

239. Number of bills the House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate only to be held up, with conservatives “objecting to just about every major piece of legislation that [Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)] has tried to bring up.”

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions show the new “muscle” of the conservative majority, but USA Today notes a division between the far-right justices who are “eager to overturn previous decisions” and the new Bush appointees who are “reluctant” to “completely gut court precedents.”

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors narrowly endorsed a resolution Monday calling for the Bush administration to begin planning for the swift withdrawal of troops from Iraq.” The war is reducing federal funds “for needed domestic investments in education, health care, public safety, homeland security and more,” the resolution states.

“New research shows that man-made climate change could cause the Greenland ice sheet to break up in hundreds, rather than thousands, of years,” the chair of a U.N. panel of scientists said yesterday. “Its entire collapse would raise sea-levels globally by around 23 feet.”

The House yesterday passed voter deception legislation that increases punishments for those who “knowingly convey false information with the intent to keep others from voting.”

Afghanistan produced dramatically more opium in 2006, increasing its yield by nearly 50 percent from a year earlier and pushing global opium production to a new record high, a U.N. report said Tuesday. … In 2006, Afghanistan accounted for 92 percent of global illicit opium production, up from 70 percent in 2000 and 52 percent a decade earlier.”

Chris Mooney observes, “If the goal is to slam Al Gore, it often seems as if standards of serious discussion suddenly vanish.” Slate’s Emily Yoffee exhibited this behavior in a recent op-ed, demonstrating disdain for complex science. Joe Romm, Steve Benen, and Kevin Drum have more.

And finally: “Some women do it in Starbucks. Others in cramped bathroom stalls. And soon, the women of the House will have their very own lounge for it.” But now, the House “will soon boast a new ‘lactation lounge’ where nursing moms can pump and breast-feed…all in a private facility matching the one that’s been operating on the Senate side for years.” “The Speaker…is committed to making Capitol Hill a family-friendly place to work,” said a staffer for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

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