ThinkFast: June 28, 2007


Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and 36 of his House colleagues called for a hearing into the role Dick Cheney played in the 2002 die-off of about 70,000 salmon near the California-Oregon border. The letter wrote, “Did in fact the vice president of the United States put pressure on midlevel bureaucrats to alter the science and circumvent the law in order to gain political votes for his re-election or the election of other people in Oregon?”

“A massive car bomb exploded at a street-side bus depot during Baghdad’s Thursday morning rush hour, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 40 others in a tremendous explosion that set fire to scores of vehicles.” Elsewhere, 20 headless bodies were found “on the banks of the Tigris River.”

“U.S. commanders plan a summer of stepped-up offensives against Al Qaeda in Iraq as they tailor strategy to their expectation that Congress soon will impose a timeline for drawing down U.S. forces here.”

In a new Pew poll, people in countries “as diverse as Canada, Peru, Ukraine, China and India” identified environmental problems such as global warming as “the leading threat the world faces…outranking concerns about nuclear weapons, ethnic hatred and AIDS.”

“[A] look at emergency rooms around the nation shows that wait times — and their health consequences — are increasing everywhere. The problem isn’t confined to hospitals that serve mostly the uninsured.” Affluent areas are “seeing the same problems they’re seeing in the urban areas,” one doctor said.

“Three former leaders of Exodus International, often described as the nation’s largest ex-gay ministry, publicly apologized Wednesday for the harm they said their efforts had caused many gays and lesbians who believed the group’s message that sexual orientation could be changed through prayer.”

2.2 million: Number of people currently imprisoned in the United States. “Prisons and jails added more than 42,000 inmates last year, the largest increase since 2000.”

A survey of Labor Dept. employees, thought to be “the first step by the Bush administration to revise the rules to restrict access to family leave,” ended up finding “a broad consensus that family and medical leave is good for workers and their families, is in the public interest and is good workplace policy.”

The American bald eagle, revered and reviled over more than two centuries, today will be officially declared safe from extinction in the lower 48 states,” and removed from the Endangered Species list.

And finally: Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) loves Batman. He will “appear in the upcoming installment of the big-screen Batman franchise, ‘The Dark Night,’ slated to be released in 2008.” According to Roll Call, Leahy told his barber on Wednesday that “he hadn’t had a trim in a while, since he had let his hair grow out for the role. The Senator also mentioned a recent all-night filming session that went on ‘too damn long.'”

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