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ThinkFast: July 18, 2007

By ThinkProgress  

"ThinkFast: July 18, 2007"

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A confidential list shows that Vice President Cheney’s energy task force met almost exclusively with energy industry groups and corporations. By the time the task force began its few meetings with environmental groups, “the initial draft of the task force was substantially complete and President Bush had been briefed on its progress.”

With evidence showing that abstinence programs have “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence,” such education is increasingly being rejected nationwide. “Eleven state health departments rejected abstinence education this year, while legislatures in Colorado, Iowa and Washington passed laws that could kill, or at least wound, its presence in public schools.”

“The board of Dow Jones said late Tuesday it was ready to sign off” on Rupert Murdoch’s proposal to buy the company for $5 billion. “However, the key remains with the Bancroft family, whose three dozen members have been deeply divided over whether to sell to Murdoch.”

The National Intelligence Estimate released yesterday warned that Hezbollah could be “more likely to consider attacking the homeland” if it sees the United States as a threat to the group or to Iran. Slate’s Fred Kaplan says that “this amounts to a direct warning to the White House: Don’t attack Iran.”

Resentment toward American forces remains “fierce” as “Iraqis endure their fifth blazing summer without sufficient power.” The LA Times writes, “If anything is seen as symbolic of the United States’ failure to deliver on its promise that life would be better without Saddam Hussein, it is the lack of reliable electricity.”

“The Army is launching an education program to teach 1 million soldiers how to recognize symptoms of brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, the two signature injuries of the Iraq war. The program aims to encourage troops to get treatment – and to help erase the stigma of doing so, Army officials said.”

The White House yesterday “played down the importance of President Bush’s proposal for a Mideast peace conference and said it was too early to say where or when it would take place.”

Rapidly rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are driving noxious poison ivy and those annoying patches of dandelion to grow taller, lusher and more resilient, according to two new studies.”

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) continues to maintain a “hold” on a bill that would cut down the lengthy wait time that plagues the Freedom of Information Act system. “Following easy passage by the House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, the FOIA fix has been halted. Despite recent reports detailing delays and difficulties in getting government information, the Department of Justice has objected to the new legislation.”

And finally: While Senate staffers were busy yesterday rolling out cots for the chamber’s all-night Iraq debate, many senators said they didn’t plan on using them. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who “towers at 6-feet-7-inches tall,” said, “I don’t fit on a cot.” Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) admitted, “I’ve got a couch in my hideaway.” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) lives just four blocks from the Capitol and planned on slipping home to catch a nap.

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

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