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ThinkFast: July 23, 2007

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"ThinkFast: July 23, 2007"

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Steve Thomma of McClatchy writes, “When pressing a tough sale, Bush is a lousy salesman.” “He’s never really sold the country or Congress something it didn’t already want. And when he’s tried to sell something the people or the politicians didn’t want, he’s fallen flat.” Thomma cites Bush’s sales pitches on reforming immigration, privatizing Social Security, and staying in Iraq.

The Washington Post reports on an executive order issued by President Bush last week entitled, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.” In the extreme, it could be interpreted as targeting the financial assets of any American who undermines the administration’s Iraq policy.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, was denied access to the White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack. “I just can’t believe they’re going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack,” he said.

A few months ago, Condoleezza Rice decided to write an opinion piece about Lebanon, but no one would publish it. Price Floyd, the State Department’s director of media affairs, said, “I kept hearing the same thing: ‘There’s no news in this.’” The piece, he said, was littered with glowing references to President Bush’s wise leadership. “It read like a campaign document.”

“After a rare bipartisan agreement in the Senate to expand insurance coverage for low-income children, House Democrats have drafted an even broader plan that also calls for major changes in Medicare and promises to intensify the battle with the White House over health care.”

Three parked cars exploded in a predominantly Shiite area in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 12 people and wounding 19, according to police, and the U.S. military said car bombs had killed two troops over the weekend.”

“The United States and Iran have set a date for ambassador-level talks in Baghdad on the deteriorating security situation in Iraq — the first such meeting since late May, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday.”

“Major military offensives and a changed focus on increasing security have slowed efforts to train Iraqi forces to take control of Iraq, the top U.S. training official said. Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard told USA Today, “Transitioning [to Iraqi control] is not a main priority, but it’s still a priority.”

“Under a Senate bill to be introduced today, computer programmers, call-center staffers and other service-sector workers who make up the vast majority of the nation’s workforce would for the first time be eligible for a generous package of income, health and retraining benefits currently reserved for manufacturing workers who lose their jobs to international trade.”

And finally: What’s the difference between Jessica Lynch and Jessica Simpson? “When Cheney threw out the first pitch before a 2003 game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs, Cheney was first informed that pop singer Nick Lachey “would sing the national anthem before the game and would be accompanied by his girlfriend, Jessica Simpson. Cheney thought Simpson’s name sounded familiar. He asked his staff: ‘Is that the soldier who was captured in Iraq?‘”

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