ThinkFast: July 30, 2007

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"ThinkFast: July 30, 2007"

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After the Iraq soccer team’s 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the prestigious 2007 Asian Cup, the Iraqi people temporarily allowed ethnic atrocities to fade. “Rich and poor, Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds, they swarmed out of Baghdad’s swank villas and adobe hovels unified by a sports team — if only briefly.” Within a few hours, a minibus exploded in a Baghdad market, killing at least six people. In all, 58 people nationwide were killed by bombings and attacks.

Eight million: Number of Iraqis — nearly a third of the population — who are “in need of immediate emergency aid.” According to the new report by Oxfam and a coalition of Iraqi NGOs, the Iraqi government is “failing to provide basics such as food and shelter.”

Some scientists who wish to “test their alternatively derived cells have found themselves stymied by an unexpected barrier: President Bush’s stem cell policy. … As a result, the National Institutes of Health recently refused to consider a grant application for what would have been the first federal study to compare several of the new, less politically contentious stem cell lines.”

“After raising the minimum wage by 70 cents an hour this week, many members of Congress are ready to give themselves a pay increase of roughly $4,400 per year. That would take their annual salaries to nearly $170,000.”

“Controversy over Gonzales’s candor about Bush’s conduct or policies has actually dogged him for more than a decade, since he worked for Bush in Texas.” The Washington Post recalls Gonzales meeting with a Texas judge get Bush out of jury service and avoid disclosing a prior DUI conviction. Gonzales, however, “made no mention of meeting with the judge in a written statement submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales must quickly clarify apparent contradictions in his testimony about warrantless spying or risk a possible perjury investigation. “He has a week,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT). “But you have to follow the law. I have to follow the law. They should have to follow the law. That’s the bottom line.”

U.S. and Iraqi officials have erected a “legal Green Zone” in Baghdad, “a heavily fortified compound to shelter judges and their families and secure the trials of some of the most dangerous suspects. … For Iraqi officials, working at the compound is so fraught with risk that it often requires separating themselves and their families from life outside the complex’s gates.”

Members of the Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones & Co. Inc., will likely decide by the end of today “whether they will support News Corp.’s $5 billion bid for the news organization.”

And finally: Stephen Colbert “was making the rounds in Washington on Friday,” collecting signatures “for the cast encasing his recently broken wrist.” While President Bush wasn’t around to sign his cast, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was, and “cheekily called the comedian a ‘bone-coddling crybaby.'”

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