ThinkFast: September 24, 2007

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"ThinkFast: September 24, 2007"

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Pope Benedict will use his first address to the United Nations to “deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a ‘moral’ cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following.”

President Bush will “skip U.N. talks on global warming,” opting instead to organize his own meeting in Washington later this week. It raises the prospect that Bush could once again put the U.S. “in the position of objecting to any binding international agreement intended to slow or reverse the emissions linked to rising temperatures.”

A classified Pentagon program has attempted to “bait” Iraqi insurgents by planting items such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick them up. Experts worry that such a baiting program “raises troubling possibilities, such as what happens when civilians pick up the items.”

The closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility looks “increasingly unlikely.” President Bush, “who last year told German television that he ‘would like to end Guantanamo,’ is now threatening to veto any move to ‘micromanage the detention of enemy combatants.’”

In the days after 9/11, Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey dismissed concerns by a 21-year old Jordanian immigrant that he had been beaten while in U.S. custody, leaving bruises that were hidden beneath his orange prison jumpsuit. “As far as the claim that he was beaten, I will tell you that he looks fine to me,” said Judge Mukasey.

“In the corruption trial of former [Alaska] House Speaker Pete Kott, a former Veco executive testified that the oil field services company routinely paid for all or parts of political polls — usually at the request of candidates. The FBI is currently investigating Sen. Ted Stevens’s (R-AK) ties to former Veco chairman Bill Allen.

“A coalition of prominent civil rights groups is making a last-ditch push to derail controversial Federal Election Commission nominee Hans von Spakovsky less than a week before he faces a crucial test in the Senate.”

And finally: CBS reporter Mike Flannery was pushed by an aide to Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL) when trying to ask the congressman questions about his “controversial Latin American land deals.” “There’s a large man, who begins shoving reporters around, including yours truly. … There’s an opening in the doorway, and I begin moving through that doorway, and he shoves me down the stairs,” Flannery said. He later called the staffer a “goon.” Watch a video HERE.

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