ThinkFast: September 25, 2007


Defying a Bush veto threat, the House will vote today on a significant expansion of the popular State Children’s Health Insurance Program. It is “the first skirmish in the new battle for universal health coverage. It is also the first confrontation between the president and Congress fought out almost entirely on terms set by the new Democratic majority.”

Violent crime rose nearly 2 percent last year, slightly more than expected, the F.B.I. reported on Monday. “The number of big-city murders also increased, by 1.8 percent, the same rate as homicides nationwide.”

In a victory for the Bush administration, a special military appeals court ruling “removed a legal hurdle that has derailed” trials for detainees at GuantanĀ”mo Bay. The ruling allows prosecutors to introduce new evidence that defendents labeled “enemy combatants” are actually “alien unlawful enemy combatants,” as the law requires for them to be tried in military tribunals.

Following large protests last week supporting six African-American teenagers in Jena, LA, white supremacists have begun calling for retaliatory violence. The threats include the posting on a neo-Nazi website of the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six teenagers and their families. In an interview, the Mayor of Jena, Murphy McMillin, “praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counter-demonstrations.”

At a gala in Little Rock last night, former President Bill Clinton and other dignitaries honored the nine black students who integrated Little Rock Central High school fifty years ago while stressing “the country’s continuing need for better race relations.”

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said of the autoworkers strike: “Job security is one of our primary concerns. … We’re talking about investment and we’re talking about job creation” and preserving benefits, he said. Negotiators were to return Tuesday morning for their 22nd straight day of bargaining.

“The world’s top leaders should meet every three months, starting next year, until a plan is drawn up to reduce emissions blamed for global warming, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said on Monday. ”

A suicide bomber in Iraq blew himself up on Monday “at a banquet intended to be a reconciliation feast between provincial officials and former Sunni insurgents in Diyala Province, killing 16 people and wounding at least 28.”

And finally: Fly Swatter-in-Chief. Tony Snow reports that Bush chases “flies around the Oval Office. It drives him crazy when flies get in.” Bush is so well known as a fly hunter among his White House staff, says Snow, that somebody “made him White House fly swatters.”