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ThinkFast: December 18, 2007

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"ThinkFast: December 18, 2007"

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Some FBI agents are challenging the CIA’s description of al Qaeda captive Abu Zubaida “as an important insider whose disclosures under intense pressure saved lives.” They say his “credibility dropped as the CIA subjected him to” waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation” measures.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll found that Americans gave the president, congressional Democrats, and congressional Republicans unfavorable ratings “by more than 2-to-1 margins.” “While Bush’s ratings have been poor for most of the past two years, the two parties in Congress hit new lows in the poll.”

The House passed a massive year-end omnibus spending bill last night after the White House said it was “encouraged” by what the Democrats had produced. The Washington Post reports that the omnibus bill “has cut all funding for continuing development next year of a new nuclear warhead.”

The Politico reports that some Senate Democrats are exploring ways to replace Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, “believing he’s no longer physically up to the job.” “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is not in favor of such a move.”

Americans could save $1.5 trillion in healthcare costs over the next decade while covering the uninsured and improving overall quality,” according to the Commonwealth Fund. “But it would take widespread reforms to root out inefficiency, not to mention higher tobacco taxes and other levies.”

The FCC “is pushing ahead to pass a rule today that would allow more consolidation of local media ownership in the nation’s largest cities, despite the fresh threat of a legislative rebuke and continued protests from advocacy groups.” Watchdog groups say FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin is “is rushing” the rule “through without adequate public comment.”

A consortium of 14 of the world’s largest coal producers will announce today the location of a new coal-fired electric plant that will capture and store its carbon emissions. However, the Energy Department, which is supposed to pay for much of the work, “called the announcement on a location ‘inadvisable’ and seemed to distance itself from the plans.”

Iraqi leaders criticized Turkey for bombing Kurdish militants in northern Iraq with airstrikes that they said had left at least one woman dead. The Turkish army sent soldiers about 1.5 miles into northern Iraq in an overnight operation on Tuesday.

And finally: Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist “was seen out in front of the White House Monday on a Segway.” Frist is said to be filming a new commercial for Coca-Cola, which puts him at odds with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who promoted Pepsi.

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