"ThinkFast: December 20, 2007"
President Bush will hold a year-end press conference this morning at 10 AM EST. “The president will talk about the good, bad and the unfinished when it comes to legislation,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said.
“The first Democratic-led Congress in a dozen years limped out of Washington last night with a lengthy list of accomplishments,” but failed “to address the central issues that swept them to power.”
The CIA agreed yesterday “to make documents related to the destruction of interrogation videotapes available to the House Intelligence Committee and to allow the agency’s top lawyer, John Rizzo, to testify about the matter.” It is unclear whether Jose Rodriguez, who ordered the destruction, will testify.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to keep the Senate in a pro forma session over the holiday recess in order to block President Bush’s controversial recess appointments. “Reid’s decision came after an afternoon of private negotiations with the White House” to reach a deal didn’t pan out.
The Senate yesterday confirmed Julie Myers as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, two years after President Bush first appointed her. Myers most recently came under fire for awarding “Most Original Costume” to an employee who dressed in a racially offensive Halloween costume.
Forty-one percent of the al Qaeda fighters in Iraq were Saudi nationals, according to a West Point study. Libyan nationals accounted for the second largest group with about 19 percent of the total, “followed by Syrians and Yemenis each at 8 percent, Algerians with 7 percent and Moroccans at 6 percent.”
A McClatchy analysis found that “veterans coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with debilitating mental ailments are discovering that their disability payments from the government vary widely depending on where they live.” Many veterans “could lose tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits over their lifetimes.”
“A House task force yesterday recommended creating an independent Office of Congressional Ethics that would have the power to initiate reviews of lawmakers’ behavior. The new office, whose creation requires the approval of the full House,” would “be the first in either chamber to allow an outside body of nonmembers to examine alleged ethical misdeeds.”
“Teenagers who have had formal sex education are far more likely to put off having sex, contradicting earlier studies on the effectiveness of such programs,” a new report in the Journal of Adolescent Health said yesterday. “Sex education seems to be working,” said Trisha Mueller, an epidemiologist with the CDC who led the study.
And finally: When Steve Webb, a member of Britain’s Parliament, tried to log on to his Facebook account on Monday, he “received a message saying his account had been disabled following complaints he didn’t really exist.” Webb, “one of the keenest promoters of online networking,” has around 2,500 Facebook friends. He sent Facebook “an email asking what the problem was and got a response a day later saying they had concluded that my profile was a fake,” said Webb. His account was reactivated within 36 hours.
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