The White House has “increased its estimate for next year’s deficit to nearly $490 billion, a record figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems in his first year in office.” The rising deficit “marks a sharp turnaround for Bush’s fiscal legacy. He inherited a $128 billion surplus when he came into office.”
According to government data, “more than 22,000 veterans have sought help from a special suicide hot line in its first year, and 1,221 suicides have been averted.” A recent RAND Corp. study found that nearly “one in five soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan displays symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, putting them at a higher risk for suicide.”
A Transportation Department report to be released today “shows that over the past seven months, Americans have reduced their driving by more than 40 billion miles. Because of high gasoline prices, they drove 3.7% fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, the report says, more than double the 1.8% drop-off seen in April.”
This week the Senate will take up a $10 billion “Tomnibus” bill containing 35 measures Sen. Tom Coburn — a.k.a. the Senate’s “Dr. No” — has tried to single-handedly block. Coburn has exploited the “unanimous consent” practice in the Senate to hold up bills he says are duplicative of other laws already passed.
On the trail today: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will visit San Francisco and Bakersfield today for campaign and fundraising events. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) plans to meet a panel of advisers (including Warren Buffett, Paul Volcker, Lawrence Summers, and Robert Rubin) today to examine his campaign’s economic policies.
Due to insensitive remarks made by right-wing radio host Michael Savage about autistic children, “several big advertisers have pulled their commercials from the syndicated ‘Savage Nation’ radio show, and now, thousands of parents and protesters are urging Savage to step down, calling his words ‘hate speech.’” (Take action here.)
“The American military admitted Sunday night that a platoon of soldiers raked a car of innocent Iraqi civilians with hundreds of rounds of gunfire” in Baghdad on June 25. The military also acknowledged issuing a faulty news release “larded with misstatements, asserting that the victims were criminals who had fired on the troops.”
Despite Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s calls for a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops, Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. military commander in Iraq, “said in an interview with McClatchy that the situation in Iraq is too volatile to ‘project out, and to then try to plant a flag on, a particular date.’”
“With President Bush set to leave next week for the Olympics in Beijing, the White House is coming under increased pressure from lawmakers and advocacy groups to make a public statement of concern about the crackdown on human rights and freedom in China.”
And finally: Campaign buttons in Idaho show an unlikely pair: Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Larry Craig (R-ID). “Apparently the button manufacturer picked a picture of the wrong Idaho Larry,” the AP notes, as the buttons were “intended to show Obama beside Larry LaRocco, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.” “That sounds like it’s going to be a collector’s item,” said a LaRocco spokesperson.
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.