ThinkFast: August 16, 2006

Iraq experts who met with Bush in a private meeting this week said the president was “frustrated with the lack of progress” and “didn’t quite have a sense yet of how effective the government” is. One of the participants said Bush made it clear that “as long as he’s president, we’re in Iraq.” The LAT adds, “The experts said in interviews that Bush signaled that he intended to make no policy changes in Iraq.”

Twenty-one former generals, diplomats, and national security officials will release an open letter tomorrow arguing that the Bush administration’s “hard line” on Iran has undermined U.S. security. “It’s not a crisis,” Retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard said. “To call the Iranian situation a ‘crisis’ connotes you have to do something right now, like bomb them.”

State ballot measures to increase the minimum wage have qualified for the ballot in Colorado and Arizona.

Seven northeastern states have agreed to form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, “a model rule that would create the country’s first market for heat-trapping carbon dioxide by curbing emissions at power plants.”

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Monday’s U.N. cease-fire accord called for quick deployment of Lebanese troops to the southern part of the country, but Hezbollah has refused to disarm and withdraw its fighters, threatening to delay the deal. “The army is not going to the south to strip the Hezbollah of its weapons and do the work that Israel did not,” stated Lebanon’s defense minister.

Although the United Nations hopes 3,500 “well-equipped troops” can deploy to Lebanon within two weeks to fortify a U.N. peacekeeping force, no country has yet agreed to send any soldiers.

“Problems with elections in Ohio’s most populous county are so severe that it’s unlikely they can be completely fixed by November, or even by the 2008 presidential election.”

And finally: Rep. Bobby Jindal delivers”¦his own baby! Jindal (R-LA) “barely had time to call 911 when his wife woke with labor pains Tuesday. Minutes later, he helped deliver his own son. Slade Ryan Jindal arrived before the ambulance did at about 3:25 a.m. Jindal, coached over the phone by a nurse at the doctor’s office, put the baby in the arms of his wife, Supriya, and tied off the umbilical cord with a shoestring.”