ThinkFast: August 8, 2006

Democracy not on the march, says Justice Kennedy. “Our best security, our only security, is in the world of ideas, and I sense a slight foreboding,” Kennedy said in a speech. “Make no mistake, there’s a jury that’s out. In half the world, the verdict is not yet in” on Western-style democracy.

“A plague of jellyfish along Europe’s beaches has become the latest environmental hazard to be blamed on global warming.”

What friends are for: Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) reportedly met with Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) last week to “urge him to step aside, reminding him that” if he lost his seat, “Ney could not expect a lucrative career on K Street to pay those tuition bills [for his children], along with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees piling up.”

Defenders of Ann Coulter’s “scholarship” have repeatedly pointed to the hundreds of endnotes contained in her books. MediaMatters examined the endnotes of her most recent title, “Godless,” and found them “rife with distortions and falsehoods.”


Congress is all in the family. USA Today finds that there are 53 U.S. senators and representatives closely related to governors or other members of Congress, up from 24 in 1986.

Despite bipartisan objections, the Bush administration is producing the first new landmines “in over 10 years,” placing the U.S. “on the same short list of nations that includes Iran, North Korea and Burma, a list of countries producing landmine weapons banned by an international treaty.”

New study shows that children on Medicaid or with no insurance have a death rate twice as high as that of children with private insurance. “Nationwide, providing more primary and preventive care to those children could save an estimated $5 billion a year.”

38,000. Number of veterans at risk of identity theft (again) because “a Veterans Affairs Department subcontractor lost a desktop computer containing their sensitive personal data.”

And finally: First a Stanford professor, then Secretary of State, and now…a member of Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List. The magazine cited Condoleezza Rice as “immaculately groomed and formidably dignified but with an audacious renegade streak.”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.