ThinkFast: December 21, 2006

After a meeting in Iraq with U.S. generals, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that commanders “out here have expressed a concern about” President Bush’s plan to increase U.S. troop levels in Iraq.

“Economic growth slowed to a 2 percent pace in the late summer, more sluggish than previously thought, as the real-estate bust weighed on overall business activity.”

“The Pentagon wants the White House to seek an additional $99.7 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Associated Press reports. “The military’s request, if embraced by President Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year’s budget for those wars to about $170 billion.” “Overall, the war in Iraq has cost about $350 billion.”

Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) will sign a civil unions bill into law today that grants to gay couples “all the rights and responsibilities of marriage under state law.” New Jersey will “become the third in the nation to institute civil unions and the fifth to offer some version of marriage.”


Yesterday, President Bush said he would support a federal increase in the minimum wage only if it were tied to tax breaks for small businesses. The federal minimum wage has not been increased since 1996.

The political opponents of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “won local council elections…in an embarrassing blow to the hard-line leader that could force him to change his staunch anti-Western stance and focus more on domestic issues.”

“Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain, scientists revealed yesterday, in what may be one of the strongest signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world.”

President Bush yesterday “signed a bill that extends the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent agency that oversees $32 billion in American expenditures on the rebuilding of Iraq, into 2008.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, “has vowed to get to the bottom of an alleged rendition of a Canadian man wrongly accused of terrorist ties.” Leahy said “he would summon US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the committee to explain why Maher Arar is still barred from the United States, after he was cleared of terrorist links by a Canadian judicial inquiry.”


And finally: Tom DeLay lets the New York Times into his blogging world. “No one should imagine Mr. DeLay sitting in front of a computer monitor and keyboard, hunting and pecking as his Web site is updated each day. ‘I’m not a very good typist,’ he said. ‘That would take me forever.’ He readily acknowledged that he barely used the Internet, let alone a personal computer, before he got into this.” “’I write my thoughts down in longhand,’ he explained of his blogging technique. ‘Someone else puts it in.’”

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