ThinkFast: December 27, 2006

“The Bush administration has decided to propose listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, putting the U.S. government on record as saying that global warming could drive one of the world’s most recognizable animals out of existence.”

Seven U.S. troops were killed in Iraq yesterday, raising this month’s death toll to 87. December is now the “second deadliest month of the year” for American troops.

Michael Wallace, a former aide to Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), has “asked President Bush to withdraw his nomination” for a seat on the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The withdrawal comes after the American Bar Association, “for the first time in almost a quarter-century, unanimously rated” Wallace to be “unqualified.”

The Pentagon may be preparing for escalation. Army Gen. John Abizaid has requested a “call-forward” force of 3,500 troops to be sent “into Kuwait to stand ready for use in Iraq.” “If we’re going to surge, this makes sense,” a senior defense official said.


Incoming Senate Foreign Relations committee chair Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) opposes the escalation strategy. “I totally oppose the surging of additional troops into Baghdad, and I think it is contrary to the overwhelming body of informed opinion, both people inside the administration and outside the administration,” Biden said.

In honor of the launch of its redesign on Jan. 2, 2007, The Wall Street Journal will be “free at newsstands nationwide.” “Nearly half a million copies will be free and The Wall Street Journal Online — normally a paid service — will also be free that day.”

“Ethiopian troops fought their way closer to the Somali capital of Mogadishu” yesterday, “pushing back militias loyal to the Islamic Courts movement” that controls most of Somalia. “U.N. officials warned of a humanitarian crisis in Somalia, while fears remained high that Ethiopia’s aggressive military campaign could have disastrous consequences not only for Somalia but across the Horn of Africa.”

The Ohio state Supreme Court “publicly reprimanded” Gov. Bob Taft (R-OH) yesterday “for his ethics violations in office, a black mark that will stay on his permanent record as an attorney.”

And finally: Does President Bush have secret powers? From a White House pool report: “After a dense morning fog cleared, President George W. Bush lifted off from Camp David with first lady Laura Bush for a weeklong trip to his Texas ranch after spending Christmas at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.”

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