ThinkFast: February 20, 2007

Despite the Bush administration’s refrain that it is not considering military action against Iran, the BBC reports, “US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure.”

Justice Antonin Scalia is “poised to lead a new conservative majority” on the Supreme Court. “Between now and late June, the court is set to hand down decisions in four areas of law — race, religion, abortion regulation and campaign finance — where Scalia’s views may now represent the majority.”

Attorneys in the Libby trial are due to make their closing arguments today. The New York Daily News reports that, during the course of the trial, the public learned that at least “at least 10 other top [White House] officials” disclosed Valerie Plame’s covert identity. Women took on slightly more than half of U.S. jobs created in the first part of the decade and made gains in securing the most lucrative openings. … Overall, men gained 1,804,000 jobs and women 1,996,000, or 52.5% of the total increase,” according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report for the years 2000–2005. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) met privately Monday with religious broadcasters in Orlando, “then later said he isn’t catering to conservative Christians.” McCain explained, “What I have found out in my life, is that every time I have done something for political reasons and not the right reasons, I have paid a very heavy price for it — a big price.”

New study shows that strict voter ID rules “can reduce turnout, particularly among minorities.” Turnout in the 2004 elections “was about 4% lower in states that required voters to sign their name or produce documentation. Hispanic turnout was 10% lower; the difference was about 6% for blacks and Asian-Americans.”

Senate Finance Committee Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has warned that he may block the recently passed minimum wage bill unless a larger tax cut package is included.

“A critical meltdown of ice sheets and severe sea level rise could be inevitable because of global warming, the world’s scientists are preparing to warn their governments. New studies of Greenland and Antarctica have forced a UN expert panel to conclude there is a 50% chance that widespread ice sheet loss ‘may no longer be avoided’ because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

Yesterday’s raid on a U.S. outpost in Baghdad are a “possible foreshadowing of attacks to come,” as insurgents target lightly fortified and “relatively isolated” outposts that are an “integral part” of the new U.S. strategy in Baghdad to immerse U.S. forces in Iraqi communities.

And finally: Arizona can’t give up its naked lady mudflaps. “It’s still going to be legal in Arizona for trucks to have splash guards with racist terms and silhouettes of naked women.” The state House last week rejected an amendment that would have banned splash guards with images that are “obscene or hateful.”What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.