ThinkFast: February 28, 2006

Surprise: “Congressional watchdogs are nervous that after an initial burst of energy on reform, lawmakers from both parties have since cooled to the stronger provisions they were pushing just weeks ago.”

President Bush plans to shut down part of the national service program AmeriCorps, which he embraced in 2001. The National Civilian Community Corps, which brings together more than 1,100 18- to 24-year-olds together to work on service projects, will have its budget cut from $27 million to $5 million, “with the goal of closing it down.”

A majority in 33 of 35 countries and 60 percent of people overall believe the Iraq war has increased the likelihood of global terrorist attacks.

The New York Times has sued the U.S. Defense Department demanding that it hand over documents about the NSA’s domestic spying program, including internal memos, emails, and list of the surveillance targets. Also: White House rejects call for a special counsel investigation.


For the first time, the Justice Department approved a $300,000 settlement in the case of an Egyptian national who was detained after 9/11. “The government’s inclination to settle was enhanced when Judge John Gleeson ordered that former Attorney General John Ashcroft and the former head of the FBI testify under oath about the case.”Genocide spreading: “The chaos in Darfur, the war-ravaged region in Sudan where more than 200,000 civilians have been killed, has spread across the border into Chad, deepening one of the world’s worst refugee crises.”

“Half a dozen Western governors impatient for more federal action on global warming are mounting state campaigns to deal with climate change on their own.”

A new report by Iraq’s Special Inspector General finds inadequate planning, “a poorly structured, ad-hoc personnel management processes,” and “haphazard” hiring practices contributed to the inefficient reconstruction process.

Future budget cuts proposed by Bush could mean “tens of thousands of veterans with non-critical medical issues could suffer delayed or even denied care in coming years.”

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmett, the Central Command deputy commander for planning and strategy in Iraq, has rejected the recent Human Rights First report that found 98 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since Aug. 2002. Kimmett characterized the report as “propaganda,” but provided no evidence to back up his claim.

And finally: McDonalds super-sizes the blogosphere with its new corporate responsibility blog.