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ThinkFast: February 28, 2007

“Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media,” the Army Times reports. Soldiers said an official told them “they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.”

“In the most definitive statement in years,” Mike McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, said yesterday that “Osama bin laden is in Pakistan actively re-establishing al Qaeda training camps.” He also admitted to the Senate that the “term ‘civil war’ accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict.”

The United States yesterday agreed to “join high-level talks” at a pair of regional conferences on the future of the Iraq, at which Syria and Iran will also be present. Analyst Steve Clemons noted, “Time will tell whether this is meaningless flirtation” or “a carefully crafted ‘confidence building measure’ that could lead to more meaningful engagement.”

The Politico editor John Harris acknowledged “with pride and remorse” that he is the author of the “slow-bleed” phrase that the right wing is using to attack Rep. John Murtha’s (D-PA) Iraq plan. “As happens all the time in journalism, this was a decision — made on the fly and under deadline — that I would have taken back in the morning.”

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“House Democrats and federal prosecutors have struck what seems like a historic deal to turn over congressional documents related to the Duke Cunningham investigation.”

With the House expected to vote Thursday on the pro-worker Employee Free Choice Act, “a business coalition launched a six-figure radio ad campaign late Tuesday in an attempt to convince three Democratic freshmen who represent conservative districts to defy organized labor and vote against the bill.”

Fox News doesn’t report. “While other media outlets, in their coverage of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, have addressed the longtime evangelical hostility to Romney’s Mormon faith, Fox News has largely avoided the subject and has responded to other media coverage of the issue by alleging media bias or, in the case of one guest, accusing liberals of anti-Mormon bigotry.”

A new UN Foundation study warns that there is “no more time for delay” on climate change. Without quick action, the Earth could reach a “tipping point that could lead to intolerable impacts on human well-being,” including “the spread of disease, less fresh water, more and worse droughts, more extreme storms and widespread economic damage to farming, fishing and forests.”

“The federal agency that’s been front and center in warning the public about tainted spinach and contaminated peanut butter is conducting just half the food safety inspections it did three years ago. The cuts by the Food and Drug Administration come despite a barrage of high-profile food recalls.”

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And finally: Frank Against Cute or Inane Acronyms for Legislation (FACIAL)? Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has put the House Financial Services Committee “on notice that he will no longer tolerate cute bill titles.” “The title of this bill is unfortunately an acronym,” Frank said of the National Security FIRST Act. (Short for the National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act of 2007). “The chair does not intend to bring forward further legislation in which the title is a word.” “I regret that you won’t allow any more acronyms,” replied the bill’s author, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). “We worked hard on this acronym.” Frank did eventually allow the acronym to stay, “mainly because he supports the bill.”

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