ThinkFast: January 24, 2007

President Bush used the word Iraq 37 times in his State of the Union last night, more than any other year. He said the word “freedom” just three times, fewer than any other year. (Compare word usage with this interactive graph.)

Bush said yesterday he has a “goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next 10 years.” The Washington Post notes the fine print: “Administration officials said that the goal is 20 percent below projected annual gasoline usage, not off today’s levels,” meaning “that carbon dioxide emissions from transportation fuels will drop only slightly from today’s levels; other parts of the economy produce the other two-thirds of greenhouse gases.”

“Democrats took the first step toward a wartime repudiation of President Bush on Wednesday, convening the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to approve nonbinding legislation saying an increase in troops in Iraq is ‘not in the national interest.’” Senators are working to combine two bipartisan anti-escalation measures to ensure maximum support.

The House yesterday joined the Senate and voted to strip pensions from lawmakers “convicted of crimes such as bribery, fraud and perjury.”


“As chaos has deepened” in Iraq, the Iraqi Parliament “has been at a standstill.” “Nearly every session since November has been adjourned because as few as 65 members made it to work,” and officials fear “that members were losing confidence in the institution and in the country’s fragile democracy.”

Just two weeks after President Bush announced his escalation plan for Iraq, sectarian “violence in Iraq’s capital has spiked in recent days, even as the first US and Iraqi government military reinforcements have deployed into the embattled city.” 100 Iraqis were reported killed or found dead and another 56 were wounded yesterday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “on his first overseas trip as head of the world body,” “will pressure Sudan’s president next week to speed up the peace process in Darfur, which has been delayed by months of wrangling over the makeup of a larger peacekeeping force.”

“Pregnant polar bears in Alaska, which spend most of their lives on sea ice, are increasingly giving birth on land, according to researchers who say global warming is probably to blame.”

And finally: President Rush Limbaugh and Vice President Ann Coulter: If that’s your idea of comedy, you’ll love Fox News’ new Daily Show-style “comedy” show, which is already taping episodes. Limbaugh crowed about his cameo during his radio show last week. “It’s hilarious. The whole thing is hilarious.” One source at the taping told Radar the taping was “hit and miss — some stuff was inspired, and some was droppable, to say the least.”

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