ThinkFast: July 21, 2006

A short exchange between President Bush and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond that referenced some individuals in the crowd yesterday who were heckling the president was removed from the official White House transcript. The White House described the disruption as “applause.”

Top NASA scientist James Hansen explained why he did not attend a recent House committee hearing on global warming. “I would get out of my sickbed to testify to Congress on global warming, if they were ready to deal responsibly with the matter,” Hansen wrote. “But obviously they are still in denial, inviting contrarians to ‘balance’ the science of global warming.”

A federal judge did not buy the administration’s argument that a lawsuit challenging the NSA domestic wiretapping program would endanger national security. The ruling yesterday marked “the first time a judge has ruled on the government’s claim of a ‘state secrets privilege.’”

Scientists say earth is losing species “faster than at any time since 65 million years agoas a result of human activity.


Senior CIA officials pushing to produce a new National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq, in part to answer questions over whether a civil war has begun, “have been stonewalled” by intel czar John Negroponte, “who knows that any honest take on the situation would produce an NIE even more pessimistic than the 2004 version.”Redefining “quiet.” “Thursday was one of the quietest days in one of the year’s bloodiest weeks, with no single reported attack in Iraq claiming more than 13 lives.” Police squads “looking for the corpses that are found most mornings on the city’s streets” did locate 38 bodies, most shot in the head.

$591 million: Halliburton’s second-quarter profit, a 51 percent increase over the same period last year. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and his relatives have claimed millions of dollars in tax deductions through a type of charitable foundation they created. The foundation has, until recently, paid out very little in actual charity but instead invested or lent to the family’s business interests and real estate holdings.

Colorado State Rep. Jim Welker (R), criticized for forwarding around an article titled “’Black Culture’ Blamed For Hurricane Katrina Woes,” defended himself by claiming, “Some of my good friends are different colors.” Welker also recently had to apologize for forwarding a racially charged essay that said Hurricane Katrina victims were “welfare pampered” and “immoral.”

And finally: House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) reveals all to Capitol Hills interns. “Boehner explained to the young ‘uns that he thought he’d never get elected because people couldn’t pronounce his name. They thought of everything, he said, except the way it’s really pronounced, which is BAY-ner, including”¦ ‘Boner.’”

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