ThinkFast: June 30, 2008

The Bush administration had issued a secret plan last year allowing Pentagon’s Special Forces to kill or capture al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan. But more than six months later, the Special Ops forces “are still waiting for the green light. The plan has been held up in Washington by the very disagreements it was meant to eliminate.”

“Our enemies will test the new president early,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) on CBS yesterday. “Remember that the truck bombing of the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration.”

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Bogus claims that China is drilling for oil off the Florida coast “continue to circulate almost three weeks after a senator representing the state derided the claims as ‘akin to urban legends.’” The truth is China’s oil company, Sinopec, has an agreement with Cuba, but its lease is for an onshore site and no actual drilling has taken place.

Gas prices rose to a record high last night, reaching an average of $4.086, up seven-tenths of a cent from $4.079 the previous day. Prices “have risen 2.9% in the last month and are almost 38% higher than where they were a year ago.”

On the trail today: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will deliver a speech in Independence, MO, on “what patriotism means to him and what it requires of all Americans who love this country and want to see it do better.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will be in Bucks County, PA, this afternoon for a town-hall meeting.

The Pentagon is refusing orders from the EPA to clean military bases where dumped chemicals pose “imminent and substantial” dangers to public health and the environment. “Experts in environmental law said the Pentagon’s stand is unprecedented.”

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The White House is trying to stop the EPA “from publishing a document that could become the legal roadmap for regulating greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S.” The document outlines how the government can regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act, but the White House wants instead “the document to show that the Clean Air Act is flawed” and that regulations should be developed under new legislation.

Nine in 10 Americans expect the “ballooning costs” of gasoline “to squeeze them financially over the next half year, an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll said Monday. Nearly half think that hardship will be serious.”

“A nearly 700-page study released Sunday by the Army found that [in early 2003], U.S.-based commanders prematurely believed their goals in Iraq had been reached and did not send enough troops to handle the occupation.” This faulty view was reinforced by President Bush’s May 1, 2003Mission Accomplished” declaration, the report said.

And finally: Ari Fleischer’s father does not love that his son became a Republican. In remarks to the Freemasons of the Nation’s Capital, the former White House press secretary said that his father once told a local paper that, “if his son was going to rebel, it’s better I became a Republican than a drug dealer — but not by much.”

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