ThinkFast: March 10, 2008

“Signaling a significant departure from the Southern Baptist Convention’s official stance on global warming,” 44 Southern Baptist leaders, including its current president, “have decided to back a declaration calling for more action on climate change, saying its previous position on the issue was ‘too timid.’”

“Vice President Dick Cheney will visit the Middle East next week and meet with leaders of Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and Turkey.” Cheney’s office did not provide any details of what issues would be discussed during the trip.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is set to release “a detailed critique of the Bush administration’s claims in the buildup to war with Iraq.” The report “reaches a mixed verdict” on whether “the White House misused intelligence to make the case for war,” but it does criticize White House officials for “making assertions that failed to reflect disagreements or uncertainties in the underlying intelligence on Iraq.”

In a CBS 60 Minutes interview that aired yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to release his medical recordssometime in the next month or two.” Yet so far, campaign officials have assured reporters at least three times since March 2007 “that they would provide the detailed information” about the senator’s health, “but they have not done so.”


In a new report, the Southern Poverty Law Center says “anti-immigrant sentiment is fueling nationwide increases in the number of hate groups and the number of hate crimes targeting Latinos.” The organization “counted 888 hate groups in its latest tally, up from 844 in 2006 and 602 in 2000.”

Current and former intelligence officials say that the National Security Agency “now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records.” NSA staff has “expressed concerns that the agency may be overstepping its authority by veering into domestic surveillance.”

Average U.S. gas prices “have reached a new high of almost $3.20 per gallon and will likely jump another 20 to 30 cents in the next month, worsening the pain of consumers struggling to make ends meet in an economic downturn.” Prices increased “about 9.44 cents per gallon in the past two weeks” and “64 cents per gallon in the past 12 months.”

Climate change research published in separate journals over the past few weeks from scientists from around the world has a “simple message: The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further.” Children in Iraq “have been more gravely affected by the U.S. occupation than any other segment of the population.” According to the United Nations, “at least two million Iraqi children lack adequate nutrition” and “only 40 percent of children nationwide have access to safe drinking water.”

And finally: Action star and right-wing activist Chuck Norris “has become a cult figure among the U.S. military in Iraq and an unlikely hero for some in Iraq’s security forces.” Comments “lauding the manliness and virility of the actor have been left on toilet walls across Iraq and even in neighboring Kuwait.” One such comment: “Chuck Norris puts the laughter in manslaughter.” Troops appreciate that Norrisvisited Iraq when violence was its worst and other celebrities were skittish.”

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