ThinkFast: November 2, 2006

Only 29 percent of Americans approve of Bush’s handling of Iraq, “matching the lowest mark of his presidency.” “Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.”

1,289: Number of Iraqi civilians who died last month in political violence. The number — nearly 42 people per day — was up 18 percent from the 1,089 such fatalities in September.

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Inspectors general from NASA and the Commerce Department will investigate if Bush’s “political appointees have prevented climate researchers from conveying their findings to the public.”

The Bush administration is delaying the release of an annual hunger report until after the elections. The Agriculture Department report, which has generally been released in October, has shown steady increases in the number of people struggling with hunger. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said, “It seems like a pattern is emerging where the administration simply tries to bury bad information the closer they get to the election.”

“An internal State Department review has found that U.S. officials screened the public statements and writings of private citizens for criticism of the Bush administration before deciding whether to select them for foreign speaking projects.”

At least one advertiser on the Air America blacklist insists that it did not request that its commercials be blacked out on Air America Radio affiliates. The company, REI, released a statement saying that it had “not refused to advertise during Air America’s programming. In fact, REI has placed radio ads on stations carrying Air America programming.”

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The Washington Post writes that, over the next two years, “we’re likely to get dizzy as more folks move through the revolving door from the [Bush administration] to the private sector.” Eric Burgeson, who was chief of staff to Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, recently left to head the energy practice at the conservative lobbying shop, Barbour, Griffith & Rogers. Here are more examples of the revolving door.

A new report by Families USA contradicts the Bush Administration’s claims that in 2007 “there will be more plans with coverage in the [doughnut hole] gap.” The study finds that, in 13 states next year, there will be no drug plans that offer coverage in the so-called “doughnut hole” and the average monthly premiums will rise 87 percent for plans that provide “meaningful coverage.”

The USA Today supports California’s clean energy initiative. “[T]his Election Day, Californians can help put the USA on the path to a saner, cheaper, smarter, more secure energy future by voting ‘yes’ on Proposition 87.”

And finally: Stephen Colbert portrait-within-a-portrait-within-a-portrait fetches $50,605 for charity, and that’s the Word. Sticky Fingers, a barbeque chain with restaurants throughout the South, won the online auction for the portrait on eBay. “We don’t know much about art, but figured any time you can get two portraits for the price of one, then it must be a great deal,” the chain’s owner said. “It’s like a buy-one-get-one-free on the American Dream.” The proceeds will go to the Connecticut-based charity Save the Children.

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