ThinkFast: October 15, 2007

Rupert Murdoch’s latest venture — the Fox Business Channel — launches today. His recent acquisition of the Dow Jones & Company is already proving fruitful. CNBC, the rival that Murdoch seeks to “conquer,” purchased advertising on two Dow Jones websites, but was informed last Tuesday that they would not run the day of Fox Business’s launch.

The U.S. military believes it has dealt “devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq” in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a “declaration of victory” over the group. “I think it would be premature at this point,” a senior intelligence official said of a victory declaration over AQI.

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Condoleezza Rice is sticking up for Donald Rumsfeld in a battle with students and professors at Stanford University. “Universities ought to be places where all views are welcomed,” Rice told ABC News. “Stanford has always been a place that has been able to tolerate many different views.”

“As the chief federal trial judge in Manhattan, Michael Mukasey approved secret warrants allowing government roundups of Muslims in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks.” Confirmation hearings are set to begin on Wednesday, and detentions are likely to be a “hot topic.”

Yesterday, Rep. David Hobson (R-OH) announced that he will retire at the end of his term. Hobson is the 11th Republican House member to announce retirement ahead of the 2008 election.

On Friday, Justice Department officials indicated that they may hold “new hearings for some” Guantanamo Bay “detainees to decide whether they are being properly held.” Lawyers for detainees say the move may be “a ‘massive’ repeat of the military’s combatant-status hearings originally held in 2004 and 2005.”

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A new study by the Women’s Campaign Forum finds that the number of top women aides on Capitol Hill is rising. The study found “that 23 percent of top Senate staffers and 31 percent of top aides in the House are women, compared with 16 percent of Senators who are women and 17 percent of House Members.”

The Food and Drug Administration is “moving with unprecedented speed to launch a drug research center to be paid for by companies it regulates.” Its goal is to “streamline and improve the development of drugs and medical devices, a goal long sought by regulators and the biggest players in the industry.”

And finally: On Saturday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice turned down the chance to “show off her ice-skating talents” during a visit to a rink in Russia. “There is this theory that ice skating is like riding a bicycle: you just get back on it, you immediately know how to do it,” she said. “I’m not going to take that chance — just in case it’s not true!” Rice was a competitive ice skater between the ages of 12 and 17, but hasn’t skated for the past 10 years.

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