ThinkFast: October 31, 2006

The Interior Department has dropped claims that oil giant Chevron “systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.”

“Growing numbers of American military officers have begun to privately question” the administration’s resistance to redeploying U.S. troops out of Iraq. “There is a new belief that the biggest problem that we face is that our forces are the sand in the gears creating problems,” said one former Pentagon official. “We are making things worse by giving the Iraqis a false sense of security at the governing level.”

The Bush administration is now “targeting unmarried adults up to age 29” as part of its abstinence-only programs, “which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.”

The Las Vegas district attorney “said Monday that authorities have reopened their investigation into a cocktail waitress’ claim that a Republican congressman running for governor” — Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) — “assaulted her in a parking garage after a night of drinking.”


Not surprisingly, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), “which holds around two thirds of the world’s oil reserves,” claimed the UK government’s recent report on the catastrophic economic effects of climate change has “no basis in science or economics.”

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) said she was briefly denied access to a United Airlines flight last week because her name appeared on a “no fly list” set up after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Previously, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) found that they had been ensnared by the program.

A “spasm of violence” seized Baghdad on Monday. “Forty six Iraqis were killed in six bombings across the city,” and the American toll for October “rose to 102, the highest since January 2005.”

“American units training the Iraqi police” believe “it may take decades” for Iraqi security forces to take control of the country. One U.S. Army captain overseeing police training said 70 percent of the Iraqi police force “has been infiltrated by militias.”

And finally: Please don’t share this story with Bill O’Reilly, or we’ll never hear the end of it. After eleven months of debate, Auburn University’s student government has decided the “’Holiday Tree Lighting’ will now be called the ‘Holiday Celebration Featuring the Lighting of the Christmas Tree.’”

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