Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ThinkFast: November 28, 2007


Despite increased public optimism due to the recent downturn in violence in Iraq, a new Pew Research poll finds that President Bush “remains as unpopular as ever” and “the public remains just as committed to bringing U.S. troops home.”

Al Hubbard, the chairman of President Bush’s National Economic Council, is submitting his resignation today. He departs at a time when the White House is struggling “with a mortgage crisis that has sparked foreclosures, declining home prices and concern about prospects for recession.”

Congressional Democrats will focus on the economy next week in an effort to address public fears about an approaching recession. “House leaders have discussed holding an economic summit and are poised to bring a long-awaited energy bill to the House floor next week.”

Following “a lobbying blitzkrieg,” the Federal Communications Commission handed “a significant, though not total, victory” to the cable industry yesterday with a compromise that will postpone for months the question of expanding “the agency’s regulatory authority over” the industry.

In a new report, the United Nations warns that “progress toward prosperity” will be reversed in the world’s poorest regions unless rich countries begin “curbing emissions linked to global warming” while also helping poorer ones transition to renewable energy sources.

“Some of the Army’s best captains are getting out of the war in Iraq. They are tired of long deployments and the strain on their families. But in hopes of getting captains to re-enlist for another three years, the military is offering a $35,000 bonus.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs fell farther behind this year in its attempts to give veterans timely decisions on their disability claims, new records show.” Furthermore, “the VA put a positive spin on many of its numbers, and in two instances provided Congress with incorrect or incomplete figures,” according to McClatchy.

A Saudi court has agreed to review the case of a girl who was sentenced to jail time and flogging “after being gang raped by seven men.” The Saudi Justice Ministry had earlier accused her of being an “adulteress who invited the attack.” The victim explained what happened to ABC News.

“Federal wildlife regulators will revise seven controversial decisions on endangered species” made by President Bush’s controversial Interior Department appointee Julie MacDonald, who quit after criticisms that she “routinely questioned and sometimes overruled recommendations by biologists and other field staffers.”

And finally: With the resignation of Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) is the last member “left standing” in the Singing Senators barbershop quartet, which previously included Sens. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) and John Ashcroft (R-MO). The Washington Posts’s Al Kamen writes, “It’s the biggest musical breakup since the legendary Ben E. King left the Drifters.”

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