From American Progress:
Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges related to his dealings with the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Ney is the first member of Congress to admit to criminal charges in the Abramoff case.
Krauthammer's Iran "calculus": "An aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities lies just beyond the horizon of diplomacy. With the crisis advancing and the moment of truth approaching, it is important to begin looking now with unflinching honesty at the military option. ... The decision is no more than a year away."
The Bush administration has proposed eliminating funding for two renewable energy sources: hydropower and geothermal power research. Federal studies suggest that the "costs of lost opportunities from dropping such research could be enormous in the long run." Yesterday the House approved a "sham" earmark reform bill that critics say is "filled with loopholes that would still permit anonymous projects to be inserted into law without public scrutiny." Rep. David Obey (D-WI), former chairman of the appropriations committee, called the bill "the death of lobby reform."
Border-crossing deaths have "more than doubled in the past decade," according to a GAO report. "More and more, the dead are women," and "more migrants are dying from exposure in the desert than from other causes."
In 2004, the FCC "ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage," the AP reports. StopBigMedia.com has a copy of the study.
Sectarian "killings and violence are surging around Iraq," "despite a month-old security crackdown in the capital." "It's barbaric but sadly we've become used to it," an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. "Forty bodies, 60 bodies - it's become a daily routine."
"Newly formed cities are giving the keys to city hall to private companies that say they can run a government better than bureaucrats." Critics worry about a "shadow government" that isn't "subject to the same kind of open-records and open-meetings laws as public employees are."
And finally: Madonna joins Lance Bass as the celebrities whom the Russian government will not send into space. The Duma rejected a proposal to "send a formal inquiry to the Russian space agency about organizing a space trip for her in 2008." "Taking into account her good physical preparedness and financial capabilities, the dream of [Madonna] of a space flight could be realized in 2009," one lawmaker said in support of the trip.