From American Progress:
"Drought, a fixture in much of the West for nearly a decade, now covers more than one-third of the continental USA. And it's spreading," USA Today reports. "As summer starts, half the nation is either abnormally dry or in outright drought from prolonged lack of rain that could lead to water shortages."
G-8 countries backed down yesterday from their strong global warming stance, instead embracing President Bush's proposal to move toward unspecified "substantial cuts" in carbon emissions. The "agreement says the G-8 countries will 'seriously' consider cutting emissions in half by 2050, but it sets no mandatory goals for all."
"Senior House Democrats threatened Thursday to issue subpoenas to obtain secret legal opinions" and other Justice Department documents related to the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program, "the most aggressive action yet by Congress in its oversight of the...program."
"Turkey is stepping up its presence along its border with Iraq to levels not seen in years in an effort to root out Kurdish separatist guerrillas who take refuge in northern Iraq. That means that as the American military struggles to control the violence in central Iraq, a second conflict could spill across its northern border."
4: Number of U.S. deaths in Iraq per day in June, with a total of 23 deaths in the first six days of the month. The total death toll for American forces is now 3504.
"Consumer confidence tumbled to a 10-month low" in the face of "nagging worries about gasoline prices, if the yearlong housing slump will worsen and drag down home prices further and whether the economy will, in fact, snap out of its sluggish spell."
"Governors from eight U.S. states on Thursday protested to Congress about possible legislation that they claim will limit their efforts to cut automobile and small-truck emissions. If passed as written in draft form, the legislation would wipe out California's landmark effort to cut auto and light-truck greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 percent by 2030."
"While the Government Accountability Office (GAO) contended with controversy surrounding a pay-for-performance system that denied nearly 17 percent of its employees cost-of-living increases last year, 72 senior executives and senior-level employees received bonuses totaling more than $900,000 in fiscal year 2006."
And finally: Yesterday in the Alabama Senate, "harsh words" led to "a punch being thrown" between Sens. Charles Bishop (R) and Lowell Barron (D). "Bishop said he punched Barron after the senator called him a 'son of a b*tch.' ... Bishop said he regretted throwing the punch because ‘that’s not the way grown men solve their problems,’ but he said he would not immediately apologize to Barron." (Watch video HERE.)