From American Progress:
One in eight: Number of veterans under the age of 65 who are uninsured, "a finding that contradicts the assumption many have that all vets qualify for free health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs." Approximately 1.8 million veterans overall lack health coverage, a jump of 290,000 since 2000.
"Preliminary Veterans Affairs Department research obtained by The Associated Press reveals for the first time that there were at least 283 suicides among veterans who left the military between the start of the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001 and the end of 2005."
"Twenty-one states will run out of money for children's health insurance in the coming year, and at least nine of those states will exhaust their allotments in March if Congress simply continues spending at current levels." President Bush yesterday threatened to veto Congress's SCHIP legislation.
Lawmakers have increasingly steered federal funds to "overtly religious organizations -- many of which claim proselytizing or religious conversions as their primary function" -- using earmarks. For instance, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) tried to earmark $100,000 for a creationist organization.
"In a shift of strategy that indicates an increasingly weakened political position, President Bush has included at least $2.51 billion for projects unrelated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in his latest 'emergency' supplemental request."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed yesterday that "all State Department security convoys in Iraq will now fall under military control." The move is the latest effort "to bring Blackwater Worldwide and other armed contractors under tighter supervision."
"Draft legislation that lifts immunity for foreign private security companies gained the consent of the Iraqi cabinet on Tuesday and was sent to Parliament for approval." Under the approved version, security companies must have "all their weapons be licensed by the Iraqi Interior Ministry."
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair "turned down a last-minute offer from President George Bush for Britain to stay out of the Iraq war because he thought it would look 'pathetic,'" according to a new book on Blair's tenure.
And finally: "There's a new birthday card on the market showing President Bush, white earphones in his ears, showing off a new IPod," called the "I-Pres." Among the selections on the playlist: "Iraq Around the Clock," "Knockin' on Iran's Door," "Oil Fields Forever," and "Cheney's Got a Gun."