From American Progress:
Delegates at a major economies climate conference in Paris criticized President Bush's catastrophic environmental goals announced yesterday, with South Africa calling Bush's proposals "'disappointing' and unambitious when many other industrialized economies are already cutting emissions." "But Bush will be leaving office soon. What he says doesn't matter so much any more," one senior European official said.
"The credit market crisis is spreading to student loans," making loans "harder to come by and more expensive." Over 50 firms have "abandoned or cut back their federal or private student loan programs this year, unable to raise money in the financial markets."
A federal judge denied a request to subpoena Vice President Cheney in a lawsuit filed by a Colorado man "who claims he was wrongfully arrested for comments he made" to Cheney about the Iraq war. Lawyers claimed Secret Service agents "told different versions of the episode" that only Cheney could clarify.
John McCain's opposition to the GI Bill appears to be rooted in a concern "that a generous education benefit would persuade soldiers and Marines ending their tours to pursue an education rather than reenlist in the overstretched military." "He's the odd man out," VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz said of McCain. "You have 55 co-sponsors on this bill, and he's not one of them. He has to lead or follow."
A bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers is pressing the Justice Department to investigate Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) 2005 earmark for a highway project that benefited his campaign contributors. The provisions of the $10 million earmark "were mysteriously altered" by Young "after Congress gave final approval to a huge 2005 highway funding bill."
Federal budget cuts have reduced the ability of nuclear weapons laboratories "to carry out scientific research needed to ensure the reliability of the nation's nuclear arsenal in future years." George Miller, director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, told the Washington Post yesterday that science is being squeezed out."
Government documents reveal that the Bush administration may "remove Sudan from an American list of state supporters of terrorism and normalize relations if the Sudanese government agreed, among other steps, to allow Thai and Nepalese peacekeepers in its Darfur region."
In a clash with the Senate yesterday, the White House "threatened to block a war-funding measure if it contains billions in domestic spending." The Bush administration is demanding that Congress provide a $108 billion emergency war funding bill by Memorial Day without domestic funds. Lawmakers say the domestic priorities are needed for "road projects and water-system improvements."
"U.S. forces in Baghdad hope to turn over responsibility for security in most of the Iraqi capital to Iraqi forces in about a year," according to Colonel Allen Batschelet, chief of staff for the American military in Baghdad. He said the military expected to set up an "overwatch" arrangement -- "under which they withdraw from day-to-day patrolling, but keep rapid response forces nearby in case they are needed" -- by spring 2009.
And finally: Yesterday, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) chaired a two-hour Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Iraq war, in an attempt to silence people who are saying he is too old for the job. Byrd showed up "on time in a crisp suit and displaying a broad smile while an aide wheeled him into the room."