Monday, April 07, 2008

From Bush's Iraq address to Bolton bowling...

From American Progress:

Think Fast...

CNN reports that "President Bush is planning to address the nation Thursday morning about the Iraq war," following two days of congressional testimony by Amb. Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus. Bush "is expected to discuss the administration's decision to reduce combat tours of duty from 15 months to 12 months, as well as the future in Iraq."

Tomorrow on Capitol Hill, Gen. David Petraeus "is expected to call for halting troop reductions that began in December for about six months to assess the security situation." Petraeus's recommendation "would keep about 140,000 troops in Iraq -- 10,000 more than before the surge of troops last year."

USA Today reports that "[t]he percentage of recruits requiring a waiver to join the Army because of a criminal record or other past misconduct has more than doubled since 2004." Since October, "13% of recruits have entered the Army with conduct waivers" compared to 11% for all of last year.

"The national average price for gasoline jumped 5 cents the past two weeks according to the bi-weekly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 stations. The average price of self-serve regular gasoline Friday was $3.32 a gallon, mid-grade was $3.44 and premium was $3.55, according to the Lundberg Survey."

Last year, Congress adopted strict ethics rules "requiring members to disclose when they steered federal money to pet projects." Lawmakers, however, are still relying on "soft earmarks," in which they direct "billions of dollars to favored organizations by making vague requests rather than issuing explicit instructions to government agencies in committee reports and spending bills."

Government auditors are investigating the $2.6 billion Veterans Affairs employees charged to agency credit cards last year, which included "hundreds of thousands of dollars in government credit-card bills at casino and luxury hotels, movie theaters, and high-end retailers such as Sharper Image and Franklin Covey."

"Security officials have extinguished the Olympic flame amid heavy protests" in Paris, the AP reports. The torch was extinguished due to "pro-Tibetan protests" that "broke out along its path."

And finally: While traveling, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice likes to work out on the elliptical machine. White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, however, prefers bowling. While in Romania for the NATO summit, Bolten "sneaked off the first night for an evening of bowling, along with communications director Kevin Sullivan and some others." In Zagreb, Croatia, he also "hit the local Harley-Davidson store, where he bought a T-shirt. Then, in Sochi, he hit another bowling alley.


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