The Daily Muck

David Hicks, the sole detainee at Guantanamo Bay to have been convicted of a crime under the U.S. military tribunal system, will be a free man on Saturday, six years after arriving at Guantanamo. The former Austrailian Outback cowboy received a 7-year sentence (with all but 9 months suspended) in a plea-bargain deal that allowed him to serve the remainder of his time in an Austrailian prison — provided he remains silent about any abuse he alleges to have suffered in U.S. custody. (AP)

The U.S.-backed Iraqi government announced it will slash half the subsidized items from monthly food rations because of “insufficient funds and spiraling inflation.” The Iraqi government says it is unable to supply the rations with several billion dollars at its disposal, although Saddam Hussein was able to maintain the program with less than $1 billion.The cuts are supposed to be introduced in the beginning of 2008 and will affect nearly 10 million people who depend on the rationing system. (IPS)

FEMA has hired a new director of public affairs to replace the official who was in charge during a fake news conference in October. Jonathan Thompson, who was a deputy assistant defense secretary for public affairs, strategy and operations, will be FEMA’s new director of external affairs. (New York Times)U.S. Representatives spent $20.3 million in tax money last year to send constituents mail — meeting announcements, tips on car care and job interviews, surveys on public policy and blatant self-promotion. Members of Congress can send mail for free. (New York Times)

The Environmental Protection Agency said it will comply with a congressional request for all documents — including communications with the White House — concerning its decision to reject California’s request for a waiver allowing the state to impose stricter restrictions of vehicle emissions on greenhouse gases than EPA regulations require. (LA Times)

The last ten years have been good ones for lobbyists as corporate spending grew by about 80 percent. The influx of cash into lobbying firms hit record levels in 2006 as spending reached $2.63 billion. But experts believe that the boom is quieting down and that stronger congressional oversight may be a factor. (Detroit Free Press)

Brian Beutler of the Media Consortium has compiled some greatest hits in “The Year in Oversight.” Our favorite entry is their comparison of Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The Senate oversight committee, led by Lieberman, conducted “zero proactive investigations” into Bush administration incompetence and corruption, a far cry from the Mustache of Justice. (Mother Jones)

The two top editors at the military newspaper Stars and Stripes are insisting that the paper’s publisher and Pentagon officials come clean about the paper’s relationship with a Defense Department publicity program called America Supports You. The program funneled money through the business department of Stars and Stripes. Both editors want the apparent conflict of interest investigated and the paper’s editorial independence restored. (New York Times)

An arsonist targeted a former Odessa, Texas home of the Bush family. Now a museum, the 800 square-foot wooden house was home to George W. Bush between 1948 and 1949, when the president was two years old. The museum’s curator said that there is no reason to believe that the arson was politically motivated. (Reuters)

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Interior Department yesterday, seeking documents about decisions on endangered species that may have been tainted because of political pressure. The group says the Interior Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have failed to produce records on Julie MacDonald, the former ID deputy assistant secretary who resigned amid allegations that she interfered in dozens of endangered species decisions, including at least one decision in which she stood to financially benefit. (USA Today)

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