Friday’s Mini-Report, 1.15.16

Updated
Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* A lot of action about Flint today: “The White House said Friday that emergency management officials and President Barack Obama will ‘consider expeditiously’ Gov. Rick Snyder’s request for financial aid and other help in Genesee County as a result of the Flint water crisis but that nearly $100-million plea could still face some thorny legal issues under federal law.”
 
* Related news: “Michigan’s top prosecutor launched an investigation Friday into the Flint water crisis to see if any laws were broken – as the local sheriff declared that ‘people lied to us.’”
 
* Wall Street: “Plunging oil prices pounded U.S. stock markets again on Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down nearly 400 points, or more than 2 percent, and the other indices taking similar beatings.”
 
* Big news on coal: “The Obama administration announced on Friday a halt to new coal mining leases on public lands as it considers an overhaul of the program that could lead to increased costs for energy companies and a slowdown in extraction.”
 
* More on this on tonight’s show: “The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear an appeal from Robert McDonnell, the former Virginia governor convicted of corruption.”
 
* Good move: “The White House will announce Friday that President Obama is appointing Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, his Cabinet’s longest-serving member, to lead a new interagency effort focused on addressing rural America’s struggle with heroin and opioid abuse as well as other pressing problems.”
 
* Really, Russia? “In a bid to defend what they deem traditional values, lawmakers in Russia next week will consider the country’s most aggressive anti-gay legislation in recent memory: a ban on public displays of affection among gays that could punish couples for kissing or even holding hands on the street with a fine or a two-week jail sentence.”
 
* Keep an eye on this one: “A brigadier general who led an Army biodefense lab in Utah is among a dozen individuals facing potential disciplinary actions – including loss of jobs – for egregious failures that contributed to the facility mistakenly shipping live anthrax to other labs for more than a decade, according to the military’s accountability investigation report that was provided to USA TODAY.”
 
* Ratings: “Last night’s Republican primary debate on Fox Business Network averaged 11 million total viewers, making it the least watched GOP debate this election cycle, according to ratings data from Nielsen.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 
 

Friday's Mini-Report, 1.15.16

Updated