Friday’s Mini-Report


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan today, and during the flight, told reporters he was making his first trip abroad as Pentagon chief to better understand “where we are in Afghanistan.”

* I wish congressional Republicans would take sentences like these seriously: “ ‘We would be upgrading our forecast of 2013 growth slightly were it not for the federal spending sequester,’ IHS Global Insight’s chief U.S. cconomist, Nigel Gault, wrote to clients.”

* Symbolism: “As Vice President Biden swore in John Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Friday, Brennan held his hand on an original draft of the U.S. Constitution, the White House said.”

* This does not seem like a smart idea: “Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota on Friday signed into law a bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom.”

* As North Korea threatens to send nuclear weapons across the Pacific at the United States, Nate Cohn asks whether that’s possible: “The Stalinist state doesn’t have that capability – yet. North Korea has built a long-range ballistic missile, the Taepeodong 2 (TD-2), which could hit the West Coast of the United States. That is, if it worked. The last TD-2 test was in 2006; it failed in 42 seconds. North Korea’s longest-range ballistic missile that works, the Musudan, has a range of only 2,500 miles – not nearly far enough to hit the continental United States, some 5,600 miles away, or even Hawaii, 4,800 miles away.”

* It’s International Women’s Day.

* Americans sure do support raising the minimum wage. If only more of their elected lawmakers felt the same way.

* How did Gallup manage to fail so spectacularly during the 2012 cycle? Mark Blumenthal takes a closer look.

* And a Republican state lawmaker in Arkansas explains why she supports a new law that prohibits abortions after the first trimester, regardless of Supreme Court precedent: “I really believe that we are not eliminating choice at all. We’re just saying after 12 weeks, the choice is over.” I wonder if she intended that to be persuasive.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Friday's Mini-Report