Friday’s Mini-Report, 1.2.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* North Korea: “President Barack Obama on Friday authorized additional sanctions on North Korea in the wake of the ‘destructive and coercive’ cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. The new sanctions target three entities – including the country’s primary intelligence organization – and 10 individuals as agencies or officials of the North Korean government, according to the Treasury Department.”
 
* Maryland: “Outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Wednesday cemented his legacy on a defining issue of his tenure, announcing that he would commute the sentences of Maryland’s four remaining death-row inmates to life in prison without the possibility of parole.”
 
* A solid win for progressive activists: “The controversial nomination of Michael P. Boggs to be a federal judge in Georgia is officially kaput. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, the two Republican senators from the Peach State, said in a statement issued late Tuesday that they learned more than a month ago that Boggs’ name would not be submitted again at the start of the 114th Congress for a still-vacant seat on the federal bench.”
 
* Wasting no time: “The head of the Senate energy committee plans to introduce a bill next week to force approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, though the full chamber faces a battle in obtaining needed votes to overcome any veto by President Barack Obama. Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican and the new head of the energy committee, will introduce the bill next week after a hearing on TransCanada Corp’s $8 billion project, her spokesman said.”
 
* They’re right: “In a letter obtained by POLITICO to House Speaker John Boehner, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and chairmen of each chamber’s budget committees, Democrats urged the GOP to retain [Doug Elmendorf] and decried ‘Republican plans to end a long-standing and important tradition of having a non-partisan, competent’ CBO director.”
 
* Health care for 300,000 people is on the line: “The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan to move forward, a decision that deals a major blow to the governor’s signature achievement just days before she leaves office.”
 
* Middle East: “For months, publishing giant HarperCollins has been selling an atlas it says was ‘developed specifically for schools in the Middle East.’ It trumpets the work as providing students an ‘in-depth coverage of the region and its issues.’ Its stated goals include helping kids understand the ‘relationship between the social and physical environment, the region’s challenges [and] its socio-economic development.’ Nice goals. But there’s one problem: Israel is missing.”
 
* Not a bad strategy: “The gun control movement, blocked in Congress and facing mounting losses in federal elections, is tweaking its name, refining its goals and using the same-sex marriage movement as a model to take the fight to voters on the state level.”
 
* Get well soon: “Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was hospitalized Thursday after he broke several ribs and facial bones in a fall caused by broken exercise equipment, his office says.”
 
* And there’s a quiet-but-interesting fight underway to determine the location of Barack Obama’s presidential library: “Columbia University’s push to host President Obama’s presidential library and museum after he leaves office gained ground Tuesday when problems emerged with competing bids from two universities in Chicago.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Friday's Mini-Report, 1.2.15