Friday’s Mini-Report

Updated
 

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* President Obama spoke today at the Argonne National Laboratory on alternative energy options, and in process, proposed $2 billion in new energy research.

* With an eye on North Korea: “The U.S. is deploying 14 new ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska to counter renewed nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday.”

* Vatican pushback: “For the first time since the election of Pope Francis two days ago, the Vatican on Friday formally defended him from accusations that, decades ago, in the so-called Dirty War in his home country of Argentina, he knew about serious human rights abuses but failed to do enough to halt them.”

* Officials shouldn’t disclose a program and try to keep it secret at the same time: “A federal appeals court held Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency must disclose, at least to a judge, a description of its records on drone strikes in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.”

* Maryland: “The House of Delegates voted 82-56 to repeal Maryland’s death penalty on Friday, making the state the sixth in as many years to abolish executions and delivering a major legislative victory to Gov. Martin O’Malley.”

* North Dakota is poised to ban abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy, deliberately ignoring the Roe v. Wade precedent.

* A federal grand jury in Miami is reportedly investigating Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), “examining his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, according to three people aware of the probe.”

* Zero GOP votes: “House Republicans unanimously voted down a measure Friday that would have raised the federal minimum wage, from its current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 by 2015. Six Democrats joined 227 Republicans in voting it down; 184 Democrats voted yes.”

* I thought I’d heard every possible unhinged criticism of the Affordable Care Act, but leave it to a CPAC speaker to up the ante, arguing that “Obamacare is sexist” because it covers contraception. No, seriously.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Friday's Mini-Report

Updated