Friday’s Mini-Report, 4.21.17

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Arkansas “executed death row inmate Ledell Lee late Thursday, its first death sentence in more than a decade and the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire.”

* The March for Science is tomorrow: “[T]housands of people who never saw themselves as the sign-carrying type will hit the streets Saturday…. They’re trying to think of clever and eye-catching posters, and, being scientists, organizing teach-ins.”

* With one week to go: “The White House ordered federal agencies Friday to began preparations for a potential partial government shutdown after signaling President Donald Trump would demand money for key priorities in legislation to continue funding the government beyond April 29.”

* Texas: “On Thursday, a three-judge federal court ruled that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing its state House district map in 2011…. Thursday’s ruling marks the third time in recent weeks that the federal judiciary has found Texas to have intentionally burdened its Hispanic voters.”

* EPA: “The Environmental Protection Agency is again moving to derail Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing pollution from the fossil fuel industry. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Wednesday he’s issued a 90-day delay for oil and gas companies to follow a new rule requiring them to monitor and reduce methane leaks from their facilities.”

* Florida: “A Florida state senator who used a racial slur and vulgar insults during a private, after-hours conversation with two African-American colleagues resigned Friday. Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican who represents District 40 in Miami-Dade, announced that he was stepping down in a letter sent to Senate President Joe Negron.”

* VW: “A federal judge in Detroit Friday signed off on what could be one of the last big developments in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, ordering the German maker to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty negotiated as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department last January.”

* Something to keep an eye on: “The Trump administration is expected to appoint a new special envoy to communicate directly with Vladislav Surkov, a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin once known as the Kremlin’s ‘grey cardinal,’ two European officials told BuzzFeed News.”

* I had a hard time putting my finger on why I was bothered by photos of Sarah Palin’s and Ted Nugent’s visit to the White House this week. Thankfully, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explained it nicely: “That image, of Trump and his visitors gathered around the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, sends a clear and unmistakable message. It’s one part cultural representation and one part cultural repudiation. It’s an attack on Obama, his legacy, and the ethos of inclusion he brought to the White House. And it’s a not-so-subtle declaration of victory. We took our country back, and now you have to live with it.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.