Friday’s Mini-Report, 4.4.14

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* The Fort Hood victims have been identified: “Sergeant Ferguson, 39, who had recently returned from Afghanistan, was among the three people killed and 16 wounded in the Fort Hood shooting. Two other soldiers shot and killed have been identified. They are Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, and Sgt. Carlos Alberto Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, who went by Sgt. Carlos A. Lazaney.”
 
* Secretary of State John Kerry is rethinking whether to continue trying in the Middle East peace talks: “A visibly downbeat Kerry, who has spent the better part of his 14-month tenure as America’s top diplomat trying to cajole the parties into talks, stopped short of declaring the peace process dead. But in his most pessimistic assessment of the situation since talks began last summer with an end-of-April target for a deal, Kerry made clear his patience was near exhausted.”
 
* Ohio: “A federal judge said this morning that he intends to issue a ruling in 10 days that will strike down Ohio’s ban on recognizing gay marriages obtained legally in other states.”
 
* A tragic loss: “A photographer for the Associated Press was killed and a reporter wounded Friday when an Afghan police officer shot each of them multiple times. The journalists were traveling with election workers in eastern Khost province in a convoy that was protected by Afghan soldiers and police officers, according to the AP.”
 
* Keep an eye on this one: “In a new memo to the Obama administration, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has laid out a list of specific demands it wants the president to follow in order to unilaterally ease the pace of deportations – suggesting the pressure on Obama to act may soon become overwhelming.”
 
* I’d bet good money this idea keeps collapsing: “Senate Republican centrists are reacting coolly to Sen. Susan Collins’s (R-Maine) effort to reach a compromise on the minimum wage, imperiling progress on President Obama’s top economic agenda item.”
 
* More good ACA news: “As of the end of February, the number of Americans on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was 3 million higher than it was at the beginning of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period. It’s one more sign that the health care law is reducing the number of Americans without insurance significantly – although it doesn’t tell us by how much or whether, at year’s end, the reduction will live up to original projections.”
 
* Still more good ACA news: “Some states running their own Obamacare health insurance marketplaces reported a modest bump in youth enrollment in March, suggesting that many young adults waited until the deadline to sign up for coverage as expected.”
 
* A worthwhile effort: “The Justice Department is investigating whether high-frequency traders are violating insider trading laws. Attorney General Eric Holder told a House panel Friday that his department is exploring the controversial trading practice, along with other federal regulators.”
 
* Medicare: ‘The Obama administration announced on Thursday that same-sex married couples can qualify for Medicare hospital and physician benefits for the first time.”
 
* Other than Ron Fournier’s April Fool’s piece, which was cover-your-eyes bad, there can be no doubt that the Worst Column of the Week award goes to Peggy Noonan: “According to the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, if you just ignore the millions of Americans who have gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act, then it’s clear that the law is a huge mess.”
 
* Memphis, 46 years ago: “From down on Mulberry Street, the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. looks very much the way it did 46 years ago, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped from room 306, onto a second-floor balcony, and into eternity. “
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Friday's Mini-Report, 4.4.14