Today’s edition of quick hits:
* VA: “A top Veterans Affairs official has resigned amid allegations that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for primary health care. Under pressure for swift action in response to the allegations, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced Friday that he accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, under secretary for health at the VA.”
* Relevant detail: “The VA announced Petzel’s pending retirement in a news release last September.”
* GM: “General Motors will pay $35 million in a civil settlement with the federal government over its failure to report in a timely manner a defective ignition switch in 2.6 million smaller cars, the Department of Transportation announced on Friday.”
* Late this afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office killed the ENLIST Act, offering a stark reminder about the scope of GOP hostility towards immigration reform: “House Republican leaders intervened Friday to prevent a vote on immigration legislation, dealing a severe blow to election-year efforts to overhaul the dysfunctional system.”
* A changing of the guard in the world’s largest democracy: “India’s opposition party swept to victory in India’s national election Friday, setting the stage for Hindu nationalist and economic reformer Narendra Modi to become India’s next prime minister…. Ultimately voters overwhelmingly chose his message of change, with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies garnering well over the 272 seats needed for a clear majority in Parliament.”
* For a variety of reasons, the win for the India’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party is rather alarming.
* Stunning: “The massive drought afflicting the western United States keeps getting worse and worse. Fully half of the mainland United States is now facing drier-than-usual conditions, with 15 percent of the country experiencing ‘extreme’ to ‘exceptional’ drought.”
* This will get uglier: “Donald Sterling isn’t going down without a fight. The disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers refuses to pay the $2.5 million fine levied on him by the NBA, several media outlets report, and is rejecting his lifelong ban from the league. Not only does Sterling refuse to comply with his punishment, but according to Sports Illustrated and USA Today, his attorneys penned a letter to the NBA threatening a lawsuit if the league does not rescind its sanctions.”
* New Hampshire: “A police commissioner in a predominantly white New Hampshire town said he won’t apologize for calling President Barack Obama the N-word, and he sat with his arms crossed while angry residents at a meeting called for his resignation on Thursday…. ‘I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse (sic),’ Copeland said in the email. ‘For this, I do not apologize – he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.’”
* This may be counter intuitive, but sometimes, rising inflation is sometimes good news: “Inflation can be a scary word, but there’s nothing to fear in new numbers released this week. Government data that came out Thursday showed prices for the most common consumer goods – one of our standard measures of inflation – jumped 0.3 percent in April and were up 2 percent over the past year. That’s nearly double the pace of increase just two months ago.”
* Guantanamo: “The Obama administration’s legal team has told Congress that if Guantanamo Bay detainees were relocated to a prison inside the United States, it is unlikely that a court would order their release onto domestic soil. In a nine-page, unclassified report delivered late Wednesday, the Justice Department and the Pentagon expressed confidence that existing law provided ‘robust protection of the national security.’”
* Oh my: “Kentucky’s other senator, Rand Paul, has said he’s not sure anyone can explain global warming.” It’s really not that complicated, especially for a medical doctor and U.S. senator.
* I wish I could have been there for this one: “Secretary of State John Kerry ran into a Monty Python star in a London elevator Friday while on official diplomatic business. Kerry tweeted a photo of himself standing in an elevator with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and British actor John Cleese.”
* Six decades later: “Sixty years ago, Brown v. Board of Education ended legalized racial segregation in our schools, but the significance of the case extended far beyond the classroom. It was the resounding victory of equality and multiculturalism over disenfranchisement and white hegemony that was felt across the country, from the lunch counter to the ballot box. The momentum from Brown led to the passage of critical legislation: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.