Friday’s Mini-Report, 8.1.14

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Cease-fire collapses: “A newly reached cease-fire in the Gaza conflict quickly collapsed on Friday as the Israeli military announced that two soldiers had been killed and a third captured by Palestinian militants who emerged from a tunnel near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The Israelis responded with fierce assaults that left dozens more Palestinians dead.”
 
* Uganda: “Uganda’s Constitutional Court has nullified a draconian anti-gay law that carried, among other penalties, life-long prison sentences for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality.’ In a decision Friday from a panel of five judges, the court found Uganda’s recently-enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act ‘null and void’ because it was passed without a quorum of the necessary one-third members of parliament present.”
 
* Ebola crisis: “In an ominous warning as fatalities mounted in West Africa from the worst known outbreak of the Ebola virus, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday that the disease was moving faster than efforts to curb it, with potentially catastrophic consequences including a ‘high risk’ that it will spread.”
 
* He’s right: “President Barack Obama sharply criticized Congress Friday for failing to act on key issues, including the border crisis and long-term infrastructure funding.”
 
* He’s right about this, too: “President Obama said in blunt terms Friday that the United States ‘tortured some folks’ – describing a forthcoming report on now-defunct U.S. interrogation techniques he called ‘contrary to our values.’”
 
* Florida: “A Florida judge ordered the state Legislature on Friday to submit a redrawn congressional map within two weeks to replace ones for two districts that were ruled illegal. In the ruling, Judge Terry P. Lewis of Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit held open the possibility of delaying the November elections.”
 
* Argentina: “Stocks fell sharply in Argentina on Thursday as the country entered into economic uncertainty with its second default in 13 years, one forced upon it by New York hedge funds with the backing of U.S. courts.”
 
* Wages: “One more sign that life is improving for American workers: paychecks are finally growing faster. The Labor Department reported Thursday that workers’ wages and salaries grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent during the second quarter, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2008.”
 
* Capital punishment: “Amid renewed controversy over capital punishment, Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday called for more transparency in lethal injections. In an interview with Gwen Ifill on ‘PBS NewsHour,’ Holder said those on death row have a right to know what’s in the pharmaceutical cocktails used for their executions, according to a preview obtained by NBC News’ Pete Williams. “
 
* Dylan Scott has the latest powerful evidence that the Halbig fans trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act are completely, demonstrably, and unequivocally wrong. Jon Chait described the right’s argument as “completely insane,” which seems more than fair.
 
* The infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is reportedly “seeking to extend its brand of aggressive privatization and tax cuts to the local level, with the launch on Wednesday of a new offshoot focused on America’s cities and counties.”
 
* I’m grateful to Simon Maloy, who reads Peggy Noonan so I don’t have to.
 
* Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who appears to be increasingly out of control lately, needlessly grabbed a House staffer this week, on video. The Republican lawmaker acknowledged yesterday, “I should have never placed my hands on the young man.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Friday's Mini-Report, 8.1.14