Today’s edition of quick hits:
* What a mess: “Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is ‘already hard at work’ as acting director of the nation’s top consumer protection agency, his spokesman said Monday morning. Mulvaney’s first move? An email telling staff to ignore all communication from the other acting director.”
* Iran’s hard-liners lost influence in the Obama era, but are thriving now: “Thanks to Trump’s dishonest, cheating and crazy remarks, he has proved what we have said for a long time: America cannot be trusted,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, a hard-line political analyst. “Many didn’t believe us, but now they do.”
* The FBI “failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs,”
* The inevitable walkback: “The Trump administration has backtracked on its decision to order the Palestinians’ office in Washington to close, instead saying it would merely impose limitations on the office that it expected would be lifted after 90 days.”
* There’s been some interesting research on Texas earthquakes and the work conducted by the oil and gas industry.
* The school’s position has become confusing: “The University of Notre Dame fought in court for five years to limit the government’s ability to push religiously affiliated employers to offer contraception benefits. Now, the university is voluntarily allowing birth-control benefits, exposing a divide among Catholic institutions.”
* A story to keep an eye on: “Facebook Inc. will show people which Russian propaganda pages or accounts they’ve followed and liked on the social network, responding to a request from Congress to address manipulation and meddling during the 2016 presidential election.”
* A lawsuit to watch: “A federal lawsuit set to go to trial next month marks the latest legal action brought against former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio over allegations that he pursued a trumped-up criminal case to get publicity and embarrass an adversary. The political opponent in this case: U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake. One of Flake’s sons filed a malicious-prosecution lawsuit, saying Arpaio pursued felony animal cruelty charges against him and his then-wife in a bid to do political damage to the senator and gain publicity.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.