Monday’s Mini-Report, 1.5.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Afghanistan: “A suicide car bomber struck near the headquarters of the European police training mission in Kabul on Monday, killing one Afghan civilian and wounding five others nearby, police and EUPOL said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, the first against a foreign target in the Afghan capital in 2015.”
 
* ISIS: “Senior defense officials confirmed Monday that the al-Assad airbase in Iraq, where U.S. military are training Iraqi security forces, has been pounded almost daily by mortar attacks from ISIS militants, but claimed the attacks have been ‘completely ineffective.’”
 
* The mutineers still don’t have the votes: “House Speaker John A. Boehner faced a growing mutiny Monday from rank-and-file conservatives bent on dislodging him from the chamber’s top job, presenting House Republican leaders with a familiar complication on the eve of swearing in the party’s largest majority in decades.”
 
* I’m still struggling with the very idea of protesting at a funeral: “Despite a plea from the NYPD police commissioner, officers once again gave New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio the cold shoulder at a funeral for a fallen colleague.”
 
* Marriage equality reaches Floridians: “Miami-Dade County became the first place in Florida to allow same-sex couples to marry on Monday, half a day before a gay-marriage ban that has been ruled unconstitutional is lifted in the rest of the state.”
 
* California: “In an inaugural address drawing on his family’s deep roots in California, Gov. Jerry Brown called for expansive new environmental regulations that would protect the state for future generations…. By 2030, Brown wants California to derive 50% of its electricity from renewable sources, up from the goal of 33% by 2020.”
 
* Wow: “Oil continued its plunge today, as markets opened for the first full week of trading in 2015. A barrel of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil most recently traded at $ 50.14, after briefly dipping below $ 50 per barrel. That is a mindboggling decline from late June of 2014, when prices were more than double the current level.”
 
* The White House twists the knife a little: “White House press secretary Josh Earnest argued Monday that it says a lot about Republican leaders’ “priorities and values” if embattled House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in his leadership post in the new Congress.”
 
case worth watching: “A member of the grand jury that did not indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., sued the county prosecutor on Monday, seeking to speak out because the public’s impression of the grand jury’s work was ‘not entirely accurate.’”
 
Nuclear talks: “Iran and the U.S. have tentatively agreed on a formula that Washington hopes will reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear arms by committing it to ship to Russia much of the material needed for such weapons, diplomats say.”
 
* Aggregate vote totals: “[T]he 46 Democratic caucus members in the 114th Congress received a total of 67.8 million votes in winning their seats, while the 54 Republican caucus members received 47.1 million votes.”
 
* Lawrence Summers makes the case for carbon taxes: “With the recent steep fall in oil prices and associated declines in other energy prices, it has become overwhelming. There is room for debate about the size of the tax and about how the proceeds should be deployed. But there should be no doubt that, given the current zero tax rate on carbon, increased taxation would be desirable.”
 
* NWS: “The National Weather Service’s primary computer model trails competitors in Europe in overall forecasting accuracy.  But today it announced upgrades to its supercomputers that hold great promise to improve its predictions. By October this year, the capacity of the two National Weather Service supercomputers will increase by nearly a factor of ten it said.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Monday's Mini-Report, 1.5.15