Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Some progress in West Virginia: “And on Day 5, potable water began to flow again. West Virginia officials announced on Monday that a ban on tap water was being lifted, starting with hospitals and extending by zones to the 300,000 residents who have been without drinking water since a chemical spill last Thursday.”
* Nigeria: “A new law in Nigeria, signed by the president without announcement, has made it illegal for gay people to even hold a meeting. The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act also criminalizes homosexual clubs, associations and organizations, with penalties of up to 14 years in jail.”
* Recess appointments appear to be in deep trouble: “The Supreme Court seems poised to rule Obama’s 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board unconstitutional, with some of the high court’s conservatives sounding eager to return to a view of recess appointments not held since the horse and buggy days.”
* Carbon pollution: “The United States has been one of the few bright spots for climate-change policy in recent years. Thanks to the recession, improved efficiency measures and the shale-gas boom, the nation’s carbon-dioxide emissions from energy fell 12 percent between 2005 and 2012. But the party’s now officially ending, at least for those worried about global warming. In an early estimate, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says that U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions from energy sources increased 2 percent in 2013.”
* Eradicating polio: “It is three years since India last reported a case of polio. Patralekha Chatterjee reports on how the country appears to have finally managed to beat the disease. Despite a healthcare system beset by severe problems, India has ushered in the new year with an achievement to be proud of.”
* If you hear conservatives insisting the United States spent $1 trillion a year on “welfare,” keep in mind, they’re completely wrong.
* The budget is done; appropriations are not: “House-Senate negotiators have substantially narrowed their differences over a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill and are closing in on a deal that the leadership hopes can be filed by Monday night and moved quickly through Congress this week.”
* Salem Communications goes shopping: “According to the SEC filings, Salem will pay Eagle Publishing $8.5 million over three years for the acquisition of RedState, Regnery Publishing, and Human Events. The deal also includes earn out provisions that, if met, would mean an additional $8.5 million paid to Eagle Publishing.”
* Ralph Reed’s allies didn’t learn from his mistakes: “A New York Times report this weekend on national groups coordinating to win state-level elections noted the revelation, which first surfaced last fall, that Alabama Republicans worked to funnel money from Indian casinos to support candidates running on anti-gambling platforms in 2010.”
* Dave Weigel found a hilarious paragraph in Robert Gates’ memoir in which he says he was “offended” that President Obama suspected some of his military advisers might write about “sensitive matters” after they retire. But Gates wrote about the sensitive matter in question in his memoir, suggesting Obama was exactly right – and Gates had no reason to be offended.
* And I never tire of Iran’s Fars News: “Iran’s semi-official news outlets have something of a reputation for taking conspiracy theorism to the next level…. On Sunday, the hard-line semi-official Fars News dropped one of its biggest bombshells yet: The United States government has been secretly run by a ‘shadow government’ of space aliens since 1945. Yes, space aliens.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.