Thursday’s Mini-Report, 4.21.16

Today’s edition of quick hits:
* I generally avoid celebrity-related news, but this is a story I actually care quite a bit about: “Prince, one of America’s most influential and enigmatic rock musicians, has died, his publicist told NBC News…. The 57-year-old Grammy-winning artist’s death also came a week after his tour plane made an emergency landing in Illinois, where he was hospitalized with what was described as the flu.”
* Hiring hackers costs money: “FBI Director James Comey suggested Thursday that the bureau paid more than $1 million to access an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino attackers, the first time the agency has offered a possible price tag in the high-profile case.”
* VW: “Volkswagen agreed on Thursday to fix or buy back nearly 500,000 diesel cars in the United States that are equipped with illegal emissions software.”
* Speaking of the auto industry: “Anyone suffering deja vu while watching Mitsubishi Motors’ top executives admit the company cheated on fuel economy tests should not be surprised. Not because of the similarity to Volkswagen’s emissions test-rigging admission of last September, but because this was not a first for Mitsubishi Motors.”
* Senate Democrats today blocked “a Republican effort to prevent further spending on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule designed to establish federal regulatory control over small waterways. The measure, from Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster; the vote was 56-42.”
* I’ll look forward to hearing more about the industry’s responses: “The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat is asking for details on what major U.S. airlines are doing to prevent anti-Muslim discrimination. Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) sent a letter this week to Nicholas Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America, a trade organization that represents major U.S. airlines.”
* It’s easy to feel good about the job market: “New applications for unemployment benefits sank to the lowest level in 42 years, pointing to continued improvement in the labor market. Initial claims fell by 6,000 to 247,000 in the seven days ended April 16, the Labor Department said. This is the lowest level since the week of Nov. 24, 1973.”
* This isn’t how government is supposed to work: “The Supreme Court has been waiting two months for the Senate to do something about its empty seat. If you think that sounds like a long time, you haven’t heard about the federal circuit court in Wisconsin. It’s been waiting more than six years for a judge, and it’s not looking like Republicans will give the court one anytime soon, either. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has the longest vacancy of any circuit court in the country, and it’s been a winding and absurd process trying to get someone in there. The delays are largely because of one person: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report, 4.21.16