Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Syria: “American Special Operations forces and the Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters they are advising this week pushed closer to Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in northern Syria.”
* Migrant crisis: “More than 4,000 would-be refugees were rescued at sea Thursday in one of the busiest days of the Mediterranean migrant crisis, and at least 20 died trying to reach Europe as Libyan-based smugglers took advantage of calmer seas to send desperate migrants north.”
* Republican radicalism sure is odd: “The House rejected a sweeping $37.4 billion spending bill Thursday with conservative Republicans saying they opposed the inclusion of an amendment related to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
* Baylor University “football coach Art Briles was fired Thursday in the wake of a scandal surrounding the school’s poor handling of sexual assault and domestic violence allegations against members of the powerhouse football team, NBC News confirms. Kenneth Starr, the former special prosecutor best known for his role in the Bill Clinton impeachment saga, has been removed from his role as university president”
* Someone might want to let Congress know: “Pregnant women infected with the Zika virus during their first trimester face as high as a 13 percent chance that their fetus will develop a severe and rare brain defect, according to research published Wednesday.”
* Louisiana: “Hate crime statutes originated as a response to bigotry, a special penalty for singling people out for abuse based on factors like race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual orientation or, most recently, gender identity. On Thursday, Louisiana became the first state to add law enforcement officers to that list.”
* Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) “said federal authorities have told his attorney there’s no indication the governor did anything wrong related to an ongoing campaign finance investigation.”
* Alabama: “The investigation into Gov. Robert Bentley, and the fallout of his relationship with former adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason, is apparently moving to the grand jury.”
* More focus on bathrooms: “Mississippi plans to back the 11 other states that filed a lawsuit Wednesday to block the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom policy at public schools, Gov. Phil Bryant said.”
* If you’re ever tempted to consider The Daily Caller a legitimate news outlet, I hope you’ll keep evidence to the contrary in mind.
* A striking statistic: “The Federal Reserve surveyed more than 5,000 people to determine whether their personal situations were improving along with the economy…. About 46 percent of Americans said they did not have enough money to cover a $400 emergency expense. Instead, they would have to put it on a credit card and pay it off over time, borrow from friends or family, or simply not cover it at all.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.