Thursday’s Mini-Report, 6.26.14

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Iraq: “As the first armed American drones began flying over Iraq on Thursday, Shiite political leaders were locked in meetings to try to decide who should be the country’s next prime minister. For the first time, some of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s own party members expressed doubt that he would be a viable candidate.”
 
* More Iraq: “President Barack Obama told Congress Thursday that he has the authority on his own to send troops to Iraq indefinitely under the Constitution. ‘These forces will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed,’ Obama told lawmakers of his decision to send 300 military advisers there.”
 
* Ukraine: “Amid a flurry of diplomatic consultations aimed at preserving a fragile cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that Russia faced the prospect of toughened sanctions unless it took steps over the coming “hours” to pressure armed separatists in eastern Ukraine to give up the fight.”
 
* Syria: “President Obama on Thursday requested $500 million from Congress to train and equip what the White House is calling ‘appropriately vetted’ members of the Syrian opposition. The request comes as the administration is trying to put some form to the president’s surprise announcement last month of plans for a $5 billion counterterrorism fund to provide training for operations in vulnerable countries in the Middle East.”
 
* Climate: “The sarcastic bear is loose, and he’s loving every minute of it. President Barack Obama is letting his inner Don Rickles run free, mocking climate deniers as the crowd who used to think the moon was made out of cheese or spineless dopes who can’t or won’t listen to science even though the science is all overwhelmingly pointing in one direction. Their heads are in the sand. They are members of the Flat Earth Society.”
 
* Arizona: ‘John Huppenthal, the Arizona Republican official who earlier this month confessed to being a prolific and nasty anonymous commenter on local politics blogs, apologized Wednesday for his bigoted online writings during an emotional press conference that ended with him walking out of the room in tears.”
 
* Wisconsin: “A Wisconsin special prosecutor clarified Thursday that GOP Gov. Scott Walker was not the target of his investigation into what he described in earlier court papers as a ‘criminal scheme.’”
 
* Really? “Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy? The charity has hired a fancy law firm to fight a public request we filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a ‘trade secret.’”
 
* Quote of the Day: “Former President Bill Clinton is firing back at ex-Vice President Dick Cheney over criticism of the Obama administration’s foreign policy…. ‘You know, if they hadn’t gone to war in Iraq none of this would be happening,’ Clinton said in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press, referring to Cheney and the George W. Bush administration.”
 
* The loss of a classy guy and the kind of congressional GOP leader we just don’t see anymore: “Howard Baker, American hero, has died at 88. Baker, a Tennessee Republican, was Senate majority leader during the first four years of the Ronald Reagan administration, and he served as minority leader during the Jimmy Carter years. In 1981, he led a group of constructive conservatives – including excellent senators such as Bob Dole and Pete Domenici – that first enacted as much of the Reagan agenda as it could. Later, these lawmakers worked more or less productively with the very liberal Democratic House elected in 1982.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Thursday's Mini-Report, 6.26.14