Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The White House has a new pitch: “President Barack Obama announced at the White House Thursday the first five of 20 ‘Promise Zones,’ distressed areas located in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, that will get tax breaks and federal aid.”
* Afghanistan: “President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Thursday ordered the release of dozens of prisoners accused of having American blood on their hands, intensifying his showdown with Obama administration officials after weeks of confrontation and warnings that he risked losing American troop support.”
* Expanded coverage: “Certain medications that are intended to prevent breast cancer will be fully covered under Obamacare, in new guidance set to be issued by the Department of Health and Human Services Thursday morning. Women at increased risk of breast cancer can receive so-called chemoprevention drugs, including tamoxifen and raloxifene, without a co-pay or other out-of-pocket expense.”
* Wildstein in contempt: “An ex-New Jersey state transportation official who has been linked to an effort by Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration to close lanes on the most heavily traveled bridge in the U.S. has been held in contempt by a state legislative committee for refusing to answer questions about the scandal.”
* International incident: “The Indian deputy consul whose arrest and strip-search in New York touched off a diplomatic spat between the U.S. and India has been indicted – and she has been asked to leave the country. A federal grand jury charged Devyani Khobragade with visa fraud and making a false statement for allegedly providing bogus information to get papers for a housekeeper she wanted to bring from India to the U.S. and pay less than minimum wage.”
* Putting a price on clean air and water: “Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment to the Senate’s extension of unemployment benefits that would require the Environmental Protection Agency report the economic impacts of any new regulations.”
* Simpsons references in politics must always be encouraged: “Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) used Republican challenger Bruce Rauner’s proposal to lower the state minimum wage to compare the GOP candidate to Montgomery Burns, the evil wealthy nuclear power plant owner in the cartoon The Simpsons.”
* Oh my: “Kentucky Rep. Leslie Combs (D), who accidentally fired her semi-automatic handgun in the state capitol on Tuesday, said in a statement Wednesday that she carries a gun for her personal safety. She said she supports Second Amendment rights, but that she believes gun safety education is also very important.”
* Jay Bookman takes a closer look at Georgia Republicans’ economic record, now that they’ve had a decade to implement all of their ideas. Spoiler alert: the results aren’t good.
* And it appears a certain cable news network has very little interest in the Christie bridge scandal. Imagine that.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.