Thursday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Afghanistan: “U.S. officials condemned Afghanistan’s release of 65 alleged militants on Thursday, saying some of the men were explosives experts who were directly linked to attacks that have killed American troops and civilians…. Senior U.S. military officials said the release ‘violates an agreement’ with the Afghan government and is a ‘major step backward’ in local ‘rule of law.’”
 
* Iraq: “A series of daring but little noticed breakouts from Iraqi prisons has freed hundreds of hardened militants who are now among the leaders and foot soldiers of the radical Sunni groups operating in neighboring Syria and, increasingly, in Iraq itself.”
 
* North Carolina: “Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into a massive coal ash spill into a North Carolina River.The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Duke Energy have been ordered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh to turn over all relevant emails, memos and reports from 2010 through the Feb. 2 spill.”
 
* Developments in the Snowden story: “A civilian NSA employee recently resigned after being stripped of his security clearance for allowing former agency contractor Edward Snowden to use his personal log-in credentials to access classified information, according to an agency memo obtained by NBC News.”
 
* I’ve talked up discharge petitions for a long while, but I’ll concede it’s a long shot: “Senator Charles E. Schumer, one of the architects of broad immigration legislation that passed the Senate in June, on Thursday embraced the idea of using a procedural maneuver known as a discharge petition to circumvent the Republican majority in the House and bring sweeping immigration legislation to a vote before the end of the year.”
 
* I’m going to hope he didn’t mean this: “A Colorado state senator this week said it was ‘maybe a good thing’ James Holmes possessed a firearm with a high-capacity magazine when he entered an Aurora movie theater in 2012 and killed 12 people.”
 
* A popular tax cut for a very small group of Americans: “The White House said Thursday that President Obama still believes American Olympians shouldn’t have to pay income taxes on the medals they win…. During the 2012 presidential campaign, the White House said those who medaled in the summer games should be exempt from taxes on their winnings.”
 
* There’s something kind of amazing about this: “A year and a half after launching with much fanfare, a group affiliated with fiscal watchdogs Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson is nearly broke. The Can Kicks Back – which targets millennials and was conceived as a partner and affiliate of the group Fix the Debt – is running low on cash, according to emails and documents reviewed by POLITICO.”
 
* Gingrich Productions is deeply strange and kind of creepy: “Subscribers to CNN host Newt Gingrich’s email list are receiving supposed insider information about cancer ‘cures,’ the Illuminati, ‘Obama’s ‘Secret Mistress,’ a ‘weird’ Social Security ‘trick,’ and Fort Knox being ‘empty.’”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Thursday's Mini-Report