Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 2.3.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* ISIS militants “released a video on Tuesday purporting to show a captive Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage, just days after the militants beheaded a Japanese journalist.”
 
* The craziest story in the world is in Argentina: “Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor whose mysterious death has gripped Argentina, had drafted a warrant for the arrest of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, accusing her of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center here, the lead investigator into his death said Tuesday.”
 
* Wall Street: “The echo of the financial crisis is still reverberating. Standard & Poor’s is paying about $1.38 billion to settle government allegations that it knowingly inflated its ratings of risky mortgage investments that helped trigger the financial crisis.”
 
* Alabama: “The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Alabama’s requests to keep two rulings striking down the state’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages from going into effect. Without further action, the trial court rulings by U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade are due to end on Feb. 9 – meaning same-sex couples could marry in Alabama at that time.”
 
* As expected: “Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked House Republican efforts to undo President Obama’s immigration actions…. As expected, the legislation was dead on arrival in the Senate. Republicans hold a majority in the upper chamber, yet the legislation needed to garner at least 60 votes to pass. Ultimately, Democrats filibustered the measure in a 51-48 vote.”
 
* The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act passed: “The Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve legislation aimed at preventing suicide among military veterans. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) was the only one absent in the 99-0 vote. His office said he had flight problems in Chicago.”
 
* Republicans oppose the plan, but have no alternative of their own: “President Obama’s proposed budget envisions a nearly half-trillion-dollar transportation construction spree that would seek to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges and ports by imposing new taxes on overseas earnings by American companies.”
 
* Good idea: “President Barack Obama wants to create a new government agency dedicated to keeping the nation’s food safe.”
 
* Good for him: “It’s not every day a top-ranking White House official gets hands-on in a local operation – especially with very few cameras around. But last Thursday evening, Denis McDonough did just that. President Obama’s chief of staff ventured onto the San Francisco streets alongside Mayor Ed Lee and Trent Rhorer, director of the city’s Human Services Agency, SF Gate reported. The trio were volunteers for the city’s biennial survey that counts how many people are homeless and breaks down the figure by demographics, like age and gender.”
 
* Keystone: “An Environmental Protection Agency review of the Keystone XL pipeline emphasized that the recent drop in global oil prices might mean that construction of the pipeline could spur increased development of the Canadian oil sands – and thus increase planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.”
 
* Quite a story from Chris Geidner: “Rock Hudson was desperately trying to get treatment for AIDS in France in 1985. Much of that story has been told, but one part hasn’t: After a simple plea came in for White House help to get Hudson transferred to another hospital, First Lady Nancy Reagan turned down the request.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 2.3.15