Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 3.29.16

Updated
Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* This could have been much worse: “A hijacker who took dozens of hostages aboard a commercial jet over what appeared to be a ‘personal’ matter involving a woman was arrested after an hours-long standoff Tuesday, authorities said.”
 
* President Obama touted new proposals at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit: “The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a series of initiatives aimed at curbing America’s opioid addiction epidemic, steps that would make it easier to obtain medication-assisted treatment, expand Medicaid coverage for mental health and substance-abuse care and increase use of a drug that saves people from overdoses.”
 
* An unexpected move in the contraception fight: “Many observers left last week’s contraceptive coverage oral argument at the Supreme Court convinced that the court was headed to a 4-4 tie, with Justice Anthony Kennedy siding with the religious objectors opposing the Obama administration’s plan to cover their female employees’ contraception. On Tuesday, less than a week after oral argument, the court surprised everyone with a two-page order asking the parties for more information on their positions.”
 
* The end of a very high-profile dispute: “The Justice Department has asked to drop the court order that it wanted to use to compel Apple to help unlock an iPhone used by San Bernardino, California, attacker Syed Farook, saying it has gotten data off the device without the company’s help.”
 
* Good for him: “North Carolina’s new law limiting LGBT protections is a ‘national embarrassment,’ and the state’s lawyers won’t defend it against a federal challenge from gay rights advocates, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.”
 
* Utah: “Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has approved a bill that makes Utah the first state to require doctors to give anesthesia to women having an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later. The proposal is based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point.”
 
* Another possible step backwards: “The Mississippi House wants to allow the state to execute prisoners using a firing squad if officials decide lethal injection is too expensive or unavailable.”
 
* When the evidence points in a direction you don’t like, it must be time to change the evidence: “State lawmakers blasted the state surgeon general in January for cutting staff and spending at a time when new HIV cases were spiking in Florida. A month later, the Florida Department of Health quietly revised its figures. The department’s division of disease control lowered the number of new HIV cases … erasing one in four new infections from the rolls that year, state records show.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 
 
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 3.29.16

Updated