Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 1.16.19

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* An explosion this morning in Syria left four Americans dead: “Two American service members, a U.S. Defense Department civilian employee and a contractor supporting the department were killed while ‘conducting a routine patrol,’ according to a spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, and a statement from U.S. Central Command.”

* The attack in Kenya: “Dozens of people remain missing one day after a deadly attack on a popular hotel complex in Nairobi, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society. Tuesday’s attack started with car bombs before armed men invaded the DusitD2 hotel complex, which includes bars, restaurants, offices and banks.”

* May survives the no-confidence vote: “Theresa May narrowly survived another bid to oust her as prime minister on Wednesday – the second attempt in five weeks – leaving Britain with a leader but without a plan as it barrels toward a March 29 deadline to leave the European Union.”

* A vote we were watching closely: “Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer came up just short in his effort to get legislation through the chamber blocking the Treasury Department from easing sanctions on a trio of Russian companies.”

* I’m still not entirely sure how this is legal: “The Internal Revenue Service is recalling about 46,000 of its employees furloughed by the government shutdown – nearly 60 percent of its workforce – to handle tax returns and pay out refunds. The employees won’t be paid during the shutdown.”

* The West Wing has cause for concern: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is sinking panel resources into a robust investigative staff to revive the probe into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia with roughly seven committee staffers directing their energy full-time.”

* This seems oddly predictable: “Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife, announced Tuesday that she would return to teaching art at a northern Virginia elementary school that explicitly bars its employees from engaging in or condoning ‘homosexual or lesbian sexual activity’ and ‘transgender identity.’”

* I’m always intrigued by 5-4 rulings that don’t fall along the predictable ideological fault lines: “A divided Supreme Court on Monday set the bar low on the amount of violence needed to trigger longer prison sentences for some repeat offenders.”

* It’s a new day in Virginia: “For those of us who came of age at a time when the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment seemed as inevitable as it was overdue, the ERA’s sudden revival in the Trump era has been a marvelous development. Today the Virginia Senate ratified the amendment, which means the Old Dominion is halfway through the process of becoming the crucial 38th state – three-fourths of the 50 states – to get onboard since Congress passed the ERA in 1972.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 1.16.19