Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Ferguson: “The Justice Department has begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., who killed an unarmed black teenager in August, law enforcement officials said.”
* When 50,000 gallons of oil leaks into a river, it’s a very big deal: “More than 5,000 people in the rural Montana city of Glendive have been told not to use municipal water because elevated levels of cancer-causing benzene were found downstream from a weekend crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River.”
* Historic talks: “The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to travel to Cuba in nearly 40 years boarded a commercial flight Wednesday morning from Miami – ahead of negotiations to re-establish diplomatic ties between the two countries.”
* Why did Republicans offer different messages on immigration in English and Spanish last night? According to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, it’s all President Obama’s fault. Don’t worry, this struck me as incoherent, too.
* FHA at the high court: “At a Supreme Court hearing Wednesday, Scalia joined all four liberal justices in sounding deeply skeptical of a bid by the state of Texas to dramatically narrow the scope of the 1968 Fair Housing Act (FHA), which prohibits racial and other forms of discrimination in housing.”
* And speaking of the court: “President Barack Obama issued a strong statement Wednesday in opposition to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision, a ruling he believes ‘has caused real harm to our democracy.’” The ruling was issued five years ago today.
* This guy: “A Virginia lawmaker who was elected to the House of Delegates while serving a jail term now faces felony charges for allegedly entering a forged document into court and lying under oath, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Henrico County.”
* What did economically struggling swing voters think of President Obama’s State of the Union address? Greg Sargent sat in on an interesting dial-session focus group organized by Stan Greenberg’s Democracy Corps, for the advocacy organization Women’s Voices Women Vote.
* The regional difference was striking: “In 16 states, there are more people in prisons and jails than college housing.”
* Unnecessary secrecy in Georgia: “Gov. Nathan Deal skipped town over the weekend for an economic development trip. Just where he went is being treated like a state secret.”
* Even for Florida, this is a ridiculous idea: “Florida students would be required to attend screenings of the widely panned conservative film America, Imagine a World Without Her under twin bills proposed by state lawmakers…. If approved, all school districts in Florida would have to ensure that their middle and high schools hold a screening of the film for 8th- and 11th-graders every year. Each student would be required to attend unless his or her parent requests in writing that they be exempt.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.