Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Speaking at the White House Tribal Nations Conference: “President Barack Obama said Wednesday that there’s a very visible sense among Americans that the police and justice systems aren’t treating everyone fairly. Those comments came in response to the news that no charges would be brought against the New York Police Department officer in the choke-holding case that resulted in the death of Eric Garner.”
* Texas: “A U.S. Appeals Court’s decision to issue a stay of a mentally ill man on Texas’ death row just hours before he was scheduled to be executed means that Texas Governor Rick Perry no longer needs to make what could have been a controversial decision on whether the execution should proceed.”
* I’m a little surprised they could pull this off: “Investigators believe North Korea launched a recent cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment in apparent retaliation for a comedy film that includes a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the country’s reclusive 31-year-old supreme leader.”
* It’s striking that this has become necessary: “NATO will establish a prototype of a new rapid response force next year as it strives to improve its ability to deter a Russian attack, the alliance said on Tuesday. The ‘interim spearhead force’ will be made up of German, Dutch and Norwegian troops and is expected to be about the size of a brigade, 3,000 to 4,000 troops.”
* Supreme Court “justices hearing a case of alleged pregnancy discrimination today struggled over a key question: What does it mean to discriminate against a pregnant worker? Does it mean being ‘pregnancy blind’ – treating them like anyone else, but drawing the line at any physical accommodation they might need – or does it mean treating them like other workers who have restrictions, like injured ones?”
* Iraq: “When Iranian fighter jets struck extremist targets this week in Iraq, enforcing a self-declared buffer zone along the border, it was only the latest display of Tehran’s new willingness to conduct military operations openly on foreign battlefields rather than covertly and through proxies.”
* Scary: “Super Typhoon Hagupit – on track to be the world’s most powerful storm this year – is forecast to hit or graze the Philippines by the weekend. Hagupit strengthened into a typhoon Tuesday and continued to strengthen Wednesday, with sustained winds of 150 mph, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.”
* Good advice: “In remarks that underscored an emerging concern about the direction of the economy, President Obama told business leaders Wednesday that, despite record corporate profits, stagnant wage growth is creating anxiety among workers.”
* The end of “stop and frisk” didn’t hurt NYC: “Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that a city his opponents once said would grow more dangerous under his watch had, in fact, become even safer.”
* Oh my: “A Texas school board member apologized after posting an image of a member of the Ku Klux Klan with the caption ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ to his Facebook page, television station KTAL reported on Monday. Chris Harris, a board member for the Hooks Independent School District in the town of Hooks, posted two apologies to Facebook after posting the offensive image. After removing the offending post, he maintained in both apologies that he was not ‘a racist.’”
* What a crazy story: “School officials say about 100 brains reported missing from a University of Texas research lab in Austin were actually destroyed about 12 years ago, because they were in poor condition.”
* I celebrate the demise of captcha, as do decent people everywhere.
* Bipartisanship! “The House has just passed what might well be the most popular bill in American Congressional history: the ‘No Social Security for Nazis Act.’ It does exactly what it sounds like it does, blocking former Nazi war criminals from receiving Social Security checks. The bill passed unanimously and will next go to the Senate.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.