Today’s edition of quick hits:
* A heartbreaking triple murder: “A preliminary investigation of the shooting deaths of three young Muslims near the University of North Carolina suggests the slayings were motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking, police said – but authorities are exploring other possible motives and have not ruled out a hate-motivated attack.”
* AUMF: “President Obama asked Congress on Wednesday for new war powers to go after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the brutal terror group that has beheaded American journalists and aid workers and has menaced the Middle East. The president’s request would replace the 2002 legislation that authorized the Iraq War but leaves in place a very broadly worded resolution passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”
* On a related note, congressional Republicans are already complaining about the proposed AUMF, renewing my longstanding argument that they should have tried writing it themselves.
* Yemen: “The United States and Britain abruptly closed their embassies in Yemen on Wednesday, while France announced it would close its embassy on Friday, amid deteriorating security conditions after the takeover of the country by Shiite rebels.”
* Diplomacy in Belarus: “The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany gathered here late Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to negotiate a peace agreement for Ukraine and quiet an escalating, year-old conflict that threatens to destabilize the European continent.”
* A volatile political environment in Oregon: “Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, who will take over the governorship if John Kitzhaber leaves office, is cutting short a trip to Washington, D.C. to return to Oregon on Wednesday.”
* On the other hand: “Gov. John Kitzhaber’s private attorney, Jim McDermott, on Wednesday sought to tamp down a flurry of speculation that the governor was planning to resign. ‘I have every reason to believe the governor will stay in office,’ McDermott said in a telephone interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.”
* Conservatives are all class: “Not all conservatives used the death of American hostage Kayla Mueller to highlight the brutality of the Islamic State – some decided to focus their disgust on the 26-year-old’s humanitarian work for Palestinians. ‘No tears for the newly-departed Kayla Mueller, the ISIS hostage whose parents confirmed today that she is dead,’ conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel wrote on Tuesday, under the headline, ‘Kayla Mueller: Dead ISIS Hostage Was Jew-Hating, Anti-Israel Bitch.’”
* A six-month suspension: “NBC News is suspending Nightly News managing editor and anchor Brian Williams for six months, without pay, in the wake of an internal review of comments about his experiences in the early days of the Iraq war. In a memo to the entire staff, NBC News president Deborah Turness announced the decision, saying it was effective immediately.”
* This guy is having a rough 2015: “Illinois GOP Rep. Aaron Schock has launched his own review of tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursements he received for official use of his personal vehicle, following questions raised Tuesday about the practice.”
* Am I going to miss “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”? Yes. Yes, I am.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.