Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 5.20.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* The latest oil spill: “Crews are rushing to contain an oil spill that has befouled four miles of scenic California coastline just before the Memorial Day holiday. The spill, about 20 miles up the coast from Santa Barbara, was estimated at 21,000 gallons. The Coast Guard said a planned flyover Wednesday morning would give authorities a better sense of scope.”
 
* Nebraska: “Nebraska lawmakers voted to abolish the death penalty Wednesday with enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto. Lawmakers voted 32-15 on a bill to replace the death penalty with life without parole as the state’s highest penalty. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) has vowed to veto the bill, but the legislature is expected to have enough votes to override the veto.”
 
* Newly declassified OBL documents: “In his Pakistani redoubt where he hid for years from American intelligence services, Osama bin Laden worked as a CEO-in-exile for al Qaeda, sending letters to his operatives, critiquing the current state of jihad, and offering strategic lessons on staying relevant and out of harm’s way, newly released documents show.”
 
* Some drama on the Senate floor: “Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has begun a filibuster-like speech on the Senate floor to protest the renewal of the Patriot Act, highlighting his opposition to the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk collection of telephone data.”
 
* It passed on a 387-to-35 vote: “The House on Tuesday approved a two-month extension of funding for transportation projects, setting up what could be a defining fight over money for highways and other infrastructure this summer after years of stopgap measures.”
 
* On a related note, even Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) conceded this week that the problem with the highway bill “is really more Republicans than Democrats.”
 
* Israel: “Responding to intense criticism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday abruptly shelved a contentious pilot project introduced this week that prohibited Palestinians returning to the West Bank from riding on the same buses as Israelis headed to Jewish settlements.”
 
* Good move: “Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made her state the third to outlaw the use of conversion therapy on minors on Monday, eliminating the controversial practice that President Barack Obama called to ban in early April.”
 
* Bold move: “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut called on Congress Tuesday to lift its ban on funding needle exchange programs, a subject that is getting increased attention because of rising intravenous drug use in several states.”
 
* Six-count indictment: “Doug Hughes, the Ruskin mail carrier who flew his gyrocopter into restricted airspace over Washington, D.C., last month to make a political statement, has been indicted by a federal grand jury. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that Hughes, 61, faces a total of six charges connected to the high-profile April 15 incident in which he flew his gyrocopter through Washington, D.C., and landed on the West Lawn of the Capitol.”
 
* This may seem like inside baseball, but it’s a story worth watching: “House conservatives are declaring victory in their yearslong quest to kill an obscure government bank – and Speaker John Boehner may soon face a choice whether to team up with Democrats to save it.”
 
* Fraud: “A study claiming that gay people advocating same-sex marriage can change voters’ minds has been retracted due to fraud. The study was published last December in Science, and received lots of media attention.”
 
* If I were half as athletic as the First Lady, I’d feel pretty good about myself: “Michelle Obama released a video of her workout routine to inspire Americans to exercise regularly as part of the #GimmeFive challenge, which celebrates the fifth anniversary of the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign to raise awareness about healthy living in the United States.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 5.20.15