Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Nigeria: “Four of the more than 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by militants in April have escaped their captors, a Nigerian Ministry of Information official confirmed to NBC News.”
* Syria: “An American citizen carried out a suicide bombing in Syria on behalf of an al Qaeda-linked militant group on Sunday, apparently the first time a U.S. citizen has carried out such an attack in the Syrian civil war, U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism officials tell NBC News.”
* President Obama spoke at length today about his foreign policy vision during his commencement address at West Point: “America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only – or even primary – component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” Note some of the commentary from Max Fisher and Kevin Drum.
* The list now includes one Democratic senator, Mark Udall of Colorado: “More senators are calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki after a report from the VA’s Office of the Inspector General Wednesday found that thousands of veterans have been negatively affected by long appointment wait times for medical care and convoluted scheduling practices at Phoenix’s VA hospital.”
* I wonder why the Bush/Cheney White House didn’t take the Plame leak this seriously: “The White House will conduct an internal review of the circumstances leading to Sunday’s disclosure to members of the White House press corps of the identity of a CIA station chief.”
* No brainer: “For the first time in history, married same-sex couples will be counted as families by the U.S. Census Bureau.”
* Interesting report from Zach Carter and Ryan Grim on the Congressional Black Caucus: “The CBC is not an organization known for airing its dirty laundry in public. But over the last year, the tawdriness of its pro-Wall Street votes has become so blatant that several members have started to push back, led by Maxine Waters, the veteran Los Angeles legislator who serves as the top Democrat on the financial services panel. To many in the CBC, it feels like a battle for the storied caucus’s soul – and the result could dictate the direction of economic policy for the Democratic Party at large.”
* Fascinating: “According to a recent paper from Zoltan L. Hajnal and Jeremy D. Horowitz – both political scientists at the University of California–San Diego – there’s clear evidence that when the nation is governed by Democrats, black well-being ‘improves dramatically’ across multiple dimensions.”
* The loss of a legend: “Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet whose landmark book of 1969, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ – which describes in lyrical, unsparing prose her childhood in the Jim Crow South – was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday in her home. She was 86 and lived in Winston-Salem, N.C.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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Wednesday's Mini-Report, 5.28.14