Today’s edition of quick hits.
* Avoiding a rail strike: “President Joe Biden signed legislation Friday to avoid a potentially catastrophic rail strike after Congress approved the measure this week. ... The agreement, brokered by the Biden administration in September, provides rail union members with an immediate 14.1% wage increase that will grow to 24% by 2024. It also provides more health care benefits and an additional day of personal leave.”
* This seems unlikely to happen anytime soon: “Standing beside the French leader who has championed the need for dialogue with Moscow, President Biden said on Thursday that he would talk to President Vladimir V. Putin, but only in consultation with NATO allies and only if the Russian leader indicated he was ‘looking for a way to end the war.’”
* ISIS: “Islamic State said Wednesday that its top leader died recently in fighting, less than a year after the terrorist group’s previous commander was killed during a U.S. military raid in Syria. The group’s spokesman said that leader Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi is dead but gave no other details, according to an audio statement transcribed by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist organizations.”
* Joel Greenberg’s sentencing: “The ex-Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal investigation into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a former friend, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other offenses.”
* Was it really a coincidence? “IRS research audits in 2017 and 2019 — the years that FBI leaders James Comey and Andrew McCabe were selected for those intensive exams — were random, according to an inspector general’s report released Thursday.”
* According to new research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League, and other groups that study online platforms, the rise of hate speech since Elon Musk took over Twitter is “unprecedented.”
* In related news: “Elon Musk publicly retracted his accusations that Apple had threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store — two days after his claim unleashed a tsunami of Republican attacks and threats of reprisals against the iPhone-maker.”
* Rokita has been wrong about Bernard from the outset: “Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, asked a state medical board on Wednesday to discipline the doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim this summer. Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, treated the girl, who had traveled from Ohio when the state enacted a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.”
* A Senate hearing on the Supreme Court is expected next year, but the outgoing House Democratic majority isn’t waiting that long: “The House Judiciary Committee announced on Thursday that it would hold a hearing on Dec. 8 to investigate the religious right lobbying campaign that led to the allegation that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leaked the outcome of his 2014 Hobby Lobby decision to its participants.”
* In Nevada: “President Biden pledged Wednesday that he would preserve the Spirit Mountain area in southern Nevada, which contains some of the most biologically diverse and culturally significant lands in the Mojave Desert.”
Have a safe weekend.