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Monday's Mini-Report, 12.22.14

Today's edition of quick hits.
Today's edition of quick hits:
* NYC: "Mayor de Blasio went on to reiterate calls for protest groups to also pause demonstrations around policing practices until after the holidays are over and the families of the two fallen officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, have been able to prepare funeral arrangements."
* DOJ: "Attorney General Eric Holder is directing Justice Department officials to expedite death benefits to the families of two New York police officers who were fatally shot inside their patrol car. A Justice Department official said Monday that Holder wants to ensure that the benefits are paid quickly and that the paperwork process begins as soon as possible."
* North Korea "experienced a widespread Internet outage on Monday.... The Internet blackout began sometime Monday morning Eastern Time, a U.S. official confirmed to NBC News. A second U.S. official strongly denied any U.S. involvement in the outage."
* Wisconsin: "Former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney will not be charged in connection with the on-duty fatal shooting of Dontre Hamilton at Red Arrow Park, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said Monday. The decision comes nearly eight months after the shooting."
* Arizona is "scrapping the lethal injection protocol used in the execution of Joseph Wood, which lasted nearly two hours and took 15 doses. Officials announced the change Monday after an internal review of the troubling July execution, even as they insisted it was 'handled appropriately.'"
* Ferguson: "St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch admitted Friday that he believed multiple witnesses lied under oath while testifying before the grand jury that heard the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen who was shot dead by a police officer in August."
* China: "When a retired Chinese general with impeccable Communist Party credentials recently wrote a scathing account of North Korea as a recalcitrant ally headed for collapse and unworthy of support, he exposed a roiling debate in China about how to deal with the country's young leader, Kim Jong-un."
* Florida: "The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday declined a request from Florida officials to postpone the date when same-sex marriages can begin in the state. In August, a federal judge declared the state's ban unconstitutional, but that order was put on hold until Jan. 5."
* Gas prices keep dropping: "Nationally averaged gas prices slumped a little lower yet again today. They are now $ 2.39 for a gallon of regular gasoline, according to AAA. That number may not, in itself, seem so striking. But another data point is: the nationally averaged gas price has now declined for 88 straight days, since September 25, says AAA."
* EPA: "Six years after a catastrophic coal ash spill in Tennessee washed away homes and polluted rivers, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday the first federal regulations for the toxic wastes created by coal burned to produce electricity."
* Arizona: "Some immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were young -- known as DREAMers after the DREAM Act -- arrived at Arizona Departments of Motor Vehicles as early as 4 a.m. on Monday, the first day that they could legally apply for driver's licenses."
* I know there's some disagreement among political scientists about the efficacy of the so-called "nuclear option," but given the latest confirmations, the results seem to speak for themselves.
* Nick Hanauer makes an interesting case on an issue that hasn't gotten much attention: "[T]here is a way for President Obama to win back his party's base with a bold strike on behalf of the middle class: Raise the overtime pay threshold."
* Thomas Friedman: "Actually, it turns out that Obama was the one playing chess and Putin was the one playing marbles, and it wouldn't be wrong to say today that Putin's lost most of his — in both senses of the word."
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.