FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* What a nightmare for the Gulf coastline: “That stretch of coastline is full of marshlands, replete with reeds and piles of dead grass that could soak up oil like a sponge. Unlike fish, the area’s famous populations of blue crabs and oysters won’t be able to outrun the slick. And, precisely at this time of year, the region is host to vast numbers of migratory birds returning from their wintering grounds in South America. Besides the damage to fish and wildlife, even the land itself could be a victim of the spill. One scientist said if the oil kills marsh grasses, it could eliminate a key natural barrier that keeps Louisiana’s precious coastline from eroding.”
* Greece: “The Greek government, rapidly running out of time to shore up its finances, was close to completing negotiations for assistance from the International Monetary Fund, European officials said on Friday.”
* It’s not just the SEC: “Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into trading at Goldman Sachs, raising the possibility of criminal charges against the Wall Street giant, according to people familiar with the matter.”
* Another encouraging shift: “The Pakistani military, long reluctant to heed American urging that it attack Pakistani militant groups in their main base in North Waziristan, is coming around to the idea that it must do so, in its own interests. Western officials have long believed that North Waziristan is the single most important haven for militants with Al Qaeda and the Taliban fighting American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan has nurtured militant groups in the area for years in order to exert influence beyond its borders.”
* Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff, both U.S. citizens living in New York City, have been accused of providing support to al Qaeda in the form of “computer advice and assistance, services and currency.”
* Anthem Blue Cross customers in California, many of whom were poised to get hit with a massive rate hike, get a temporary reprieve.
* The Dems’ Wall Street reform package is tougher than Wall Street expected.
* The Arizona Department of Education has already begun “telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.”
* On a related note, Arizona hates the Affordable Care Act, but wants the money made available through reform.
* South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer (R) just doesn’t like poor people.
* For-profit schools take a hit after criticism from an Obama administration official.
* The joke Al Gore was offered, but never told: “It’s true I got C’s and D’s my freshman year at Harvard, but, in my own defense, that was the year I invented the bong.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.