* This news is encouraging, but most experts are urging caution in reading too much into it.
The United States, Russia and other powers agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war, to take place within the next week, and immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced here early Friday.
“It was unanimous,” Kerry said of a communique issued after hours of meetings among participants in a group of nations that have supported and armed one side or the other in the four-year war. “Everybody today agreed,” he said. But the proof of commitment will come only with implementation. “What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said. “What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground.”
* While the Democratic presidential candidates have been talking about the situation in Flint, Michigan, we haven’t heard much about it from the White House. But today comes this announcement:
The Obama administration plans to extend Medicaid coverage to pregnant women and children affected by the Flint, Michigan water crisis, senior officials told House Democrats on Friday.
During a meeting with leading House Democrats, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Assistant Secretary Dr. Nicole Lurie and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told lawmakers they anticipate being able to offer health care coverage to some individuals who may have consumed contaminated water in Flint.
The Medicaid coverage would include lead-blood level monitoring, behavioral health and nutritional support. The secretaries also told lawmakers that HHS is working with Michigan on an expedited basis.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder needs to formally request the coverage, but he’s already signaled he intends to do so.
* Why would President Obama’s former speechwriter take the time to write his version of a Trump victory speech? Jon Favreau answers that question with this:
It’s come to this: I’ve written a Donald Trump speech.
It’s not something I necessarily enjoyed doing, any more than I would enjoy channeling the voice of Kim Jong Un or a Kardashian. But Trump’s victory in New Hampshire has vaulted him to the top of the delegate race. He’s leading in dozens of other states. And since the possibility of a Trump nomination is as real as it’s ever been, I want people to be prepared for what he might sound like in a general election. I want Democrats to understand the message we could be running against, and Republicans to see how radically different their standard-bearer may sound compared to any candidate the party has ever nominated.
* This one wins the prize for my favorite tweet of the day:
Prediction: Rubio is going to come to the next debate with a really great answer prepared about being overly scripted.
— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) February 12, 2016
* Finally, it was great to see President Obama pay homage to a women who did so much to change this country’s attitude about homosexuality.