FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Deadly blast in Indonesia: “Eight people were killed Friday in two separate explosions at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in central Jakarta, just over a week after the world’s most populous majority-Muslim nation held a peaceful presidential election.”
* Unrest continues in Iran: “Security forces used tear gas and batons to break up opposition demonstrations during and after the Friday Prayer at Tehran University, witnesses said, as the leading opposition cleric, urging national unity, harshly assailed the government’s handling of what he termed a ‘crisis.'”
* Sen. Dick Lugar (R) of Indiana announced his support for Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination today. Soon after, other Republicans, including Florida’s Mel Martinez and Maine’s Olympia Snowe, followed suit.
* Following up on an earlier item, health care reform has passed both the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee. Energy and Commerce, however, remains the more difficult challenge.
* Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) apparently doesn’t want President Obama to talk about health care. Imagine, just for a moment, how much closer we’d be to real reform if the 60-seat Dem majority didn’t care what Grassley thinks.
* Home construction went up more than expected in June.
* There are no metro areas in the U.S. in recovery yet, but MSNBC and Moody’s Economy.com have identified 23 of the nation’s metro areas “nearing the bottom of the recession.”
* An expanded hate-crimes measure takes one step closer to becoming law.
* Joel Sawyer, who has served as South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s communications director, resigned today. That was a very good idea.
* Paul Krugman explains the problem with Goldman Sachs’ record quarterly profits.
* It’s about time: “Foreigners who have HIV would be allowed to travel and immigrate to the United States under a plan by federal health officials to lift a 22-year ban on infected visitors that critics say was unnecessary from the start.”
* Under the circumstances, I think The Hill may not have much of a choice but to drop David Keene’s column.
* Fascinating discussion between Glenn Greenwald and Chuck Todd on investigating Bush-era torture. Take a wild guess who made the more compelling case.
* Were Chinese intelligence officers given access to Uighur detainees at Gitmo?
* Don’t go away mad, Lou Dobbs, just go away.
* Why am I pessimistic about the new Pecora Commission? Two words: Bill Thomas.
* And finally, one of these days, the GOP is going to learn something about modern technology: “A Republican National Committee online game that challenges players to spend trillions of dollars was taken down today after reports that it offered some objectionable items for sale – including sexually explicit, anti-Semitic and anti-Latino items.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.