Thursday’s Mini-Report

THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:

* White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will leave his post tomorrow, in preparation for a mayoral campaign in Chicago. His post will be filled, at least for now, by senior adviser Pete Rouse, though he may be “interim” and may not want the job long-term.

* A pleasant surprise: “New claims for unemployment benefits plunged by 16,000 last week to 453,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, a steeper fall than had been anticipated in a sign that labor markets may be strengthening modestly.”

* The Senate managed to confirm two Federal Reserve Board governor nominees, Janet Yellen and Sarah Bloom Raskin. A third, economist Peter Diamond, was blocked by Republicans for no reason. Again.

* Afghanistan: “Pakistan brought a critical NATO supply route for U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan to an abrupt halt on Thursday after NATO aircraft crossed into Pakistan in a confused attack that killed three Pakistani paramilitary troops.”

* Revised totals showed that the economy grew at 1.7% in the second quarter, up ever so slightly from the previous 1.6% estimate.

* AIG is paying us back, and will likely return a profit to U.S. taxpayers.

* No progress on the Korean peninsula: “The first military talks in two years between North and South Korea ended Thursday with no apparent progress and no new talks scheduled, according to an official with South Korea’s Defense Ministry.”

* The Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) staffer who published an item online saying “all fa**ots must die” has been identified and fired.

* With Elizabeth Warren leaving the Hill for the administration, departing appointed Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) will take her place overseeing TARP for Congress. He’s a strong choice.

* Good: “J.P. Morgan Chase, one of the nation’s leading banks, announced Wednesday that it will freeze foreclosures in about half the country because of flawed paperwork, a move that Wall Street analysts said will pressure the rest of the industry to follow suit. ”

* Congress’ Net Neutrality bill dies.

* Andrew Shirvell, a lawyer in the office of Michigan Attorney General, seems like a very odd man.

* This is pretty scandalous: “Experts are now seriously questioning Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy Louie Puroll’s much-hyped tale of being shot by drug smugglers in a remote part of the Arizona desert. But even if every detail of Puroll’s story is true, it still does not square with many of the claims the Sheriff’s office has peddled about the case.”

* President Obama gave a hearty plug to Jon Stewart’s planned rally to “restore sanity” yesterday in Virginia. Describing the kind of folks who’ll attend, Obama said, “They are just expecting some common sense. … Having those voices lifted up is really important.”

* And maybe it’s just me, but when I hear about a “Goldilocks” planet that appears capable of supporting life, I don’t think, “Cool, maybe there are aliens there.” I think “Cool, maybe we can move there after we’ve finished screwing up here.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.