FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* As the H1N1 virus reaches Asia for the first time, the World Health Organization said today the number of confirmed cases stand at 331.
* The AP suggests there’s reason for at least some optimism: “The swine flu virus that has frightened the world is beginning to look a little less ominous…. One flu expert says there’s no reason to believe the new virus is a more serious strain than seasonal flu.”
* President Obama briefly interrupted a White House press briefing today to announce that he’d spoken with Justice Souter, who said he’s retiring. The president lauded Souter’s tenure and thanked him for his service. Obama hopes to have his nominee confirmed in time for the October session.
* April was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq in seven months.
* These developments in Iraq will not, however, change the withdrawal plan.
* Eleven Democrats opposed cramdown and screwed over struggling homeowners yesterday. Ryan Grim went and asked all 11 what they were thinking.
* Some still take Condoleezza Rice seriously. I don’t know why.
* When it came to Chrysler’s future, a couple of “vulture funds” played chicken with the Obama White House. The funds lost.
* I can only hope this was a clerical error and that the White House isn’t backing off its commitment of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
* After quoting Dr. John Reilly, an MIT economist, for months, far-right lawmakers are now attacking him.
* Once in a while, I’m surprised at just how far prominent right-wing bloggers like Erick Erickson will go.
* I wonder if, right about now, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is rethinking the whole “secession” idea.
* Anita Dunn is taking over for Ellen Moran, as the new communications director at the White House.
* Byron York’s weak defense.
* Right-wing radio host Jay Severin blamed H1N1 on “some of the world’s lowest of primitives in poor Mexico.” He was then suspended by his employer.
* The Washington Times, reporting on a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips, said John Kerry “clearly enjoyed a taste of the seaman.” Seriously. This is supposed to be a newspaper.
* And finally, Happy “Mission Accomplished” Day. Has it been six years already?
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.