FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Iraq: “Two attacks on Shiite pilgrims returning from the holy city of Karbala left at least 28 people dead Friday, the latest in a series of bombings that appear designed to discredit Iraqi security forces and inflame sectarian tension.”
* Pakistan: “A huge bomb blast tore apart a bus carrying Shiites to a religious procession in the southern city of Karachi on Friday afternoon, and barely two hours later another lethal explosion struck a hospital where many of the wounded had been taken, police and hospital officials said. At least 25 people were killed and 100 more were wounded in the two attacks.”
* North Korea: “Amid accounts of starvation, food shortages in the army and runaway inflation, senior economic officials in North Korea have been fired in recent days, according to reports in the South Korean media.”
* On tap in the House next week: “The House of Representatives plans next week to vote on — and probably approve — a measure to strip health insurers’ antitrust protections, which will be Congress’ first step this year to try to overhaul the nation’s health care system.”
* Speaking of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today, “With Senator Kennedy as our inspiration, with the leadership of President Barack Obama and with your help, we will pass health insurance reform this year.”
* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has been working diligently to find a bipartisan approach to reforming the rules on Wall Street. With Republicans no longer willing to compromise, Dodd conceded that senators have “reached an impasse.”
* Is the H1N1 epidemic over? Public health officials aren’t prepared to go quite that far, but they federal officials reported today that, for the fourth consecutive week, “no states had widespread flu activity.”
* A helpful overview of what a Senate “hold” is all about.
* New emails raise interesting questions about expansive powers Sarah Palin extended to her husband during her half-term as Alaska’s governor.
* Whose presence in the military is more dangerous — gay servicemen and women, or a criminal like Ollie North?
* How dumb is the Virginia Republican Party? It put together a bizarre video insisting that snow fall is evidence that global warming doesn’t exist.
* And at the Tea Party “convention” today, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) told unhinged activists that President Obama was only elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.” Tancredo, in other words, seems to regret the end of Jim Crow laws. Only Republicans can get away with such insanity….
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.