Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* Last night, the House approved the final version of Wall Street reform, with a 237 to 192 vote. Three House Republicans broke party ranks to support the landmark legislation.

* Analysts expected unemployment claims to drop over the last week. They went up: “Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000 in the week ended June 26, the Labor Department said.”

* President Obama makes his pitch for immigration reform.

* Not that it’ll do much good, but the House today approved extended unemployment benefits for the next five months. The vote was 270 to 153. In the face of a Republican Senate filibuster, it doesn’t matter.

* In related news, there are 17 senators — all Republicans — who have voted repeatedly against extended benefits, despite double-digit jobless rates in their home states.

* Hurricane Alex, which has begun to dissipate, slams into northern Mexico, killing two.

* Pakistan: “At least two suicide bombers attacked a popular Muslim shrine in the Pakistani city of Lahore late Thursday night, killing 35 people and wounding 175 others, the city’s top official said.”

* The reasons for worry are mounting: “A slowdown in the housing and construction markets contributed to a sluggish outlook for the economy Thursday, highlighting the significance of government stimulus and job creation.”

* Michael Cohen endorses a thesis I’ve been emphasizing: it’s very likely the “real reason” Senate Republicans “are opposing a meager amount of deficit spending to help the unemployed” is that “they really don’t want to see the economy improve.”

* The late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) was lying in state for most of the day on the Senate floor

* The Obama administration launches Healthcare.gov, which is actually pretty useful, and is off to a productive start.

* Getting a better sense of the important litigation between Daily Kos and Research 2000.

* Local law enforcement in Oregon takes a renewed look at the sexual assault allegations against Al Gore.

* Fox News to give Mike Huckabee a tryout as a daily talk-show host.

* Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) gives Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) a much-needed history lesson.

* The 11 alleged Russian spies arrested this week were apparently surprisingly bad at espionage.

* Which colleges (appear to) offer the best return on your investment?

* The White House announces plans to deal with space junk. Good.

* A poll of 238 presidential scholars puts George W. Bush among the five worst presidents in U.S. history. That seems more than fair.

* There’s actually a rather poignant point underlying the Tea Party Jesus site.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.