Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* Economists expected an increase in unemployment claims; fortunately, we saw a slight dip: “Weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 3,000 to 450,000 last week, the Labor Department said this morning. It is an encouraging sign, although no weekly number should be read into too much, as the data tends to jump around.”

* The Senate Banking Committee ponders Chinese currency: “The Obama administration ratcheted up its criticisms of China’s economic policies on Thursday, as Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told Congress that China had substantially undervalued its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage, engaged in widespread theft of foreign technology and improperly blocked American imports.”

* While Hurricane Karl takes aim at Mexican Gulf coast, Hurricane Julia, taking advantage of unusually warm water in the Atlantic, rose in intensity to become a powerful Category 4 storm.

* While the vast majority of national polls show Republicans with a generic-ballot edge, Politico‘s poll shows the parties tied.

* In a surprising move, Fox News has filed a lawsuit against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D), who’s taking on Rep. Roy Blunt (R) in a key Senate race. It appears to be “the first time such a fair use fight between a media company and a political campaign has been taken to court.”

* In just a few weeks, the White House will host a summit on community colleges. Daniel Luzer added, “All that’s needed are a location, participants, and, well, any substantive ideas at all.”

* DNC’s latest video hopes to characterize the Republican slate this year as uniquely crazy. The clip, hot on the heels of this week’s Senate primary in Delaware, is called “Republicans 2010: What a Bunch,” and it’s a frame the GOP will have to hope doesn’t catch on.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.