Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* Bahrain: “The army took control of [Manama] on Thursday, except at the main hospital, where thousands of people gathered screaming, crying, collapsing in grief, just hours after the police opened fire with birdshot, rubber bullets and tear gas on pro-democracy demonstrators camped in Pearl Square.”

* John McCain boasted the other day that Iraq is unaffected by regional protests. He’s wrong: “Unrest continued to spread in Iraq on Thursday, with new protests erupting in several cities and reports from law enforcement officials that private security guards in a city in Kurdistan fired on a group of protesters who tried to storm the political offices of the region’s leader.”

* Libya: “Exiled opponents of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, said on Thursday that protests mirroring the turmoil in the Arab world had broken out in several parts of the country on a so-called Day of Rage to challenge his 41-year-old iron rule — the region’s longest.”

* Every time we dip below 400k, it inches back up: “The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits edged up last week, the government said Thursday.”

* A much better number: “The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its index of manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region nearly doubled between January and February.”

* Yet another pathetic display: “Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell says he will not enact the federal health care overhaul after a judge in Florida struck down the law as unconstitutional. ”

* The House approved a three-month extension of three Patriot Act surveillance authorities earlier, sending the bill to the White House for the president’s signature.

* Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) suggested the government could save money be ending Pentagon sponsorship from NASCAR teams. She’s now facing death threats.

* The smartest piece on the budget fight you’ll read today, from the estimable E.J. Dionne, Jr.

* Georgia Republicans are desperate to cut spending, especially on infrastructure. Apparently, federal funding to expand and deepen the Savannah Port doesn’t count.

* Right-wing lies about health care are nothing new, but Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) speech on the subject the other day was a tour de force in shameless dishonesty. It’s almost as if he created a list of common lies, and then strung them together.

* If college students aren’t happy with budget cuts, they’re really going to have to do more than remain silent.

* As if he didn’t have enough trouble, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) lashed out at a police officer who’d pulled him over, calling the policeman an “idiot” three times. The officer now wants an in-person apology.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.