FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* On the streets of Tripoli: “Clashes erupted in Tripoli, Libya’s capital, on Friday as security forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi used gunfire to try to disperse thousands of protesters who streamed out of mosques after prayers to mount their first major challenge to the government’s crackdown.”
* U.S. officials eye sanctions: “The United States moved to increase diplomatic pressure on the embattled Libyan government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Friday, suspending relations and preparing to impose unilateral sanctions because of the deadly violence the Libyan government has directed at protesters in the country.”
* Iraq is not immune: “Demonstrations turned violent across Iraq on Friday, as protesters burned buildings and security forces fired on the crowds. At least 10 people have been killed, including at least two in Mosul and another in Ramadi. Thousands of Iraqis demanding better government services took to the streets in at least 10 cities.”
* It continues to be a regional uprising: “Hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out in cities across the Middle East on Friday to protest the unaccountability of their leaders and express solidarity with the uprising in Libya that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is trying to suppress with force.”
* Excellent advice: “Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of regime in that fashion again are slim.”
* A cowardly move from union-busting Republicans: “Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers, abruptly passing the measure early Friday morning before sleep-deprived Democrats realized what was happening.”
* Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) wants to gut workers’ rights, but that’s not all he wants to do.
* The right doesn’t want to hear this, but the massive, pro-labor protests in Madison have been remarkably peaceful.
* Polls continue to show support for labor, even if the media screws up the data.
* A must-read from David Cay Johnston: “When it comes to improving public understanding of tax policy, nothing has been more troubling than the deeply flawed coverage of the Wisconsin state employees’ fight over collective bargaining.”
* The recent GOP assault on women’s rights has been relentless: “Virginia took a big step yesterday toward eliminating most of the state’s 21 abortion clinics, approving a bill making rules so strict the medical centers would likely be forced to close, Democrats and abortion-rights supporters said.”
* Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) suggested this week that union backers in Wisconsin may need to “get a little bloody” to win their fight. Yesterday, he apologized for his choice of words.
* Rachel Maddow reports on Wisconsin. PolitiFact thinks Maddow’s wrong. Maddow proves PolitiFact wrong.
* A prime-time shake-up at CNN: “CNN is reformatting ‘Parker Spitzer’ as an ensemble program with Eliot Spitzer — and without Kathleen Parker, who has been his co-host for the last four months. Effective Monday, the program will be renamed ‘In The Arena.'”
* I’m occasionally surprised Fox News hasn’t fired Shep Smith for flashes of reasonableness.
* And Ronald Reagan said he considered “the right to belong to a free trade union” one of “the most elemental human rights.” I’ll look forward to the right-wing denunciations of this radical leftist.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.