THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Libya: “Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi launched renewed airstrikes against two key rebel-held towns Thursday, a day after poorly armed citizens repelled a major government assault on the area.”
* No ambiguities from the White House: “President Obama called again on Thursday for the immediate resignation of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and said he had authorized American military airlifts to help transport refugees fleeing from Libya back to their home countries in the region. ‘The U.S. and the entire world continues to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people,’ Mr. Obama said after a White House meeting with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico. ‘Muammar el-Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.'”
* Genuinely good news: “New applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell by 20,000 to 368,000 in the week of Feb. 26, the lowest level in nearly three years, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The last time claims were that low was in May 2008.”
* Wisconsin Republicans voted for a resolution today “ordering the arrest of the 14 Democratic senators who left the state two weeks ago to avoid a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill.” The measure instructions the state Senate sergeant at arms to act “with or without force.”
* Ohio’s union-busting proposal features an anti-gay provision, which was quietly added in the hopes no one would notice.
* Going after Bradley Manning: “The Army announced 22 additional charges on Wednesday against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the military intelligence analyst who is accused of leaking a trove of government files to WikiLeaks a year ago.”
* A health care change the White House won’t mind: “The U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal an unpopular tax-reporting requirement affecting small business owners, in what would be the first substantial change to the sweeping health-care package signed into law last year. In a 314-112 vote, the House approved the measure, but the Senate is unlikely to take up the bill as it is currently drafted, adding further delay to the attempt at repealing the measure.”
* Scandal-plagued Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) may have skirted criminal prosecution, but the Senate ethics inquiry appears to be intensifying.
* Public support for marriage equality keeps growing — and there’s nothing the right can do about it.
* The NFL has a major labor dispute on its hands, but the White House does not plan to intervene.
* I wonder if Fox News’ Mike Tobin realizes how unintentionally hilarious he is, as he pretends to be a victim in Madison.
* The “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being” report didn’t get too much attention this week, but the NYT‘s Gail Collins brings us up to speed.
* Vermont’s not the only state interested in single-payer health care — some officials in Maryland are thinking along the same lines.
* This is what anti-Muslim hate looks like: “A protest of a Muslim fundraising event in Orange County last month devolved into chants of ‘Muhammed was a pervert,’ ‘you beat your wife and rape your children,’ and the like, according to a new video of the demonstration.”
* And with Justice Alito as the lone dissenter in yesterday’s Westboro Baptist case, the far-right jurist’s odd approach to the First Amendment is getting a closer look. Richard Hasen’s piece on this is worth checking out.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.