THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Libya: “Forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi retook this strategic refinery town after an assault by land, air and sea Thursday, opposition leaders and fighters said, an onslaught that sent scores of rebels fleeing along a coastal road and underlined a decisive shift in momentum in an uprising that has shaken the Libyan leader’s four decades of rule.”
* The West weighs its options: “The United States and Europe took their toughest steps to date to isolate the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Thursday, but stopped well short of agreeing to intervene militarily at a time when Libyan government forces are inflicting heavy blows on rebels in the eastern part of the country.”
* Defeat was unavoidable in Madison this afternoon: “After police carried demonstrators out of the state Assembly Thursday, Republicans entered the chamber and approved Gov. Scott Walker’s bill repealing most collective bargaining by public employee unions.” The final vote was 53 to 42.
* The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits climbed, a discouraging reversal after two positive weeks: “There were 397,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended March 5, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was up 26,000 from a revised 371,000 the week before.”
* House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) claimed today that, as far as the Justice Department is concerned, “not one terror-related case in the last two years involved neo-Nazis.” That’s clearly false. He also claims he never said there are “too many” mosques in America. He’s wrong about that, too.
* Senate Democratic leaders want to expand the discussion of the budget, so that cuts aren’t limited to non-defense discretionary spending. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had a response today: No.
* Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wants Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to resign for saying things that are true. The moral of the story: don’t pay too much attention to what Lindsey Graham thinks.
* This is a surprise: “Here are words that you never thought you’d hear a Pakistani general utter about the drone strikes that batter Pakistan’s tribal areas: ‘A majority of those eliminated are terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements.’ That would be yawn-worthy if it came from the CIA, which never misses an opportunity to credit its drone strikes with taking out al-Qaeda and its affiliates. But it was the main message of an official briefing from Maj. Gen. Ghayur Mehmood in Miram Shah. He’s the commander of Pakistan’s Seventh Division, charged with leading troops in North Waziristan.”
* Fascinating quote from Grover Norquist: “The goal is to reduce the size and scope of government spending, not to focus on the deficit.” I love it when someone on the right actually tells the truth about conservatives’ motivations.
* A former national security official in the Bush administration believes Peter King’s hearings might make terrorist recruiting efforts easier. Here’s hoping that’s not the case.
* House Republicans intend to gut funding for the Special Olympics.
* We’re “broke,” but Republicans believe we have the funds to waste on defending discriminatory laws against court challenges.
* When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) teleprompter stops working, she stops working, too.
* American high school teachers think it’s important for students to attend college, sort of.
* Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is outraged that her House GOP colleagues aren’t quite as dumb as she is.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.