FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Japan’s devastation: “Japanese police officials said that 184 people were confirmed dead and another 700 were missing, but domestic media quoted government officials as saying that the death toll would almost certainly rise to more than 1,000. Some 200-300 bodies were found along the water line in Sendai, a port city in the northeastern part of the country and the closest major city to the epicenter.”
* Scary: “The Japanese government declared an ‘atomic power emergency’ and evacuated thousands of residents living close to a nuclear plant in northern Japan after a major earthquake, but officials said there had been no radiation leak from the facility and that problems with its cooling system were not critical.”
* Pesky government mandates and regulations work: “From seawalls that line stretches of Japan’s coastline, to skyscrapers that sway to absorb earthquakes, to building codes that are among the world’s most rigorous, no country may be better prepared to withstand earthquakes than Japan.”
* Libya: “Forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi retook a strategic oil town and pressed toward the country’s largest refinery Friday, as once-energetic rebel lines began to crumble before an onslaught of air strikes and tank and artillery fire that sent fighters in a chaotic retreat down the Mediterranean coast.”
* A done deal, for now: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has officially taken away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of the state’s public employees. Walker signed the bill to do so privately Friday morning. He planned an afternoon news conference in the Capitol.”
* On a related note, the state Senate Democrats will return home from Illinois tomorrow.
* Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has improved so much, she intends to “see off her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, personally during the launching of his shuttle.”
* Dashed hopes: “The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to effectively kill for this year a bill that would have allowed same-sex marriage in the state.”
* Serwer 1, Thiessen 0.
* Lew 1, Krauthammer 0.
* Not only did Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) turn down jobs and economic development when he rejected rail funds, he also, according to a new report from the state Department of Transportation, threw away a project that would have generated a profit for taxpayers.
* CNN sure does pick some strange people to be paid political analysts.
* When Republican officials feel comfortable supporting something they consider “the crazy, give-a-handgun-to-a-schizophrenic bill,” there’s a problem.
* It’s a shame it’s even necessary to explain why a whites-only college scholarship is ridiculous.
* Former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) thinks it’s crazy to connect intemperate political rhetoric with violent acts — unless the rhetoric is coming from “union bosses,” in which case her previous standards no longer apply.
* Why are Fox News viewers so confused about current events? Because the Republican network tells people they’ll “need a prescription for everyday items like aspirin” because of the Affordable Care Act. That isn’t even close to true.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.