Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* Japan: “Amid widening alarm in the United States and elsewhere about Japan’s nuclear crisis, military fire trucks began spraying cooling water on spent fuel rods at the country’s stricken nuclear power station late Thursday after earlier efforts to cool the rods failed, Japanese officials said. The United States’ top nuclear official followed up his bleak appraisal of the grave situation at the plant the day before with a caution that it would ‘take some time, possibly weeks,’ to resolve.”

* President Obama offered an update this afternoon: “The White House sought Thursday to show it is on top of the Japanese nuclear crisis with a Rose Garden statement and a presidential-ordered review to ensure nothing like the Fukushima Daiichi disaster happens here at home.” He also urged an evacuation for Americans living within 50 miles of the facility.

* Libya: “Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi warned Benghazi residents on Thursday that an attack was imminent, as the United Nations Security Council seemed headed for a vote Thursday on a resolution authorizing not just a no-flight zone but additional steps to halt the movement of Colonel Qaddafi’s forces.”

* The Senate approved the House-passed budget extension this afternoon, with an 87-to-13 vote. It will soon receive the president’s signature, and impose a new, April 8 deadline.

* Getting better: “The number of people who filed applications for jobless benefits fell by 16,000 last week to 385,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.”

* Of the funds lent to banks through TARP, 99% of the money has been paid back. At the time, it was widely assumed we’d never see that money again.

* James O’Keefe thought he had another big scoop today. As it turns out, his “story” was not only dull, it was common knowledge months ago. (The media really needs to stop taking this guy seriously.)

* Grouping newspaper columnists together by ideology strikes me as a misguided and counter-productive idea.

* I admit I was wrong. I’d hoped that when the Washington Post hired Jennifer Rubin, she’d bring some worthwhile insights from a conservative perspective. That’s clearly not happening.

* Those who thought applying to law school would be a great idea are starting to think otherwise.

* In an interesting video, which you’ll probably be seeing again, Ronald Reagan proclaimed, “Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost!” It’s a reminder of how little Reagan-lovers have in common with Reagan, and if Democrats today said the same thing Reagan said 30 years ago, Tea Partiers would condemn the sentiments as radical liberalism.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.