THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Libya: “Prominent members of the NATO alliance reached a tentative agreement Thursday evening to separate the political and military leadership of the Libyan air campaign, senior Western diplomats said, as allied warplanes delivered a ferocious round of airstrikes on Libyan ground forces, tanks and artillery that seems to have begun to shift momentum from the forces loyal to Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi to the rebels opposing him.”
* Earlier in the day, a Libyan plane defied the no-fly zone, and was destroyed by French fighter jets.
* If the Libyan rebel army “consists of only about 1,000 trained men,” that’s a problem.
* Filling Congress in: “The White House will hold a classified Congressional briefing Wednesday on Libya, aides confirmed. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen and National Intelligence Director James Clapper are among the Obama administration officials slated to address Members of Congress.”
* Japan: “Levels of a radioactive isotope found in Tokyo’s water supply fell by more than half on Thursday, testing below the country’s stringent maximum for infants, even as three workers at the stricken nuclear plant to the north suffered radiation burns as they struggled to make emergency repairs.”
* We’re actually inching towards a genuinely good number: “Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs are slowing and employers may be stepping up hiring. The Labor Department says the number of people seeking benefits dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000 in the week ended March 19, the fourth drop in the past five weeks.”
* Portugal: “Portugal’s government collapsed Wednesday after the parliament rejected a budget-cutting plan, pushing the country closer to an international bailout and triggering another test of Europe’s ability to deal with an ongoing public debt crisis.”
* Why did Abdulmutallab buy a ticket to Detroit for his Christmas 2009 terror plot? Because it was a cheap flight.
* Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), still a buffoon.
* When voters elect Republicans, they have to live with the consequences. Take this gem out of Alaska: “Gov. Sean Parnell’s appointee for the panel that nominates state judges testified Wednesday that he would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside of marriage.”
* Erick Erickson on the administration and Libya: “[I]t’s the women’s fault…. It’s, apparently, the women in the Obama administration who have decided we needed to go to war in Libya…. This is typical. … [T]his is like women drivers. We’re going to war in Libya, we have no plan, we have no map, even if we have a map of war, um, it wasn’t going to get read, they were going to pull over and ask the French apparently for help, or at least make the guy pull over and ask the French for help.” Remember, CNN actually pays this man money to offer on-air political commentary and analysis.
* If only local reporters took an interest in the implementation of health care policy.
* The wrong way to pay for higher ed: “The American model, funded by individual debt and state appropriations, is more expensive, and the recipe to keep college attendance and graduation low. So it’s not just problematic, it is, in the words of many higher education administrators, ‘a broken model.’”
* And Fox News’ John Stossel argued, with a straight face, “[N]o group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians.” The things one learns watching Fox News.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.