FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The Ivory Coast crisis may be nearing an end: “Reeling from mass defections of his soldiers and security forces, Ivory Coast’s strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, deployed a dwindling but determined band of loyalists Friday to defend his residence, the presidential palace and the state television station in an effort to hold off a direct assault on his embattled rule.”
* Libya: “A senior aide to one of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s sons has held secret talks in London with British authorities, a friend of the aide said on Friday, adding to the confusion and anxiety swirling around the Tripoli regime after the defection of a high-ranking minister and the departure of another senior figure to Cairo.”
* Japan: “Japanese and U.S. military ships and helicopters trolled Japan’s tsunami-ravaged coastline looking for bodies Friday, part of an all-out search that could be the last chance to find those swept out to sea nearly three weeks ago.”
* Syria: “Thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities around Syria on Friday to chants of ‘We want freedom’ and security forces responded with tear gas, electrified batons, clubs and bullets, killing at least seven people, according to activists, residents and a Syrian human rights group.”
* Still no deal: “Congress lurched into another weekend with no plan to fund the federal government, as House Republicans stood firm against talk that they had struck a deal with Senate Democrats to cut roughly $30 billion from federal accounts.”
* President Obama thinks a shutdown would be bad for the economy. He’s right.
* I can only hope Congress listens to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah: “As Congress struggles to negotiate a budget deal to keep the government running, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) told lawmakers Wednesday that the GOP version of the budget bill would result in the deaths of at least 70,000 children who depend on American food and health assistance around the world.”
* As an extension of the fairly good news on jobs, don’t forget that revisions in recent months make the job picture look even better than initially realized.
* In 2010, American workers’ pay went up 2%. American CEO pay went up 27%.
* Donald Trump will reportedly have a segment every Monday morning on Fox News. (I spent a little time today making sure this isn’t an April Fools’ joke, and while I’m still not certain, it appears to be legit.)
* For a paid, Washington Post professional, I’m amazed Jennifer Rubin is unfamiliar with control-F, especially when she’s falsely accusing Ed Kilgore of being “under-informed.”
* Former CIA official Michael Scheuer really appears to be losing it.
* Three days later, the ignominious Megyn Kelly gives the conclusion of the NBPP party story — which she’s invested an enormous amount of time in hyping — 20 seconds of air time.
* I’ve never entirely understood why colleges offer remedial courses anyway.
* Rutgers University paid Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi” $32,000 to deliver a speech. Rutgers paid Toni Morrison $30,000 to deliver a commencement address. Snooki has a reality show; Morrison has a Nobel prize in literature. And civilization suffers another painful setback.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.