THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The aftershock had a magnitude of 7.1: “The strongest aftershock to hit since the day of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan rocked a wide section of the country’s northeast Thursday night, prompting a tsunami alert, raising fears of further damage to the already crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and knocking out external power at three other nuclear facilities. The public broadcaster, NHK, said there were local reports of injuries, fires and blackouts.”
* Libya: “Deadly strikes on rebel fighters sparked confusion and outrage outside this port city Thursday, with rebels at first accusing NATO warplanes of targeting them, and a rebel spokeswoman later saying the attack came from forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.”
* We’re actually very close to a genuinely good number: “The Labor Department said Thursday the number of people seeking benefits dropped 10,000 to 382,000 in the week ending April 2. That’s the third drop in four weeks…. Applications near 375,000 are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring.”
* On a related note, retail sales in March were stronger than expected. That’s good news, too.
* Despite the realization that the bill won’t pass, the House approved a one-week stop-gap spending measure today. It was designed to fail, and President Obama has vowed a veto.
* Sorry John McCain and other anti-gay Republicans; the Service Chiefs aren’t finding any problems with the transition away from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
* Is House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in control of his caucus? Not really.
* Fox News lies about poll results in ways even right-wing bloggers do not. If I didn’t know better, I might think the Republican news network wants its viewers to be uninformed.
* The war on choice continues, Part I: “Lawmakers in Virginia approved an amendment Wednesday that would ban private insurance plans from covering abortions if they participate in a state health care exchange under President Obama’s new health care law.”
* The war on choice continues, Part II: “Marching in step with the GOP’s nationwide war on a woman’s right to choose, the Idaho legislature gave final approval to a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks.”
* Good summary of Paul Ryan’s budget plan from Ezra Klein.
* Daniel Luzer talks to Paul Combe, the president and CEO of American Student Assistance, one of America’s largest student loan guarantors, about the structural problems in the industry.
* I didn’t expect the “When Harry Met Sally II” clip to be quite this awesome.
* Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), one of the leading House GOP lawmakers pushing for a government shutdown, told Fox News last night, “We’re trying to score a victory for the Republican people.” Pence corrected himself, changing it to “American people,” but he needn’t have bothered. He accidentally told the truth the first time.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.