Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* Libya: “Italy and France said Wednesday they would join Britain in sending military advisers to aid beleaguered rebel fighters in Libya, marking another step toward deeper European involvement in the Libyan uprising as NATO struggles to break the stalemate there without directly joining the fight on the ground. The Obama administration has notified Congress that it will send $25 million worth of ‘non-lethal’ military equipment directly to the Libyan opposition, including vehicles, fuel trucks, ambulances and medical equipment, body armor, binoculars and radios.”

* Hetherington: “Tim Hetherington, the conflict photographer who was a director and producer of the film ‘Restrepo,’ was killed in the besieged city of Misurata on Wednesday, and three photographers working beside him were wounded. The wounds to two of the photographers — Chris Hondros and Guy Martin — were severe, according to Andre Liohn, a colleague at the triage center where they were being treated Wednesday night.”

* Housing: “Existing home sales rose slightly in March after plunging in February, but the housing market still shows no real momentum even though interest rates and home prices remain relatively low.”

* That’s not good: “A White House plane carrying Michelle Obama came dangerously close to a 200-ton military cargo jet and had to abort its landing at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday as the result of an air traffic controller’s mistake, according to federal officials familiar with the incident.”

* At a town-hall meeting in his own district, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was booed defending tax breaks for the wealthy.

* Dahlia Lithwick offers a fascinating look at the legal state of Roe v Wade in the context of the larger abortion-rights debate.

* Shuttle launch: “President Obama and his family will attend the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour on April 29, and perhaps join Representative Gabrielle Giffords if she is able to watch as her husband, the astronaut Mark E. Kelly, leads the mission into space, administration officials confirmed on Wednesday.”

* Monday’s freak-out notwithstanding, Blue Dog Rep. Jim Cooper (D) of Tennessee noted that many of his congressional colleagues “had never heard of Standard & Poor’s before” this week.

* Congratulations to this year’s recipients of Hillman Foundation awards, including Jessica Valenti and the amazing team at Feministing.com, and Slate‘s Tim Noah for his exceptional series on income inequality.

* It should easier, not harder, for military veterans to take advantage of the education benefits they’ve earned and were promised.

* And yesterday, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan hosted right-wing activist Andrew Breitbart for a bizarre conversation that ended up generating quite a bit of attention. It might be a while before Ratigan’s reputation recovers from this one.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.