FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* In Alabama: “President Obama walked through a tornado-ravaged neighborhood in Tuscaloosa on Friday and promised ‘maximum federal help’ to the survivors of a series of deadly twisters that carved paths of destruction and claimed about 300 lives in six Southern states. ‘I’ve never seen devastation like this,’ Obama said as he toured the Alberta section of the city with first lady Michelle Obama and gazed at crumpled houses, uprooted trees and destroyed cars. ‘It is heartbreaking.’”
* The president also told the affected communities, “We’re going to make sure that you’re not forgotten.”
* ThinkProgress: “Dr. Kevin Trenberth, one of the world’s top climate scientists, who has been exploring for years how greenhouse pollution influences extreme weather, said he believes that it is ‘irresponsible not to mention climate change’ in the context of these extreme tornadoes.”
* Today’s Space Shuttle launch was delayed until early next week due to a technical glitch. Obama nevertheless visited with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), as both were in Florida for the launch.
* Syria: “Tens of thousands of Syrians defied a bloody government crackdown on Friday and took to the streets in towns and cities across the country, responding to calls from democracy activists to stage a ‘Day of Rage’ to protest the military’s efforts to crush the burgeoning opposition movement.”
* Libya: “The fighting in Libya spilled over into neighboring Tunisia early on Friday, as troops loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi routed rebel fighters at a critical border crossing in the southwest and pursued them into the nearby town of Dehiba, said a rebel fighter who witnessed the events.”
* Good: “In a 2-1 decision Friday, the panel of the U.S. court of appeals in Washington overturned a judge’s order that would have blocked taxpayer funding for stem cell research.”
* Great story about eight of the surviving members of the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike, who visited the White House today for the first time in their lives.
* Chrysler will pay off its government debts by the end of June.
* Groupon will no longer advertise on the website for Donald Trump’s reality show. Good move.
* Dana Milbank has a very sensible take on what’s become of the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — and why it’s probably best to avoid it.
* I thought it was impossible for John Stossel to stoop any lower on the journalistic integrity scale. I stand corrected.
* And a quick housekeeping note: the Monthly’s tech team let me know there will be some server maintenance underway over the weekend. I’ll still have a normal weekend posting schedule, and you’ll still be able to comment, but there’s a small chance any comments left over the weekend may not permanently survive. Just FYI.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.