Thursday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* President Obama’s big speech on the Middle East: “Seeking to harness the seismic political change still unfolding in the Arab world, President Obama on Thursday publicly called for the borders prevailing before the 1967 Israeli-Arab war to be the starting point for talks to settle the conflict there, the first time an American president has explicitly taken that position. He also said that a new Palestinian state should be demilitarized.”

* If you missed the speech, here’s the transcript. Republicans hated it, but they reflexively hate everything that comes from the White House, so their knee-jerk reactions aren’t that interesting.

* Late yesterday, Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund, following accusations that he sexually attacked a hotel housekeeper. Today, Strauss-Kahn was indicted, and released after posting a $1 million cash bail and $5 million bond.

* Iraq: “Three explosions aimed at Iraqi security forces ripped through the divided northern city of Kirkuk on Thursday morning, killing at least 29 people, most of them police officers, and wounding scores more.”

* Better, but still too high: “The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply for the second straight week, suggesting the job market is slowly recovering. The Labor Department says applications for benefits dropped 29,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 409,000.”

* Floods turn deadly in Mississippi: ‘A man died Thursday after being pulled from the floodwaters overflowing from the Mississippi River, becoming what is believed to be the first flood casualty since the river started spilling into Mississippi and Louisiana.”

* By all accounts, the surgery went well: “Doctors repaired Gabrielle Giffords’ skull on Wednesday, the latest milestone in her recovery from an assassination attempt and a procedure that experts say will improve her quality of life.”

* The economy is improving, but that’s cold comfort for new college graduates facing dire conditions and limited opportunities.

* I’ll never be able to relate to such a twisted worldview: “Fox Business maligned essential anti-poverty programs, deriding food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit as ‘a form a welfare, income redistribution’ and evidence that America now has an ‘entitlement mentality.'”

* And if there’s a zombie apocalypse, now you’ll know what to do.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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