Friday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Syria: “Syrian troops opened fire on protesters after prayers on Friday, killing at least 23 people, as the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad defied mounting U.S. pressure to ease its military crackdown and implement reforms.”

* Under the War Powers Act, President Obama’s authority to act in Libya expires today. It’s not clear in anyone in Congress actually cares about any of this.

* Obama at Langley: “President Barack Obama has visited CIA headquarters to congratulate the country’s intelligence workers for the years of effort that led to the discovery and killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden. Obama also thanked them for their daily work in protecting the United States, telling workers assembled to meet him that he’d never felt prouder or more confident about them.”

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t exactly impressing folks at the State Department with his insincere observations.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have come to terms on a four-year extension of the Patriot Act.

* Will Senate Dems produce their own budget plan? It’s highly unlikely, but they have an explanation as to why they won’t.

* What happens to a doomsday cult when the world doesn’t end? I’ve often wondered about this.

* House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) probably shouldn’t talk about things he doesn’t understand. Medicare would certainly be near the top of the list.

* You’ve probably heard that the recession has been brutal for recent college graduates, but the evidence suggests it’s even worse than expected.

* If only accountability mattered: “So while we still have a deeply troubled economy, one piece of good news is that Americans are, once again, starting to actually make things. And we’re doing that thanks, in large part, to the fact that the Fed and the Obama administration ignored very bad advice from right-wingers — ideologues who still, in the face of all the evidence, claim to know something about creating prosperity.”

* If you haven’t seen Jon Stewart make Ben Stein look ridiculous, you’ll probably enjoy this clip.

* And on a related note, you may have seen the ridiculous press statement from Newt Gingrich’s (R) presidential campaign this week, but to fully appreciate it, you have to see John Lithgow recite it.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.