Friday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Escalation in Syria: “Backed by tanks and helicopters, Syrian forces swept into the restive northern village of Jisr al-Shoughour late Friday, pressing an offensive against a town that has offered the stiffest challenge yet to four decades of Assad family rule.”

* Gates questions NATO’s future utility: “Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly criticized NATO nations on Friday for what he said were shortages in military spending and political will, warning of ‘a dim if not dismal future’ unless more member nations scaled up their participation in the alliance’s activities.”

* Despite a flurry of rumors yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office has strongly denied having any interest in leading the World Bank. Clinton’s longtime spokesperson called the story “completely untrue,” adding, “She has expressed absolutely no interest in the job. She would not take it if offered.”

* Thousands of pages of emails from Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial tenure were released today, to the great interest of many reporters. I haven’t read any of them, but I assume someone will tell me if there’s anything in there I should care about.

* Krugman noted in passing today that Tim Pawlenty “has turned out to be a much bigger fool than I or, I think, anyone imagined.”

* Michael Leiter, the head of the nation’s main counterterrorism center, is departing after nearly four years on the job. He’s one of a very small number of Bush administration officials that the Obama team kept on.

* Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) wants Iraqis to repay the U.S. for invading their country. That seems unlikely.

* In case the first round wasn’t quite offensive enough, Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) is planning another round of hearings targeting Muslim Americans.

* It’s hard to imagine how Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) can whine about government transparency and then ban cameras from a public event.

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) believes public broadcasting “should have ended with the Soviet Union.”

* I generally avoid news regarding celebrities, but Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant was truly disgusting. I don’t think he’ll ever live this one down, nor should he.

* Sounds like a good idea: “The American Association of University Professors, the 47,000-member organization of professors and other academics, is urging faculty to unionize in the fact of university budget cuts and increasing use of adjunct faculty.”

* Rush Limbaugh’s misogyny isn’t new. It is, however, getting more offensive.

* No reasonable person would take Fox Business’ John Stossel seriously, but when he devotes airtime to a “debate” between an actual presidential candidate and an actor who impersonates President Obama, it’s a reminder of just how low Fox’s — and Stossel’s — standards have become.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.