Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Ayman al-Zawahri takes over as al Qaeda’s leader, a month after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden.

* It’s too high, but at least it’s moving in the right direction: “The Labor Department said Thursday that unemployment benefit applications fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the second drop in three weeks. That’s a positive sign that layoffs are slowing.”

* It was also good to see an uptick in home construction.

* More on this tomorrow: “The Senate voted 73-27 Thursday to kill a major tax break that benefits the ethanol industry, handing a political win to a bipartisan group of lawmakers that call the incentive needless and expensive.”

* On a related note, Paul Glastris ponders whether energy subsidies are doomed.

* Pakistan: “The security relationship between the United States and Pakistan has sunk to its lowest level since the two countries agreed to cooperate after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, endangering counterterrorism programs that depend on the partnership, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.”

* Greek crisis: “European officials on Thursday sought to calm fears over a possible financial collapse in Greece, saying that short-term aid to Athens was imminent, even as the euro slumped and concern heightened that debt troubles could engulf larger economies such as Spain.”

* As you may have heard, Anthony Weiner did, in fact, resign this afternoon.

* In another milestone, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was released yesterday from a Houston rehabilitation hospital. Her therapy will continue as an outpatient.

* I neglected to mention yesterday that Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) held the second of his anti-Muslim hearings yesterday with the House Homeland Security Committee.

* Interesting point: “Nine of the 10 districts throughout the U.S. with the most people age 45-54 are represented by Republicans … a Bloomberg analysis of census data shows. Those would be among the first Americans to no longer have Medicare as an open-ended entitlement, and instead would be given money to buy private insurance when they’re eligible, under the plan.”

* Norah O’Donnell is making the transition from NBC to CBS’s chief White House correspondent.

* When well over half a state’s high school students are not prepared for college, it’s a problem.

* Given how strikingly low his ratings are, it’s amazing Fox’s Eric Bolling is even paid to host a nationally televised program. How can he expect to replace Glenn Beck, whose ratings have also taken a sharp turn for the worse, when he has such a tiny audience?

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.