Today’s edition of quick hits:
* EPA targets emissions: “The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued new standards for coal-burning power plants in 28 states that would sharply cut smokestack emissions that have polluted forests, farms, lakes and streams across the eastern United States for decades.”
* House defeats another Libya measure: “The House on Thursday rejected a measure that would have withdrawn funding for U.S. military operations in Libya, although the amendment drew broad bipartisan support, including from a majority of Republicans.” The final vote was 199 to 229.
* A little better, but still too high: “Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, the Labor Department said.”
* There’s something almost amusing about this: “Even Minnesota’s leaders don’t know the cost of the state government’s shutdown. That’s because the people who would calculate the price tag were put out of work.”
* On a related note, Minnesota’s credit rating is now in jeopardy. A downgrade will make state functions that much more expensive. (thanks to J.T. for the tip)
* Good HAMP move: “The Obama administration announced Thursday that its signature anti-foreclosure program and the Federal Housing Administration would be getting a little more generous to struggling homeowners who are out of work through no fault of their own. In making the announcement, the administration is finally heeding homeowner advocates and federal auditors who have called for extended forbearance for unemployed homeowners for over a year.”
* Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., thinks Republicans are playing a game of “Russian roulette” with the nation’s economy. He’s right.
* South Sudan: “The map of Africa will be redrawn Saturday, as South Sudan becomes an independent nation through a peace process championed by successive U.S. presidents but still beset by lingering tensions from years of war.”
* Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) is facing an ethics probe after allegedly accepting thousands of dollars in free legal services from a Turkish-American group.
* House Republicans are whispering about impeaching President Obama. I’m surprised it took this long.
* Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has accepted the entirety of the Republican message on debt-reduction talks. Try not to be surprised.
* Good call: “On Tuesday President Obama named Brenda Fulton to the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy. Fulton is the first openly gay person to sit on the board that gives advice the president about West Point.”
* And in advance of yesterday’s Twitter Town Hall at the White House, it looks like Republicans and Tea Party activists simply followed the script the Heritage Foundation wrote for them.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.