Friday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* A big step in Libya: “The United States formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya as the country’s legitimate government on Friday…. At the meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Colonel Qaddafi’s government no longer had any legitimacy, and that the United States would join more than 30 countries in extending diplomatic recognition to the main opposition group, known as the Transitional National Council.”

* Syria: “Security forces fired on crowds of protesters numbering in the thousands in the suburbs of Damascus on Friday, killing 13 people, activists said, and angry inhabitants tried to build barricades of stones to block the security forces’ way.”

* The end of the two-week Minnesota shutdown: “The governor of Minnesota and the state’s Republican lawmakers announced on Thursday that they had, at last, reached a deal on the state’s budget, bringing what is expected to be a swift reopening of government services.”

* Republicans probably see this as good news: “Foreign central banks’ overall holdings of U.S. marketable securities at the Federal Reserve fell in the latest week, data from the U.S. central bank showed on Thursday.”

* Ratings agencies keep weighing in: “Standard & Poor’s said late Thursday that it could downgrade the U.S. credit rating as soon as this month, and there is a 50 percent chance it will do so within three months, if Washington fails to come to an agreement over the nation’s debt.”

* Before getting killed by U.S. forces in May, Osama bin Laden was in the process of planning a series of attacks, including an assassination attempt on President Obama.

* David Frum: “Isn’t it conceivable that Obama’s real end-game in these budget talks is to destroy Republican presidential fundraising for 2012 by goading congressional Republicans in 2011 into appearing maximally reckless and irresponsible?” (thanks to F.B.)

* So very dumb: “The House on Friday voted to withhold funding to enforce part of a 2007 law that increases efficiency standards for light bulbs.”

* What happens to higher education if the government defaults? Very, very bad things, apparently.

* Judicial Watch is all worked up about some White House emails on Fox News. There’s less here than meets the eye.

* Krugman: “A number of commentators seem shocked at how unreasonable Republicans are being. ‘Has the G.O.P. gone insane?’ they ask. Why, yes, it has. But this isn’t something that just happened, it’s the culmination of a process that has been going on for decades. Anyone surprised by the extremism and irresponsibility now on display either hasn’t been paying attention, or has been deliberately turning a blind eye. And may I say to those suddenly agonizing over the mental health of one of our two major parties: People like you bear some responsibility for that party’s current state.”

* And Fox News’ Eric Bolling walked back his claim that there were no domestic terrorist attacks during Bush’s eight years, saying yesterday he only means post-9/11. The problem with that, of course, is that Bolling’s wrong about this, too.

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.