Today’s edition of quick hits:
* House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has spent two straight days rallying support from his own caucus for a budget proposal that will then die in the Senate. By nearly all accounts, he’ll get to 217.
* Counter-terrorism: “U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly convinced that the killing of Osama bin Laden and the toll of seven years of CIA drone strikes have pushed alÂ¬Qaeda to the brink of collapse.”
* Two more years: “The Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed Robert Mueller to a second term as FBI director.”
* Replacing Huntsman: “The Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next U.S. ambassador to China, making him the first Chinese-American to assume that post.”
* Good news for medical researchers: “A federal judge on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit that sought to block the funding of human embryonic stem cell research. The ruling follows an April appeals court decision that lifted an injunction on such funding that had been imposed in the same lawsuit.”
* Good move on energy: “The Obama administration and major auto manufacturers have reached a deal to raise fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks between 2017 and 2025, resolving a contentious negotiation over how to cut vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions.”
* Tea Partiers held a DC rally today in opposition to Boehner’s right-wing budget proposal. Turnout was abysmal — reporters outnumbered activists (again).
* The Chicago Sun-Times believes Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) “is what’s wrong with Washington.” That seems more than fair.
* The Endangered Species Act lives to see another day, thanks to House Dems.
* I really do love the Civil Rights Division of Obama’s Justice Department.
* Congressional Republicans want to overturn an Obama administration moratorium on uranium mining around the Grand Canyon.
* Get the antacids ready now: “Looking beyond the horizon of the current insoluble legislative meltdown, a nervous Democrat pointed me yesterday to the next one: Most of the gas tax is set to expire on September 30.”
* A South Carolina Tea Party leader, who’d accused President Obama of peddling a fake birth certificate, has been arrested on charges of selling pirated versions of Microsoft software, Photoshop, and the Rosetta Stone language programs.
* Grade inflation probably exists. Does it matter?
* And Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) believes that if we lower the debt ceiling, it will “create jobs.” Some people really don’t belong in public office; Paul Broun is one of them.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.