Today’s edition of quick hits:
* There are widespread reports this afternoon that Standard & Poor’s, the bond rating agency, will downgrade the United States, despite this week’s debt-reduction agreement. S&P will reportedly cite Republican intransigence on revenue as part of the rationale, drawing a direct connection between GOP policies and a step that will further weaken the economy.
* Syria: “Syria’s state media broadcast stark images of the destruction in the besieged city of Hama for the first time on Friday, showing burnt buildings, makeshift barricades and deserted streets strewn with rubble, in footage that appeared designed to show that government forces had put down a rebellion in the city.”
* Europe: “Italy buckled to world pressure in a bid to halt a market rout endangering the global economy, pledging to speed up austerity measures and social reforms in return for European Central Bank help with funding.”
* Why does the European debt crisis matter to the U.S.? This is why: “U.S. financial institutions hold considerable European financial assets that could plummet in value if the euro zone enters a full-on crisis. For example, European debt makes up almost half of all money-market fund holdings…. The crisis is also leading to heavy spending cuts and reduced borrowing that hurts U.S. exports to Europe, further endangering the American recovery.”
* Will the GOP oppose this, too? “President Barack Obama proposed tax credits Friday to help companies hire America’s 1 million unemployed military veterans and vowed to press Congress harder this fall for legislation to provide more jobs for all.”
* President Obama also said today, “We know that will take some time. We are going to get through this. Things will get better, and we’re going to get there together.”
* Record-breaking temperatures: “Almost 9,000 daily records were broken or tied last month, including 2,755 highest maximum temperatures and 6,171 highest minimum temperatures (i.e., nighttime records).”
* Obama signed the bill ending the FAA shutdown this afternoon.
* Daniel Luzer: “The debt deal, reassuring as it may have been after such a long process, won’t be very good to college students. According to an article by Candice Choi in the Chicago Sun-Times, political compromises made by both parties in order to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling mean that several federal college financing programs are in trouble.”
* And I’m glad to see growing talk about scrapping the debt-ceiling law, at least to help get the ball rolling on a goal that for now may seem unrealistic: “It has long been clear that the federal debt limit is far too dangerous and unstable for lawmakers to use as a political weapon. Allowing that to happen in the last few traumatic weeks created an artificial national crisis that put the economy and the savings of Americans at risk and helped produce a loss of confidence that lingered as a cause of Thursday’s stock-market plunge.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.