Thursday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Libya: “Rebels intensified their hunt for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his sons on Thursday, engaging in an intense fight with loyalists in a neighborhood of apartment blocks near his former Tripoli fortress, as Western officials said NATO was actively helping in the effort to find the elusive leader.”

* Hurricane Irene could be brutal: “The northeast seaboard, including the capital and financial center New York, rushed to prepare on Thursday for a possible mauling from Hurricane Irene that will hit the coast this weekend. From the Carolinas to Cape Cod, states, cities, ports, industries, oil refineries and nuclear plants were scrambling to activate emergency plans while residents stocked up on food and water and worked to secure homes, vehicles and boats.”

* Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits take another turn for the worse: “Jobless claims climbed by 5,000 to 417,000 in the week ended Aug. 20, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a drop in claims to 405,000.”

* This year’s federal budget deficit has shrunk to $1.28 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The same report found that the deficit “will ebb substantially” over the next decade — just so long as “the Bush-era tax cuts and other measures are allowed to expire as scheduled, the report said.”

* Apple loses its leader: “Steven P. Jobs, whose insistent vision that he knew what consumers wanted made Apple one of the world’s most valuable and influential companies, is stepping down as chief executive, the company announced late Wednesday.”

* Two of my favorite writers at Slate, Tim Noah and Jack Shafer, were two of the four staffers the online magazine laid off yesterday.

* Catching Charles Dyer: “Federal officials have reportedly captured former U.S. Marine and Oath Keeper Charles Dyer in Texas, following a manhunt after Dyer skipped a court appearance for a rape charge that he believed was concocted as part of a government conspiracy against him.”

* Community colleges are important: “A whole lot of Californians will be turned away from the Golden State’s nominally open-access community colleges this year…. The problem is not just the reduced funding from the state. With the Great Recession continuing, the unemployed continue to increase demand for community colleges, which they want to attend for training in the hopes of landing a job.”

* No charges in the Wisconsin chokehold case: “There will be no criminal charges against the Wisconsin Supreme Court justice accused of choking a colleague in chambers, the special prosecutor investigating the case told The Associated Press Thursday.”

* Well, that’s weird: “The ransacking of Moammar Gadhafi’s compound is turning up some bizarre loot. Following on from the Libyan leader’s eccentric fashion accessories and his daughter’s golden mermaid couch, the latest discovery is a photo album filled with page after page of pictures of Condoleezza Rice.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.