Today’s edition of quick hits:

* As of this afternoon, the death toll from Hurricane Irene stood at 35 people spanning 10 states. Flooding in several New England areas remains at crisis levels, and millions are still without power.

* The Gaddafi family flees: “Algeria said on Monday that it had allowed a two-vehicle caravan of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s relatives, including his second wife and three of his children, into the country.” The dictator himself has clearly lost control of Libya, but his whereabouts are unknown.

* Some encouraging economic news: “Consumer spending in the United States rebounded strongly in July to post the largest increase in five months on strong demand for motor vehicles, a government report showed on Monday, supporting views the economy was not falling back into recession.”

* A preliminary win in Alabama: “A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of Alabama’s new law cracking down on illegal immigration, ruling Monday that she needed more time to decide whether the law opposed by the Obama administration, church leaders and immigrant-rights groups is constitutional.”

* Karzai apparently doesn’t appreciate being left out of the loop: “Infuriated that Washington met secretly at least three times with a personal emissary of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Afghan government intentionally leaked details of the clandestine meetings, scuttling the talks and sending the Taliban intermediary into hiding.”

* Colin Powell doesn’t seem especially impressed with Dick Cheney’s new book. The two clearly were never on the same page in the White House, but Powell is now criticizing the former VP’s “cheap shots.”

* Don’t believe your lying eyes: “Eyewitness misidentification is a leading factor in wrongful convictions — according to the Innocence Project, more than 75 percent of DNA exonerations involved cases of eyewitness misidentification. In what the Innocence Project called a landmark ruling earlier this week, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner wrote a long opinion holding that the legal standards for admissibility of eyewitness evidence should be modified.”

* Andy Sabl takes a look at the 2008 “Obama for America” structure and compares it to the structure of the New Model Army.

* House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants a retraction from the New York Times. He’s not going to get one.

* Daniel Luzer: “College costs, we all know, just keep increasing. The average private college now costs $27,293 a year in tuition alone. College prices increase at about double the rate of inflation. Oddly, however, it seems that college costs might actually be falling for America’s rich people.”

* Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) will hold another town-hall meeting this week, and this time, he won’t order police officers to confiscate constituents’ cameras.

* And thanks to R.P. for sending along this item that compares Republican presidential candidates with vaguely comparable characters from The Simpsons.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.