Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Europe: “The Greek prime minister vowed to abide by austere cuts in the struggling country’s budget, and the leaders of France and Germany promised to support Greece as a central part of the euro zone, the three officials said Wednesday in a statement after a joint conference call.”
* U.S. economy: “U.S. retail sales rose 0.3 percent in August, compared with expectations of 0.2 percent, as reported by the Associated Press, which called the August number the weakest showing in three months as demand for autos declined…. Wholesale inflation, as measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI), was unchanged with a 0.2 percent rise in August.”
* Tick tock: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admonished Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Wednesday, suggesting that he was acting like a “dictator” in blocking transportation legislation and that his action could put 80,000 people out of work by this weekend.”
* Deepwater Horizon: “BP, running weeks behind schedule and tens of millions of dollars over budget trying to complete its troubled Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, took numerous shortcuts that contributed to the disastrous blowout and oil spill last year, federal investigators concluded in a report released on Wednesday.”
* Over to the House: “Senate Democrats were successful the second time around Tuesday, narrowly advancing a $7 billion disaster aid package that Republicans blocked a day earlier.” Why did Republicans filibuster emergency disaster relief in the first place? Because they’re Republicans.
* Quite a scene: “United Airlines Flight 586, scheduled to depart Dulles at 12:34 p.m. for San Francisco, was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after it reportedly experienced an engine problem…. Supreme Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe Estrada said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on the United flight and was evacuated without injury.”
* Despite some recent scuttlebutt, EPA chief Lisa Jackson is staying at her post.
* I wish GOP lawmakers wouldn’t embarrass us overseas: “Representative Peter T. King testified about terrorism on Tuesday before a legislative committee, but the committee was in London, not Washington, and the New York Republican found himself the uncomfortable object of tough questioning. In a hearing on ‘Roots of Violent Radicalization,’ Mr. King was asked about his own past support for the Irish Republican Army.”
* Daniel Luzer: “The Department of Education has just released the latest information about bad student loan debt. It’s worse than ever. The rate of student loan default, the percent of student loan debtors who failed to make payments on their loans, is increasing.”
* Internet speeds: “The United States as a whole lags in speed, coming in 25th behind South Korea, which has the fastest speeds in the world.” The U.S. even trails Romania.
* Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) believes the rich are getting richer, “but the poor are getting richer even faster.” That’s not even close to being true.
* And finally, asked whether the House Oversight Committee will review the Rupert Murdoch News Corp scandal, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Fox News yesterday he’d consider it “inappropriate” for his committee to “start picking on media.” Given Issa’s background, that’s hilarious.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.