Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Abbas causes a stir: “Shortly after President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority formally requested the Security Council to grant full United Nations membership on Friday, international powers reached an agreement on terms to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians, diplomats and Obama administration officials said.”
* Europe: “The Obama administration, increasingly alarmed by the spillover effects of Europe’s financial crisis, has begun an intensive lobbying campaign to persuade Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and other leaders to act decisively to stem any contagion from the Greece debt crisis.”
* With Congress unable to function well enough to consider education reforms, the White House acted on its own, announcing “that states could apply for waivers on the provision of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that requires school proficiency in math and reading by 2014.”
* Republicans who’d been critical of the NCLB policy were nevertheless outraged by President Obama’s move, apparently just for the sake of being outraged.
* Trade assistance managed to pass the Senate last night: “The Senate passed legislation today to provide job training and other assistance to workers displaced by trade, setting the stage for passage of three free-trade agreements after next week’s recess.” It passed 70 to 27. We’ll see what happens in the House.
* In something of a breakthrough, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) has agreed to cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. She is the first Republican lawmaker to officially endorse the formal repeal of DOMA.
* Fortunately, no one was hurt: “Vandals have struck President Barack Obama’s campaign office in Los Angeles, police said late Thursday. BB-gun pellets were shot and an unknown object was thrown into the office, police spokeswoman Sara Faden said.”
* It’s too soon to jump to conclusions, but this is a story with potential: “The physics world is abuzz with news that a group of European physicists plans to announce Friday that it has clocked a burst of subatomic particles known as neutrinos breaking the cosmic speed limit — the speed of light — that was set by Albert Einstein in 1905. If true, it is a result that would change the world. But that ‘if’ is enormous.”
* Jacob Weisberg offers some surprisingly strong criticism of Ron Suskind, and urges readers not to believe his new book.
* I’d never heard of a college literally moving out of state, just to be closer to a private factory.
* Krugman: “Republicans claim to be deeply worried by budget deficits. Indeed, Mr. Ryan has called the deficit an ‘existential threat’ to America. Yet they are insisting that the wealthy — who presumably have as much of a stake as everyone else in the nation’s future — should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat. Well, that amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else. And that, in case you’re wondering, is what real class warfare looks like.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.