Today’s edition of quick hits:

* U.S. economy: “The Commerce Department on Friday said consumer spending in the United States in August rose 0.2 percent, while incomes actually fell for the first time in nearly two years.”

* Europe: “Austria on Friday became the latest country to sign off on the expansion of the euro currency zone’s bailout fund for heavily indebted countries…. The decision in Vienna left just three countries out of the 17 members of the currency zone that had yet to approve the measure, which expands not only the size but the powers of the bailout fund. With Malta and the Netherlands set to vote next week, pressure mounted on Slovakia, viewed by many as the last holdout.”

* There’s no reason the media should be surprised when a nation pursues austerity measures, only to find the economic outlook “keeps getting worse, not better.”

* Harold Meyerson has a good look on the Senate’s next big challenge: “The news that our trade with China has been bad for the American middle class has finally reached the U.S. Senate. On Monday, the Senate will take up legislation that would impose tariffs on Chinese goods so long as China depresses the value of its currency.”

* The wrong call in Alabama: “A federal judge has upheld most of Alabama’s new immigration law, the nation’s harshest and most radical attempt to harness a state’s power to find and punish illegal immigrants. The consequences for Alabamans will be serious — not just for the undocumented, but for their blameless citizen children, for those who are mistaken for unauthorized immigrants and for farmers and other business owners ensnared in the law.”

* And now we’re seeing the heartbreaking consequences: “Many of the 223 Hispanic students at Foley Elementary came to school Thursday crying and afraid, said Principal Bill Lawrence. Nineteen of them withdrew, and another 39 were absent, Lawrence said, the day after a federal judge upheld much of Alabama’s strict new immigration law, which authorizes law enforcement to detain people suspected of not being U.S. citizens and requires schools to ask new enrollees for a copy of their birth certificate.”

* A protest gains allies: “New York City labor unions are preparing to back the unwieldy grassroots band occupying a park in Lower Manhattan, in a move that could mark a significant shift in the tenor of the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street protests and send thousands more people into the streets.”

* Some “scandals” manufactured by Republican media are so pathetic, they disappear in a cloud of ignominy a couple of hours after bursting onto the scene.

* I’m amazed the Daily Caller is quadrupling down on its obviously wrong reporting. For crying out loud, just run a correction and move on.

* Does federal financial aid make colleges raise prices? It’s a dubious argument, and the evidence is hard to nail down.

* And it appears the right is all worked up because First Lady Michelle Obama went shopping at Target. I can understand conservatives disagreeing with the White House’s policy agenda, but causing a fuss over this is just deranged.

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.