Thursday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Europe: “The European Central Bank increased aid to cash-strapped financial institutions Thursday, but disappointed those expecting more drastic measures to combat slowing growth and address a deepening bank emergency.”

* Germany: “Germany has begun to throw its weight behind measures to guard Europe’s financial system from a possible Greek or other government debt default, as Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that she would support a continent-wide plan to pump more capital into banks if they need aid.”

* New claims for unemployment benefits went up, but less than expected: “Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 401,000, the Labor Department said, from a revised 395,000 the prior week.”

* Economic silver linings: “Railroads shipments are the highest in almost three years, helping to defy concerns about a double- dip recession.”

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will apparently force another vote stunt on the American Jobs Act, as part of a larger juvenile move to make himself happy. The actual vote is on track for next week.

* Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) threw a tantrum when he thought the White House withheld a cache of Solyndra-related emails from him. It turns out, the emails were delivered, on time, but Stearns got confused.

* GOP continues to get the Solyndra story wrong: “‘People ought to resist [demonizing alternative energy] because it’s really stupid to blame solar in general for some people not managing a corporation well,’ said R. James Woolsey, chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.” Woolsey was a policy advisor to John McCain’s 2008 campaign.

* Folks should know the whole truth about so-called crisis pregnancy centers: “The centers portray themselves as nonpartisan health and counseling clinics, but in fact they oppose abortion, and sometimes even family planning, and push a political agenda on vulnerable women.”

* Greg Sargent and Elizabeth Warren 1; George Will 0.

* Whatever happened to those early college programs?

* ESPN and Hank Williams Jr. have officially parted ways after the right-wing singer compared President Obama to Hitler. In a statement, Williams said the network stepped on his First Amendment rights, apparently confusing the right to free speech with the right to an ESPN contract.

* Legal scholar Derrick Bell died yesterday in New York of carcinoid cancer. I don’t think I’ll ever forget reading “Faces at the Bottom of the Well” as an undergrad.

* And finally, in light of Steve Jobs’ death, I thought I’d run this unaired Apple ad from 1997.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.