Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Europe notwithstanding, there’s some good economic news available: “New U.S. claims for jobless benefits hit a seven-month low last week, while permits for future home construction rebounded strongly last month, bolstering views the economy was gaining traction.” New applications for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest levels since early April.

* Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez: “Convinced that the federal government was conspiring against him, the 21-year-old man accused of firing rifle shots at the White House last week drove from Idaho to Washington in an old Honda Accord on a mission to kill President Obama, whom he described as ‘the devil’ and ‘the anti-Christ,’ authorities say.”

* Occupy: “Occupy Wall Street protesters clogged streets and tied up traffic around the U.S. on Thursday to mark two months since the movement’s birth and signal they aren’t ready to quit, despite the breakup of many of their encampments by police. More than 200 people were arrested, most of them in New York.”

* The House unanimously approved tax breaks to encourage the hiring of military veterans late yesterday.

* The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a measure this week on revised detainee policies, which would allow indefinite military detention of American citizens. The White House today threatened to veto the bill.

* Oops: “House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who has criticized the administration for its failed loan guarantee to the firm Solyndra, urged the Energy Department to approve funding assistance for a Michigan solar company that said last week it is halting operations.”

* House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has no use for super-committee co-chair Jeb Hensarling’s (R-Texas) Medicare privatization offer. She didn’t care for Rick Perry’s debate offer, either.

* The sooner, the better: “The Department of Homeland Security will begin a review on Thursday of all deportation cases before the immigration courts and start a nationwide training program for enforcement agents and prosecuting lawyers, with the goal of speeding deportations of convicted criminals and halting those of many illegal immigrants with no criminal record.”

* Good thing Obama didn’t listen to Republicans: “Chrysler said Wednesday that it would add 1,100 jobs at a sport utility vehicle plant here [in Toledo, Ohio] as it spends $1.7 billion developing new models for its Jeep brand.”

* What really causes “regulatory uncertainty”? Budget cuts.

* Daniel Luzer has more on the Texas College Republican leader who “joked” about assassinating the president.

* No, Justice Kagan shouldn’t recuse herself from the Affordable Care Act case.

* Nick Kristof reports from Cambodia on “the face of modern slavery.”

* The National Park Service’s Abraham Lincoln Home in Illinois doesn’t want Bill O’Reilly’s error-ridden book, either.

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.