Thursday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* ECB: “Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, laid the groundwork Thursday for a more aggressive response to the euro zone debt crisis, suggesting that the bank could increase its support for the European economy if political leaders took more radical steps to enforce spending discipline among members.”

* Tehran: “The European Union announced tightened sanctions against Iran on Thursday in the aftermath of the storming of Britain’s Tehran embassy, adding 180 Iranian officials and companies to a blacklist that freezes their assets and bans travel to member states. But the measures fell well short of demands by Britain and France for an embargo on oil purchases from Iran, one of the world’s leading producers.”

* World AIDS Day: “President Barack Obama vowed to boost U.S. efforts to fight AIDS with a new target of providing treatment to 6 million people worldwide by 2013, up from an earlier goal of 4 million.”

* This really is one of George W. Bush’s few strong points, by the way.

* Moving in the wrong direction: “The number of Americans who applied for jobless benefits last week rose above 400,000 again, an indication that the pace of hiring in the U.S. likely remains modest at best. Initial claims for unemployment compensation climbed by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the highest level in a month.”

* Not the results the West wanted to see: “Islamists claimed a decisive victory on Wednesday as early election results put them on track to win a dominant majority in Egypt’s first Parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the most significant step yet in the religious movement’s rise since the start of the Arab Spring.”

* Occupy protests met a forceful end in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, but “encampments continue from San Francisco to Boston, and in cities like Des Moines; Kansas City, Mo.; Lansing, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; Portland, Me.; and Providence, R.I.”

* That’s quite a process: “Belgium neared the end of a 536-day political feud with an accord to form a full-time government that vows to prune the budget deficit to confront the financial crisis.”

* Republicans on the House’s subcommittee on higher-education policy have some thoughts on cutting college costs. They don’t actually cut the costs of college.

* Many conservatives are convinced taxes for the average middle-class family are higher now than when President Obama took office. Those conservatives are very wrong.

* Again, Alabama? “A Japanese man temporarily working at Honda’s car factory in east Alabama became the second foreign auto worker charged under the state’s law on illegal immigration, the company said Wednesday.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

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.