Friday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Amazing rescue: “In the middle of a tense standoff between Iran and the United States, the crew of an American destroyer patrolling the North Arabian Sea rescued 13 Iranian fishermen who had been taken hostage by Somali pirates more than a month ago, the Pentagon announced on Friday.”

* Syria: “A bomb tore through a densely populated neighborhood in Damascus on Friday, killing 25 people and wounding dozens more in the second attack in the Syrian capital in two weeks, Syrian television and other state news media reported.”

* Encouraging step: “The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday that it was making a major change in how it settles some securities fraud cases, telling companies that they will no longer be allowed to neither admit nor deny the commission’s civil charges when, at the same time, they admit to or have been convicted of criminal violations.”

* A new defense footing: “President Obama has for the first time put his own stamp on an all-encompassing American military policy by turning from the grinding ground wars that he inherited from the Bush administration and refocusing on what he described as a smaller, more agile force across Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East.”

* I think President Obama made a mistake last year when he called for a federal pay freeze. I’m glad to now see him move in a better direction: “President Barack Obama will propose lifting a pay freeze for U.S. federal workers in his budget plan to be unveiled next month to give government employees a 0.5 percent pay rise, a White House official said on Friday.”

* It’s a good thing Obama didn’t listen to Republicans on the auto industry: “Chrysler will add 1,250 jobs at two Detroit factories next year — another sign that the once struggling automaker appears to be making a comeback.”

* An overdue change: “The FBI is changing its long-standing definition of rape for the first time to include sexual assaults on males following persistent calls from victims advocates who claim that the offense, as currently defined in the agency’s annual crime report, has been undercounted for decades.”

* The Obama administration is clearly aware of the progressive criticism over the NDAA bill, and officials have prepared some responses to common concerns.

* The White House launches Summer Jobs+, a worthwhile summer-jobs program that will create “nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 employment opportunities by the start of summer, at least 100,000 of which will be placements in paid jobs and internships.”

* C’mon, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). I think you’re better than this.

* Liz Cheney will now be paid political commentator for Fox News. What a shock.

* Liberty University, a Virginia school founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell, appears to be throwing its support to Newt Gingrich.

* NBC’s “Community” is not yet dead.

* Fox News’ Neil Cavuto wonders whether President Obama can be impeached over his recess appointments. Yeah, give that a shot, Republicans. See how it turns out.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.