Thursday’s Mini-Report


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* President Obama’s second term cabinet continues to take shape, with the introduction today of Penny Pritzker as the president’s next Commerce Secretary nominee and Mike Froman as the next U.S. Trade Representative.

* Syria: “The Obama administration is rethinking its opposition to providing arms to the Syrian rebels, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday. Hagel said no decisions have been made, but confirmed reports that the administration is considering taking the new step of arming Syrian rebels in the wake of the possible use of chemical weapons by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

* Houston shooting: “A man shot himself to death Thursday at the main Houston airport after firing into the air with an assault rifle, witnesses and law enforcement sources told NBC News. The man had a suicide note in a backpack, the sources said. They said he was fired on by federal agents before producing a handgun and killing himself.”

* Maryland: “With a stroke of a pen, Gov. Martin O’Malley removed the death penalty from state law Thursday – making Maryland the 18th state in the nation to have abolished capital punishment.”

* Insane: “An Army reservist and Iraq veteran who works as a cabdriver says a passenger he picked up early Friday at a Northern Virginia country club accused him of being a terrorist because he is Muslim, then fractured his jaw in an attack being described by Islamic activists as a hate crime.”

* Eurozone: “The European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low on Thursday, but remained unwilling to deploy more powerful weapons that many economists say are needed to jolt the Continent out of recession.”

* I hope he’s right: “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) split with colleague Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and said he sees support among House Republicans for passing a bipartisan immigration reform bill.”

* The guy’s clearly had a rough week: “Howard Kurtz, the longtime media critic, is departing as the Washington bureau chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, the head of those publications said Thursday.”

* The incoming president of the National Rifle Association seems like an interesting character. Get to know Jim Porter, a conspiracy theorist who calls the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report