Thursday’s Mini-Report


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Day One at the G-20 summit in Russia: “President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged a tense handshake Thursday to open a summit of the Group of 20 countries – a meeting meant to focus on economic issues but overshadowed by the crisis in Syria.”

* Long-distance lobbying: “Even as he makes his case on Syria to world leaders gathered at an international summit here, President Obama plans to call lawmakers back in Washington to urge them to authorize a U.S. military strike aimed at punishing the Syrian government for a devastating chemical weapons attack.”

* Briefing: “Lawmakers were shown a gruesome video depicting dozens of people killed by nerve gas as part of a classified, closed-door briefing Thursday laying out the Obama administration’s case for action against Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

* Pakistan: “A US drone fired two missiles into a compound in northwest Pakistan early Friday killing at least six militants, officials said…. ‘It was a US drone strike. Six militants were killed, the death toll may rise,’ one security official in Miranshah told AFP.”

* Egypt: “A powerful bomb blasted through a convoy of cars carrying the interior minister along a residential street on Thursday, raising fears of a widely predicted turn toward terrorist violence by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Morsi.”

* This one surprises me a bit: “The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents.”

* San Antonio: “Anti-bias protections for gay and transgender citizens in San Antonio passed Thursday over the disapproval of top Republicans in Texas and religious conservatives who packed the City Council chamber and sometimes shamed supporters for comparing the issue to the civil rights movement.”

* Labor: “In the largest Walmart protests since the retail giant was struck by a wave of strikes throughout its production line late last year, hundreds of Walmart employees walked off the job and took part in demonstrations in 15 cities Thursday.”

* For reasons that I can’t explain, BuzzFeed published a 1,300-word piece today quoting a bunch of former Mitt Romney aides who – get this – believe that Mitt Romney was right about everything. I ran out of time today before I could tackle the piece point by point, but Jed Lewison and Ed Kilgore dug in.

* Big news for MSNBC prime-time: “Alec Baldwin will join MSNBC as the host of a current events and culture talk show beginning Fridays in October.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report