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Thursday's Mini-Report

Today's edition of quick hits:* You know what Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) office needs? Cantaloupes.* Well, this could be huge: "Secretary of State John Kerry

Today's edition of quick hits:

* You know what Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) office needs? Cantaloupes.

* Well, this could be huge: "Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that President Obama has a timeline for ending drone strikes in Pakistan, and 'we hope it's going to be very, very soon.'"

* Russia: "Brushing aside pleas and warnings from President Obama and other senior American officials, Russia granted Edward J. Snowden temporary asylum and allowed him to walk free out of a Moscow airport transit zone on Thursday, ending his legal limbo there after more than five weeks."

* Keep a close eye on this one: "The United States is closing embassies and consulates in a number of Middle Eastern and Asian countries Sunday -- including Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan -- because of a possible al-Qaeda-related threat to diplomatic posts worldwide, American officials told NBC News on Thursday."

* Manufacturing: "U.S. factories revved up production, hired more workers and received a surge of new orders in July, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years. The gains suggest manufacturing is rebounding and could provide a spark to economic growth."

* If you were happy about the sudden burst of progress in the Senate, I have bad news: the upper chamber's version of the THUD spending had enough votes to pass, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked it with a filibuster. As is too often the case, it was a nice win for McConnell and another loss for the country.

* IRS: "President Obama is nominating John Koskinen, a former official at Freddie Mac and a corporate turnaround specialist, as the next commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the White House said Thursday."

* Done deal: The House approved a measure Wednesday to link interest rates on student loans to financial markets, sending the compromise legislation to the president's desk after a lengthy back-and-forth between Congress and the White House. The vote was 392-31."

* Mark Kessler gets suspended: "A Pennsylvania police chief who recorded profanity-ridden YouTube videos in which he fired automatic weapons and railed against Democrats on gun issues was handed a 30-day suspension Wednesday night."

* And in case the right's other recent economic conspiracy theories weren't enough, Limbaugh now believes the Obama administration is cooking the books on the GDP. I hate to break it to the right, but if the White House were fiddling with economic data, we would see growth a lot higher than 1.7%.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.