Wednesday’s Mini-Report

WEDNESDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Jerusalem: “With Israel’s construction freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank due to end this weekend, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were seeking an elusive formula on Wednesday to keep their new peace talks going while both sides warned that if the talks ended, violence could erupt. As if to illustrate that warning, Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in and around the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday after an Israeli security guard fatally shot a Palestinian resident of Silwan.”

* In a surprise move, Senate Republicans decided not to replace Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as the ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The caucus did replace her, though, in the Senate leadership with John Barrasso of Wyoming.

* House Republicans will unveil “The Pledge to America” tomorrow. I’ll have plenty of coverage once it’s released.

* Look for Senate Dems to give the Disclose Act another try tomorrow, but it’s probably best to keep expectations low.

* Justice Antonin Scalia and women’s rights really don’t go together well.

* In an apparent attempt to make my head explode, disgraced Republican lobbyist Ralph Reed insists he’s “proud” of the work he did for Jack Abramoff.

* Michael Tomasky makes it plain: “A black guy with an alien name who was called a Muslim and a terrorist got elected president of the US by saying that he would raise taxes on people above $250,000. To which a Blue Dog would say, well, he lost my district by 15 points. To which I say, well, you’re not black with an alien name who’s being called a Muslim. Get out there and show some guts for a change.”

* A pet peeve: when folks exaggerate the length of the Senate Dems’ 60-vote majority. Kevin helpfully sets the record straight.

* Wait, the RNC is still paying Sarah Palin’s legal bills? The 2008 campaign was nearly two years ago, but the expenses are apparently ongoing.

* On a related note, Craig Smith makes my day a little brighter, noting that “former half-term governor” line is catching on.

* Apparently the rate at which Americans finish college is not improving much.

* If you haven’t seen Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) remarks on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” from the Senate floor last night, they’re well worth watching.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.