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

* Talk about a roller-coaster week: “Wall Street rallied Thursday, finding momentum at the end of a tough session, on talk that the government is working on a more permanent solution to absorbing bad debt. Also helping lead the advance: reports that China will cut out taxes on stock purchases. The Dow Jones industrial average added 410 points, or 3.9%. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 4.3% and the Nasdaq composite gained 4.8%.”

* Things in Afghanistan really aren’t going well.

* Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Nebraska Republican, pretty much trashed Sarah Palin’s qualifications for national office yesterday, and described one of the McCain campaign’s arguments in support of Palin as “insulting to the American people.”

* CNN and the AP picked up on McCain’s problem with Spain.

* McCain’s odd comments notwithstanding, the White House has confidence in SEC Chairman Chris Cox.

* Have I mentioned how cool it is to see Rachel Maddow doing great in the ratings?

* Joe Klein wonders why McCain would deliberately put a “chill in the relationship with one of our NATO allies simply because McCain misheard a question.” I’m wondering the same thing.

* “When Joe Biden claimed wealthy Americans have a patriotic duty to pay more in taxes, he was absolutely right.”

* Remember when U.S. Supreme Court rulings were influential around the world? Those were good times.

* Bill O’Reilly sure does say “Shut up” a lot.

* Timothy Egan has a fascinating look at how government works in Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

* I sincerely hope Palin’s position on rape kits in Alaska had nothing to do with emergency contraception.

* The APA has voted to prohibit members from participating in the torture of detainees. Good.

* Ben Smilowitz, executive director of the Disaster Accountability Project: “It’s frustrating that the government can deliver $85 billion to bail out AIG, and they can’t deliver ice in Texas.”

* Why does the Republican Party struggle to connect with minority audiences? It might have something to do with the party’s willingness to invite George “Macaca” Allen to a rally to help the Republican Party connect with minority audiences.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.