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

* After falling nearly 400 points this morning, the Dow finished up over 400 points this afternoon. Not for the faint of heart.

* Keep an eye on this story: “Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner told the Huffington Post on Thursday that she is ready not only to fight the state’s current election law battle in front of the Supreme Court, but is also willing to wage a new fight, if necessary, to make sure hundreds of thousands of new voters are not ‘forced’ onto provisional ballots on election day.”

* Early voting began in North Carolina, and the lines are already very long.

* The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry finds McCain’s “Joe the Plumber” talk ridiculous.

* Speaking of which, “Joe the Plumber” isn’t a licensed plumber, isn’t a political independent, doesn’t make more than $250,000, and his name isn’t even “Joe.”

* Atrios seems to have summarized the story beautifully: “I don’t care anything at all about Joe the Plumber. I care about our stupid media who have elevated this registered Republican to represent the everyman undecided voter, even though he isn’t even an undecided voter.”

* Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) takes the stand.

* A brief Secret Service investigation found no threats made against Obama at Palin’s rally in Pennsylvania this week.

* Jack Murtha apologized today for calling western Pennsylvania “a racist area.”

* It’s odd that PBS is unwilling to air “Torturing Democracy,” a documentary examining the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation policies, until after the next president is inaugurated.

* There’s apparently a new viral, right-wing email chain making the rounds. Be forewarned.

* Factoid of the Day: “Joe the Plumber has now had more press conferences than Sarah Palin.”

* Remember Rick Santorum? He’s bashing Obama for not wearing a flag pin — despite the fact that Obama wears one and McCain doesn’t.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.