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

* It’s official — the H1N1 swine flu virus is the first global flu epidemic in 41 years.

* The Senate passed landmark legislation this afternoon to regulate tobacco products. It passed 79 to 17.

* For now, James Von Brunn is still alive in a D.C. hospital. Today, he was charged with murder.

* The right’s new line of attack: James Von Brunn, a notorious racist and anti-Semite, is a lefty.

* President Obama hosted a town-hall discussion today in Green Bay on health care reform.

* Congressional Republicans are balking at federal funding for the International Monetary Fund. Today, Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton accused GOP lawmakers of undermining U.S. national security interests.

* Stephen Johns, the security officer who was murdered yesterday at the Holocaust Memorial, is part of a union that requested bulletproof vests. The vests were never issued.

* Fox News went to comical lengths not to talk about yesterday’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

* New York’s state Senate, still a mess.

* The AMA’s opposition to health care reform prompted one high-profile physician to resign from the organization today.

* Dr. George Tiller is gone, but a Nebraska doctor stepped up yesterday to say he’ll perform late-term abortions in Kansas.

* Letterman walked back some of his Palin jokes, but the RNC wants a Letterman boycott. (What will Dave do without those insightful and engaging Republican guests?)

* Brendan Nyhan has a fascinating item on the difficulties in getting people to stop believing a lie.

* Video of the Day.

* Jeremiah Wright, please stop talking.

* Michael Steele should probably just steer clear of metaphors altogether.

* Once in a great while, Joe Scarborough says something sensible. This morning, for example, he mocked right-wing calls for a GM boycott “stupid,” and the conservative proponents of the boycott “morons.”

* And this afternoon, President Obama signed the coolest excused-absence note in the history of excused-absence notes.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.