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

* The Fed believes the economy is “pulling out of its downward spiral,” and issued its “most optimistic assessment in more than a year.”

* Dahaneh: “U.S. Marines battled Taliban fighters Wednesday for control of a strategic southern town in a new operation to cut militant supply lines and allow Afghan residents to vote in next week’s presidential election.”

* Asked today about success in Afghanistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said, “We’ll know it when we see it.” That doesn’t sound encouraging.

* Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska rejected the “death panel” nonsense yesterday, telling an Anchorage crowd, “Quite honestly, I’m so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn’t (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill.”

* Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel speaks up, responds to ridiculous right-wing attacks.

* A conservative activist held a “Death to Obama” sign at a town-hall event in Maryland today.

* Another Republican official sending racist emails and assassination jokes? Imagine that.

* Rep. David Scott (D) of Georgia, whose district office was defaced with a large swastika, appeared on CNN this afternoon, and shared some of the right-wing hate mail he’s received lately. “But we have to understand is,” Scott said, “we can’t let these kinds of racist things, or that swastika, win this debate. And that is not gonna happen.”

* Glenn Beck loses yet another corporate sponsor.

* Today’s Tom Toles — “Cradle-to-Grave Crazy” — is terrific.

* Some conservative outlet has been doing robo-calls, but have made it appear as if they’re calling from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office. Reid’s actual office responded today.

* I’m starting to think that maybe, just maybe, the Washington Times‘ John Solomon isn’t an objective journalist with high professional standards.

* Interesting report on the differences in how Fox News covered Arlen Specter’s, then President Obama’s, town-hall events.

* In case you’ve heard any odd rumors about Vivek Kundra today, they’re not true.

* And in case anyone’s wondering, I won’t be attending this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Pittsburgh, which starts tomorrow. Instead, I’ll be right here, blogging away. Just FYI.

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.