Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* Iraq: “At least 20 people were killed and 30 wounded in a double suicide bombing Thursday in northern Iraq, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. Two suicide bombers with explosive vests carried out the attack at a cafe in Sinjar, a town west of Mosul.”

* Afghanistan: “Four NATO service members — three Britons and one American — were killed Thursday in separate attacks in southern Afghanistan, according to NATO and Britain’s Defence Ministry said.”

* Pakistan: “Helicopter gunships pummeled a key Taliban commander’s bases in Pakistan’s northwest, killing at least 12 insurgents Thursday as government forces ratcheted up pressure on the militants following their top leader’s reported death, officials said.”

* U.S. retail sales were supposed to increase in July. They didn’t.

* The Obama administration is putting together “50 benchmarks to measure success in Afghanistan.”

* Nearly seven in 10 Pakistanis are worried that extremists will take control of their country. Also note, however, that Pakistanis have very little fondness for Taliban insurgents.

* Talk of impeachment for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) gets a little louder.

* After all the fuss about every lawmaker reading every word of the health care bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky opposes reform despite not having read the legislation.

* Can we stop pretending Chuck Grassley is serious about health care reform?

* Seriously, can we stop pretending Chuck Grassley is serious about health care reform?

* Yesterday, a right-wing activist in Maryland protested at a town-hall event, holding a sign that read, “Death To Obama, Death To Michelle And Her Two Stupid Kids.” A Secret Service investigation is underway.

* Howard Dean doesn’t want to chat with Lou Dobbs.

* Another very strong fact-checking segment on ABC, this time from Dr. Tim Johnson, the network’s chief medical editor.

* Good point: “One weird thing about our press is that lies about personal stuff, and things which are likely just inadvertent slips, can cause Great Outrage among the assembled Villagers, while sustained and repeated lies about policy are just laundered and retransmitted.”

* Rush Limbaugh thinks Sarah Palin has “intellectual heft.”

* On a related note, if you think Sarah Palin has been writing her own Facebook notes, I have a Bridge to Nowhere I’d like to sell you.

* R.I.P., Les Paul.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.