Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* Quite a scene in Mexico City today: “The hijacking of a commercial airliner carrying 104 passengers ended peacefully Wednesday when five to seven people were taken into custody at Mexico City’s airport.”

* Quite a scene in Kunduz yesterday: “Stephen Farrell, a New York Times reporter held captive by militants in northern Afghanistan, was freed in a military commando raid early Wednesday, but his Afghan interpreter was killed during the rescue effort.”

* Iran: “American intelligence agencies have concluded in recent months that Iran has enough nuclear fuel to make a rapid, if risky, sprint for sufficient enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. But in a series of briefings to President Obama, they say they believe the country is still holding off on taking the last critical steps in designing a sophisticated bomb.”

* The Supreme Court heard arguments today in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205.

* The Federal Reserve believes there’s enough economic activity in the U.S. to suggest the recession may be over.

* House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked today about the absence of the Republican health care plan. He dodged the question.

* Five dozen Republicans in the South Carolina state legislature called on Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to resign.

* Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is sounding pretty enthusiastic about pursuing health care reform through reconciliation.

* Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) wants President Obama to take the public option off the table. 

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will not replace Ted Kennedy as the chair of the Senate HELP Committee, but will instead remain chairman of the Banking Committee. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will instead take Kennedy’s place.

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.) said Republicans will not accept a “trigger” as a compromise move on the public option.

* A major new coalition gets to work on getting a climate and energy bill passed this year.

* Greg Sargent unveils some cool new tools at Who Runs Gov, including a “Health Care Reform Tracker” and a new “Moderated Wiki” for its profiles of D.C. power players. Both look like they’re going to be useful applications (which I’ll probably be using often).

* Low college graduation rates are bad for the country. Why isn’t this talked about more?

* Nice find from Lindsay Beyerstein on the Tea Baggers’ bus company and its work during the Katrina crisis.

* It’s amusing that during the Bush administration, Bill O’Reilly didn’t think the White House had enough “czars.”

* Tell the truth, is anyone surprised that Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) is a birther?

* The line between parody and reality among right-wing activists is easily blurred.

* Olbermann walks back his request for Glenn Beck info.

* And finally, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be live-blogging the president’s speech tonight. See you in two-and-a-half hours.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

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.