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

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today the recession is “very likely over,” but he doesn’t think the job market is going to improve anytime soon.

* Retail sales figures were stronger than expected in August.

* Vice President Biden made his third trip to Iraq this year earlier today, but while he was in the Green Zone, “three large explosions near the American Embassy shook downtown Baghdad.”

* The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, told the Senate Armed Services Committee today he’ll likely need more troops — and more time — for the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Senate Republicans were pleased; Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) was not.

* U.S. support for the war in Afghanistan has reached an all-time low in the new CNN poll.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) let his colleagues know today that if Republicans slow down the chamber’s schedule, he’ll cancel their week-long break in October.

* Reid is also unafraid, for now, of reconciliation.

* The House is debating formal criticism of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) this afternoon.

* A conservative activist brought two guns to a protest outside President Obama’s event in Minnesota over the weekend.

* Muntader al-Zaidi, freed after nine months in an Iraqi jail.

* The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) would save quite a bit of money.

* Might Operation Rescue go out of business? It’s apparently a distinct possibility.

* Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) isn’t especially impressed with the arguments of his right-wing constituents.

* After an 83 to 7 vote, ACORN will no longer be eligible for HUD grants.

* On a related note, ACORN is considering filing suit against Fox News, Breitbart.com, and two conservative activists.

* R.I.P., Norman Borlaug. Thanks for all the lives you saved.

* As it turns out, Obama’s off-the-record “jackass” comment seems to be working pretty well, politically.

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.