Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* Afghanistan: “The Afghan national election commission, in its first full tally of ballots cast in last month’s presidential election, announced Wednesday that President Hamid Karzai had won 54.6 percent of the vote, a large enough margin to win reelection without a runoff against his top challenger, Abdullah Abdullah.”

* Congressional Dems, especially Jay Rockefeller, aren’t especially impressed with the Baucus health care plan.

* At least the CBO likes it.

* The sooner Baucus fixes his bill’s free-rider problem, the better.

* Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) almost certainly won’t support a public option, but he seems amenable to a trigger.

* The House formally rebuked Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) late yesterday. The final vote was 240 to 179.

* The House ethics committee is investigating allegations involving Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), in unrelated matters.

* Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), a staunch opponent of abortion rights, is prepared to kill health care reform unless it includes even more restrictions on abortion funding.

* I don’t think Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) understands what a “czar” is.

* GOP leaders are still lying about cap-and-trade costs.

* Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is surprisingly optimistic about reform getting “more than 60 votes.” What does he know the rest of us don’t?

* It’s hilarious hearing Rick Santorum explain why Republicans should be able to use reconciliation on large and small bills, but Democrats shouldn’t.

* As the recession drags on, student loan default rates are up significantly.

* Look for more armed passengers on Amtrak.

* Fred Kaplan: “How distributing cash — to Karzai, Abdullah, and other bigwigs — could help us win in Afghanistan.”

* Every state has its crazies — even New Jersey.

* Orly Taitz gets laughed out of court.

* Katharine Weymouth isn’t having a good summer.

* Bush purged U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, and Obama has undone the damage.

* Headline of the day: “Uninsured Americans hope reform brings health coverage.”

* ACORN is auditing itself.

* And finally, following up on Paul’s item from earlier, I was delighted to see The Atlantic include me in its list of the nation’s 50 most influential political commentators. I’m #44 on the list, but using Beck/Malkin/Teabagger math, and aerial photos from 1997, I’ve decided that I’m actually in the top five.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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