Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* The president was well received at the U.N. today: “The United States is ready to begin a new era of engagement with the world, President Obama said Wednesday in a sweeping address to the United Nations General Assembly in which he sought to clearly delineate differences between his administration and that of former President George W. Bush. ‘We have re-engaged the United Nations,’ Mr. Obama said, to cheers from world leaders and delegates in the cavernous hall of the General Assembly.”

* The next speech went less well: “Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, took the lectern at the United Nations on Wednesday morning for his first address at the General Assembly and delivered a long and rambling diatribe — far exceeding the 15-minute limit on speeches — against the Security Council and a host of other perceived enemies, while urging the world to welcome President Obama, referring to him as ‘our son.'”

* Guess which part of that paragraph Fox News found important.

* The Massachusetts Legislature gave final approval this afternoon to a bill that will allow Gov. Deval Patrick to fill the state’s U.S. Senate vacancy. Patrick will have to declare an emergency in order to legally appoint the interim senator.

* The Fed continues to sound optimistic notes about the economy.

* The White House is exploring multiple alternatives in Afghanistan, “including a plan advocated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back American forces and focus more on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan.”

* The House easily extended unemployment benefits yesterday; the Senate intends to do the same soon.

* The White House gets impatient with Republicans’ lies about Medicare, issues hard-hitting response.

* New U.S. policy on state secrets.

* The IRS is backing away from ACORN, too.

* The Washington Post hosted a lengthy Q&A today exclusively on ACORN. How very sad.

* The American Association of Justice starts rallying opposition to medical malpractice reform.

* How discouraging can Blue Dogs be? Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) argued that Medicare is part of a Soviet-style system. Seriously.

* So long, flavored cigarettes.

* Salon‘s multi-part series on Glenn Beck has been infinitely more informative than that recent Time cover story.

* PG&E has no use for the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce’s global warming denials.

* Glenn Thrush extends an important apology to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), after running a very misleading transcript provided by the NRCC.

* Bill Clinton has some compelling thoughts on higher ed.

* Glenn Beck hates the 14th Amendment.

* Electric and hybrid cars may be so quiet “that they pose a threat to pedestrians.”

* Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) thinks marriage equality is evidence of “socialism.” What a clown.

* Quote of the Day: “Many Republican politicians keep a little box filled with government programs that they break open in the event that they run into actual human beings with real problems.”

* And finally, there’s great symbolism in Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) sleeping during yesterday’s health care reform hearing.

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.