Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* A lively discussion with the Senate Armed Services Committee on the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

* Interesting quote from President Obama about his decision: “I am painfully clear that this is politically unpopular. Not only is this not popular, but it’s least popular in my own party. But that’s not how I make decisions.”

* A new round of charges against Nidal Hasan.

* Senate Republicans spent much of the day complaining about Medicare cuts. The AARP says Republicans are wrong and Democrats are right.

* Long overdue: “The Obama administration on Wednesday approved the first human embryonic stem cells for experiments by federally funded scientists under a new policy designed to dramatically expand government support for one of the most promising but also most contentious fields of biomedical research.”

* Oh, how I wish the political establishment would stop pretending John McCain understands foreign policy. He doesn’t.

* CNBC doesn’t want Lou Dobbs.

* Dear Congress, please listen to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on the estate tax.

* SAFRA may still pass this Congress, but it’s going to have to wait until next year.

* The health care reform bill would be worse without a public option, but it wouldn’t be “worthless.”

* On a related note, Ezra ponders what the Democratic majority could get in exchange for a public option if the party’s mainstream tried to strike a deal with center-right Dems.

* Peter Orszag considers the reform bill the biggest cost-savings measure ever considered by the federal government. The claim has the benefit of being true.

* The Washington Times‘ troubles continue to get worse.

* Ever wonder why Rasmussen’s poll results seem so much different (and worse for Obama) than other polls? Mark Blumenthal ponders.

* Some Senate Republicans are angry now that they’re taking heat over their votes on the Franken amendment to the defense spending bill.

* And we’re closing in on the 10th anniversary of the Clinton administration’s handover of the Panama Canal. Looking back at the GOP arguments at the time, we see how incredibly wrong they were.

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.