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

* Targeting al Qaeda: “A ‘high-ranking’ al-Qaida figure was killed Thursday in an attack by a drone aircraft in northwest Pakistan, U.S. officials told NBC News. The officials did not identify who was killed, except to say that it was not al-Qaida’s supreme leader, Osama bin Laden. If the report is confirmed, it would be the first time coalition forces had killed a top al-Qaida figure in almost a year.”

* Pakistan: “Five young Muslim American men arrested here Wednesday were on their way to the heart of the Taliban sanctuary in Pakistan’s tribal areas with the intention of training to fight against American troops in Afghanistan, Pakistani police authorities said Thursday.”

* A temporary break: “The Senate voted 56 to 43 on Thursday afternoon to temporarily put aside the major health care legislation and take up a crucial package of spending measures needed to finance many government operations…. A final vote on the spending package is expected on Sunday, and the Senate would then return to the health care bill, aides said.”

* Good move: “Moving to quell the uproar over the return of big paydays on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs announced on Thursday that its top executives would forgo cash bonuses this year and that it would give shareholders a say in determining compensation.”

* Wait, now conservative Republicans don’t think the health care reform bill is long enough? It’s so difficult to keep up with their talking points.

* A major setback for marriage equality in New Jersey.

* Rick Warren finally feels compelled to speak out against anti-gay legislation in Uganda.

* On Human Rights Day, there’s renewed interest in a “New Domestic Human Rights Agenda.”

* I’m sorry to see E&P fold after all of 125 years.

* I’m glad to see PolitiFact get a syndication deal.

* The oil industry’s capacity for dishonesty is almost limitless.

* College in three years?

* Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants to prohibit excessively loud TV commercials. I heartily endorse his effort.

* Stephanopoulos to “GMA,” Cuomo to “20/20.”

* And finally, Glenn Beck has endorsed “abolishing” Medicare. One wonders how many congressional Republicans will go on record supporting this position. Perhaps some effort should be made to ask them.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen

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.