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

* It was a close, 218-214 vote: “The House on Wednesday passed legislation giving the federal government the ability to borrow a whopping $290 billion to finance its operations for just six additional weeks.”

* Pushing tensions further: “Iran on Wednesday test-fired an upgraded version of its most advanced missile, which is capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, in a new show of strength aimed at preventing any military strike against it amid the nuclear standoff with the West.”

* On a related note, the House approved last night new sanctions aimed at Iran’s nuclear program, 412 to 12.

* Can’t hurt to try, I suppose: “President Obama wrote a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il that a U.S. envoy delivered, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.”

* Don’t expect to see the Fed increase interest rates for a long time.

* On a related note, I wouldn’t have chosen Ben Bernanke as Time‘s Person of the Year, but the magazine didn’t ask me.

* Howard Dean thinks the health care reform plan would be a “dream” for insurance companies; the White House responds. Ezra has more on this.

* On a related note, Nate Silver has 20 questions for progressives who want to kill the health care reform plan.

* When the Monthly reported that tropical forests would be central to the climate talks in Copenhagen, we were right.

* That Joe Arpaio is real, and not some over-the-top character in a Grisham novel, is rather disturbing.

* Paul Krugman weighs in on whether cutting minimum wage would be good for the economy. (Hint: it wouldn’t.)

* Right-wing activists sure do love those reform/Holocaust comparisons, don’t they?

* “Moonlight Madness” — the practice of being a full-time student and full-time worker simultaneously.

* Is it a two-fer if you defraud disabled veterans and the government at the same time?

* The least Dick Armey can do is get Rachel Maddow’s name right.

* Fine, I’ll admit it. The ukulele kid brings a smile to my face.

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.