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

* A major offensive in Afghanistan: “Thousands of U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers traveling in helicopters and mine-resistant vehicles began punching into a key Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan early Saturday morning, as one of the largest operations to assert government control over this country got underway.”

* Former President Bill Clinton was released from an NYC hospital earlier today, and is reportedly in good health.

* Inflation fears in China: “For the second time in less than five weeks, China’s central bank has moved to limit lending to consumers and businesses by ordering big commercial banks to park a larger share of their deposits at the central bank.”

* Relatively good economic news: “A modestly better-than-expected report on retail sales for January could suggest stronger economic growth in coming months. The 0.5 percent gain reported Friday by the Commerce Department exceeded the 0.3 percent increase economists had expected.”

* Nodar Kumaritashvili: “A men’s Olympic luger from the country of Georgia died Friday after a high-speed crash during training. IOC president Jacques Rogge said the death hours before the opening ceremony ‘clearly casts a shadow over these games.’”

* Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) worked for months with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on crafting a bipartisan reform plan for Wall Street. Shelby proved impossible, and the talks collapsed. This week, Dodd began trying again, this time with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

* Sarah Palin refuses to allow the media access to her speeches. Isn’t she technically a paid media professional, snubbing her own colleagues?

* If you haven’t read Krugman’s column on Republicans and Medicare, please do so.

* Higher ed in Nevada is kind of screwed.

* Fox News personality Dana Perino, still not the sharpest tool in the shed.

* Fox News is not above politicizing Bill Clinton’s heart troubles.

* An incredibly irresponsible report from the Nashville CBS affiliate on a Muslim community in rural Tennessee leads to vandalism.

* I’m finding it difficult to be surprised: “The Massachusetts man charged this week for stockpiling weapons after saying he feared an imminent ‘Armageddon’ appears to have been active in his local Tea Party group, and saw Sarah Palin, on a ‘righteous ‘Mission from God,’ as the only figure capable of averting the destruction of society.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.