WEDNESDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Following a full meeting of the president’s national security team: “Senior U.S. military leaders told President Obama that the offensive in southern Afghanistan is proceeding well, and that a significant number of Taliban forces have left the city in the face of the U.S.-Afghan forces. ‘It’s clear that a lot of individuals with the Taliban decided they did not want to stay in this stronghold and have left,’ Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, describing the hour-long meeting Wednesday in the Situation Room.”
* The threat of sectarian violence in Iraq, just weeks before national elections, remains very real, and there’s not much the United States can do about it.
* For the first time in seven years, the size of the U.S. military presence in Iraq has fallen below 100,000.
* The White House named a new U.S. ambassador to Syria yesterday, which wouldn’t be especially noteworthy except it’s the first time we’ve had an ambassador to Syria since 2005.
* President Obama is moving forward with his bipartisan commission on debt reduction. He’s chosen former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson (R) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) to serve as co-chairmen.
* The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC is widely disliked by the vast majority of the American public.
* I tried to care about the new, right-wing “Mount Vernon Statement,” but just couldn’t find a reason to bother.
* Sallie Mae is part of the effort to kill a student-loan reform bill that would save taxpayers millions of dollars and help more Americans go to college.
* And if you think conservative Republican lawmakers are ridiculous at the federal level, consider how truly insane they can be at the state level. In South Carolina, one GOP lawmaker introduced a bill to prohibit the state from accepting U.S. currency. Seriously.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.