Monday’s Mini-Report

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

* The potency of Iraq’s insurgency seems to be waning: “Defying a sustained barrage of mortars and rockets in Baghdad and other cities, Iraqis went to the polls in strength on Sunday to choose a new Parliament meant to outlast the American military presence here.”

* On a related note: “Iraqi forces are on track to assume control of the country’s security and the United States is on course to draw down its troops to 50,000 by President Obama’s August deadline, U.S. officials said today.”

* Incredible bloodshed in Nigeria: “Officials and human rights groups in Nigeria said Monday that about 500 people had died in weekend ethnic violence near the central city of Jos, considerably more than what had initially been reported.”

* Vice President Biden travels to Jerusalem today, hoping to kick start Israeli and Palestinian talks. Negotiations have been on a hiatus for 14 months.

* U.S. troops begin their withdrawal from Haiti.

* A new TSA nominee: “President Obama has chosen a retired army intelligence officer, Maj. Gen. Robert A. Harding, to head the Transportation Security Agency, a job that officials call the most important unfilled position in the administration.”

* Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), still prepared to vote with right-wing Republicans to kill health care reform.

* Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) is urging the state’s public colleges and universities not to extend discrimination protections to LGBT employees.

* CNN’s Wolf Blitzer never should have aired that ridiculous “Dept of Jihad?” segment, but I was glad to see him apologize.

* Jon Chait 1, Mike Allen 0.

* Fact checking the Sunday shows.

* Can online schools simply purchase legitimacy?

* The unintentional humor of The Weekly Standard.

* If I thought the National Review‘s Mark Steyn had any idea what he was talking about, I might not like health care reform either.

* Sullivan: “Halperinism really is part of what’s deeply wrong about Washington.”

* Anti-gay California Republican admits that he’s gay.

* Maybe someday racists will realize that their ugly emails can and should have consequences.

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.