Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* Vote-counting in Iraq is a contentious process. Maliki seems to have the early lead.

* A 7.2-magnitude aftershock in Chile, coinciding with President Sebastian Pinera’s inauguration.

* Vice President Biden leaves Israel on an uneasy note.

* Getting worse slower: “The foreclosure crisis isn’t over, but the pace of growth may finally be slowing down.”

* Still too high, but it’s good to see a drop in initial unemployment filings.

* With his eyes on the calendar, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is prepared to move ahead with financial regulatory reform next week without Republicans.

* A key development to keep an eye on: “Senate Democrats said Thursday that they are inclined to add an overhaul of the nation’s student loan program to the final health-care bill.”

* Meet 11-year-old Marcelas Owens.

* Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) is considering betrayal on health care reform. Sounds like his constituents might want to touch base with him.

* The Holder disclosure story hardly seems worth far-right excitement.

* The final vote on this was 356-65: “In an overwhelming show of bipartisan support for President Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan, the House on Wednesday soundly defeated a resolution setting a timetable for withdrawal.”

* President Obama gives away his Nobel Prize money.

* A rebuke for the RNC’s outrageous fundraising tactics: “The House has voted 416-0 to ban misleading mailers designed to look like official communications from the Census Bureau of the kind that two national Republican groups recently sent out. ”

* The tragedy of Juanita Goggins.

* I don’t much care if Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t like the State of the Union address.

* Interesting study: having a black instructor in the sciences makes black students more likely to actually follow through and graduate from college with degrees in math or science.

* Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) will headline this year’s Netroots Nation conference in July.

* And finally, Glenn Beck and followers think you, personally, are dangerous. (This is just for fun, but the video does a great job of actually incorporating your name into the clip.)

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.