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

* Afghanistan: “Talks to end the war in Afghanistan involve extensive, face-to-face discussions with Taliban commanders from the highest levels of the group’s leadership, who are secretly leaving their sanctuaries in Pakistan with the help of NATO troops, officials here say.”

* The British brand of conservatism sure sounds familiar: “The British government on Wednesday unveiled the country’s steepest public spending cuts in more than 60 years, reducing costs in government departments by an average of 19 percent, sharply curtailing welfare benefits, raising the retirement age to 66 by 2020 and eliminating hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs in an effort to bring down the bloated budget deficit.”

* A possible shift in Palestinian strategy: “The Palestinian leadership, near despair about attaining a negotiated agreement with Israel on a two-state solution, is increasingly focusing on how to get international bodies and courts to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.”

* When corporations use the Affordable Care Act to justify scaling back employee benefits, remember, they’re lying.

* Remember, while it’s important that Karl Rove is using secret donations to buy elections with anti-Democratic attack ads, it’s also important that Rove’s operations are using those attack ads to blatantly lie to the public.

* From now on, when conservatives hyperventilate about George Soros helping finance Media Matters, they won’t be lying. As for why Soros investments are supposed to be considered controversial, I still haven’t the foggiest idea.

* It was good to see President Obama sign an executive order yesterday intended to improve the education of Hispanic students.

* A Republican congressional candidate was asked this week to name a recent Supreme Court ruling he disagreed with. He pointed to the Dred Scott decision, which was issued 153 years ago.

* Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.) is so worried about re-election, has said he’d consider supporting Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker.

* A radical right-wing group in Colorado has released an ad describing President Obama as “the Angel of Death.” Classy.

* Ta-Nehisi Coates had a beautiful item today on the culture of poverty. Take a few minutes to read it.

* Maybe it’s time for more consistently reliable fact-checking websites.

* And former President George W. Bush is still keeping a very low profile, but he showed up recently at an Alabama fundraiser, and conceded, “I miss being pampered.” And I’m reminded why I don’t miss him.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.