Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* The total is still obviously too high, but it was good to see the initial jobless claims drop even more than expected over the last week.

* Passing the Affordable Care Act was a milestone achievement, but it was the first of many steps. Implementing the new law will be a major undertaking, and today’s initial work on medical-loss ratios was very encouraging. (When consumer advocates are thrilled, and insurance industry lobbyists are not, it’s a good sign.)

* I realize why the Juan Williams story is interesting, but reasonable people should be able to agree his story isn’t similar to Shirley Sherrod’s.

* Most of the benefactors backing Karl Rove’s attack operations are still secret, but not all of them — the financier of the Swift Boat Liars ponied up $7 million recently.

* As you’ve no doubt heard, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the Pentagon to go back to enforcing DADT late yesterday.

* Farcical: “Dick Morris used his position as a Fox News ‘political analyst’ to tout and solicit donations for the Republican-aligned group Americans for New Leadership weeks after they began paying him thousands of dollars. During his appearances, Morris did not disclose that he was receiving money from the group.”

* Speaking of Fox News, the Republican network is being sued by a former employee who claims he was fired after complaining about workplace racism.

* The regional trends are unmistakable: in the Northeast, where sex-ed is the norm, teen-birth rates are extremely low. In the “Bible Belt,” where abstinence education is the norm, teen-birth rates are extremely high. That’s not a coincidence.

* I don’t really mind that Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D) attacked the Affordable Care Act in the Wall Street Journal. I mind that his argument is filled with errors of fact and judgment.

* The country seems to be growing a lot more segregated by education.

* Have I mentioned lately that Tom Toles is a national treasure? Well, he is.

* A Tea Party group in South Dakota is sponsoring an event with Glenn Beck in just a few days. The venue holds 10,000 people, and around 9,000 seats are still available.

* And my favorite quote of the day comes from a woman named Kelly Khuri, a prominent Tea Party activist in Indiana, who tried to explain why she’s so opposed to the idea of dealing with the climate crisis. “Carbon regulation, cap and trade, it’s all just a money-control avenue,” Khuri said. “Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.” That has to be one of my favorite quotes in a long while.

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.