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

* It doesn’t look like talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan are going especially well.

* The trend of the last few weeks didn’t last: “The number of people seeking jobless benefits jumped sharply last week, after two straight weeks of declines.”

* Not all of the economic news was discouraging: “The economy is picking up a bit from its late-summer doldrums, according to two reports Wednesday, with both the service and manufacturing sectors showing better health.”

* President Obama seems to enjoy hosting these get-togethers: “In the aftermath of this week’s electoral “shellacking,” President Obama on Thursday invited Congressional leaders to literally break bread later this month at a dinner at the White House as he tries to adjust to a new political order with Republicans ascendant. Mr. Obama invited eight leaders, four from each party, to meet on Nov. 18 and then share a meal in the residence part of the White House.”

* After such a lengthy debate over health care policy, one would like to think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) realizes the ACA lowers the deficit — and repealing it would increase the deficit.

* Some on the far-right probably don’t look forward to extending the debt limit, but even Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) seems to realize the catastrophic results of default.

* Only a handful of House Democrats actually saw their support grow over 2008 levels. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine is one of them — and she ran on a progressive, unapologetic platform. (Her race had been considered a “toss up,” but she won by double-digits.)

* It’s good to see the estimable Sam Seder back on the air.

* Ever wonder about the origins of the “landslide election” phrase? Now we know.

* For crying out loud: “The GOP plans to hold high profile hearings examining the alleged ‘scientific fraud’ behind global warming, a sleeper issue in this election that motivated the base quite a bit.”

* There’s some entertaining symbolism here — Sarah Palin’s video on the midterms shows a sunrise, which is actually just a sunset run backwards. Insert joke here.

* As the economy struggles, more Americans are returning to college. That, however, isn’t going especially well.

* And one of the reasons I love “The Rachel Maddow Show” is that the host and her team really seem to get what I’m trying to say with my charts.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.