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

* We’re inching closer to a healthier number: “Fewer people applied for unemployment aid last week, the third drop in four weeks and evidence that the job market is showing signs of life. If the decline continues, it could signal more hiring in the near future…. The Labor Department said Wednesday that initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 435,000. Many Wall Street economists expected a smaller decrease.”

* With the IPO coming right up, GM’s timing couldn’t be better: “General Motors on Wednesday reported its largest quarterly profit in 11 years.”

* G20 in Seoul: “Obama administration officials said Thursday that they were close to securing a compromise agreement to help reduce vast trade imbalances, a step that could ease conflict between the major world economies over trade, currency and monetary policies.”

* Terror threat: “A package bomb from Yemen removed from a cargo plane in Britain on Oct. 29 could have exploded over the American East Coast, Scotland Yard said in a statement on Wednesday that offered the clearest sense so far of the danger averted.”

* Those regular ol’ text-based warnings on cigarette packs weren’t cutting it. Maybe images covering half the pack will: “Federal drug regulators unveiled 36 proposed warning labels for cigarette packages on Wednesday, including some that are striking pictures of smoking’s effects.”

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) reputation for seriousness has been greatly exaggerated: “Christie says he’s skeptical that humans are responsible for global warming.”

* Rep.-elect Allen West’s (R-Fla.) chief of staff today called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “garbage.”

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) thinks he has a compelling legal argument to make against the Affordable Care Act. He’s sorely mistaken.

* Glenn Beck’s anti-Soros tirade yesterday was pretty astounding, even by Beck standards.

* Why did Oscar Grant’s killer get the minimum sentence?

* It’s kind of fun to see which pundits’ predictions about the midterm elections were the most incorrect.

* What the Republican House has to do with raising interest rates on student loans.

* Try to contain your surprise: “Just about a year to the day that he left CNN, Lou Dobbs is returning to cable news, this time as host of his own show on News Corp.’s Fox Business Network.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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.