THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Tentative political progress in Iraq: “Iraq’s lawmakers took a step toward forming a government on Thursday evening, hammering out the details of a deal struck a day earlier to end an eight-month political impasse. But only three hours into the new session of Parliament, as lawmakers began the early stages of forming a government, one of the major political blocs walked out — a portent of the political struggles ahead and the fragility of the agreement.”
* This was supposed to go better: “For President Obama, the last-minute failure to seal a trade deal with South Korea that would expand American exports of automobiles and beef is an embarrassing setback that deprives him of a foreign policy trophy and demonstrates how the midterm elections may have weakened his position abroad.”
* Speaking of the Korean peninsula: “President Obama marked Veterans Day on Thursday at a U.S. military base outside this capital, where he warned North Korea that the United States ‘will never waver in our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea.’”
* Bachmann ends her bid to become House Republican Conference Chair: “That sigh of relief you heard? It might have been John A. Boehner and other Republican leaders in the House when they got the word that Representative Michele Bachmann is ending her campaign for a leadership position.”
* How ridiculous has it gotten on the Hill? It’s now newsworthy, and a stark change of pace, when the Republicans’ Senate leader mentions in passing that he’s “willing to listen” to what the White House has to say.
* Odds of passage aren’t at all good, but don’t be too surprised if Speaker Pelosi pushes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act during the lame-duck session.
* I admit it; I absolutely love the White House white board. More please.
* Glenn Beck’s disgusting rant against George Soros this week isn’t going over well with prominent Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors.
* A Republican state rep. in Tennessee warned his colleagues this week that immigrants who enter the country illegally “go out there like rats and multiply.” Classy.
* A community in Kentucky wants to improve its clean-water standards to comply with EPA regulations intended to prevent bladder cancer. Local Tea Party zealots are outraged.
* Disgraced right lobbyist/activist Ralph Reed thinks President Obama would be in better shape politically if he’d embraced a “Christ-like model of leadership” — like Sarah Palin has.
* Have I mentioned today how maddening the Senate is? “The Senate Banking Committee will make another attempt next week to clear the path for Peter A. Diamond to take a seat on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, but Republican cooperation still seems unlikely.”
* Best wishes to Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org, as he takes a one-year leave to deploy to Iraq, as part of Operation New Dawn. Soltz will rejoin to veterans’ group upon his return.
* And on a related note, a very special thanks to those who wear, have worn, or will wear an Armed Services uniform. Happy Veterans Day.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.