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

* Germany: “A man armed with a handgun attacked a bus carrying U.S. Air Force troops at Frankfurt airport Wednesday, killing two airmen and wounding two others before being taken into custody, authorities said.”

* Libya: “Rebel fighters repelled powerful ground and air assaults on this key oil port Wednesday as forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi launched their first offensive against the opposition-controlled eastern part of Libya.”

* Tragedy in Afghanistan: “Nine boys collecting firewood to heat their homes in the eastern Afghanistan mountains were killed by NATO helicopter gunners who mistook them for insurgents, according to a statement on Wednesday by NATO, which apologized for the mistake. The boys, who were 9 to 15 years old, were attacked on Tuesday in what amounted to one of the war’s worst cases of mistaken killings by foreign-led forces. The victims included two sets of brothers. A 10th boy survived.”

* The Senate approved the measure to keep the government open for two additional weeks today, following a 91 to 9 vote. Soon after, President Obama signed it into law.

* Economic expansion: “A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday showed that all 12 of the Fed’s regions reported growth at a ‘modest to moderate pace’ and it pointed to a pickup in job creation in each.”

* The Ohio state Senate narrowly approved Gov. John Kasich’s (R) union-busting measure today, 17 to 16. Six Republicans voted with Democrats, but seven were needed to protect Ohio workers.

* Wisconsin Republicans will now fine Democrats in the state Senate $100 per day until they return. The Dems’ paychecks are already being withheld.

* On a related note, Wisconsin Republicans now hope to criminalize prank phone calls. I can’t imagine why.

* The U.S. Senate approved a measure to ensure that members of Congress will not receive compensation if the federal government shuts down. The GOP-led House has not yet acted.

* This GAO study has the potential to be a fairly big deal: “With Congress and the White House set to debate the merits of massive spending cuts, federal auditors have identified hundreds of overlapping government offices and programs that if merged or eliminated could save taxpayers billions of dollars. The U.S. government has, for example, more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation issues, 82 that monitor teacher quality, 80 for economic development, 56 for ‘financial literacy,’ 20 offices or programs devoted to homelessness and 17 grant programs for disaster preparedness, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday. Among other redundancies, 15 agencies or offices handle food safety, and five agencies are working to ensure that the federal government uses less gasoline.”

* Hiring Erick Erickson was arguably the dumbest thing CNN has ever done.

* And finally, “The President’s Speech,” not to be confused with “The King’s Speech,” is one of the funniest clips of the week. Thanks to R.G. for passing it along.

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.