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

* Bad to worse in Japan: “The chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave a significantly bleaker appraisal of the threat posed by Japan’s nuclear crisis than the Japanese government, saying on Wednesday that the damage at one crippled reactor was much more serious than Japanese officials had acknowledged and advising to Americans to evacuate a wider area around the plant than the perimeter established by Japan.”

* Libya: “The New York Times said Wednesday that four of its journalists reporting on the conflict in Libya were missing.” The fear is they were swept up by Libyan government forces.

* Gadhafi’s son boasts: “The Libyan army told people in Benghazi to lay down their arms on Wednesday as its troops advanced closer to the rebel stronghold for what could be the decisive battle in the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi. Gadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam, speaking to French-based TV channel Euronews, said his troops were near Benghazi and ‘everything will be over in 48 hours.’”

* CIA contractor freed in Pakistan: “A CIA security contractor who fatally shot two Pakistani men in January was released Wednesday after relatives of the victims received ‘blood money’ as compensation and agreed to pardon him, U.S. officials said.”

* After successfully attacking collective-bargaining rights, Wisconsin Republicans will be in D.C. tonight for a lucrative fundraiser hosted by corporate lobbyists.

* House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) claims to love transparency and disclosure. Why, then, did he call a witness for testimony without disclosing the witness’ generous campaign contributions to Issa?

* Oh good, the right is still trying to pretend the “terror baby” menace is a real problem.

* What kind of person mocks Japanese quake refugees? Look no further than Rush Limbaugh.

* Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) wants to open up state parks for oil and gas exploration, while slashing funding for programs that help low birth-weight babies.

* It’s a long shot under the circumstances, but plenty of congressional Dems are serious about repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.

* If you’ve heard Wisconsin Republicans talking about a bus driver who makes $160,000 a year, it’s worth learning the truth.

* Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) thinks NPR does bad journalism, but James O’Keefe does good journalism.

* Student debt is a bigger problem than we realized.

* And finally, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain wants us to know, “It’s not Planned Parenthood. No, it’s planned genocide. You can quote me on that.” He’s quite a charmer.

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.