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

* The tide turns in Libya: “Moammar Gadhafi’s ground forces recaptured a strategic oil town Wednesday and moved within striking distance of another major eastern city, nearly reversing the gains rebels made since international airstrikes began. Rebels pleaded for more help, while a U.S. official said government forces are making themselves harder to target by using civilian ‘battle wagons’ with makeshift armaments instead of tanks.”

* On a related note, Reuters reported today that President Obama “signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.”

* Japan: “At the Fukushima plant, the fight to cool the reactors and stem their release of radiation has become more complicated in recent days since the discovery that radioactive water is pooling in the plant, restricting the areas in which crews can work. It also puts emergency crews in the uncomfortable position of having to pump in more water to continue cooling the reactor while simultaneously pumping out contaminated water.”

* During a floor debate yesterday, Republican Rep. Judy Biggert of Illinois urged her Democratic colleagues to “stop talking about jobs.” Sign of the times.

* Fred Kaplan has a closer look at President Obama’s speech on Libya, and is largely impressed, calling it “shrewd and sensible.”

* Conservatives keep targeting scholars sympathetic to organized labor. This time, it’s Michigan’s Mackinac Center for Public Policy: “A conservative research group in Michigan has issued a far-reaching public records request to the labor studies departments at three public universities in the state, seeking any e-mails involving the Wisconsin labor turmoil.”

* Victims of the January’s shootings in Tucson want Congress to fix gun checks. They have more than a little credibility on the subject.

* General Electric is the parent company for NBC. Did that influence NBC News’ decision not to report on GE paying no federal taxes last year, despite $5.1 billion in domestic profits? It seems like a fair question.

* The far-right Washington Times’ reporting on the National Security Council’s Samantha Power was wrong.

* The first close-ups of Mercury. Cool.

* Why did American University turn down a $300,000 grant to help prevent campus sexual abuse?

* This really is amusing — Sarah Palin’s aides demanded that the conservative Daily Caller run a 650-word statement, in its entirety, as a precondition to providing comment in an article. The publication agreed and followed Palin’s demands. Today, she whined anyway, because Palin thought her quote should have been higher up in the piece.

* And what’s the new Fox News complaint about the White House? Apparently, the Republican network doesn’t like this year’s Easter eggs. It’s always something.

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.