Wednesday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for this one: “President Obama is scheduled to meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday afternoon at the White House.”

* Afghanistan: “The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday that his forces have killed the insurgents responsible for downing a Chinook helicopter packed with 30 Navy SEALs and other American troops, though the original target of their mission got away.”

* Wall Street: “Stocks on Wall Street finished steeply lower on Wednesday as the financial sector dragged down the broader market, in a sharp reversal from the rally of the previous day. Financial stocks were down by more than 7 percent at about 4 p.m., in part because of fears about their exposure to French banks as shares in those institutions dropped during European trading.”

* Syria: “The U.S. has dramatically ratcheted up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad, slapping new sanctions on key companies Wednesday as White House press secretary Jay Carney said the leader is guilty of “heinous actions” and the country would be better off without him.”

* England: “Prime Minister David Cameron vowed Wednesday to prevent a ‘culture of fear’ from taking hold in Britain and authorized tougher riot-control measures, after violence and looting that began in London spread to other British cities. In a somber televised speech after a meeting with officials managing the crisis, Cameron said that ‘nothing is off the table’ to regain control of British streets, including the use of rubber bullets and water cannons.”

* Jared Bernstein on a new housing policy: “A while back, I touted this idea of taking the foreclosed properties owned by government-backed entities — Fannie, Freddie, Federal Housing Administration — off of the residential housing market and putting them into the rental market. Looks like it’s a go from the White House.”

* For what it’s worth, the deficit is shrinking.

* An excellent column from Dana Milbank on Rep. Austin Scott’s (R-Ga.) sudden desire to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation Act. It’s a must-read piece.

* Harold Meyerson is the latest to make a compelling case for additional stimulus.

* The Murdoch scandal isn’t over: “News Corp’s James Murdoch has until Thursday to respond to questions from Members of Parliament, relating to allegations that he misled them during his testimony in July.”

* Why does college tuition cost so much? College administrators point to the need for more remedial assistance, but that’s misleading.

* The Koch-financed Americans For Prosperity is still pushing its “Running on Empty” campaign, which appears to be a complete failure.

* Of the 15 most dangerous American cities for driving, three are in Florida — including the top two. No one who’s spent time in Florida will find this surprising. (thanks to L.M.)

* Rick Santorum thinks marriage is like water. Allen West thinks sexual orientation is like ice cream. Both of these guys freak me out a little bit.

* And while there may or may not have been a racial motivation behind the comment, it continued to rankle when right-wing members of Congress infantilize the president, comparing Obama to a “boy” while comparing Republicans to his “parents.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.