Tuesday’s Mini-Report

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

* Plumes in the Gulf: The government confirmed Tuesday that plumes of dispersed oil were spreading far below the ocean surface from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, raising fresh concerns about the potential impact of the spill on sea life. Tests conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida found that the concentrations of oil-related chemicals in the water were generally low. Still, the tests confirmed that some toxic compounds that would normally be expected to evaporate from the surface in a shallow-water oil spill were instead spreading through the ocean in the Deepwater Horizon leak.”

* Progress with the containment cap: “A containment cap placed over the leaking BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is now sucking up even more oil to the surface — nearly 15,000 barrels (630,000 gallons) a day, more than the low end of the government’s estimate of all the oil that was leaking, Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen said Monday morning.”

* BP “systemically ignored its own safety policies,” not just in the Gulf, but throughout its North American operations.

* Big vote tomorrow on Iran: “The United States and its allies called for a U.N. vote Wednesday on imposing new sanctions on Iran’s suspect nuclear program, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said those would be followed by even stricter unilateral penalties by Washington and others.”

* President Obama returns to health care, selling his policy to seniors.

* Police have charged a father-and-son team for threatening Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and his family over the health care vote.

* A high school in Kalamazoo was fortunate enough to get the president as a commencement speaker yesterday: “On Monday, he imparted his buck-stops-here philosophy to an audience of high school graduates, telling them: ‘Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes. Take responsibility where you fall short as well.'”

* The media’s best efforts notwithstanding, few Americans actually care whether the White House offered jobs to Senate candidates.

* Defense Secretary Robert Gates has a pretty tough job.

* The college accreditation system needs some work.

* The artist formerly known as Blackwater is up for sale. In the meantime, as silly as this seems, the company is getting into the retail game. (thanks to reader J.B. for the tip)

* Chait flags a photo of a protestor trying to tie together multiple right-wing conspiracy theories in one bizarre message. It’s quite an “accomplishment.”

* Annoying media outlets to the president: Once more, with feeling.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.