Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* Just a reminder, the Monthly‘s annual pledge drive is underway. We sincerely appreciate those of you who’ve already shown generous support, and hope other readers will take a moment to help out.

* A big win for Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration: “The Obama administration scored a victory in its drive to curb the worldwide spread of nuclear material with an agreement on Wednesday by the hard-line former Soviet republic, Belarus, to surrender its stockpile of highly enriched uranium by 2012.”

* Fiscal commission reports, D.O.A.: “The leaders of President Obama’s fiscal commission released a final report Wednesday that is full of political dynamite, recommending sharp cuts in military spending, a higher retirement age and reforms that could cost the average taxpayer an extra $1,700 a year.”

* Colin Powell joins the White House’s effort to press the Senate to ratify the pending arms control treaty with Russia, New START, during the lame-duck session.

* Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) effectively announced today that Dems need to cave on tax cuts for millionaires by Monday, or he’ll undermine U.S. national security interests.

* Cutting off coastal drilling areas: “Pointing to the BP blowout and risks of a new environmental disaster, the Obama administration reversed itself Wednesday and promised not to pursue offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or anywhere else along the nation’s East Coast.”

* On the debate over tax policy, House Dems are going with the middle-class-first plan, whether Republicans like it or not.

* It was worse than we knew: “The Federal Reserve released documents Wednesday showing that its efforts to help stabilize the markets at the height of the financial crisis reached far beyond Wall Street and deep into the economy. The disclosures reveal the extent to which corporations were forced to rely on the Fed for the money to pay suppliers and make weekly payroll. The crisis in the commercial paper market, the documents show, was more extensive and lasted longer than was previously known.”

* It’s not marriage equality, but state lawmakers in Illinois today passed a bill for civil unions for same-sex couples. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) will sign the measure into law. (thanks to D.D. for the heads-up)

* Major news outlets love to gush about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Those same media organizations tend to ignore his massive screw-up, and subsequent dishonesty, about education policy.

* It’s a rare treat to see a college accreditor actually flexing its muscles.

* The new right-wing scare tactic: DADT repeal might lead to a draft.

* And those 2.5 million Americans who’ve lost their unemployment benefits can thank the perpetually confused Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who was responsible for blocking the Democratic effort to extend the jobless aid. How “moderate” of him.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.