Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to take a couple of minutes to complete the BlogAds reader survey.

* The Wall Street roller coaster continues.

* UAW is obviously willing to do its part to help U.S. automakers.

* The Obama transition team “has notified all politically-appointed ambassadors that they must vacate their posts as of Jan. 20.”

* I don’t want to alarm anyone, but apparently, TARP lacks oversight. Who knew?

* Robert Gates really is on board with Obama’s Iraq plan.

* Ugh: “The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.”

* With gas prices and the cost of a barrel of oil having dropped precipitously in recent months, Obama no longer sees the need to pursue a windfall profits tax on the oil industry.

* The Washington Post has a new ombudsman.

* Remember this holiday season, the Nixon tapes are the gift that keeps on giving.

* Are cows worse for the climate than cars? Ben Adler explores an important issue.

* It’s easy to take it for granted, but once in a while, we’re reminded of the astounding ways in which modern technology can shape (and sometimes save) lives.

* Slave labor in Iraq?

* I’ve always appreciated the links in Frank Rich’s columns.

* Vermont is the nation’s healthiest state. The lowest ranking states tended to be in the South, with Louisiana coming in last, followed by Mississippi. The rest of the bottom 10 included South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada, and Georgia.

* And finally, “Prop 8: The Musical.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

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.