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

* AP: “U.S. health officials are no longer recommending that schools close if students come down with swine flu, the government said Tuesday.” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the virus has, for now, turned out to be milder than feared and the government decided to change its advice.

* That said, a woman in Texas today became the second person to die of H1N1 in the U.S.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke expressed some qualified optimism today about the eventual end of the recession.

* Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid made a very good case today for increased U.S. investment in Pakistan. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry and ranking Republican Richard Lugar agree.

* The Maine House approved a gay marriage bill today, joining the Maine Senate. If Gov. John Baldacci (D) signs it into law, Maine will join Vermont as the only states to approve marriage equality outside the courts.

* In related news, the D.C. city council voted 12 to 1 today to recognize gay marriages from other states.

* President Obama and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed today on a “cash for clunkers” provision in the pending energy bill. (It’s not quite the Jeffrey Leonard plan, but it’s progress.)

* Tony Fabrizio, a prominent Republican pollster, hated John Boehner’s new ad, which attempted to scare Americans with an attack on the president’s national security policies.

* If Jack Murtha isn’t thinking about retirement, he should be.

* Mike Pence really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

* We probably won’t hear about the president’s Supreme Court nominee this week, but in the meantime, Obama has already chatted with Sens. Hatch and Specter about the process.

* AIG rebrands.

* Irrational fears have sent ammo sales soaring.

* And Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher has had gay friends, but he “wouldn’t have them anywhere near” his children. I wonder what his alleged gay friends were thinking hanging out with this guy?

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.