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

* The Massachusetts state Senate passed a bill to empower Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to fill the Senate vacancy. Expect the legislation to be signed as early as tomorrow, with an interim senator to be named before the week’s end.

* Keep expectations low: “President Obama on Tuesday chided the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority for not doing more to move peace talks forward but announced no breakthrough after meeting here privately with both men.”

* Busy day at Turtle Bay: “Some 100 heads of state gathered at the United Nations on Tuesday for an unprecedented daylong conference on combating climate change, with leaders like Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao of China acknowledging that agreement is an important goal, but also stressing their own needs. Negotiators have been struggling to hammer out a deal to cut global emissions by December in Copenhagen, and the United Nations organizers are hoping that gathering the leaders will give the talks new political momentum.”

* After falling at his home, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) has been hospitalized.

* The counter-terror probe expands: “Investigators are looking for about a dozen more people in connection with a wide-ranging terror investigation that has already netted arrests in Colorado and New York City, a source familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.”

* The recession is having a real, practical impact on the everyday lives of Americans.

* President Obama’s chat with David Letterman seemed to go well last night.

* Reflecting on the president’s media-blitz, the Washington Post assembled a misguided panel of observers.

* These guys are nothing if not responsive to criticism: “An August 10, 2009 National Endowment for the Arts conference call in which artists were asked to help support President Obama’s agenda — a call that at least one good government group called ‘inappropriate’ — has prompted the White House to issue new guidelines to prevent such a call from ever happening again.”

* Fox News’ Megyn Kelly doesn’t realize that the “stars and bars” is not used to describe the flag of the United States.

* It’s a real shame to see what’s become of Michael Barone.

* The one vote Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is most proud of is rejecting aid to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

* Jonathan Cohn starts giving “Truman scores” to various health care proposals.

* Many of the year’s funniest protest signs had me chuckling. (thanks to A.K. for the tip)

* Speaking of funny, “We’re #37!” (thanks to F.B. for the tip)

* And in still more comedic news, be sure to check out Will Ferrell, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, and others in their fake PSA that looks out for the poor health insurance executives. “[W]hy is Obama trying to reform health care when insurance companies are doing just fine making billions of dollars in profit?” Ferrell asks.

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.