MONDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The official death toll in Chile stands at 723, with 19 others missing.
* As devastating as Chile’s quake was, government regulations and preparations prevented it from being even worse.
* Uh oh: “Hazardous materials crews and the FBI were on the scene Monday at the IRS building in Ogden, Utah, where several people were subjected to decontamination showers…. The IRS confirmed that ‘an unknown substance’ was discovered but also gave no further details. Local news reports suggested that a suspicious white powder may have been found in mail delivered to the facility.”
* Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) tantrum is also hurting doctors in a serious way.
* Greece isn’t out of the woods yet: “The commissioner for monetary affairs at the European Union, Olli Rehn, said Monday that austerity measures announced by the Greek government to stave off a mounting fiscal crisis were ‘in the right direction’ but not adequate to reduce a bloated budget deficit by 4 percent this year and tackle a debt crisis threatening the euro zone.”
* President Obama has a rare opportunity to leave his mark on the Fed.
* Education on the agenda: “President Obama pledged today to tackle the dropout rate of American high school students, calling it an economic imperative if the United States intends to remain competitive in the global society.”
* Let’s just say cap-and-trade’s future isn’t looking very good.
* Republicans sure have voted in support of reconciliation a lot. It’s enough to make me wonder if, perhaps, their whining is insincere now.
* As a connoisseur of John McCain’s flip-flops, I can really appreciate how perfect this reversal is.
* Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) seems pretty annoyed at the media’s reconciliation-related confusion. I don’t blame him.
* Undergraduates just aren’t interested in majoring in business anymore.
* If the Democrats’ health care reform proposal goes easy on the insurance industry, why are they fighting so hard against it?
* Rep. Nathan Deal (R) is resigning from Congress, ostensibly to focus his attention on his gubernatorial campaign. But there may be another explanation — an embarrassing, ongoing ethics investigation.
* And for all the hyperventilating about snowfall disproving climate change, January 2010 was the warmest January ever recorded. Someone ought to let Inhofe know.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.