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

* BP oil spill disaster: “Officials closed the public beach [at Grand Isle, Louisiana] Friday as thick gobs of oil resembling melted chocolate washed up, a very visible reminder of the blown-out well that has been spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico for a month. Up to now, only tar balls and a light sheen had come ashore.”

* Answering the question, at least for now, of whether Germany is committed to addressing the regional fiscal crisis: “Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany narrowly pushed the country’s share of the nearly $1 trillion stabilization package for the euro through Parliament Friday in the face of significant public opposition.”

* On a related note, Steven Pearlstein explains why it’s Germany, not Greece, that’s at the heart of the ongoing crisis.

* North Korea has to realize it’s playing with an intensifying fire: “Citing ‘overwhelming’ evidence that North Korea sank a South Korean warship, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned the communist state Friday of international consequences.”

* Another good move on emissions: “President Barack Obama called for first-ever mileage and emissions standards for big rig and work trucks Friday, seeking to limit pollution from the large vehicles that contribute a big share of it.”

* Ugh: “About 15 hours after Massey CEO Don Blankenship told Congress that worker safety is the company’s top priority, another Massey miner died in West Virginia.”

* The leading contender for the DNI job is James R. Clapper, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official.

* The cost of the 2008 financial industry bailout has fallen again, this time by $11.4 billion.

* Support on the left is hardly universal, but both Paul Krugman and Ed Andrews are quite pleased with the Wall Street reform package that passed the Senate last night.

* The right-wing members of the Texas Board of Education, as part of their painful textbook crusade, really are proving themselves to be stark raving mad.

* Colleges with large endowments weren’t victims of the recession; they may have precipitated it.

* Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Fox News he isn’t part of the Republican establishment. I think he was serious.

* The bad news is, the Republican National Committee spent donor money on softball equipment. The good news is, the RNC spent slightly more on softball equipment than on an outing to a lesbian-themed bondage nightclub.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.