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

* The “top kill” effort to stop the oil gusher in the Gulf is underway. There is, of course, no guarantee it will work.

* BP’s internal investigation of the disaster “points to a series of equipment failures, mistakes and missed warning signs that led to the blowout and fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, according to lawmakers briefed by the company.”

* The Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service is not held in high regard right now.

* Photo essays of the Gulf are not for the faint of heart.

* The State Department continues to state its support for South Korea, as tensions with North Korea escalate.

* New home sales got another boost, thanks to government tax credits. Orders on durable goods also offers signs of hope.

* With Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) announcing his support, the Senate Armed Services Committee is likely to approve a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

* Service chiefs, however, still want to wait until after December (which, politically, would likely push off repeal until 2013, at the very earliest).

* Conservatives don’t want to hear this, but police chiefs believe anti-immigrant measures like the one in Arizona will make crime worse, not better.

* The right has some new attack against Elena Kagan. It’s already been debunked.

* Opponents still outnumber supporters, but health care reform’s popularity has grown quite a bit over the last couple of months.

* Speaking of health care, the Affordable Care Act won’t hurt state budgets.

* The return of the ‘al-Qaeda Seven’ witch hunt?

* Is the awards system for scientists way off?

* Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) is wrapping up his final year in the chamber on a classy note.

* Right-wing activist James O’Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

* And finally, once in a while, Fox News’s style of reporting is offensive and wrong, even conservative congressional Republicans can’t take it. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) said on the House floor this week, “I don’t know what they’re doing at Fox News, but they should stop smoking it and get back to reporting the facts.”

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.