Friday’s Mini-Report

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

* At the source: “BP began capturing some of the oil and gas gushing from a damaged Gulf of Mexico well Friday after placing a containment cap on the wellhead deep below the surface…. The containment device was successfully funneling oil and gas to a drill ship stationed above the source of the massive spill, BP officials and the U.S. Coast Guard commander on the scene said. But they cautioned that it remains unclear how much of the leaking crude is being captured and said some seepage would continue even in a best-case scenario.”

* President Obama is on the scene again, and sees some signs of progress.

* The president has, once again, been forced to indefinitely delay his trip to Australia, Indonesia, and Guam.

* Florida: “Tar balls and tar cakes rolled onto the shores of Pensacola Beach Friday morning, just as federal officials announced that a cap over the gusher has started to work.”

* BP’s efforts to contain media coverage of the disaster are more than a little troubling.

* Looks like retired Air Force Gen. James Clapper will be nominated as the next Director of National Intelligence.

* Another showdown off the coast of Gaza appears imminent.

* Gut-wrenching: “Another female ex-employee of KBR has come forward to claim that she was raped while working for the military contracting company in Iraq. According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Houston Wednesday, Anna Mayo was working at KBR’s facility in Balad in November 2009 when she was assaulted by an unnamed rapist who worked for KBR. She charges that she was choked unconscious with a rope, beaten and raped.”

* Afghanistan: “Afghan President Hamid Karzai got a modest political boost Friday when a national peace conference backed his efforts to launch substantive talks with the Taliban and other Afghan insurgent forces.”

* I just didn’t have the patience to debunk David Rivkin’s latest misleading op-ed. Fortunately, Matt Gertz was up to the task.

* It’s heartening to see the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division function again, the way it should. The way in which Bush/Cheney gutted the office was a genuine tragedy.

* U.S. News put together a pro-con debate between Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) over whether offshore drilling should be expanded. I think Nelson’s take is far more compelling.

* The Department of Education makes a smart staffing move.

* Nice graphic on how a bill becomes a law. (thanks to S.S. for the heads-up)

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.