WEDNESDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* President Obama is headed back to the Gulf Coast next week, for his fourth trip since the BP oil spill began. This time, he’ll be in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
* The administration, meanwhile, is tightening the BP leash: “The Coast Guard told BP on Wednesday that it wanted to monitor the process of paying out compensation claims from the country’s worst oil spill, and it pressed the company to come up with a better plan for collecting and processing the thousands of barrels of leaked oil now being recovered from the damaged oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.”
* Turtle Bay: “The U.N. Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions in as many years on a defiant Iran on Wednesday over a nuclear program the West suspects is aimed at developing atomic weapons.”
* The sanctions aren’t the final word on the subject. They’re just the beginning – the “1” of a “1,2,3 punch,” as one senior White House official told Jake Tapper.
* Afghanistan: “Taliban insurgents shot down a NATO helicopter in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing four United States soldiers on board, according to Afghan and United States military officials.”
* In related news, the Taliban have also been “stepping up a campaign of assassinations in recent months against officials and anyone associated with local government in an attempt to undermine counterinsurgency operations in the south.”
* The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book offers mild encouragement: “The economic recovery is finally spreading to all parts of the country. But the modest pace of growth suggests companies won’t be ramping up hiring to quickly drive down unemployment. A Federal Reserve survey, released Wednesday, found that economic activity improved across all 12 regions tracked. The last time all regions were in a growth mode was roughly before the recession started in December 2007.”
* The military still has far more to do on traumatic brain injuries.
* Are conservatives better informed about economics? Um, no.
* In the future will American colleges need to educate more students, make greater use of technology, or come up with new funding strategies? All of the above?
* I’m convinced: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has earned a #1 seed in my March-Madness-Style brackets for Most Ridiculous Member of Congress.
* Karl Rove, the Republicans’ electoral genius, seems to think 48 plus 45 equals 100. That would explain a few things.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.