Thursday’s Mini-Report

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

* The Senate is getting ready to vote, any minute now, on the tax-extenders/jobs bill. I’ll have a report in the morning.

* The BP oil spill disaster shuts down more of the Gulf Coast.

* In a bit of a surprise, the House approved the DISCLOSE Act late this afternoon, 219 to 206. It passed with the support of two House Republicans.

* Slightly better, but not even close to good enough: “This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that initial jobless claims fell by the largest amount in two months…. The new claims number dropped slightly more than economists predicted.”

* I guess bipartisanship exists in some areas: “The Senate on Thursday approved tough new sanctions on Iran aimed at discouraging that country’s development of nuclear weapons and support of terrorist groups.” The vote was 99 to 0.

* President Obama welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to the White House — and to Ray’s Hell Burger.

* High court ruling of note: “The Supreme Court Thursday restricted one of federal prosecutors’ favorite tools for pursuing corrupt politicians and self-dealing corporate chiefs, and cast doubt on the conviction of former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling.”

* I didn’t realize Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was in trouble, but he was replaced yesterday by Julia Gillard. It will be the first time the country’s head of state is a woman. [Update: As it turns out, Australia’s “head of state” is a bit more complicated than I’d realized. Apologies.]

* Former Vice President Al Gore was accused of sexual assault by an Oregon masseuse in 2006, but the matter was dropped by law enforcement officials for lack of evidence. Justin Elliott takes a closer look at the case and available information.

* BP is deeply unpopular.

* Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren seems a tad confused about a) her responsibilities as a media professional; and b) the degree to which John McCain knows what on earth he’s talking about.

* Taking a look at the efficacy of the nation’s vocational programs.

* It’s not a real campaign ad, but it’s still the funniest campaign ad of the year.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.