Wednesday’s Mini-Report

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

* Could the timing be any worse? “The first major storm of the season in the Gulf of Mexico continued to disrupt oil spill cleanup and containment work on Wednesday, officials said.”

* In related news, Alex is now a hurricane, and evacuations are underway in parts of Mexico and Texas.

* Taliban insurgents attacked a NATO air base in Afghanistan yesterday, in an attempt to breach the gate. They failed, and eight insurgents were killed. Two NATO soldiers received minor injuries.

* It seems extremely likely that Elena Kagan will be confirmed fairly easily to the Supreme Court. There are however, a few far-right senators trying in vain to cause a fuss.

* Speaking of confirmation, Gen. David Petraeus was approved today to serve as the new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The Senate vote was 99 to 0.

* I hope folks will take a few minutes to read this terrific David Leonhardt piece on the economy. It doesn’t break new ground, exactly, but it’s a fantastic summary of the huge risk policymakers are taking around the globe, gambling that the fragile economic recovery can withstand austerity measures.

* The Senate leadership conceded today that the vote on Wall Street reform will have to wait until after the July 4th recess.

* Shouldn’t this have been done a long time ago? “The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday tightened restrictions against ‘pay-to-play’ practices in the municipal securities market.”

* The majority has gone to ridiculous lengths to make Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) happy with this bill, but he still won’t publicly commit to voting for it.

* Oh, AIG: “Reversing its oft-repeated position that it was acting only on behalf of its clients in its exotic dealings with the American International Group, Goldman Sachs now says that it also used its own money to make secret wagers against the U.S. housing market.”

* No one should count on Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) to help pass an ambitious energy/climate bill.

* If the Kagan hearings accomplish nothing else, I’m glad to see the “umpire” metaphor generate serious pushback.

* CNN’s Larry King is giving up his prime-time show after an extraordinary career.

* If “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed, the right will rediscover its love of judicial activism.

* Conservatives’ confusion over what Journolist was continues to amaze me.

* The nation should spend more on higher education because that investment will result in economic growth. But what if the truth is a little more complicated?

* Andrew Sullivan describes the contemporary right: “[N]o solutions, just anger, paranoia, insecurity and partisan hatred.”

* Maybe the political world can get past blaming Bush for his spectacular failures a) after we’re no longer dealing with the consequences of Bush’s reign of error; and b) after Republicans stop blaming everything on Clinton.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.