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

* A glimmer of hope: “The federal official leading the Gulf oil spill cleanup said Friday a new containment cap and an additional ship collecting oil could effectively contain the spill in the next three days. The work to replace a leaky containment cap on the well head with a tighter one will begin Saturday, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said Friday. At the same time, a ship connecting to a different part of the leak is expected to come online Sunday.”

* Pakistan: “A suicide bomber attacked a group of tribal elders gathered near the headquarters of the civilian government in Mohmand on Friday, killing more than 60 people and wounding more than 100, a senior Pakistani security official said.”

* The swap went off without a hitch: “In a seeming flashback to the cold war, Russian and American officials traded prisoners in the bright sunlight on the tarmac of Vienna’s international airport on Friday, bringing to a quick end an episode that had threatened to disrupt relations between the countries.”

* It’s hard to know what the jury in the Oscar Grant case was thinking.

* The Fifth Circuit rejected the Obama administration’s appeal on a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

* Gen. David Petraeus will consider soldier complaints about the existing restrictions on the rules of engagement.

* It’s good to see the Obama administration prepare “new rules that will make it substantially easier for veterans who have been found to have post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits, a change that could affect hundreds of thousands of veterans from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.” VetVoice’s Richard Allen Smith has more, including praise for President Obama for having “raised the bar and set a new standard for the way we care for Vets.”

* The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is on track.

* New DNC frame: “BP Republicans.”

* Remember when the RNC was supposed to be reimbursed for the bondage-themed nightclub expenses? It seems that hasn’t quite happened yet.

* Will the major media outlets that took the “Climategate” story seriously before be just as diligent now that the “controversy” has been resolved?

* The Defense Department’s survey on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” leaves much to be desired.

* Why anyone would find Arthur Laffer credible is a mystery to me.

* New federal rules matter for all colleges.

* Good to see the right’s bogus Jones Act talking point get some pushback.

* Why, oh why, does the Washington Post keep publishing ridiculous columns from Amity Shlaes?

* And as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) continues to help demonstrate, “death panel” rhetoric really is back among unhinged conservatives.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

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.