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

* Latest from the Gulf: “BP has temporarily corked a relief tunnel deep beneath the sea floor as tropical rainstorms move toward the Gulf of Mexico. The tunnel will be used to blast mud and cement into BP’s leaky well, hopefully sealing it off for good. But the threat of a tropical storm has prompted the oil giant to shut off the tunnel to keep it from being damaged.”

* Not exactly reassuring: “Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, told Congress on Wednesday that it would take ‘a significant amount of time’ to restore the 8.5 million jobs lost in the United States in 2008 and 2009, and warned that ‘the economic outlook remains unusually uncertain.’ He also warned that financial conditions, particularly the European sovereign debt crisis, had ‘become less supportive of economic growth in recent months.’”

* Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack held a press conference late this afternoon, apologizing to Shirley Sherrod and for the debacle. He’s asked her to return to her job, and Sherrod is reportedly considering it. [Update: Vilsack has reportedly offered her a unique new position at the agency, not the position from which she was forced to resign.]

* Eyeing Pyongyang: “The United States Wednesday unveiled new sanctions against North Korea after the sinking of a South Korean warship and said the attack could be the start of more provocations by the communist state.”

* I’d hoped for more, given the seriousness and scope of the scandal: “The Bush administration’s Justice Department’s actions were inappropriately political, but not criminal, when it fired a U.S. attorney in 2006, prosecutors said Wednesday in closing a two-year investigation without filing charges.”

* Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination picks up another GOP supporter — Indiana’s Richard Lugar.

* Why would gunman Byron Williams have an interest in targeting the Tides Foundation? It’s hard to say for sure at this point, but Glenn Beck talks about the foundation quite a bit.

* Chait on the conservative pseudojournalist method.

* More Americans are going to college, but more Americans are also starting to wonder if it’s worth it.

* The right is still working on Journolist conspiracies. In the process, they’re making stuff up.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.