FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* In the Gulf: “Ships relaying the sights and sounds from BP’s broken oil well stood fast Friday as the leftovers of Tropical Storm Bonnie blew straight for the spill site, threatening to force a full evacuation that would leave engineers clueless about whether a makeshift cap on the gusher was holding.”
* Oh my: “Long before an eruption of gas turned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig into a fireball, an alarm system designed to alert the crew and prevent combustible gases from reaching potential sources of ignition had been deliberately disabled, the former chief electronics technician on the rig testified Friday.”
* European banks fared better than expected in their “stress tests.”
* As the U.S. prepares for joint military drills with South Korea, North Korea is threatening a “physical response.”
* Why congressional Republicans continue to cozy up to Wall Street is a mystery: “The government’s pay czar announced Friday that 17 companies benefiting from federal bailout money handed out $1.6 billion in excess executive pay at the height of the financial crisis. The firms include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.”
* As Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai considers outreach his fellow Pashtuns in the insurgency, he’s losing one-time allies.
* With Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on board, there are now three Senate Republicans prepared to support Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination.
* President Obama takes a brief victory lap after some legislative breakthroughs this week.
* If you want to talk about austerity, let’s talk about the Pentagon.
* Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), facing serious ethics allegations, doesn’t know how to say “no comment.”
* Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) sounds cautiously optimistic about New START ratification.
* We certainly should do better than sixth: “[T]he U.S. now ranks sixth in the world in terms of the percent of the population with college credentials.”
* The lunatics from the Westboro Baptist “Church” descended on Comic Con in San Diego this week. I greatly enjoyed the counter-protest; those are my kind of folks (the geeks, not the bigots).
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.