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

* The next big step in the Gulf: “BP plans to begin easing mud into its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico by Monday night, a preliminary step in a ‘static kill’ procedure that potentially could kill the Macondo well by midweek.”

* There were several encouraging economic reports released this morning, including “the Institute for Supply Management’s index of U.S. manufacturing activity” which showed better-than-expected results for July.

* Within the hour, the Senate will vote to end a filibuster on a bill for state aid and teacher funding — every penny of which is paid for. Sources tell me Republicans are likely to kill the legislation anyway, just because. I’ll have a full report in the morning.

* On a related note, the small-business-incentives bill isn’t quite dead yet.

* As expected, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) will face an ethics committee trial “for her role in steering federal funds to a bank to which she is personally connected.”

* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced today he will not let the Senate consider James Clapper’s nomination as the next director of national intelligence. Clapper was unanimously approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, but McCain does enjoy his tantrums.

* The House passed new safeguards for offshore drilling late last week. Senate Republicans will probably kill the bill.

* Newsweek was sold today to industrialist Sidney Harman. Jon Meacham is departing as the magazine’s editor.

* I was under the impression that Dick Cheney had left the hospital. He hasn’t.

* The RNC still isn’t distancing itself from right-wing hatchetman Andrew Breitbart.

* Michelle Obama continues to tout the Child Nutrition Bill.

* On net neutrality, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) gets it.

* Former Vice President Al Gore will not face prosecution “on an allegation of sexual assault from 2006.”

* It’s frustrating when turnout for primaries is low.

* When states struggle to manage higher education spending.

* Ed Luce does a fine job documenting the “crisis of middle-class America.”

* And Elon Green takes a very compelling — and very amusing — look at Pam Geller’s “The Post-American Presidency.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.