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

* The Federal Reserve’s confidence in the economic recovery has faded to the point that it will now “use the proceeds from its huge mortgage-bond portfolio to buy long-term Treasury securities.”

* Paul Krugman reacts: “The Fed’s current policy is grossly inadequate, logically bizarre, and slightly — but only slightly — encouraging…. [I]t was, literally, the least the Fed could do.”

* A plane crash in Alaska this morning claimed the life of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R). Former NASA chief Sean O’Keefe was on board the same flight, but is believed to have survived.

* Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

* In Afghanistan, the number of civilians being killed rose 25% in the first six months of 2010, mostly at the hands of Taliban insurgents.

* Good public health news: “The H1N1 pandemic has officially ended, the World Health Organization declared Tuesday.” Don’t underestimate the importance of competent government agencies acting effectively.

* The House today approved a $600 million border security bill, but some jurisdictional issues means the Senate will have to vote on it again. The Senate interrupting its August recess to approve the measure is a possibility.

* Google and Verizon voice support for rules that would limit net neutrality when it comes to mobile phones.

* Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is reportedly resting comfortably after surgery today to remove his gallbladder.

* This really isn’t a healthy development: “Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards.”

* How misguided is the Republican campaign against the 14th Amendment? Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano blasted GOP leaders on the air today.

* And this isn’t especially political, but I absolutely loved the story about a young woman quitting her job through 33 cleverly-written erase-board messages. [Update: Darn, it’s a hoax. It was amusing, but alas, it wasn’t true. Sorry.]

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.