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

* One more step in the Gulf: “Although tests of BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico appear to show that it is fully sealed, the government said Friday that work on a relief well will continue to complete the job of permanently plugging the gusher.”

* If only 60 senators cared: “Last month was the second warmest July on record, and so far 2010 remains on track to be the hottest year.”

* Was Congress’ ban on ACORN funding a bill of attainder? The 2nd Circuit says no: “A federal appellate court has reversed a lower court’s holding that a congressional ban on funding to ACORN violated the Constitution, and held instead that the law passes muster.” The three-judge panel was unanimous.

* White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is wrapping up his thoughts on the “professional left,” and told the Huffington Post that President Obama’s desire to be pushed and held accountable by the left hasn’t changed. “I also stand by my statement… that the vast majority of progressives and those on the left, whether that’s bloggers or groups or what have you, do not hold those beliefs and are pushing in good faith for a better country as they see it,” Gibbs said. “The president has urged those who want change to push for it and hold him accountable, and that’s how he feels.”

* Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) holds a press conference. The House Democratic caucus hopes no one watched.

* Dahlia Lithwick on the “real tragedy of the Omar Khadr trial.”

* National Review‘s Andy McCarthy inadvertently makes the case that Liz Cheney worked for an organization that was “transparently pro-Palestinian and pro-sharia.”

* Support for Social Security remains strong nationwide, but confusion about the program’s finances is far too widespread.

* Will Fox News keep pushing the New Black Panther Party nonsense? Take a wild guess.

* I always appreciate it when Yglesias incorporates sci-fi into his worthwhile policy observations.

* Come to think of it, I also always appreciate it when Krugman incorporates sci-fi into his worthwhile policy observations, too. Isn’t the overlap between political junkies and sci-fi fans great?

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.