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

* It’s probably best to keep expectations low: “President Obama plunges into Middle East peacemaking on Wednesday with two days of summitry he hopes will be the first step in brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement within a year.”

* It was nice to see a little bump in consumer confidence for a change.

* No need to panic: “A U.S. government official says the FBI’s investigation of two men detained in Amsterdam is finding that it’s unlikely they were on a test run for a future terror attack, even as Dutch authorities continued to hold the pair on suspicion of conspiring to commit a terrorist act. The U.S. official says the two men arrested in Amsterdam did not know each other and were not traveling together.”

* Tragic, but not surprising: “A veteran of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division says he’d be surprised if the fire at the site of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn. isn’t investigated as a hate crime.”

* And while Murfreesboro bigots are grabbing headlines, there are some displays of real decency in the community, too.

* Fingers crossed: “The Justice Department has filed its appeal of a federal court ruling that blocked federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, warning that the decision could shut down life-saving research and stall medical breakthroughs.”

* On a related note, another hate crime, this time in Seattle, where some moron attacked a convenience-store clerk, saying, “You’re not even American, you’re Al-Qaeda. Go back to your country.” The victim was very likely Sikh, not Muslim.

* A pleasant surprise to see Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) implicitly defend health care reform from a baseless attack from his state’s Republican governor.

* On a related note, the popularity of the Affordable Care Act is slipping.

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has been disappointing lately, but he swears he’s not going into lobbying after leaving the Senate at the end of the year.

* Donald Graham puts his mouth where his money is.

* Great piece from Dahlia Lithwick: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg shows how feminism is done. Again.”

* And finally, the right was none too pleased when CBS News published an estimate of 87,000 attendees to Glenn Beck’s still-pointless rally over the weekend. Unlike many conservatives, who continue to insist that several gazillion people were on hand, CBS has published a detailed report, explaining how the estimate was calculated. Sorry, conservatives, the network’s count seems legit.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen

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.