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

* Not again: “An offshore oil production platform caught fire Thursday in the Gulf of Mexico, forcing 13 workers into the water and triggering an emergency response to rescue them, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Coast Guard officials said one of the 13 was hurt and that the incident left a mile-long oil sheen on the water.”

* Later, the Coast Guard revised its original assessment, and said there is no oil sheen.

* Off to a reasonably good start: “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton formally reopened direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on Thursday, acknowledging that ‘we’ve been here before, and we know how difficult the road ahead will be,’ but expressing confidence that the core disputes separating the two sides can be resolved within a year. In one small but hopeful early sign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority agreed to meet in the Middle East on Sept. 14-15, and then to hold talks every two weeks thereafter.”

* So much for that idea: “President Obama’s economic team is looking for ways to accelerate the agonizingly slow economic recovery, but the top White House spokesman on Thursday said a large spending measure is not being considered.”

* Beating expectations, first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell for the second week in a row. The totals are still far too high, of course, but I’ll take good news where I can get it.

* Hurricane Earl inches closer to the East coast.

* Is this right? “In hindsight, if BP had removed the 5,000-foot-long tangle of riser pipe from its damaged Gulf well in the early days of the spill, a new blowout preventer or cap could have been installed, shutting down the well perhaps within weeks instead of months, according to both the federal incident commander and petroleum engineers.”

* Elizabeth Warren was scheduled to teach contract law at Harvard Law School this semester. Now she isn’t. Hmm.

* House Dems will not get on board with Social Security cuts.

* Did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) lie about his administration’s massive education-funding screw-up? It sure looks like it.

* Keeping a focus on the economy: “President Obama, seeking to pivot from foreign affairs to the economy, will kick off the campaign season next week with trips to Milwaukee and Cleveland, followed by a White House news conference.”

* Should be interesting: “Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been sued by the Department of Justice because he has not given federal investigators documents needed for their probe into allegations the lawman’s department discriminates against Hispanics.”

* Sounds like a tough guarantee to keep: “A small college in Michigan has taken the remarkable step of guaranteeing that its students will get jobs if they finish school. And not just any jobs, good jobs.”

* Reflecting on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) bizarre debate performance last night, John Cole responds, “It’s the Palinization of politics. Sharon Angle, Jan Brewer, just go down the list. Ignorant know-nothings who spew the right-wing talking points, refuse to take questions from the press, and when off-script, are seen for the train-wreck that they are. Yet half the country embraces these clowns. It’s terrifying.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.