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

* A encouraging new Basel III agreement: “The world’s top bank regulators agreed Sunday on far-reaching new rules intended to make the global banking industry safer and protect international economies from future financial disasters.”

* Felix Salmon helps explain how the Basel III agreement works, and why it’s generating positive reviews.

* Better than expected results along the Gulf Coast? “[A]s the weeks pass, evidence is increasing that through a combination of luck (a fortunate shift in ocean currents that kept much of the oil away from shore) and ecological circumstance (the relatively warm waters that increased the breakdown rate of the oil), the gulf region appears to have escaped the direst predictions of the spring.”

* On the other hand: “Scientists on a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico are finding a substantial layer of oily sediment stretching for dozens of miles in all directions. Their discovery suggests that a lot of oil from the Deepwater Horizon didn’t simply evaporate or dissipate into the water — it has settled to the seafloor.”

* Have I mentioned lately that global austerity measures are a bad idea? “Rising long-term unemployment poses the next big threat to the global recovery, the International Monetary Fund warned Monday, as slower growth forces governments to expand social safety nets and stimulate job creation even as they are being pressed to rein in finances.”

* Warren Buffett sounds optimistic about the recovery: “I am a huge bull on this country. We are not going to have a double-dip recession at all.”

* Jon Chait raises an observation I’ve been pushing for a while: “Gingrich was once the most powerful Republican in America and remains an influential figure within the party. D’Souza has done stints at the most prestigious conservative think-tanks. The line between man and kook is getting harder and harder to discern.”

* The deficit is quite a bit smaller this August than last.

* Something to watch closely on Thursday: “A long-awaited showdown vote on the START arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia will be held this week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

* Apparently, Jamie Kirchik has been running a secret email list for center-right writers. (It’s called “Freedom Mail.” Seriously. How could I possibly make that up?) One wonders if the media will spend weeks obsessing over it.

* Newsweek relies on the Monthly to report on America’s Top Service Schools.

* When Forbes decides credibility and journalistic standards are overrated.

* Martin Peretz recently made some truly bizarre anti-Muslim remarks, sparking high-profile rebukes from, among many others, Nicholas Kristof and James Fallows. Today, Peretz tried to walk back his inflammatory comments, but Andy Sabl didn’t find the apology especially compelling.

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.