MONDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Tehran: “Iran’s most senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, has died, his grandson said Sunday. He was 87. Nasser Montazeri said his grandfather, who was seen as the spiritual father of Iran’s reform movement, died in his sleep overnight.”
* Hopefully, a good sign: “The hiring of temporary workers has surged, suggesting that the nation’s employers might soon take the next step, bringing on permanent workers, if they can just convince themselves that the upturn in the economy will be sustained.”
* The American Medical Association formally endorses the Senate health care bill.
* President Obama’s Passenger Bill of Rights: “The federal government will impose big fines starting this spring on airlines that keep passengers waiting on the tarmac too long without feeding them or letting them off the plane. Airlines that let a plane sit on the tarmac for more than two hours without giving passengers food or water, or more than three hours without offering them the option of getting off, will face fines of $27,500 a passenger, the secretary of transportation announced on Monday.”
* Counter-terrorism: “On orders from President Barack Obama, the U.S. military launched cruise missiles early Thursday against two suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen, administration officials told ABC News in a report broadcast on ABC World News with Charles Gibson.”
* Health care reform is going to save a lot of American families a lot of money.
* We know about the ways in which the Senate health care bill got worse (it lost the public option), but in a variety of other ways, it got much better.
* CNBC’s John Harwood is taking cheap and unnecessary shots at progressive opponents of health care reform. Completely uncalled for.
* Joe Klein takes down Tom Coburn.
* Tim Fernholz takes down Robert Samuelson.
* Reimportation obviously didn’t come together this year. The White House isn’t done with the idea, though.
* I shouldn’t be surprised, but prominent right-wing bloggers probably shouldn’t publish posts hoping for senators to die.
* John McCain feels comfortable telling us what Ted Kennedy would have thought. Remember when McCain had class? It’s been a long time.
* How did South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) avoid impeachment?
* When the federal government takes a more active role in education.
* Watching the Senate become cruel: “The Senate hasn’t just lost a bit of its collegiality. It’s become heartlessly ferocious — a place where the death of an honored friend presents an opportunity to kill his legislation, and in which the infirmity of an ailing colleague is seen as a potential path to procedural victory…. At this point in its history, however, consensus is a laughable goal. Basic decency doesn’t even seem achievable. And if the behavior of the Senate has changed, then so too must its rules.”
* Mike Huckabee compares Ben Nelson to Judas. Wow. (thanks to K.Z. for the tip)
* Don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight.
* A well deserved honor for Glenn Beck.
* And similarly, the Politifact Lie of the Year was probably an obvious choice, but the editors made the right call.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.