Friday’s Mini-Report

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

* Just a reminder, the Monthly‘s annual pledge drive is underway. We sincerely appreciate those of you who’ve already shown generous support, and hope other readers will take a moment to help out.

* Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize: “Imprisoned in China and with close family members forbidden to leave the country, the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, an empty chair representing his absence at the prize ceremony here.” The last time a winner was forbidden from attending: 1935, when Hitler prevented concentration camp prisoner Count Carl von Ossietzky from making the tip.

* The Chinese people couldn’t watch, either: “China blocked broadcasts of the ceremony on television and Internet sites. Just before 8 p.m. in Beijing, as the ceremony was beginning, CNN and BBC television channels went blank — as they had intermittently throughout the day.” Text messages containing the words “Liu Xiaobo” and “Nobel prize” were also blocked.

* President Obama said Liu Xiaobo “is far more deserving of this award than I was.”

* In an extraordinary display, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont has held the Senate floor almost all day, delivering a very lengthy speech on economic inequalities. It’s not a literal filibuster — there’s no bill before the chamber — but it’s the kind of showing we haven’t seen from any senator in a very long time.

* Former President Bill Clinton met with Obama at the White House today, and endorsed the pending tax policy agreement. In an entertaining turn, the former president proceeded to hold “a remarkable, spur-of-the-moment news conference at a White House podium.”

* In a pleasant surprise, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), not inclined to do the administration any favors, said today that the Senate is “very close” to having the support necessary to ratify the New START treaty. McCain added that he hopes it will come to the floor next week.

* The administration desperately needs to come up with a strong energy policy strategy in a hurry: “The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers — as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition.”

* In the meantime, the United Nations conference on climate change in Cancun is going nowhere fast.

* Command Sergeant Major Marvin Hill, a senior aide to Gen. David Petraeus, said U.S. servicemembers who can’t adjust to the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should consider leaving the military.

* The White House is open to an overhaul of the income tax code, but the hullabaloo over this news may be overstated.

* Hate crimes: “Two men have been charged with assault and robbery as a hate crime after attacking a Muslim religious leader on a New York City subway platform.”

* New international rankings measure the capabilities of high school students around the globe. The U.S. isn’t even close to the top.

* And Glenn Beck told his minions yesterday that “the revolution has begun.” I’m not sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound encouraging.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.