Monday’s Mini-Report

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

* Over the weekend, two suicide car bombs “killed 16 people and wounded about 150 others in separate attacks in northwestern Pakistan.”

* More provocative steps from Iran: “Locked in a deepening dispute with the United States and its allies over its nuclear program, Iran said that its Revolutionary Guards test-fired missiles with sufficient range to strike Israel, parts of Europe and American bases in the Persian Gulf.”

* While most Senate Democrats believe the health care reform debate is entering the home stretch, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) thinks it’s just getting started. He also reiterated his opposition to a public option: “I don’t see it happening.”

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed victory in her country’s elections yesterday.

* President Obama will fly to Copenhagen at the end of the week to encourage the voting members of the International Olympic Committee to award Chicago the 2016 summer games. It’s not unprecedented — British Prime Minister Tony Blair went to Singapore to lobby in support of London winning the 2012 Olympics.

* An assassination survey on Facebook gets the Secret Service’s attention.

* William Safire died yesterday at age 79.

* Jennifer Nix does a beautiful job explaining why she loves her socialist kidney.

* Last week, the Washington Post‘s Michael Gerson wrote another weak column. Soon after, the Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein respectfully noted some of the column’s flaws. Apparently annoyed, Gerson wrote a cheap and insulting response. Spencer Ackerman weighed in with a defense of Ezra that I very much enjoyed.

* A leading executive of an Indiana-based insurance company sent a racist, anti-Obama email from his company account earlier this month. It has cost the insurer its account with the city of Bloomington.

* I wouldn’t want to take a class taught by Peggy Noonan.

* A good item from David Broder on President Obama’s national security team.

* Birthers are now running an infomercial in seven states.

* If Mike Huckabee’s rhetoric is any indication, right-wing hatred for the United Nations remains strong.

* 50 helpful facts about health insurance reform.

* The right’s interest in Bill Sparkman’s death is taking some odd twists and turns.

* And finally, just in time for the holidays, it’s the Michele Bachmann action figure. Seriously. (thanks to reader J.B. for the heads-up)

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

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.