MONDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* President Obama talks up human rights in China. Nice move.
* Good news: retail sales looked encouraging in October. Bad news: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke believes the recovery will be weak, with lingering unemployment and tight credit.
* IAEA worries about Iran: “The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog is concerned that Iran’s belated revelation of a new uranium enrichment site may mean it is hiding further nuclear activity, an agency report said on Monday.”
* Stunning: “The number of Americans who lack dependable access to adequate food shot up last year to 49 million, the largest number since the government has been keeping track, according to a federal report released Monday that shows particularly steep increases in food scarcity among families with children.” Blue Girl has more.
* GM reported a $1.2 billion quarterly loss, which, oddly enough, was good considered good news. Even harder to believe is the fact that GM is now saying it’s prepared to pay off federal loans ahead of schedule.
* The U.S. Postal Service implemented a strategy of $10 billion in cost-cutting measures. It still lost $3.8 billion in the 2009 fiscal year.
* After having opposed judicial filibusters for the last eight years, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) announced today he will filibuster Judge David Hamilton’s appeals court nomination.
* Figures: “Even as drug makers promise to support Washington’s health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nation’s drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years.”
* That’s a lot improper payments: “The government paid more than $47 billion in questionable Medicare claims including medical treatment showing little relation to a patient’s condition, wasting taxpayer money at a rate nearly three times that of the previous year.”
* What’s with that new report from the Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)? Igor Volsky had a good item on this.
* There are still some people (see Ignatius, David) worried about inflation. Please ignore them.
* Late last week, former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
* Nice piece from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on the inanity of much of the health care debate. (thanks to reader T.D. for the heads-up)
* The perils of being a poor ivy leaguer.
* John McCain now hates the AARP.
* I was very disappointed to see that Anonymous Liberal is taking an extended break from blogging. He’s long been one of my favorites.
* I’m going out of my way not to write posts about Sarah Palin today, but it’s worth noting that a wide variety of claims from her book have already been thoroughly debunked.
* And finally, the right-wing Tea Party event in southern Virginia, where participants were planning to burn Democratic lawmakers in effigy, is off. “We had to cancel it,” an organizer said. “The property owner won’t allow us to do it. The media attention was something that he didn’t want.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.