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

* Afghanistan: “Bombings and shootings killed 12 people across Afghanistan, including four American troops and three children, as President Barack Obama convened his war council again Monday to fine-tune a strategy to respond to the intransigent violence.”

* Encouraging real estate news: “Home sales surged for the second month in a row in October, climbing to the highest level in 2 1/2 years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax credit. Home sales nationwide are now up nearly 37 percent from their bottom in January.”

* HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius unveiled state-by-state details on how health care reform would help nationwide.

* Is reconciliation still on the table? Maybe, but there are plenty of reasons the Senate leadership hopes to avoid it.

* Iraq elections in January? Don’t count on it.

* South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) faces 37 charges of ethics violations.

* Bill Moyers’ presence on television will be sorely missed.

* If policymakers are looking for areas for infrastructure investment, sewage treatment plants are definitely worth the money.

* The job market, four-year degrees, and the two-year degrees.

* The inner-workings of the Washington Times.

* Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) not only won’t appear on NSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” his office refuses to return calls from Maddow staffers. Sounds pretty cowardly.

* I’m starting to get the impression that the LA Times‘ Andrew Malcolm is using his platform for partisan purposes. Call it a hunch.

* Speaking of shameless partisan hacks, Dick Cheney is now whining about President Obama bowing to the emperor of Japan. Fun fact: Cheney worked for Nixon and H.W. Bush, both of whom bowed to the emperor of Japan.

* It’s a little under the radar right now, but Sen. John Ensign’s (R-Nev.) sex scandal continues to get uglier.

* Ari Fleischer will be representing the BCS. Figures.

* Interesting item from Mark Kleiman: “Your high-school civics teacher no doubt told you that you should ‘vote for the person, not the party.’ Madison and Hamilton, who hated what they called ‘faction,’ would have agreed. All three of them were wrong. Party is the only mechanism by which voters can influence actual outcomes.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.