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

* He didn’t sound pleased: “President Obama on Tuesday blamed a ‘systemic failure’ in the nation’s security apparatus for the attempted bombing of a passenger jet on Christmas Day and vowed to identify the problems and ‘deal with them immediately.’”

* Preliminary reports point to very dangerous materials: “A dangerous explosive allegedly concealed by Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his underwear could have blown a hole in the side of his Detroit-bound aircraft if it had been detonated, according to two federal sources briefed on the investigation.”

* Tehran: “Iranian security forces made a wave of new arrests Tuesday, including Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi’s sister and a relative of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, pressing forward with a broadening crackdown on the reformist movement in the wake of deadly protests this week.”

* North Korea claims to have an American citizen in custody who, N.K. officials say, entered the country illegally from China.

* Good economic news: consumer confidence is climbing and many hiring managers expect to add full-time workers in 2010.

* Less good economic news: “Home prices rose modestly in October but beneath the apparent good news were some disquieting signs of deterioration. Analysts expect prices this winter to resume their descent, putting fresh pressure on the fragile economy.”

* Kabul: “As the U.S. and its allies try to overcome logistical hurdles and rush some 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan in 2010, intelligence officials are warning that the Taliban-led insurgency is expanding and that ‘time is running out’ for the U.S.-led coalition to prove that its strategy can succeed.”

* Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has blocked a vote on the nominee to hear the Transportation Security Administration, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to force a vote on Erroll Southers when the Senate reconvenes in January.

* The Obama administration seems pretty concerned about the new Japanese leadership.

* Bob Herbert tackles the excise tax intended to finance health care reform. Ezra Klein responds.

* Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a champion of abortion rights, seems largely satisfied with the compromise funding language in the Senate bill.

* Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) will be the subject of an ethics probe, though no one seems to know why.

* This certainly doesn’t sound good: “The political action committee behind the Tea Party Express (TPE) — which already has been slammed as inauthentic and corporate-controlled by rival factions in the Tea Party movement — directed around two thirds of its spending during a recent reporting period back to the Republican consulting firm that created the PAC in the first place.”

* And apparently, words like “alleged” are a little too sophisticated for Fox News.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

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.