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

* Crisis on the Korean Peninsula: “South Korea warned North Korea on Tuesday of ‘enormous retaliation’ if it took more aggressive steps after Pyongyang fired scores of artillery shells at a South Korean island in one of the heaviest attacks on its neighbor since the Korean War ended in 1953.”

* For crying out loud: “For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement. But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all.”

* Conditions in Ireland are deteriorating: “Political infighting engulfed Ireland on Tuesday, threatening to trigger a quick election and delay a massive EU-IMF bailout. Rebels from Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s own party pressed to oust him and opposition leaders demanded an election before Christmas.”

* Maybe someone should do something: “Top Federal Reserve officials expect the unemployment rate to remain around nine percent at the end of next year and eight percent at the end of 2012, according to internal forecasts that drove the central bank to take new efforts to boost the economy three weeks ago.”

* Also not encouraging: “Sales of previously owned homes slipped slightly in October as the housing market struggled in the face of high unemployment and tight credit.”

* When dealing with congressional Republicans, if Dems “hope for the best, and plan for the worst,” they’ll be on the right track.

* The dispute among Senate Republicans over ethanol subsidies continues to get even more interesting.

* The fact that incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is considered a leading Republican voice on economic policy is rather horrifying.

* Harold Pollack reports on encouraging developments in combating AIDS.

* After all this time, Marc Thiessen should probably know quite a bit more about the subjects he claims to care about.

* The Daily Caller‘s transition from credible to dubious to ignominious to cover-your-eyes-ridiculous was completed today.

* Daniel Luzer takes a closer look at some of the ethical issues surrounding Melanie Sloan’s departure from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

* Fox News refuses to air paid advertising featuring U.S. troops, apparently because they don’t like what the servicemen and women have to say about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

* And last night, former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) told Sean Hannity that Republicans shouldn’t “just preach to the choir with Fox [News] viewers.” I’m pretty sure that’s not the network’s official line, but accidental candor is better than none.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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.