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

* Just a reminder, the Monthly‘s annual pledge drive began today. We sincerely appreciate those of you who’ve already shown generous support, and hope other readers will take a moment to help out.

* Crisis on the Korean peninsula: “On the heels of South Korea’s threat to force the North to ‘pay a dear price for further aggression,’ the country’s military appeared to step back from its confrontational stance and canceled live-fire artillery drills on an island in the Yellow Sea attacked by North Korea a week ago. Still, high-profile joint exercises between the South and the United States are under way within 125 miles of the island, a show of force meant to warn North Korea but that has drawn warnings from both the North and China.”

* On a related note: “With its brazen daytime artillery barrage of a civilian-inhabited island, North Korea’s reclusive leaders might have achieved one thing that had so far eluded South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak: uniting the South Korean public around a more aggressive policy toward the North.”

* Tragedy in Afghanistan: “An Afghan border policeman killed six American servicemen during a training mission Monday, underscoring one of the risks in a U.S.-led program to educate enough recruits to turn over the lead for security to Afghan forces by 2014. The shooting in a remote area near the Pakistani border appeared to be the deadliest attack of its kind in at least two years.” (thanks to R.P. for the tip)

* Tehran: “Motorcyclists attached bombs to cars carrying two of the country’s top nuclear scientists early Monday, detonating them from afar. One scientist was killed and the other injured.”

* The WikiLeaks fallout and a setback in America’s diplomatic strength: “Diplomats and government officials around the world lamented the massive leak of U.S. diplomatic cables Monday and many predicted it would undercut their ability to deal with the United States on sensitive issues.”

* On a related note, Anne Applebaum argues persuasively that the WikiLeaks document dump will end up creating more secrecy, not less.

* Iraqi refugees returned to their country in recent years as it grew more stable. Now, they’re leaving again.

* The U.S. war in Afghanistan is now longer than the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan.

* Somehow, Brian Beutler managed to convince Josh to give him his own TPM-branded blog. Congrats to Brian, whose talent and hard work clearly warrants such an honor, but who nevertheless probably needs a haircut.

* The wound isn’t yet healed, but go ahead and read Jeffrey Toobin’s fantastic piece on the Supreme Court’s tragic Bush v. Gore ruling.

* The DREAM Act deserves to pass. It probably won’t.

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.