FRIDAY’S EXTRA-EARLY MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Expecting a staff shake-up: “President Obama is planning the first major reorganization of his administration, preparing to shuffle several positions in the West Wing as he tries to fortify his political team for the realities of divided government and his own re-election.” In particular, there will be more White House lawyers to deal with nuisance requests from the new GOP House majority.
* Terror threat in Mumbai: “India’s financial capital was on high alert Friday after authorities said four terrorists had entered the country and were plotting attacks here during the holidays.”
* Despite the struggling economy, a lot of folks shop quite a bit this time of year: “For stores, this 11th-hour dash caps the best holiday season since 2007, and possibly the best ever.”
* U.S. businesses are prohibited from doing business with Iran. There are, however, exceptions — thousands of them.
* Just two days after action in the U.S. Senate, Russia’s parliament offered preliminary support for New START with a 350-58 vote in the 450-seat State Duma.
* Remember, Congress may not want to combat global warming, so the EPA must: “Stymied in Congress, the Obama administration is moving unilaterally to clamp down on power plant and oil refinery greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for developing new standards over the next year.”
* The AP runs political analysis pieces I disagree with from time to time, but this week’s piece on the White House is just a train-wreck.
* North Korea’s official news agency called, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the incoming chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee “human scum” in response to her request that North Korea be added to the list of state sponsors of terror.
* Grover Norquist doesn’t mind the notion of states going bankrupt. Imagine that.
* For the millions of Americans who drop out of college, when do they tend to quit? Right about now.
* Alex Pereene does a nice job summarizing the “Year in Pseudo-scandals.” My personal favorite: when the far-right got hysterical about the logo for the National Security Summit. For wingnuts, it was a pro-Islam code. For the rest of us, it was based on the Bohr model of the atom. Only one of those two interpretations makes sense.
* And finally, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told MSNBC yesterday he expects the first six months of 2011 to be a productive period on Capitol Hill. Specifically, he said, “My prediction: The next sixth months will be more like the lame-duck, where there was a lot of productivity, than like the previous two years, when there was a lot of dart-throwing.” I have no idea where his confidence comes from, and I’m fairly certain he’s completely wrong, but here’s hoping Schumer’s prediction comes true.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.