Tuesday’s Mini-Report

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

* Problems in the housing sector aren’t going away: “Home prices fell in the nation’s major metropolitan areas from September to October, with six regions hitting new lows, and they’re not expected to rebound anytime soon.”

* Back-to-back suicide bombings in western Iraq yesterday killed 19 and wounded 45. The second attacker waited for emergency workers to arrive at the scene of the first to maximize the carnage during the rescue efforts.

* Speaking of Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki “ruled out the presence of any U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of 2011, saying his new government and the country’s security forces were capable of confronting any remaining threats to Iraq’s security, sovereignty and unity.”

* Preliminary reports point to strong economic activity in the lead up to Christmas. MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks retail spending, found results that exceeded even the more optimistic forecasts.

* Big corporations have plenty of money, but they’re using their cash to buy other companies, not to expand their own workforces: “They have been hesitant to use these massive piles of funds to hire as they wait to see whether the economic recovery picks up more speed. Instead, this year they’ve been making safer bets: buying back stocks to help boost their share prices and spending money on modestly sized mergers.”

* David Shuster was a mainstay at MSNBC for many years. He’s now done with the network.

* Grade inflation appears to be an actual phenomenon in American higher ed. Cracking down on it, however, is a little tricky.

* And the latest hysterical right-wing freak-out is a doozy: “The good news is that the right-wing isn’t talking about President Obama being a secret Muslim right now. The bad news is that they’re now concerned that he’s going to use his honorary status as a Crow Tribe Indian to return the United States to Native Americans.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.