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

* An assassination intensifies unrest in Pakistan: “The governor of Pakistan’s most important and populous province was assassinated by an elite police guard in Islamabad on Tuesday, plunging the already unstable national government into an even deeper crisis. It was the highest-profile killing of a Pakistani leader since Benazir Bhutto was killed at a political rally three years ago.”

* Navy Capt. Owen Honors showed some spectacularly bad judgment when trying to entertain some 6,000 sailors and Marines aboard his ship, the Enterprise, in 2006 and 2007. Today, he was permanently removed from his post, and reassigned to an administrative role, as a Navy investigation continues.

* A little unexpected good news: “New orders received by American factories unexpectedly rose in November, and orders excluding transportation recorded their largest gain in eight months, according to a government report on Tuesday that pointed to underlying strength in manufacturing.”

* On a related note, things continue to look up for the U.S. auto industry: “Detroit’s Big Three automakers posted solid sales gains in 2010, showing that perhaps the worst of their woes are in the rear view mirror.”

* President Obama is reportedly nearing a final choice to serve as the new White House Chief of Staff. The leading contenders are reportedly former Clinton Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and possibly Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

* The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was expected to rule on California’s same-sex marriage ban today, but instead, the court referred a procedural issue back to the state Supreme Court.

* House Republicans intend to take away the already-limited voting rights of the delegate from the District of Columbia.

* Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Republican Conference chairman, formally detailed his opposition to filibuster reform. He’s supposed to be one of the four senators negotiating how to make reform a reality.

* Jennifer Rubin seems to think she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the very silly “controversy” over the New Black Panther Party. Rubin continues to be deeply confused, and should probably read up on the story before writing yet another easily-debunked item on it.

* The Weekly Standard would be slightly less ridiculous if it didn’t latch onto silly conspiracy theories so frequently.

* I’ll probably never know why the L.A. Times actually pays Andrew Malcolm, who remains something of an embarrassment to the newspaper.

* College degrees will help people earn more money — but so, too, will degrees from community colleges.

* Congrats to the very talented Tim Fernholz as he makes the transition from The American Prospect to National Journal.

* Dave Weigel has a very clever idea: “The Palin Tweet Index is a ratio of how many of her words appear in a Palin tweet versus how many words appear in a stories about said tweet.”

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.