FRIDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Huge upheaval in Tunisia, with the fall of Ben Ali’s authoritarian government after more than two decades: “President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia has left the country amid growing chaos in the streets, French diplomats say, and the prime minister went on state television Friday night to say he is temporarily in charge.”
* The regional significance of the failure of the Ali government: “The fall of Mr. Ben Ali marks the first time that widespread street demonstrations have overthrown an Arab leader. That it came by way of what was portrayed in the Middle East as a popular uprising, crossing lines of religion and ideology, seemed only to make it more potent as an example.”
* As I publish this, Wisconsin’s Reince Priebus has been elected as the new chairman of the Republican National Committee. I’ll have more on this in the morning, including a guide on how to pronounce “Reince Priebus.”
* Tell me again why they hate the White House so much? “JPMorgan Chase kicked off the earnings season on Friday with news that it turned a strong $17.4 billion profit in 2010, up 48 percent from $11.7 billion the year before, as the consumer lending environment improved and commercial banking notched record results.”
* The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday voted to reject “the largest mountaintop mining removal permit in West Virginia’s history.”
* One of these days, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will realize he’s the chief executive of a state now, and has to start acting like it.
* As of this afternoon, 19 senators, including five Republicans, have formally endorsed bipartisan seating during the State of the Union address. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is also on board, making him the first member of the GOP leadership to offer support for the idea.
* Mark Doms takes a closer look at retail sales numbers, and produces a nice chart. (Welcome to the blogosphere, Mark.)
* Garry Wills, who has not always been complimentary towards President Obama, described his remarks in Tucson this week as his “finest hour,” and even compared the speech to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
* For anyone, least of all an Obama administration official, to think the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is strikingly ignorant.
* A renewable energy standard is a poor substitute for a cap-and-trade policy, but right-wing propaganda targeting the latter apparently worked.
* After some misleading media reports, some have been led to believe the administration is trying to take over Internet ID. This is much ado about nothing.
* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) writes for the Washington Post that he disagrees with many of the president’s policies, but considers the president “a patriot sincerely intent on using his time in office to advance our country’s cause.” That couldn’t have been easy for McCain.
* Steve M. reads (and finds the flaws in) Peggy Noonan’s columns so you don’t have to.
* Some explanations for the tragedy in Tucson are better than others. Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, has a very unpersuasive one.
* And I couldn’t agree more with Farhad Manjoo: You should “never, ever use two spaces after a period.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.