MONDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Moscow: “A bomber strode into the international arrivals hall at Moscow’s busiest airport on Monday afternoon and set off an enormous explosion, witnesses and Russian officials said, leaving bodies strewn in a smoke-filled terminal while bystanders scrambled to get the wounded out on baggage carts. Russian authorities said at least 34 people were killed and 168 injured in the attack.”
* Iraq: “Two car bombs struck Shi’ite pilgrims Monday in an Iraqi holy city, killing at least 18 people as crowds massed for religious rituals marking the end of a 40-day mourning period for the Islamic sect’s most beloved saint.”
* A major document leak: “Israeli-Palestinian peace talks over the past 17 years have operated at two levels, one public, the other behind closed doors. To the world and their own people, each side spoke of sacred, non-negotiable demands while in the Jerusalem hotel suites where the officials met those very demands were under negotiation. Internal Palestinian documents leaked to Al Jazeera and published this week illustrate that dichotomy.” Don’t miss Matt Duss’ take on the story.
* Shocking violence directed at police officers: “A spate of shooting attacks on law enforcement officers has authorities concerned about a war on cops. In just 24 hours, at least 11 officers were shot.”
* This is what I wanted to hear: “President Obama has decided not to endorse his deficit commission’s recommendation to raise the retirement age, and otherwise reduce Social Security benefits, in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, cheering liberals and drawing a stark line between the White House and key Republicans in Congress.”
* It was a longshot anyway: “Diplomatic efforts to end the eight-year-old impasse over Iran’s nuclear program ran aground Saturday after Iranian officials refused to bargain with the United States and other world powers unless they first agreed to conditions including an immediate halt to economic sanctions.”
* Leading officials in the Obama White House appears to have largely given up on Benjamin Netanyahu. I can’t say I blame them.
* If the accounts are accurate, the treatment David House and Jane Hamsher received at the Quantico Marine Corps base yesterday was outrageous and inexcusable.
* If confirmed by the Senate, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., a White House deputy counsel, will replace Elena Kagan as solicitor general of the United States.
* Good move: “President Barack Obama on Monday announced a government wide series of 50 programs and proposals to increase support for U.S. military families.” The initiatives, crafted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, include more counseling to prevent suicides, increased education grants, and expanded child-care assistance.
* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was the Republican Party’s first choice to give the GOP response to the State of the Union address. He declined.
* The guy who will give the GOP response, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), doesn’t seem to understand monetary policy, either.
* Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) has a problem with Muslim Americans. Imagine that.
* An important question: “How many college graduates is the United States going to need in the next few decades in order to maintain its current economic status?”
* And being Vice President doesn’t mean getting out of jury duty.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.