As Daniel noted earlier, my power was out for much of the afternoon, but it’s back, and I figured I might as well go ahead and post the quick hits I’d worked on earlier. There’s a little less content than usual, but after three hours without a connection, that’s to be expected, right?

* As far as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is concerned, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is now officially done.

* News Corp scandal intensifies in Britain: “Britain’s political establishment ventured onto new and perilous ground on Wednesday as more startling accusations emerged in the voice mail-hacking scandal, with government leaders promising to scrutinize the operations of freewheeling newspapers owned by News Corporation and others that were once seen as too politically influential to challenge.”

* Would the White House pursue the 14th Amendment option in debt talks? No one’s ruling it out, but it seems unlikely.

* The government shutdown in Minnesota doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon.

* President Obama today reversed existing policy and will send condolence letters to families of military service members who commit suicide while deployed. In a statement, the president said, “This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely. They didn’t die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn’t get the help they needed must change.”

* 50-50: “Democrats’ Senate Budget chairman will present a spending plan to his party leaders Wednesday that seeks to cut the federal deficit through an equal split of tax hikes and spending cuts. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (N.D.) will brief Democratic leaders on a budget that significantly raises government tax revenues in order to reduce the deficit, according to Senate sources.”

* Dahlia Lithwick: “The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law.”

* For his latest stunt, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wants to ban public funds for development of telemedicine services, including use of RU486.

* On track to be the least productive in generations: “The 112th Congress is on pace to be one of the least productive in recent memory — as measured by votes taken, bills made into laws, nominees approved. By most of those metrics, this crowd is underperforming even the ‘do-nothing Congress’ of 1948, as Harry Truman dubbed it. The hot-temper era of Clinton impeachment in the 1990s saw more bills become law.”

* When state budget problems become so severe, an entire police force gets laid off, it’s a symptom of a larger, broken process.

* Glad to hear it: “A majority of Americans believes it is essential that the U.S. ‘continue to be a world leader in space exploration,’ according to a new poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.”

* Thought your college experience was bad? “The government of North Korea appears to have ordered all college students to leave universities for 10 months in order to work on construction projects.”

* And CNN has cancelled Eliot Spitzer’s 8 p.m. political talk show. Anderson Cooper’s show will shift into the time slot. “Political Animal with Steve Benen” is apparently not going to be considered.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen

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.