Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Europe: “With Europe under mounting pressure to act quickly to tackle its debt crisis, the leaders of Italy and Greece moved forcefully on Friday to reinvigorate their governments and show their sincerity about economic austerity. Financial markets rallied on the news.”

* Syria: “In another grim day in what has become one of the bloodiest periods of the uprising, rights activists said that at least 18 people, including a defecting soldier, were shot dead by security forces across Syria on Friday, 11 of them in the restive city of Homs. Four were also killed in the southern city of Dara’a and two in Hama, in central Syria. One person was killed in the northwestern province of Idlib.”

* POTUS to Asia-Pac: “President Barack Obama begins a nine-day trip through the Asia-Pacific region Saturday with a stop in Hawaii for a weekend economic conference where he will press for progress on a trans-Pacific free trade agreement.”

* Ross departs: “Dennis B. Ross, a seasoned diplomat who has been one of President Obama’s most influential advisers on Iran and the Middle East, announced Thursday that he would leave the White House, at a time when Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are frozen and tensions over Iran are flaring up anew.”

* President Obama nominated Edward DuMont to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. If confirmed, he would have been the first openly gay federal appeals judge. Republicans, without cause, have blocked his nomination for 18 months — that’s not a typo — leading DuMont to quit this week and return to his law practice.

* Is the Occupy movement making a difference? Consider the trajectory of media references to the phrase “income inequality.”

* Great piece from Kevin Drum on the complexity of the “Volcker rule,” and what the banks did to cause it.

* Stupid Republican tricks: “The mayor of a large city in Utah admitted he used an alias to pose as a reporter and write news stories, sometimes about himself, because he wanted to ‘try to restore balance.’”

* Daniel Luzer: “More technology will solve our problems, says one Education Department official. Innovations in technology are key to getting more Americans through college. This is, well, questionable.”

* Simon Lazarus does a nice job explaining the significance of this week’s federal appeals court ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

* The late-Friday news dump is not a myth.

* Taking victim-blaming to a new level: “Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros, who has been an unwavering supporter of Herman Cain, is now blaming victims of sexual harassment for meeting male supervisors outside of the office, thus encouraging unwanted advances. In a recent New York Daily News op-ed, Tantaros blasted one of Cain’s accusers for ‘hav[ing] dinner and drinks with a married man’ and asked: ‘At what point do women need to take some responsibility?’”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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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.