Today’s edition of quick hits:

* In case you thought the relationship with Pakistan couldn’t get worse: “Pakistani officials said on Saturday that NATO aircraft had killed at least 25 soldiers in strikes against two military posts at the northwestern border with Afghanistan, and the country’s supreme army commander called them unprovoked acts of aggression.”

* All eyes on Merkel: “While Europe speeds toward economic meltdown, Germany increasingly stands alone in its resistance to slamming on the brakes. Many outside Germany now say that only radical solutions will keep the euro intact. But Chancellor Angela Merkel has steadfastly opposed a shift even as the crisis is in danger of spiraling out of control, potentially leading to a splintering of the currency union.”

* An extraordinary sight as Egyptians head to the polls.

* Fitch reaffirmed America’s AAA rating, but it’s outlook for our fiscal future is turning bleak.

* Off to a good start: “Spurred by aggressive promotions from retailers, American consumers opened their wallets over the holiday weekend in a way they had not since before the recession, setting records in sales and traffic.”

* Housing, too: “Sales of new homes rose in October and the supply of homes on the market fell to its lowest level since April of last year, showing some healing in the battered housing sector.”

* The Arab League targets Syria with economic sanctions, as the pressure on Assad intensifies.

* Iraq: “A suicide bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into the gate of a prison north of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 19 people, Iraqi officials said.”

* Looking out for the public’s interests: “A federal judge in New York on Monday threw out a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup over a 2007 mortgage derivatives deal, saying that the S.E.C.’s policy of settling cases by allowing a company to neither admit nor deny the agency’s allegations did not satisfy the law.”

* The Murdoch media scandal expands, with evidence that Rupert Murdoch “once offered to orchestrate friendly news coverage for a politician in exchange for a ‘no’ vote in Parliament.”

* Daniel Luzer takes a look at why a significant number of college students are so reluctant to take out loans.

* And on the 25th anniversary of the Iran-contra scandal, Peter Kornblu offers a reminder just how serious this fiasco really was, and how very fortunate Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were to avoid indictments.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.