Friday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Europe: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Friday that the only real solution to Europe’s debt crisis was a drawn-out effort to alter or create new European Union treaties to punish big-spending nations, a process that will take years.”

* Quite a milestone: “The U.S. military transferred control of its sprawling headquarters outside Baghdad to the Iraqi government Friday, a deeply symbolic moment that launched the final month of a nearly decade-long U.S. presence. The last few soldiers at Camp Victory, a base that once housed 68,000 military personnel and contractors, departed early Friday afternoon.”

* The latest move in the “We Can’t Wait” campaign “President Obama today announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next 2 years. These investments will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.”

* Domestic economy: “Manufacturing grew for the 28th straight month and faster than it has since June, a report showed Thursday. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index increased to 52.7 percent in November, up from 50.8 percent in October…. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.”

* Showdown looming: “Ignoring a presidential veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a massive, $662 billion defense bill that would require the military to hold suspected terrorists linked to al-Qaida or its affiliates, even those captured on U.S. soil.”

* There were two votes in the Senate last night on extending the payroll tax break, and both failed. Senators will have plenty of additional chances to consider the policy.

* Public financing: “The House voted along party lines Thursday to abolish public funding for presidential campaigns and eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, the latest salvo in separate battles over deficit reduction and alleged voter suppression.”

* Trouble for Richardson: “Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico who ran for president in 2008, is being investigated by a federal grand jury for possible violations of campaign finance laws, according to people with knowledge of the inquiry.”

* Minnesota was projecting a $5 billion deficit up until very recently. Now it’s looking at an $876 million surplus over the next two years.

* The Washington Post‘s Solyndra coverage has been a terrible mess.

* The smear campaign targeting judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan has been disgraceful.

* Daniel Luzer on for-profit colleges: “Something is probably wrong at many of America’s for-profit colleges. While this is perhaps no big revelation, reformers still haven’t figured out what reforms to institute to address the problems.”

* Why would the NYPD give Fox News police protection that other networks don’t get?

* Jeffrey Goldberg reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “ordered his country’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption to immediately shut down its ridiculous Diaspora-bashing ad campaign.”

* And when the unemployment rate drops sharply, the cast of “Fox & Friends” just doesn’t know what to do.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.