Today’s edition of quick hits:

* North Korea’s Kim Jong-il died Saturday of a heart attack. By most accounts, the loony/brutal communist dictator was 69 years old.

* Meet his successor: “With the abrupt death of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, the fate of his isolated, nuclear-armed regime has dropped into the hands of his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who is such an unknown that the world did not even know for sure what he looked like until last year.”

* As of this afternoon, four Republican senators — Lugar, Brown, Snowe, and Heller — were all publicly pressuring House Republicans to stop screwing around and pass the Senate’s version of a payroll tax-break extension.

* This won’t help sectarian divisions: “Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government was thrown into crisis on Monday night as authorities issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni vice president, accusing him of running a personal death squad that assassinated security officials and government bureaucrats.”

* The U.S. Supreme Court scheduled an unprecedented three days of oral arguments in the case challenging the Affordable Care Act. The hearings will be held March 26 through March 28.

* Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey has heard Republican presidential candidates talk about “listening to the generals,” and he doesn’t like it.

* Senate Republicans blocked William Boarman’s nomination to head of the Government Printing Office, but no one knows why.

* Arvo Mikkanen, a highly-praised prosecutor in Oklahoma City, was nominated by President Obama to be a federal judge in Tulsa, and would have been the only enrolled member of an American Indian tribe to serve on the federal bench. Senate Republicans killed his nomination, too.

* A heroic figure passes: “Vaclav Havel, the writer and dissident whose eloquent dissections of Communist rule helped to destroy it in revolutions that brought down the Berlin Wall and swept Havel himself into power, died on Sunday. He was 75.”

* Looks like Minnesota’s Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R) has found herself in the middle of a sex scandal that could derail her career.

* In more ways than one, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio doesn’t appear to know what the phrase “civil-rights violations” means.

* I’m beginning to think the Heritage Foundation isn’t a reliable source of accurate information.

* Occupy College: “Many protestors connected to the Occupy movement are very concerned about tuition. But while President Obama is interested in a ‘candid discussion about why higher education costs so much,’ protesters have a general, though perhaps ultimately more compelling, demand: stop privatizing public colleges.”

* And Media Matters pulled together Fox & Friends’ “10 Stupidest Moments Of 2011.” There are some real doozies in there.

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.