Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Iran: “A bomber on a motorcycle killed a scientist from Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site and his bodyguard-driver on Wednesday during the morning commute in Tehran, Iranian media reported, in an assassination that could further elevate international tensions over the Iranian nuclear program and stoke the country’s growing anti-Western belligerence.”
* The U.S. State Department “strongly condemned” the violence, and “categorically” denied any American involvement.
* Beige book: “The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday the economy continued to expand modestly through the end of 2011 as holiday spending proved robust, but a weak job market was still preventing incomes from rising.”
* At least someone’s focused on jobs: “President Barack Obama said Wednesday he wants to reward companies that invest in America and eliminate tax breaks for companies that don’t, and he’s planning new tax proposals to do it.” The White House calls it “insourcing.”
* Austerity doesn’t work: “Deeply indebted and nearly bankrupt, this Mediterranean nation was forced to adopt tough austerity measures to slash its deficit and secure an international bailout. But as Greece’s economy slides into free fall, critics are scanning the devastated landscape here and asking a probing question: Does austerity really work?”
* Optimism: “Small-business-owner confidence increased again in December, according to data released Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index rose 1.8 points to 93.8 last month from 92.0 in November. It was the fourth consecutive increase.”
* The 10th anniversary of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
* Dispute over labor rights in Indiana: “State House Democrats appear to be dropping last year’s walkout strategy in favor of a start-and-stop tactic to slow right-to-work legislation supported by Republicans.”
* Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham team up again: “Two Senate defense hawks plan to introduce a resolution opposing any strategy that accepts and tries to contain a nuclear-armed Iran, calling such an approach ‘a catastrophic mistake.'”
* The Republican National Committee wants corporations to be able to finance political campaigns.
* When colleges raise tuition rates, in part so they can offer discounts to prospective students, things get … complicated.
* Fox News’ Eric Bolling believes it’s his “job” to “make sure” Mitt Romney “stays as far right as possible.” I’m pretty sure that makes him a party activist, not a media professional.
* And Herman Cain argued yesterday about the Republican field, “Look, these candidates have broken the Reagan’s rule from the beginning. Reagan’s 13th commandment, you know? Don’t go negative against another Republican, but they did it anyway!” I think he meant “11th.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.