Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Nothing official just yet: “President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.”
* ISIS: “The release of new audio purportedly from the leader of ISIS is filled with soaring rhetoric, promising ‘volcanoes of jihad’ and dismissing the United States as ‘terrified’ and meek. But what is he really saying?”
* Related news: “U.S. military leaders defended the Obama administration’s strategy against the Islamic State on Thursday, arguing before skeptical lawmakers that President Obama’s plan to put Iraqi forces at the forefront of the fight had achieved some limited battlefield success while laying the groundwork for a larger, long-term campaign against the group.”
* Keep a very close eye on this one: “Russia has informed the United States that it is planning to reduce its participation next year in a joint effort to secure nuclear materials on Russian territory, a move that could seriously undermine more than two decades of cooperation aimed at ensuring that nuclear bomb components do not fall into the hands of terrorists or a rogue state.”
* Look for more on this on tonight’s show: “Don Blankenship, the longtime chief executive of Massey Energy, was indicted today on charges that he violated federal mine safety laws at the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine prior to an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners.”
* I still think this is a very bad idea: “For the first time in the six-year fight over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, both houses of Congress will hold a vote on the proposed project, giving each side in a Louisiana Senate election a chance to boost its candidate.”
* Another domino falls: “Kansas has officially become the 33rd state to legalize marriage equality.”
* And speaking of Kansas: “Wichita and south-central Kansas were shaken by a sustained and moderate-strength earthquake at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday. The magnitude-4.8 earthquake had its epicenter eight miles south of Conway Springs in Sumner County, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its website. The earthquake had a depth of 3.4 miles.”
* This strikes me as completely nuts: “In the netherworld of consumer debt, there are zombies: bills that cannot be killed even by declaring personal bankruptcy. Tens of thousands of Americans who went through bankruptcy are still haunted by debts long after – sometimes as long as a decade after – federal judges have extinguished the bills in court.”
* Overdue: “The United States is telling the United Nations that it now considers a ban against torture to apply to prisoners held by the U.S. overseas.”
* In case you were curious, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) new title is “Strategic Policy Advisor to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.” That’s a mouthful, which no one will remember. The fact that she’s joining the Senate Democratic leadership is what matters.
* Just in time for the holidays: “Amazon.com and the Hachette Book Group announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement to end their long-running dispute over e-book pricing. The fight escalated to such a level that Amazon did not offer discounts on books written by Hachette authors and prevented customers from pre-ordering new Hachette titles.”
* And does it make me happy to see House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) enjoying Metallica? Yes. Yes, it does.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.