Today’s edition of quick hits:
* What’s going to happen in the House tonight? As of this minute, we’re still not sure, but in an interesting twist, the White House is trying to help House Republican leaders drag the bill across the finish line.
* More on this on tonight’s show: “CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday acknowledged the nation’s top intelligence agency was in ‘uncharted territory’ and ‘unprepared’ to carry out a detention and interrogation program in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.”
* Walkout: “African-American Congressional staffers conducted a planned walkout and protest at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to express solidarity with critics of the grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases, respectively.”
* Economy: “The United States economy is firing on all cylinders as the year comes to a close. That’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from a blockbuster report on November retail sales released on Thursday, particularly when coupled with other recent readings on jobs, industrial activity and more. Total retail sales rose 0.7 percent in November, as holiday shopping began.”
* Hong Kong: “Dozens of prominent members of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement gave themselves up for arrest in a show of defiance on Thursday after the police swept through a protest camp, tearing down tents, posters and speakers’ platforms that had given voice to anger over the government’s restrictive election plans.”
* Success: “Obamacare customers shook off their Thanksgiving food comas last week and began signing up at a much quicker pace on HealthCare.gov, which has now sold 1.38 million insurance plans.”
* This looked iffy for a while: “The Senate on Thursday advanced the $585 billion Defense bill. The procedural vote was necessary because some GOP senators objected to the inclusion of an unrelated lands package in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”
* New Jersey: “Federal prosecutors investigating the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge last year are considering charges based on a rarely used provision of a fraud statute, under which they could argue that associates of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey used the bridge for a purpose other than its intended one, according to people close to the case.”
* Naming Islamic State militants can be tricky: “Secretary of State John Kerry is a distinguished diplomat with impeccable manners – but that doesn’t mean he’s above lobbing a well-placed insult when it comes to enemies of the United States. Kerry made clear earlier this week that he is committed to referring to the Islamic State as ‘Daesh,’ a name that the group considers so degrading that it has threatened to kill anyone under Islamic State rule who uses it.”
* This is not OK: “Data from the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education show that from 2011 to 2012, black girls in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were suspended at a rate of 12 percent, compared with a rate of just 2 percent for white girls, and more than girls of any other race or ethnicity.”
* Inversions: “Canada should be a cozy new home for Burger King. The fast food giant stands to save as much as $1.2 billion in taxes over the next three years by moving its headquarters from the United States to Canada, according to a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness, a tax watchdog often critical of corporate tax maneuvers.”
* Deficit: “The budget deficit in the U.S narrowed more than economists projected in November from a year earlier, Treasury Department figures showed, as rising employment helped boost receipts and spending fell. Outlays exceeded receipts by $56.8 billion last month, compared with a $135.2 billion shortfall a year earlier, the department said in a report released in Washington.”
* These are “heady times for economic-policy truthers.”
* What a fun one: “Crews worked carefully Thursday to remove a time capsule dating back to 1795 from the granite cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, where historians believe it was originally placed by Revolutionary War luminaries Samuel Adams and Paul Revere among others” (thanks to my colleague Andy Dallos for the heads-up).
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.