Today’s edition of quick hits:
* SOTU preview: “President Obama told university presidents and nonprofit leaders assembled at the White House on Thursday that improving college access for low-income students could have a ‘transformative’ impact on economic mobility in the United States.”
* Lebanon: “A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car in a town in northeastern Lebanon on Thursday, killing at least three people and wounding more than 20, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.”
* Climate crisis: “Nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising, according to a draft United Nations report. Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies, experts found.”
* Afghanistan: “The death of at least two civilians on a Tuesday mission to clear Afghan insurgents has led to yet another dispute between U.S. led forces and the country’s president Hamid Karzai. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) expressed regret Wednesday that two civilians were killed ‘during a deliberately-planned, Afghan-led clearing operation to disrupt insurgent activity’ in Parwan Province, which is north of Kabul.”
* Imagine what would be possible if the House invested effort in actual governing: “The House on Thursday backed a bill that would require the Obama administration to report weekly on how many Americans have signed up for health care coverage as Republicans maintain an election-year spotlight on the troubled law.”
* This would be huge: “At his meeting with Democratic Senators last night, President Obama indicated that he is giving serious consideration to executive action designed to raise the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, according to one Senator who was present.”
* Tick tock: “Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday nudged the deadline for raising the debt limit forward a bit, saying the government could be at risk of missing payments at the end of February.”
* And promotional efforts in support of the Affordable Care Act are starting to pick up speed. One new effort features NBA legend Magic Johnson, while on a funnier note, Aisha Tyler appears in a great Funny Or Die clip.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.