Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The scope of the bloodshed is just overwhelming: “Pakistan was plunged into mourning Tuesday after Taliban militants in suicide vests laid siege to a school, massacring more than 130 children during eight hours of sheer terror. In total, 145 people were killed, officials said. Those who survived emerged with stories of horror – of gunmen shooting indiscriminately into crowds or killing youngsters one by one.”
* Pennsylvania: “Bradley Stone, the man prosecutors say is responsible for killing his ex-wife and five of her family members and seriously stabbing one other before going on the run, has been found dead in the woods near his home, the Montgomery County District Attorney said.”
* Russia is in very deep trouble: “Despite the Russian central bank’s extraordinary move to defend the currency, the ruble’s value continued to slide on Tuesday, presenting President Vladimir V. Putin with an acute set of political and economic challenges.”
* Related news: “President Obama has decided to sign legislation imposing further sanctions on Russia and authorizing additional aid to Ukraine, despite concerns that it will complicate his efforts to maintain a unified front with European allies, the White House said on Tuesday.”
* Afghanistan: “A new report by European Union election observers on Tuesday supported some of the most stark estimates of systematic electoral fraud in the Afghan presidential runoff election in June, and said an earlier audit of the voting had invalidated only a small fraction of suspect votes.”
* More on this tomorrow: “A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s administrative actions on immigration, which could grant deportation relief to up to 5 million people, go beyond “beyond prosecutorial discretion” and are therefore unconstitutional.”
* Thanks, Ted Cruz: “Dallas prosecutor Sarah Saldaña won confirmation this afternoon as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the second largest federal law enforcement agency after the FBI.”
* Impressive: “More than 1 million people used the U.S. healthcare.gov system to sign up for new Obamacare plans in the seven days ending Dec. 12, the best week yet for enrollment in the program’s second year.”
* I realize several new polls suggest Americans are broadly comfortable with torture as a national-security tool. It’s a powerful reminder: sometimes the public is wrong. No matter what the survey results say, torture is immoral, illegal, and dangerous. Full stop.
* When Dick Cheney celebrates torture, he’s not just saying things that are morally reprehensible. He’s also making claims that are factually incorrect.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.