Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Brutal violence in Syria: “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces rained rockets and bombs down on opposition-held neighborhoods of the city of Homs on Wednesday, reducing buildings to rubble and killing more than 80 people, including two Western journalists.”
* Afghan riots: “Armed with rocks, bricks, pistols and wooden sticks, protesters angry over the burning of Korans at the largest American base in Afghanistan this week took to the streets in sometimes lethal demonstrations in a half dozen provinces Wednesday that left at least seven dead and many more injured.”
* Not bad for a bill the GOP considers a failure: “The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package continues to have a significant effect. The bill raised fourth quarter 2011 gross domestic product by as much as 1.5 percent, it states, and lowered the unemployment rate by as much as 1.1 percentage points.”
* Iran: “The White House on Wednesday sharply criticized Iran for blocking UN nuclear watchdog agency inspectors from key sites in its suspect atomic program, and suggested the stalemate would weigh on how Washington and its partners will respond to Tehran’s recent offer for another round of negotiations.”
* In the meantime, Tucker Carlson believes Iran – and presumably its entire population – deserves to be “annihilated.” Unbelievable.
* The payroll tax break is now law, and Obama has a message for Congress: “Don’t stop … keep going.”
* The state of Washington may become the first state to require all health plans to cover abortion.
* Don’t rewrite the physics textbooks – neutrinos didn’t really travel faster than the speed of light.
* Emily’s List has a new ad, taking the offensive in the fight over contraception access.
* And if you enjoyed Mitt Romney’s awkward praise for Michigan, and you enjoyed the movie “Anchorman,” you’ll probably like AFSCME’s new ad connecting the two.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.