Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today that U.S. military forces would end their combat role in Afghanistan as early as mid-2013. If true, that would be a major breakthrough.
* Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) abandoned his earlier promises and made his state the nation’s 23rd “right-to-work” state.
* Encouraging economic news: “U.S. factories grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months, boosted by a rise in new orders. And builders ended a poor year for construction by spending more on homes and projects for the fifth straight month.”
* It’s a good thing the administration rescued the auto industry: “Major automakers reported a nearly 12 percent gain in U.S. sales in January, a surprisingly strong showing driven by the growing need for American drivers to replace aging cars and trucks.”
* Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is threatening to end “complete cooperation” with the White House when it comes to the confirmation process. He thinks there’s been “complete cooperation” up until now?
* On a related note, there’s a persuasive case to be made that Lee is a “constitutional charlatan.”
* Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is blocking funding for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at Ground Zero.
* Mitt Romney’s bogus Thomas Paine quote is “extremely ridiculous.”
* Several Republican lawmakers in the state of Washington apparently believe American currency is unconstitutional.
* Dear East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo: this is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a little quiet time for a while.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.