Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Reid confirmed what had been feared: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday said the chamber won’t vote on federal unemployment benefits before the program expires on Dec. 28. ‘We’re going to push for an extension for unemployment insurance when the Senate returns here next year,’ Reid said on the Senate floor.”
* Kiev: “After a night of clashes with protesters in Independence Square, security forces appeared to pull back Wednesday from the central plaza in Kiev where demonstrators have been rallying against the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovich for more than two weeks.”
* Afghanistan: “A suicide car bomb exploded outside the military entrance to Kabul International Airport on Wednesday morning, the police said. The bomb went off at the northern gate to the airport, which is normally crowded with civilian workers waiting to go through security checks, but there were no casualties, according to Ebadullah Karimi, a spokesman for the Kabul police.”
* Ridiculous: “Gay sex became illegal again in India Wednesday after the Indian Supreme Court ruled that a colonial-era law banning gay sex should not have been struck down.”
* Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) threw a bit of a tantrum during a congressional hearing this morning, lashing out at Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and saying talking to her it “like talking to the Republic of Korea.” What Shimkus doesn’t realize is that the Republic of Korea is actually South Korea, not North Korea.
* An unusual intra-party dispute is slowly erupting: “House Speaker John Boehner smacked down tea party-allied groups who are opposing the proposed budget deal on Wednesday, signaling that this round of budget negotiations won’t be like the last.”
* Syria: “The United States has suspended the delivery of nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition in northern Syria after concluding that some of it has fallen into the hands of extremist Islamic fighters, American officials said on Wednesday.”
* Good economic news: “Job openings in the U.S. climbed in October to the highest level in more than five years, showing employers were looking beyond the budget impasse in Washington amid growing confidence in the economic expansion.”
* Finally: “The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Rep. Mel Watt to be the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, ending a months-long confirmation battle over President Barack Obama’s choice to oversee taxpayer-owned mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
* Maybe in 2014? “The principal farm bill negotiators conceded Tuesday that there won’t be a final bill ready for either chamber before the new year – and the chambers appear split on whether there needs to be an extension of existing farm programs.”
* To appreciate why House Democrats struggle to respect House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), take a look at his “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.”
* How did this happen? “Deaf people watching the Nelson Mandela memorial were bemused and shocked by a ‘fake’ sign language interpreter on stage whose gestures were unintelligible, activists said Wednesday.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
Update: Just so readers know, I’ll be away from my desk on Thursday and Friday, but I’ll have a new installment of “This Week in God” on Saturday, and I’ll return to a normal posting schedule on Monday morning.