Today's edition of quick hits:
* Keep expectations low: "The House of Representatives will reconvene on Sunday evening, just less than 30 hours before the United States reaches the fiscal cliff."
* Gun buy-back initiatives may be a drop in the bucket -- less than that, really -- but it's always interesting to see strong public responses to the efforts. Take this one in Los Angeles, for example.
* Putin punishes orphans: "[Russian] President Vladimir V. Putin said on Thursday that he would sign into law a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by American citizens, retaliating against an American law that punishes Russians accused of violating human rights."
* The housing recovery really is underway: "New single-family home sales accelerated in November to the fastest pace in 2 1/2 years and median sales price jumped from the same month in 2011, signs that the U.S. housing recovery is gaining some steam."
* Good call: "Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied a request to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills."
* U.S. drone strikes nearly quadrupled in Yemen this year: "In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Yemen -- home to al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula -- has come close to eclipsing Pakistan as a key focus of American counter-terrorism efforts."
* Sorry to see Jackson go: "Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who pushed through the most sweeping curbs on air pollution in two decades, announced Thursday morning that she will resign her post."
* Keep an eye on this one: "The fiscal cliff is no longer the only threat facing the U.S. economy. Some 14,500 dockworkers from Texas to Massachusetts are threatening to strike next week, a move that could throttle East Coast ports and disrupt commerce across the country."
* Wow: "Steven Nafziger and Peter Lindert report that the contemporary United States has a less egalitarian distribution of income than did Russia on the brink of the Revolution of 1905."
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.