Today's edition of quick hits:* More on this in the morning: "The nation's top intelligence official on Thursday defended his colleagues' findings that Russian agents interfered in the U.S. election -- and dismissed the credibility of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a day after the president-elect appeared to back him over the intelligence community."* This will be one of his least controversial picks: "President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name former senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) to be his director of national intelligence, according to a Trump transition team official."* What a dreadful story: "Criminal hate crime, aggravated kidnapping and other felony charges were filed against four young men and women who allegedly tortured and beat a bound and gagged man in Chicago, which they broadcast live on Facebook."* An amazing figure: "The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to near a 43 year-low last week, pointing to further tightening in the labor market."* Time to brush up on the Holman Rule: "House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker -- down to a $1 -- a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service."* Farewell ceremony: "A solemn President Obama, in remarks directed at least partially at his successor, urged the U.S. military and the country on Wednesday never to abandon its 'core principles' as it fights the nation's wars."* Crime rates in Chicago are alarming, but good news matters, too: "Major felony crime in New York City fell by 4.1% in 2016 from a year earlier, reaching its lowest level since the Police Department began keeping track of statistics."* Remember that report I recently mentioned about North Carolina and its status as a democracy? The research is now facing some pretty serious pushback that's worth noting.Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.