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Thursday's Mini-Report

<p>Today's edition of quick hits:* There's a real crisis unfolding in Israel.* Oil spill: "BP will pay approximately $4.5

Today's edition of quick hits:

* There's a real crisis unfolding in Israel.

* Oil spill: "BP will pay approximately $4.5 billion and plead guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges as part of a settlement with the U.S. government over the deadly Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010."

* Sandy: "President Barack Obama toured some of the hardest-hit areas of New York City on Thursday, neighborhoods still littered with the rubble of shattered lives and homes." The president also assigned HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan as the point person for the Northeast's Sandy recovery process.

* Pentagon: "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday ordered the Pentagon to dig into and determine why an alarming number of generals and admirals have been snared by a variety of ethical lapses and misconduct allegations."

* A Republican National Committee report on the 2012 election points to "changing demographics, Hurricane Sandy, George W. Bush, and the failure to win over the middle class" as the reasons for their defeat.

* Asked why he wouldn't comment on why he failed to show up for a classified Benghazi hearing, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) replied, "Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?" (Also see ThinkProgress' "ultimate guide" to McCain's smear campaign against Susan Rice.)

* One of the key problems with the right's Benghazi conspiracy theory: there's "no conceivable motive."

* Obama has nominated the first openly gay African American man to serve on the federal judiciary.

* Some House Republicans were poised to push for a rollback in their caucus' earmark ban, but reversed course today.

* And if you thought Rep. Scott DesJarlais' (R-Tenn.) scandal-plagued personal life couldn't possibly look worse, think again.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.