Today's edition of quick hits:
* The death toll in France: is likely to rise "Two people are dead and at least 11 injured in a shooting Tuesday night in the French city of Strasbourg, with police searching for a suspect who is on a terrorist watch list. The shooting took place around 8 p.m. near a Christmas market in the French-German border city of Strasbourg that attracts millions of tourists every year."
* The Butina case offers some surprises: "Maria Butina, the accused Russian agent of influence who built ties to the National Rifle Association and influential Republicans, has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with federal prosecutors, according to a plea agreement obtained by NBC News."
* You've all been following the fight over the farm bill, right? "The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly [87 to 13] to approve an $867 billion farm bill, as Congress appeared poised to pass legislation that will help an agriculture industry battered by President Trump’s trade war."
* The Epstein case we've been following: "Lawyers for two of politically connected sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's victims are pushing a federal judge in Florida to finally rule on their request to void the moneyman's controversial non-prosecution deal with the feds."
* This was literally the first 51-50 judicial confirmation vote in American history, with the vice president breaking the tie: "The Senate narrowly confirmed Jonathan Kobes as a federal appeals court judge on Tuesday, brushing aside the conclusion of the American Bar Association that he was unqualified for the position. The association had cited his inability to provide sufficient writing samples that were 'reflective of complex legal analysis' or sophisticated 'knowledge of the law.'"
* Charlottesville: "A jury on Tuesday recommended life in prison plus 419 years for James Alex Fields Jr., convicted of killing Heather Heyer when he plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters last year at a 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia."
* This is very easy to believe: "The Equifax data breach that exposed the information of more than 148 million customers could have easily been prevented, a report released on Monday by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found."
* Calabria, naturally, is a longtime critic of the government-backed companies he'll soon oversee: "President Trump is expected to nominate Mark Calabria, the chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to run the government agency overseeing the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to two White House officials."
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.