Wednesday's Mini-Report, 12.28.16

Today's edition of quick hits:* Saying what needs to be said: "Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday the Israeli refusal to stop building Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory is undermining any attempt to achieve a lasting peace in the region.... If Israel keeps annexing Palestinian territory, Kerry said, 'it can be Jewish or democratic -- but it can't be both.'* On a related note: "Israel's attorney general has ordered police to open a criminal investigation into two unspecified matters involving the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Channel 10 television has said."* New monuments: "President Obama on Tuesday created new national monuments in a sacred tribal site in southeastern Utah and in a swath of Nevada desert, after years of political fights over the fate of site."* Round Two: "The Obama administration is close to announcing a series of measures to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election, including economic sanctions and diplomatic censure, according to U.S. officials."* A fight worth watching: "Paul Ryan's new crackdown against protests on the House floor -- a direct response to the Democrats' gun-control 'sit-in' last summer -- is prompting questions from experts in both parties about its constitutionality."* South Carolina: "Dylann Roof reaffirmed his intention to represent himself during the sentencing phase of his federal trial where the jury will decide whether to sentence him to life in prison or death. However, speaking at the pre-trial hearing Wednesday, Roof told the judge that he doesn't intend to call any witnesses or offer any evidence while acting as his own attorney."* Don't get your hopes up, gov: "Imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is seeking a presidential commutation of his 14-year sentence on a corruption conviction."Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.