Today's edition of quick hits:
* Midwest flooding: "Raging waters threatened to breach or weaken 19 federal levees along the Mississippi River Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes as Missouri braced for 'historic' floods."
* Brussels: "Authorities in the Belgian capital Brussels on Wednesday called off the city's traditional New Year's Eve fireworks display, citing fears of a militant attack. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors said two people suspected of plotting an attack in Brussels on New Year's Eve had been arrested during house searches in different parts of the country."
* Not helpful: "Senior U.S. military commanders on Wednesday accused Iran's military of 'highly provocative' actions in firing unguided rockets 1,500 yards from ships including an American aircraft carrier."
* Chicago: "Resisting calls to resign from office, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday unveiled a series of changes to lethal force policies for city police – including plans to double the number [of] tasers for officers -- amid public unrest over a rash of fatal shootings involving police."
* An important, albeit widely overlooked, story: "One of the biggest losers of 2015 was an entire branch of government. Federal courts got screwed by Senate Republicans."
* The "war on cops" never existed: "This year will go down in the record books as one of the safest for police officers in recorded history, according to data released this week from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There were 42 fatal shootings of police officers in 2015, down 14 percent from 2014, according to the organization."
* Keeping an eye on Puerto Rico: "The governor of Puerto Rico said on Wednesday that two groups of its bondholders would be denied more than $35 million of interest due to them Jan. 1, but in fact the island was defaulting on a much larger sum."
* I guess this was inevitable: "Russia broadened its sanctions against Turkey on Wednesday to bar new Turkish construction and curb tourism activities in Russia, an expansion of measures put in place last month after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane under disputed circumstances."
* Imagine a private tax system that exists solely for the wealthy, which saves them billions. Then realize it's quite real: "The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income."
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.