Today's edition of quick hits:
* Hostage crisis in Algeria: "Kidnappers and at least some of their hostages were killed on Thursday as Algerian forces raided a gas facility where a heavily armed group of Islamist extremists was holding dozens of captives, including Americans and other foreigners, the Algerian government announced."
* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the situation with reporters this afternoon.
* More good economic news: "Groundbreaking to build new homes accelerated in December to its fastest pace in over four years, supporting the view that housing is poised to provide a substantial boost to the U.S. economy. The Commerce Department said on Thursday that starts at building sites for homes surged 12.1 percent last month to a 954,000-unit annual rate."
* VAWA: "Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has several big-ticket items on his agenda this year -- gun violence and comprehensive immigration reform among them -- but he singled out one as his first priority: the Violence Against Women Act."
* Replacing Lew: "Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough is expected to be named White House chief of staff, according to a source familiar with the process."
* Rewarding failure: "Fox News Channel is expected to announce shortly that Karl Rove has signed a multi-year deal to remain a Fox contributor through the 2016 election."
* The NRA doesn't worry about keeping those on the federal terrorist watch list from buying guns because "there's no evidence terrorists are buying guns." Well, I guess that settles it.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.