Today's edition of quick hits:
* Janet Napolitano, the Department of Homeland Security secretary, highlighted some of the many consequences of the sequester policy, assuming that congressional Republicans continue to refuse to compromise.
* Italy: "Italian voters delivered a rousing anti-austerity message and a strong rebuke to the existing political order in national elections on Monday that threatened to plunge the country into political paralysis after early results failed to produce a clear winner."
* Afghanistan: "Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given U.S. special forces two weeks to leave a key battleground province after some U.S. soldiers there were found to have tortured or even killed innocent people, the president's spokesman said on Sunday."
* An attempt at North Korean diplomacy: "A White House official made two secret visits to North Korea last year in an unsuccessful effort to improve relations after new ruler Kim Jong Un assumed power, according to former U.S. officials familiar with the trips."
* As efforts to craft a bipartisan proposal on firearm background checks come together, there will be hiccups. Greg Sargent has the latest.
* DOMA: "The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court on Friday to throw out a section of a 1996 federal law that prohibits recognition of same-sex marriage."
* That prosecutor deserves more scorn: "Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor upbraided a federal prosecutor Monday for asking racially-charged questions in court. The justices almost never elaborate on cases they decline to hear, but Sotomayor took the unusual step of issuing a statement condemning the prosecutor, whom she did not name."
* He keeps adding insult to injury: "A prominent Brooklyn assemblyman defended himself on Monday after attracting attention for wearing blackface to a party he hosted this weekend to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim."
* Good move: "The White House moved Friday to make nearly all federally funded research freely available to the public, the latest advance in a long-running battle over access to research that exploded into view last month after the suicide of free-information activist Aaron Swartz."
* I have to admit, I find Michael Goldfarb's self-described "sense of humor" to be extremely difficult to understand. Maybe far-right comedy is just too droll for me.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.