Today’s edition of quick hits:
* If the right was outraged by the patriotic message in Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler ad, conservatives will be looking for the fainting couch after seeing Bruce Springsteen’s new video.
* Progress in Greece is far from assured, and the deal for a bailout has not yet been reached.
* Violence in Syria rages on: “Explosions in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo struck two targets associated with the military and police early on Friday, Syrian state television reported, as the central city of Homs was reported to still be under siege with sporadic tank fire ripping into contested neighborhoods, pinning down residents in their homes.”
* The federal budget deficit was $27 billion in January, roughly half of what it was in January 2011.
* Bloomberg News reports that consumer confidence reached its highest level in a year last week.
* The statement on contraception coverage from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was interesting to the extent that it did not include reflexive opposition.
* There’s plenty of worthwhile commentary on the contraception compromise, but I liked Amanda Marcotte’s take on why Republicans have apparently “been punked” by the White House, and Greg Sargent’s argument on why the controversy has become a wedge issue to be used against, not by, the GOP.
* Major news organizations should pause to ponder why men were the dominant voices in the contraception discussion.
* President Obama today signed Gabrielle Giffords’ final bill into law, and it wasn’t just some symbolic measure – the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act “gives authorities greater powers to crack down on smugglers using low-flying, single-seater aircraft to slip drugs across the U.S. borders from Mexico and Canada.”
* The payroll tax break continues to be in big trouble.
* Adam Serwer has an interesting report on the “reengagement” rate among former detainees at Guantanamo Bay: “Democrats argue that the actual ‘reengagement rate’ under Obama is three percent, not 7.5 percent. A Defense Intelligence Agency report published by McClatchy last year identified the rate for detainees transferred or released during the Bush administration at almost 15 percent.”
* And Ari Shapiro captures this image of Rick Santorum visiting with the one outlet that’s arguably his archenemy: Google.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.