Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Russian election: “A day after claiming an overwhelming victory in Russia’s presidential elections, Vladimir V. Putin on Monday faced a range of challenges to his legitimacy, including charges of fraud from international observers and a defiant opposition that vowed to keep him from serving his full six-year term.”
* Syrian officials allowed a visit from a top United Nations relief official, but “activists said that Syrian security forces did not let up in their ferocious campaign to crush opposition in the most restive areas.”
* The guy just seems to love wars: “Senator John McCain, a leader among Senate Republicans on military matters, called on Monday for the United States to lead airstrikes against Syria’s armed forces to protect the rebels and civilians there, much as it did in Libya last year.”
* Eight retired, high ranking, military and intelligence officials joined a larger group urging the White House to resist calls for a war with Iran.
* The domestic housing market is “flashing the strongest signals yet of a sustainable rebound…. Six years into the biggest real estate collapse since the Great Depression, housing may become a net contributor to the U.S. economy for the first time since 2005.”
* Following last year’s attack on Anwar al-Awlaki, Attorney General Eric Holder is going into more detail on what he sees as the government’s right to target American citizens overseas, if they join a terrorist organization, pose an imminent threat, and cannot reasonably be captured.
* Conservatives are arguing that contraception only costs $9 a month, making the larger debate unnecessary. The truth is more complicated than that.
* Will House Republicans pass a budget? Maybe not.
* BP settlement: “The late-night announcement on Friday of a proposed $7.8 billion deal in the BP civil trial is not the end of the case, but the beginning of a new phase with many unanswered questions.”
* Have you heard about the play “8”? The production, directed by Rob Reiner and featuring an all-star cast, is now online.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.