Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Syria: “The first ambassador to abandon Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on the army to ‘turn your guns on the criminals’ of the government, as troops backed by tanks swarmed into a suburb of Damascus on Thursday to flush out rebels.”
* A national disaster: “The United States Department of Agriculture has declared natural disaster areas in more than 1,000 counties and 26 drought-stricken states, making it the largest natural disaster in America ever.”
* Vice President Biden spoke to the NAACP this morning. Were his remarks better received than Romney’s? Put it this way: Biden was booed when he said he was wrapping up.
* Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and other university leaders “ ‘repeatedly concealed critical facts’ relating to assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse from authorities, according to Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who conducted an investigation for the university in the Sandusky scandal.”
* Housing relief? “New homes are popping up in more and more neighborhoods around the country in recent months, offering one of the most promising signs yet that the nation’s long-suffering housing market is actually starting to heal.”
* According to a statement from the congressman’s office, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is receiving “intensive medical treatment” for a “mood disorder.” The statement said the lawmaker is “expected to make a full recovery.”
* For states to turn down Medicaid expansion, Jonathan Cohn explained today, is “even more stupid than it seems.”
* Bill Clinton and I are reading the same book: E.J. Dionne’s “Our Divided Political Heart.”
* And the right went a little berserk this morning when Biden gave a “shout out” to “Rev. Wright” this morning. Conservatives assumed he meant Jeremiah Wright, but as it turns out, there’s more than one Rev. Wright.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.