Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned yesterday that Spain is “facing an economic situation of extreme difficulty, I repeat, of extreme difficulty…. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is fooling themselves.”
* Closer to home, U.S. retailers’ sales picked up steam in March, exceeding analysts’ expectations.
* Two signing ceremonies in one week: President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act today, surrounded by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
* Not surprisingly, assurances from the Assad government about a cease-fire plan appear to have been meaningless: “Spasms of fierce new fighting, some just miles from Syria’s capital, were reported on Thursday, and the leader of the United Nations said the conflict was getting worse.”
* Slowly but surely, the Murdoch media scandal is not only getting worse, it’s also spreading into Britain’s television broadcasting.
* The “Buffett Rule” will get a vote in the Senate in about 10 days, but it won’t be the last we hear of the policy in 2012.
* Rush Limbaugh believes he and 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith are part of the same “team.” That won’t help the judiciary’s reputation.
* President Obama opposes the gender-discrimination policy at the Augusta National Golf Club. Soon after, Mitt Romney said he agrees with the president’s position.
* And it appears that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is not at all fond of vegetarians.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.