Today's edition of quick hits:
* The first round of television ads from Mayors Against Illegal Guns featured a gun owner who supports expanded background checks. The new round features parents of children massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary.
* On a related note, conservative media outlets have decided to go after the guy in the first ad rather aggressively, though the criticisms don't make a lot of sense.
* Syria: "Mortar shells hit a Damascus University outdoor cafe in the heart of the Syrian capital on Thursday, state television reported, killing at least 12 students in an attack that the government attributed to insurgents, who have struck with increasing audacity at President Bashar al-Assad's epicenter of power in recent weeks."
* Wall Street: "The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index closed on Thursday at a new record, eclipsing its previous closing high set in October 2007. At 4 p.m., the benchmark index was at 1,569.19 points, up 0.4 percent for the day, despite a report of rising claims for unemployment benefits. It closed the first quarter with a robust 10 percent gain."
* Keep an eye on this one: "Sen. Chuck Grassley is crafting an alternative Republican gun control bill, a move that could further complicate what will already be a difficult lift for Democrats and the White House."
* I imagine this raised some Democratic eyebrows today: "[A]t least two top Democratic donors are stepping forward and vowing to withhold any and all future financial contributions from any Democrats who don't support the centerpiece of Obama's plan: Expanded background checks."
* Will the number of Senate Republicans supporting marriage equality soon double? Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) conceded yesterday her views on the issue are also "evolving."
* Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (D-R.I.) proposal on taxing industrial carbon emissions to fight climate change generated 41 votes, which may sound discouraging, but he remains hopeful. "We were pretty stoked at how well it did. It was 42 counting [Democratic Senator] Frank Lautenberg, who wasn't there," Whitehouse told New York Times columnist Gail Collins.
* One my favorite stories of the day, by way of Adam Serwer: "8 Things Justice Alito Has Ruled on That Are Younger Than Cellphones and the Internet."
* And congratulations to scholar/blogger Mark Kleiman, who has a new gig leading the state of Washington's marijuana legalization efforts. I've followed Kleiman's work (and read his blog) for many years, and I'm delighted to see him get an opportunity like this.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.