Today's edition of quick hits:
* Good economic news: "A surge in homebuilding U.S. construction spending up in May, the latest indication that the housing sector is slowly recovering."
* Bad economic news: "Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in June for the first time in almost three years, indicating a mainstay of the U.S. expansion may be faltering."
* The crisis in Syria intensifies: "Syrian attack helicopters bombarded a suburb of Damascus on Monday and Turkey said it had scrambled warplanes near the border in the north, as a 16-month conflict entered a more violent phase and diplomacy appeared to have failed. "
* Friday's severe storms in D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic knocked out power for millions and killed 17 people.
* Mexican voters elect Enrique Pena Nieto as their new president, completing the Institutional Revolutionary Party's comeback.
* The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is not impressed with the sham perpetrated by Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
* Joan McCarter notes that, by one estimate, 98.4% of the names on Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) purge list are eligible voters.
* A Higgs Boson Breakthrough? "Scientists working at the world's biggest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they have gathered enough evidence to show that the long-sought 'God particle' answering fundamental questions about the universe almost certainly does exist."
* And remember Jonathan Krohn? At the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference, the 13-year-old conservative quickly became a right-wing celebrity, delivering a speech on the virtues of conservatism. Four years later, Krohn isn't a conservative anymore -- he supports marriage equality, reads The New Yorker, and considers Obamacare "a good idea."
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.