Thursday March 8, 2012 Happening Now

Fairly quiet day on the campaign trail. Newt Gingrich is holding a rally in Jackson, Mississippi. He's doubling down on the South. Mitt Romney also has a rally in Mississippi but it's later tonight. Rick Santorum is holding a rally during our hours at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

A giant solar storm hitting us right now! It's the biggest such storm in five years and could disrupt communications systems and satellites.

A Syrian official defected today as the U.S. continues to mull military action in Syria. Senator John McCain saying it's time to act. Shelling and explosions rocking several Syrian cities this morning as the brutal crackdown continues.

The Israeli PM says war with Iran is not inevitable, but reiterated the importance of a military option.

Couple of items to keep in mind:

...1230EST -- Briefing by Press Secy Jay Carney. LIVE

0830EST -- Weekly Jobless Claims released.

Lots going on today on the Hill:

1000EST -- House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcmte hearing on "The FY2013 DOE Budget." Energy Secy Chu testifies. LIVE

1000EST -- Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcmte hearing on the DHS FY2013 Budget. DHS Secy Napolitano testifies. LIVE

1000EST -- Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies Subcmte hearing on the FY2013 Dept of Justice Budget. Atty Gen Holder testifies. LIVE

Clint Henderson is the Executive Producer for “Happening Now” and an avid traveler. Follow his adventures on Twitter, ClintPHenderson, and Instagram, clintpage1.