Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Ukraine: “Russia signaled for the first time on Friday that it was prepared to annex Crimea, significantly intensifying its confrontation with the West over the political crisis in Ukraine and threatening to undermine a system of respect for national boundaries that has helped keep the peace in Europe and elsewhere for decades.”
* Keeping lines of communication open: “President Obama held an hour-long phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday afternoon to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.”
* Jordan: “Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here on Friday for talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan on a framework accord the United States has been trying to negotiate that would set the parameters for a possible comprehensive peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.”
* Issa’s underwhelming apology: “In an interview with his local newspaper, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa said he has apologized to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings for cutting off his microphone at a Wednesday hearing — although in a separate interview he told Fox News that Cummings had a ‘hissy fit’ and ‘broke the decorum of the House.’”
* Just one day after a controversial court ruling: “Fueled by public outcry, a bill to outlaw what’s known as ‘upskirting,” the practice of secretly snapping certain sexual photos, rocketed through the Massachusetts Legislature Thursday in an extraordinary show of legislative will.”
* Well played: “The Department of Justice’s public affairs staffers think Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) could use a history lesson on the civil rights movement. On Friday, the day after Jindal compared Holder to segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace at the Conservative Political Action Conference, DOJ employees mailed Jindal a copy of a book by civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). They inserted a yellow sticky note on page 199, where Lewis writes about Vivian Malone, one of the first African-Americans to integrate the University of Alabama, who walked past Gov. Wallace that day. Malone is Holder’s late sister-in-law.”
* A controversy worth watching: “The FBI has taken over the Idaho criminal investigation into private prison company Corrections Corporation of America.”
* A gem from Irin Carmon on abortion rights in California, “one of the few states whose reproductive health laws are based on science.”
* Imagine that: “When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state’s minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer. The prediction hasn’t been borne out.”
* How many times in recent years have sexual-assault-prevention personnel in the U.S. military been accused of the exact behavior they’re supposed to prevent? Too many times.
* Conservative rhetoric is weird: “Right-wing talk show host Michael Medved told a CPAC panel … that same-sex marriage has never been banned. While debating the issue of marriage equality with Alexander McCobin of Students for Liberty, Medved claimed, ‘There’s never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage, that’s a liberal lie.’”
* If only evidence mattered more to culture warriors: “Women and teen girls participating in a study that provided free birth control did not take up riskier sexual practices as a result, contrary to fears among some social conservatives, a new report says.”
* I’ve always considered Charlie Peters to be the nation’s “first blogger” and I wish him all the best as he hangs up the keyboard and turns over his signature Tilting at Windmills column to others.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.