Today’s edition of quick hits (it’s earlier than usual because of some msnbc tech issues, not because I’m leaving work early):
* Details are scarce, but this afternoon, senators reportedly reached a deal on a five-month extension on unemployment benefits. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters “there is a deal with enough Republican support” to break a filibuster, and it’s “paid for.” I’ll have more in the morning.
* Ukraine: “Russia’s Defense Ministry announced new military operations in several regions near the Ukrainian border on Thursday, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany warned the Kremlin to abandon the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries or face diplomatic and economic retaliation from a united Europe.”
* Keep an eye on this one: “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday held firm in opposing Senate efforts to link aid to Ukraine to approval of a restructuring of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”
* It’s true; I love live-mic incidents: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was caught Thursday on a live microphone offering to help the Obama administration pressure Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) into supporting the Senate’s aid legislation for Ukraine.”
* Good for the A.G.: “Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday called for reduced sentences for defendants in most of the nation’s drug cases, part of his effort to cut the burgeoning U.S. prison population and reserve stiff penalties for the most violent traffickers.”
* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has taken some comfort in the fact that his bridge scandals haven’t come up in recent town-hall meetings. That changed today: the governor “faced rocky waters during his town hall meeting on Thursday morning, where six protesters, in an apparent coordinated attempt, interrupted the Republican on a number of issues, including his former staffers’ plan to shut down lanes on the George Washington Bridge – seemingly for political retribution.”
* According to Democrats on the committee, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) screwed up so badly, former IRS official Lois Lerner cannot be held in contempt for refusing to testify before the panel.
* Any chance the Obama administration will extend the Mar. 31 deadline for enrolling in the health care system? Don’t count on it.
* Sen. Jeff Markley (D-Ore.) joins an interesting club: “Another Democratic Senator has now joined the push for a proposal that had previously been mostly debated in the blogosphere, far outside the boundaries of acceptable discourse: Increasing Social Security benefits, rather than cutting them.”
* Ezra Klein responded today to the controversy surrounding Vox Media hiring Brandon Ambrosino as a writing fellow.
* Oh my: “In Oklahoma, you don’t even have to say the word ‘evolution’ to have part of your science TV program cut out in an apparent editing error. A keen viewer noticed that when astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new show ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ premiered Sunday night, Oklahoma City Fox affiliate KOKH played a local news promo over about 15 seconds of the program’s segment on evolution.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
Best of msnbc