Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Ukrainian crisis: “Western nations pressed ahead Tuesday with plans to impose sanctions on Russia, with European leaders saying the measures could kick in within days unless Moscow accepts a U.S. proposal for discussions to end the crisis in Ukraine. Amid dimming hopes for a diplomatic solution, Western officials gathered in London to hammer out penalties against Russia that are expected to include asset freezes and travel bans.”
* Flight 370: “The Malaysian authorities now believe that a jetliner missing since Saturday may have radically changed course around the time that it stopped communicating with ground controllers. But there were conflicting accounts of the course change and what may have happened afterward, adding to the air of confusion and disarray surrounding the investigation and search operation.”
* This story won’t go away soon: “CIA Director John Brennan on Tuesday denied allegations that the CIA hacked into Senate Intelligence Committee computers. ’Nothing could be further from the truth,’ Brennan said at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations. ‘We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.’”
* Vice Admiral Michael Rogers: “The nominee to head the US National Security Agency on Tuesday defended the use of bulk data collection but said he also wants more transparency about the secretive spy service.”
* Cyber-security bill: “Lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee are getting ‘very close’ to a new cybersecurity bill, according to the panel’s top Republican. ‘As you know we have been working on a cyber bill for years now,’” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told Rogers.
* McCaskill’s bill passed easily: “The Senate on Monday unanimously approved legislation that boosts protections for victims of military sexual assault. In a 97-0 vote, the Senate approved S. 1917, the Victims Protection Act. The new bill eliminates the ability to cite a soldier’s good record when defending that soldier against assault charges.”
* Fascinating research: “It’s a widely accepted truism in Washington: Campaign donations buy access. While that belief governs much about the way politics operate, there’s a surprising lack of scientific evidence to bolster that assumption, which is the subject of substantial academic debate. Two political science graduate students are now seeking to bring some precision to that discussion through the kind of randomized, controlled study used to test the impact of pharmaceuticals.”
* A new poll from CNN shows the Affordable Care Act getting more popular. What’s more, the opposition isn’t as straightforward as some might believe.
* I quite liked President Obama’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis,” though apparently conservatives had a far less positive take. Whether you liked it or not, though, remember that it had exactly the desired policy effect, which is what the White House cares about.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.