Tuesday’s Mini-Report

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Ukrainian crisis: “President Vladimir V. Putin reclaimed Crimea as a part of Russia on Tuesday, reversing what he described as a historic injustice made by the Soviet Union 60 years ago and brushing aside international condemnation that could leave Russia isolated for years to come.”
 
* Deadly violence: “A Ukrainian serviceman reportedly was shot and killed and another wounded by masked assailants who stormed a base in Crimea’s main city of Simferopol, hours after Russia announced it would annex the Black Sea peninsula.”
 
* Medal of honor: “President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to 24 veterans Tuesday, most of whom were initially passed over because they were Hispanic, Jewish or African American. The emotional ceremony marked the culmination of a 50-year campaign waged by Mitchel Libman, a Korean War veteran who was convinced his childhood friend from Brooklyn was denied the nation’s highest commendation for combat valor because he was Jewish.”
 
* I didn’t know this was technologically possible: “The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording ‘100 percent’ of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.”
 
* In related news: “The U.S. government has acknowledged that it swept up huge volumes of data from e-mails in the U.S. for several years without any court approval, based solely on the orders of former President George W. Bush.”
 
* Syria: “The Obama administration on Tuesday said it has ordered the Syrian government to suspend all of its diplomatic operations in the United States…. Syria must suspend all operations at its embassy in Washington, as well as at its honorary consulates in Houston and Troy, Mich.”
 
* Immigration: “About six in 10 illegal immigrants who were deported in 2013 were deported because they had committed a crime, according to a new study. The Pew Hispanic Center study shows 59 percent of deportations came as a result of a criminal conviction. Slightly more than half of these were aggravated felony or felony convictions (33 percent of all deportations), while the rest were misdemeanors (26 percent).”
 
* Bill Stepien in New Jersey: “Records released [Monday] by a legislative panel investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closings link Gov. Chris Christie’s chief political strategist to discussions about fallout from the scandal, and show that Christie’s campaign manager was more in the loop than previously known.”
 
* A court in Oklahoma today “rescheduled a pair of executions set for this week and next so state prison officials will have more time to find a supply of drugs for the lethal injections.”
 
* Stunning corruption in Utah, where there are no limits on campaign donations. “It is the nightmare scenario for those who worry that the modern campaign finance system has opened up new frontiers of political corruption: A candidate colludes with wealthy corporate backers and promises to defend their interests if elected. The companies spend heavily to elect the candidate, but hide the money by funneling it through a nonprofit group. And the main purpose of the nonprofit appears to be getting the candidate elected.”
 
* I knew if I waited long enough, I’d find an issue where I think Mike Enzi is entirely correct: “It may be 2014, but senators are still banned – for now – from using their iPads and Kindles as they see fit on the Senate floor. Sen. Michael B. Enzi is leading the effort to overturn the ban.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report