Today’s edition of quick hits:
* POTUS in Eastern Europe: “As he began a four-day trip to Europe, President Obama announced new measures intended to bolster security in Central and Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s intervention in the crisis in Ukraine, including its annexation of Crimea.”
* In related news: “President Obama’s announcement Tuesday of a new $1 billion fund for military operations to reassure nervous eastern European allies was also part of an effort to pressure – or shame – the rest of Europe into paying their fair share of NATO expenses.”
* Arizona: “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Arizona’s medication abortion restriction Tuesday, calling the law an ‘undue burden’ on women that lacked any basis in medical evidence.”
* Regrets: “The White House has apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for failing to alert her in advance of a decision to release Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay. Feinstein told reporters that she received a call from Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken on Monday evening apologizing for what the administration is calling an ‘oversight.’”
* Life imitating art: “Thailand’s military rulers said Tuesday they are monitoring a new form of silent resistance to the coup – a three-fingered salute borrowed from ‘The Hunger Games’ – and will arrest those in large groups who ignore warnings to lower their arms.”
* The vote in Seattle was unanimous: “The City Council here went where no big-city lawmakers have gone before on Monday, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum, and pushing Seattle to the forefront of urban efforts to address income inequality.”
* It’s a long shot: “The Democratic-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday began a long-shot bid at a constitutional amendment that would limit deep-pocketed political campaign donors’ influence.”
* As part of the push for an amendment, Democratic leaders reminded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that he actually sponsored a similar constitutional amendment in 1987, and in 1993, McConnell insisted that Congress needs to “keep wealthy individuals from buying office.”
* My msnbc colleague Suzy Khimm has a fascinating piece today on Mayor James Diossa of Central Falls, Rhode Island – a young Democratic official who’s doing Yeoman’s work to save his community. This one’s well worth your time.
* There’s something about this I find culturally significant: “On Monday, Suzi LeVine became the first U.S. ambassador (she’s the American representative to Switzerland) to be sworn in on an e-reader…. LeVine took the oath on a digital copy of the U.S. Constitution stored on a Kindle Touch.”
* I will never understand a government that sees comedy as a threat: “Mohamed Morsi did not enjoy being ridiculed on television as president. With the election of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the laughter has stopped. Bassem Youssef, a comedian whose satire of the politically powerful became emblematic of freedom in post-revolutionary Egypt, said Monday that he was ending his popular weekly television show, citing unspecified political pressure and threats.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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