Today’s edition of quick hits.
* When it comes to pointless hearings on health care policy, I’m starting to get the feeling New Jersey Democrats in particular do not suffer fools gladly. Last week, it was Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). This morning, it was Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).
* NSA: “The nation’s top intelligence official told Congress on Tuesday that the U.S. has been snooping on friendly foreign leaders for years, and getting spied on by allies in return.”
* The possible road ahead: “President Obama is poised to order the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the leaders of American allies, administration and congressional officials said Monday, responding to a deepening diplomatic crisis over reports that the agency had for years targeted the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.”
* One year after Sandy, funding remains a problem.
* Oklahoma: “The Oklahoma Supreme Court definitively ruled Tuesday that a 2011 restrictive state abortion law is unconstitutional. In answering questions posed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court ruled that the law “restricts the long-respected medical discretion of physicians” and effectively bans all drug-induced abortions, according to the judge’s order.”
* Sensenbrenner’s change of heart: “He gave more surveillance power to U.S. government spies, railed against civil liberties advocates who warned about privacy abuses, and famously shut down a 2005 hearing to silence critics. Now Rep. James Sensenbrenner wants to scale back some of the counterterror laws he once championed, citing an overreach by the National Security Agency that has proven him wrong.”
* Good call on climate: “The Obama administration on Tuesday said it will seek to discourage the construction of coal plants in foreign countries through the World Bank and other multilateral development institutions.”
* In related news: “Saying that the West Coast must lead the way in battling climate change, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington, along with the premier of British Columbia, signed an agreement Monday committing the Canadian province and the three states to coordinate global-warming policies.”
* It’s a pleasant surprise to see Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) criticizing his party on callousness towards the poor.
* If Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) had given a darn during Medicare Part D’s breakdowns, I might take his calls for Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation seriously. Since he didn’t, I can’t.
* Scrutinizing the veracity of “If you like your plan, you can keep it” requires nuance. The Beltway hates nuance.
* And for those who still, even now, want to blame Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and GSEs for the 2008 economic crash, go talk to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who knows how to set the record straight.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.