Tuesday’s Mini-Report

Secretary of State John Kerry visits the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Secretary of State John Kerry visits the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AP
Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Kerry in Ukraine: “In a demonstration of support for Ukraine’s fledgling government and a new swipe at Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev on Tuesday with an offer of $1 billion in an American loan guarantee and pledges of technical assistance.”
 
* Vladimir Putin apparently held an awkward press conference earlier today: “Slouching in a fancy chair in front of a dozen reporters, Putin squirmed and rambled. And rambled and rambled. He was a rainbow of emotion: Serious! angry! bemused! flustered! confused! So confused.”
 
* The Obama administration wasn’t impressed.
 
* New Jersey: “Governor Christie’s former campaign manager Bill Stepien appears to be a target of a federal criminal investigation, his lawyer said in a court filing on Monday, describing recent unannounced visits and phone calls by federal agents who went so far as to ask Stepien’s landlord if he was a rowdy tenant and paid rent on time.”
 
* Man with a plan: “President Obama unveiled an ambitious $3.9 trillion budget blueprint Tuesday that seeks billions of dollars in fresh spending to boost economic growth but also pledges to tame the national debt by raising taxes on the wealthy, slashing payments to health providers and overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.”
 
* Zachary Goldfarb and Christopher Ingraham take a closer look at some of the pertinent details in the White House blueprint.
 
* Wisconsin: “Assembly Republicans voted unanimously Tuesday to oust Majority Leader Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, over allegations that he sexually harassed a woman and inappropriately touched another during a trip to a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., last week.”
 
* Washington, D.C.: “Consuming marijuana in a private home will no longer be a criminal offense in the nation’s capital under a measure that passed the D.C. Council on Tuesday and that instantly escalated a simmering national debate over loosening marijuana laws.”
 
* Brian Beutler makes a nice catch in Paul Ryan’s poverty report: ” Despite trillions of dollars in spending, poverty is widespread,’ it reads. ‘In 1965, the poverty rate was 17.3 percent. In 2012, it was 15 percent.’ Sounds like a huge bust, right? Except, there’s a footnote at the end of that sentence, and it reads, ‘The Official Poverty Rate does not include government transfers to low-income households.’”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report