Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Peace talks faltering: “Surprising the United States and Israel, the Palestinian leadership formally submitted applications on Wednesday to join 15 international agencies, leaving the troubled Middle East talks brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry on the verge of breakdown.”
* Ukrainian crisis: “NATO’s top commander said on Wednesday that the 40,000 troops Russia has within striking distance of Ukraine are poised to attack on 12 hours’ notice and could accomplish their military objectives within three to five days.”
* Lawrence Lessig on the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling: “The Supreme Court decision ending aggregate limits on political donations was made possible by a dangerous, narrow definition of ‘corruption’ the Framers themselves wouldn’t recognize.” Also, as always, don’t miss Rick Hasen’s take.
* POTUS in Michigan: “President Obama on Wednesday appealed to Congress to raise the minimum wage, telling lawmakers they had a ‘clear choice’ to make as the Senate readied debate on his proposal to hike hourly wages to $10.10 per hour.”
* Washington mudslide: “The death toll rose to 29 on Wednesday in the landslide more than a week ago that buried a Washington community as searchers continued the grim task of looking through the tangled muck for more victims.”
* Mississippi: “Gov. Phil Bryant says he looks forward to signing a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks, the midpoint of a full-term pregnancy. House Bill 1400 passed the House and Senate on Tuesday.”
* Also in the Magnolia State: “Mississippi quietly passed its ‘religious freedom’ law Tuesday, prompting alarm from gay and lesbian rights activists who say it could be used to justify discrimination in the name of religion.”
* Texas: “Less than a week after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld two provisions of Texas’s law restricting abortions – including the regulation that has closed a third of the state’s clinics – attorneys for two of the closed clinics are trying a new tactic.”
* Florida: “Gov. Rick Scott’s administration violated federal law by trying to remove noncitizens from the voter rolls too close to the 2012 presidential election, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in calling the mistake-prone effort ‘far from perfect.’”
* Drones: “One key reason President Obama had to undertake reform of NSA surveillance programs is that a left-right alliance of civil libertarian Democrats and limited government libertarian Republicans rose up in surprising numbers against the surveillance state, building momentum in Congress for change. Could a similar alliance take shape to force more transparency around drone strikes?”
* California: “The ongoing drought in California could dampen employment growth in coming years and have a ripple effect on several industries in the state, according to a UCLA report released Wednesday.”
* I still think the far-right rank and file has a legitimate complaint on this: “House Republican leaders got an earful in two separate private meetings Wednesday from conservatives fuming over their move last week to pass a Medicare payment fix without a full House vote.”
* And Karl Rove told Fox News viewers on Mach 24 that he could “prove” that Affordable Care Act would not reach 7 million enrollments before the end of the open-enrollment period. “There is no way they’re gonna get anywhere close,” he insisted nine days ago. “It just ain’t gonna happen.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.