Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Ukraine: “The top NATO commander said Wednesday that the remaining Russian troops on the Ukraine border look like they intend to stay there, while rebel forces inside Ukraine continue to destabilize the Kiev government.”
* In related news: “Rebel fighters in Ukraine’s troubled east have scored a major victory, capturing a border guard command base here after besieging it for two days and then overwhelming a second base that housed Ukrainian internal security forces.”
* Mississippi: “Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) was officially forced into a runoff Wednesday against tea party challenger Chris McDaniel, setting off a three-week sprint to the finish in a nasty, expensive campaign that is perhaps the last best chance for conservative activists to replace a longtime Republican senator with one of its own in 2014.”
* VA: “Republican leaders doubled down on their criticisms of the president and Democrats over the Veterans Affairs scandal on Wednesday, with a new open letter to the president.”
* Phillip Longman, who literally wrote the book on the VA, clarifies matters: “There is, to be sure, a systemic backlog of vets of all ages trying to establish eligibility for VA health care. This is due to absurd laws passed by Congress, which reflect on all us, that make veterans essentially prove that they are “worthy” of VA treatment (about which more later). But this backlog often gets confused with the entirely separate issue of whether those who get into system face wait times that are longer than what Americans enrolled in non-VA health care plans generally must endure.”
* China: “As journalists and citizens around the world offer their retrospectives on the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the official response from Chinese authorities is quiet as usual.” On the anniversary, a variety of words, including the Chinese words for “tank,” are being censored on the Internet by the government.
* Oregon: “The Supreme Court Wednesday allowed same-sex marriages to continue in Oregon by declining to put on hold a federal judge’s order that the state’s ban was unconstitutional.”
* Briefing scheduled: “Obama administration officials will brief senators on Wednesday afternoon to quell a growing uproar over President Obama’s decision to release five Taliban commanders from the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.”
* Burwell: “The Senate voted 67-28 on Wednesday to advance the nomination of Sylvia Burwell to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More than 10 Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to end debate on her nomination.”
* Utah (again): “Federal and state agents served warrants Monday on the Sandy houses of former Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff. For months, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings have been investigating the two men, along with others, with help from state and federal agents, as part of a sweeping probe of alleged wrongdoing tied to the attorney general’s office.”
* Do people still read that guy? Drudge is just wondering if Hillary Clinton’s holding a walker in People magazine.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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