Wednesday’s Mini-Report

Updated
 

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Secretary of State John Kerry is in Russia, hoping to progress towards a diplomatic solution in Syria.

* On a related note: “Mr. Kerry then flew to Rome, where aides said he would announce on Thursday a 25 percent increase in American humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians whose lives have been upended by the crisis. The additional aid, according to a State Department statement, would bring the American total to about $510 million.”

* The day congressional Republicans and Fox News have been waiting for: “In a day of congressional testimony that once again found the Obama administration under fire, a trio of whistleblowers expressed frustration toward the government’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012 assault against a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, and its subsequent investigation into that incident.”

* Hmm: “A ‘breakdown in overall discipline’ led the Air Force to suspend 17 officers and disqualify them from controlling nuclear missiles after a poor inspection at one of the service’s most important nuclear bases, military officials told NBC News on Tuesday.”

* Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, called the Heritage Foundation’s immigration study “ugly racism and xenophobia dressed up in economic hyperbole.” That sounds about right.

* This should matter far more than Heritage’s bogus report: “A new analysis by the Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that a bipartisan immigration reform proposal introduced in the Senate would increase the number of workers paying taxes by millions.”

* Fascinating: “For the first time, the federal government will release the prices that hospitals charge for the 100 most common inpatient procedures. Until now, these charges have been closely held by facilities that see a competitive advantage in shielding their fees from competitors. What the numbers reveal is a health-care system with tremendous, seemingly random variation in the costs of services.”

* I still have no idea who Jodi Arias is.

* And congrats to Spencer Ackerman on his new gig. Wired’s loss is the Guardian’s gain – Spencer is one of the very best in the business.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Wednesday's Mini-Report

Updated