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5:00 PM ET, March 4, 2014


 Top Items: 
Julia Ioffe / The New Republic:
Putin's Press Conference Proved Merkel Right: He's Lost His Mind  —  In Sunday's New York Times, Peter Baker reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had tried talking some sense into Vladimir Putin.  The Russian leader has an affinity for the Germans and Merkel especially …
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Obama, the feckless tyrant  —  President Obama is such a weak strongman.  What's more, he is a feeble dictator and a timid tyrant.  —  That, at any rate, is Republicans' critique of him.  With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Obama's critics pivoted seamlessly from complaining about his overreach …
Jason Karaian / Quartz:
The markets are punishing Russia more swiftly than diplomats ever could  —  Strongly worded statements, threats of travel restrictions, and summit no-shows.  So far, these are the relatively mild diplomatic implications for Russia of its incursion into Ukraine, as few in the West can stomach …
Russian stocks, ruble rebound as Putin breaks silence on Ukraine  —  (Reuters) - Russian assets rebounded on Tuesday as President Vladimir Putin said he would only use force in neighbouring Ukraine as a last resort.  —  The mood on the markets was calmer after panic selling on Monday …
Putin: Russia has no plans to annex Ukraine's Crimea region  —  Crisis in Ukraine  —  Simferopol, Ukraine (CNN) — Russia is not considering trying to make Crimea a part of Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.  Only people who live in Crimea can determine their future, he said.
David Freedlander / The Daily Beast:
As Ukraine Rages, GOP Fires on Hillary for Failed “Reset”
Bret Stephens / Wall Street Journal:
Stephens: Anatomy of a Feckless Presidency
Michael J. Totten / Michael J. Totten's blog:
Pity the Vassals of Moscow
Discussion: TIME and Washington Examiner
Guardian:   Crimea crisis: Putin rules out war but will use force ‘as last resort’
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:
New ObamaCare delay to help midterm Dems  —  The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.  —  As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers …
Reid J. Epstein / Politico:
Obama 2015 budget: $3.9 trillion
Discussion: New York Times and Fox News
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
John Boehner: ‘Most irresponsible budget yet’
Discussion: Hit & Run
Natalie Villacorta / Politico:
Sarah Palin: Barack Obama known for ‘mom jeans’  —  Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a man known for wrestling bears while President Barack Obama is known for wearing mom jeans.  —  “People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil …
Josh Feldman / Mediaite:
Palin: Obama ‘Wears Mom Jeans’ and ‘Equivocates’ on Russia  —  Sarah Palin sat down with Sean Hannity Monday night for a victory lap of sorts, touting her 2008 comments about Russia capitalizing on a weak Barack Obama presidency to amass power.  Palin believed she was vindicated, saying Russia exploited “Obama's weak leadership.”
The Fiscal Times:
Economists Say Paul Ryan Misrepresented Their Research  —  The Fiscal Times  —  An exhaustive critique of the federal social safety net released by Rep. Paul Ryan on Monday is meant to be the intellectual foundation for an overhaul of the federal anti-poverty programs.
Andrew Kirell / Mediaite:
Lindsey Graham Blames Russian Invasion on Obama Reaction to Benghazi  —  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took to Twitter this afternoon to connect the Russian invasion into Ukraine's Crimean peninsula to the Obama administration's response to the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.
Zack Beauchamp / ThinkProgress:
Lindsey Graham Blames Benghazi For Ukraine Crisis
Ezekiel J. Emanuel / The New Republic:
Insurance Companies as We Know Them Are About to Die  —  And here's what's going to replace them  —  Americans hate health insurance companies.  They are easy targets for everyone to beat up on.  When premiums go up, we blame insurance companies; we do not blame the underlying hospitals …
Igor Bobic / Talking Points Memo:
Man Accidentally Shoots 12-Year-Old Driving By His House, Immediately Shoots Self  —  An Orlando, Fl. man accidentally discharged a gun on Friday, first striking a 12-year-old girl in a moving car then himself immediately after, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Discussion: Orlando Sentinel and ThinkProgress
Noah Rothman / Mediaite:
Rothman: MSNBC's Most Embarrassing Mockery of Romney's Russia Warnings  —  The smug self-assuredness that often suffices for expertise on cable news was perhaps never more smug than when former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney warned the American public that Russia …
Todd Starnes / Fox News:
Team Obama wins fight to have Christian home-school family deported  —  Uwe and Hannelore Romeike came to the United States in 2008 seeking political asylum.  They fled their German homeland in the face of religious persecution for homeschooling their children.
Anna Silman / Vulture:
Let's Talk About Those Creepy Rural Mardi Gras Pictures on True Detective  —  On last night's True Detective, Rust Cohle began to tie up some of the show's many loose ends.  He implicated some people in the Dora Kelly Lange case and, more important, decoded the purported serial killers' fondness for off-beat headwear.
Discussion: Balloon Juice
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 More Items: 
Eliana Johnson / National Review:
Ronan Farrow: The Young Man Only Old People Like
Discussion: The Daily Caller and TVNewser
Emily Atkin / ThinkProgress:
Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Sahil Kapur / Talking Points Memo:
White House Suggests Social Security Cuts Remain ‘On The Table’
Benedict Carey / New York Times:
LSD, Reconsidered for Therapy
Discussion: The Raw Story
Mark Leibovich / New York Times:
Fake Outrage in the Kentucky Senate Race
Charlie Cook /
Congressional Democrats Face Uphill Battle in Midterms
Discussion: Prairie Weather
 Earlier Items: 
James Mann / The New Republic:
The Obama administration's rhetoric on Russia is accomplishing nothing
Jenny Jarvie / The New Republic:
Trigger Happy  —  The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes.
Discussion: Shakesville and The Agonist
John Cheves / Lexington Herald-Leader:
Beshear: Ky. will appeal federal judge's ruling in same-sex marriage case without Conway
Discussion: Daily Kos
Tim Devaney / The Hill:
Green group accuses GOP of ‘environmental racism’
Discussion: American Thinker and Shakesville
Bob Corker / Wall Street Journal:
Bob Corker: Now the Auto Union Wants to Muzzle Public Officials