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March 20, 2014
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As Russian President Vladimir Putin works quickly to consolidate Russia's new hold on the Ukrainian province of Crimea, the West is trying to come up with a united and appropriate response. Most people are trying to find the right middle ground between sending in U.S. Marines to liberate Crimea and ignoring Putin's naked expansionist aggression. --Peter Weber

Kneecap Putin's cronies
The sanctions leveled against Russian officials by the U.S. and Europe are too weak and irrelevant to make any difference, says Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny in The New York Times. To get to Putin, "Western nations could deliver a serious blow to the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by the Kremlin's cronies who shuttle between Russia and the West." After naming names, Navalny adds:

The invasion of Ukraine has polarized members of Russia's elite, many of whom view it as reckless. Real sanctions, such as blocking access to their plush London apartments, will show that Mr. Putin's folly comes with serious costs. [New York Times]

Meet Putin's fire with a thick blanket
The West needs to isolate Putin completely until he pulls out of Crimea, says Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in The Washington Post. "The Russian people should see that Putin's actions will bring about a decline of Russia's status as a global power, not a return to supposed Soviet glory." The U.S. and its NATO allies should also impose an arms embargo and open up NATO membership to "all interested partners in Europe." Finally, Rubio adds, Obama should up his reassurances to the former Soviet satellites nervous about Putin's neo-imperialist actions, providing "lethal military support" and deploying "additional military assets and even U.S. personnel to our allies, including Poland and the Baltic states."

Walk softly but carry a big stick
The point of U.S. and European actions should be to keep Putin out of the rest of Ukraine — Crimea is already in Russia's hands, says Fred Kaplan at Slate. But the key to boxing in Putin is understanding that his "actions have been driven less by a belief that the West is weak than his knowledge that Russia is." That doesn't mean the West can ignore Putin — "a bitter autocrat with a head full of grandiose daydreams can be a dangerous creature." What's needed is a ratcheting up of penalties while leaving room for diplomacy, he says:

Draw up plans for containing and countering Russian troops in the event of an incursion into Ukraine — not sending U.S. or NATO troops, but shipping arms, maybe some advisers and black-bag Delta forces — and talk about these plans with the allies, and Ukrainian officials, on open phone lines. Putin surely knows the limits of his army.... Over those same unencrypted phone lines, a senior official should also talk about some moves that would really isolate Russia from the rest of the world.... These are threats of actions to take place if Russia goes deeper into Ukraine — not reprisals for the seizure of Crimea, which would have no effect and probably wouldn't be enforced anyway. [Slate]

2:48 a.m. ET

With President Trump incensed about leaks, "West Wing aides are instructed to drop their personal phones into small storage lockers when they come to work, periodically checked up on by a scanning device that detects nongovernment phones," The New York Times reports. But Trump himself uses no less than two iPhones, one for Twitter and the other for making calls, and at least one of them "isn't equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications," two senior administration officials tell Politico, adding that Trump "has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use."

Since Trump won't give up his cellphones, aides have urged him to swap them out on a monthly basis, burner phone–style, but Trump has refused, saying it's "too inconvenient," a senior administration officials said. Trump has reportedly gone as long as five months without having his phone examined by security experts. Former President Barack Obama had his secure and feature-disabled phone checked every 30 days, Politico says, adding:

Trump's call-capable cellphone has a camera and microphone, unlike the White House-issued cellphones used by Obama. Keeping those components creates a risk that hackers could use them to access the phone and monitor the president's movements. The GPS location tracker, however — which can be used to track the president's whereabouts — is disabled on Trump's devices. [Politico]

Security experts were baffled and alarmed at Trump's seemingly cavalier attitude about cybersecurity, given that he is trying to negotiate a trade feud with China, peace with North Korea, and, presumably, a strategy for handling Russia and other high-tech adversaries. A West Wing official told Politico that Trump's Twitter phone is secure and that "due to inherent capabilities and advancement in technologies, these devices are more secure than any Obama-era devices." Below, you can watch white-hat hacker Jayson Street explain at last October's DEFCON Conference how he would compromise Trump's phone. Peter Weber

2:00 a.m. ET
Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

When she was 19, Pauline Clayton helped embroider the 15-foot-train on Queen Elizabeth II's wedding dress, and now, at 89, she's linked to another royal union.

Flowers from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on Saturday were donated to different charities and hospitals. A bouquet was sent to St. Joseph's Hospice in Hackney, where Clayton currently resides. "With my royal connections it's such a lovely coincidence to be at St. Joseph's and receive those wedding flowers," she said. "They are beautiful and very special."

In 1947, Clayton was working for Norman Hartnell, the designer behind Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. Along with three other women, she embroidered the train, and earned "49-and-a-half hours overtime," she said. Clayton worked for Hartnell for several years, and went on to make other outfits for the royal family, including dresses for the Queen Mother. Catherine Garcia

1:29 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

On Monday, the National Park Service announced it intends to allow hunters on some public lands in Alaska to lure brown bears with bacon and use spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs while they are hibernating in their dens.

In 2015, the Obama administration outlawed such hunting methods on federal lands, much to the dismay of big-game hunting organizations like the Safari Club. In March, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appointed several members of the Safari Club and other trophy hunters to a board that is advising him on how to conserve threatened and endangered wildlife. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Maria Gladziszewski told The Associated Press that her agency is "pleased to see the National Park Service working to better align federal regulations with state of Alaska hunting and trapping regulations."

Wildlife advocates like Collette Adkins, a lawyer and biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said these are "cruel and harmful hunting methods" that "have no place on our national preserves," and Anna Frostic, a lawyer for the Humane Society of the United States, said "this proposed rule, which would allow inhumane killing of our native carnivores in a misguided attempt to increase trophy hunting opportunities, is unlawful and must not be finalized." Beginning Tuesday, the public has 60 days to provide comment on the proposed rules, and can do so by visiting this website and submitting a comment on "RIN (1024-AE38)" that includes the words "National Park Service" or "NPS." Catherine Garcia

1:05 a.m. ET

"Donald Trump is obsessed with his staff leaking information," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "You know how I know that? His staff leaked that information to The New York Times. And now Trump is determined to stop it at all costs — in fact, West Wing aides are instructed to drop their personal phones into a small storage locker when they come to work. Wait a second! They're taking away the phones of everyone except Donald Trump? That's like saying, 'No one can bring knives to work — except you, O.J.'"

"Now if this sounds paranoid, it's only because it is," Colbert said. "Here's the thing: During the campaign, Trump aides were afraid that whatever they said to him would end up in the press, and behind his back they called him 'leaker in chief.'" He made a show of resisting the inevitable joke that just couldn't be contained: "More like 'leaker on sheets' — damn you, Satan!" Colbert had another faux-illicit pee-pee joke and ended up talking to an imaginary Trump on a banana, Trump-style. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:59 a.m. ET
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When President Trump welcomed someone named Melanie Trump home from the hospital this weekend, there was never any doubt that the tweet was composed by the man himself — but maybe there should have been.

Trump is known for firing off tweets at all hours of the day, and they often have misspellings, typos, and other errors. It's been assumed that he crafted most of his more colorful messages, with the rambling sentences and random capitalization a sure sign of authentic authorship, but two White House staffers told The Boston Globe that aides are drafting tweets that are indistinguishable from posts written by Trump.

When someone wants Trump to tweet about a specific issue, they write him a memo and include three or four sample tweets that follow Trump's style down to the excessive exclamation points. Trump chooses the one he likes best, the staffers told the Globe, and while he sometimes will tweak it a bit, he often tweets messages as is. While aides do try to channel their inner Trump when drafting the tweets, they draw the line at misspelling words and names on purpose.

There are other clues, too. The staffers said that if there are photos attached to a tweet or hashtags, assume that an aide tweeted for Trump, and even if the tweet is difficult to decipher, that doesn't mean anything — the staffers are becoming experts at mimicking Trump's distinctive style of tweeting, and think typos and errors appeal to the average American. As Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, noted to the Globe, "Grammatical conventions tend to be elitist and always have been." Catherine Garcia

12:19 a.m. ET
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Among the 10 students and teachers murdered at Santa Fe High School near Houston last Friday was Sabika Sheikh, a foreign exchange student from Pakistan who was about 20 days away from returning home after her year abroad. Her murder, by a 17-year-old male classmate, "just shows how ironic life can be," Pakistani author Bina Shah told PRI's The World on Monday. "Pakistan is always perceived as unsafe for children, especially with Taliban attacks on schools here, so this was just not something anybody could have expected."

"Our perceptions of our own country's safety and security, versus our perceptions of the United States and the larger Western Hemisphere as relatively safer, are all turned upside down," Shah told host Marco Worman. "However, thanks to world media, we do know about the problem of school shootings. Every time one of these things happens, we get to see it here on cable news — CNN, BBC, we have it all here. So we're aware of this problem and we — you known, Pakistanis can't understand, they just can't understand why there are no gun control laws that would stop school shootings from happening again and again and again."

"If you ask Pakistanis how they see violence in the U.S., what is likely to be their response?" Worman asked. "People understand terrorist violence, they understand that kind of thing, but they don't understand children taking up guns and going into the schools and shooting each other, shooting their classmates, shooting their teachers," Shah said. "But we're kind of relating it to our own problems with extremist violence. We're kind of saying: You have your types of terrorism and we have ours, and it's just really a tragedy that one of our children got caught up with your kind of terrorism, with your kind of extremism."

You can listen to the entire interview, plus more on Sheikh's life, in the first segment below. Peter Weber

12:12 a.m. ET
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While helping his son apply to colleges, Freddie Sherrill, 65, heard something that surprised him: You should go to school, too.

As a child in North Carolina, Sherrill had difficulty learning to read and write, and he started to act out. He began skipping school at 8, and while hanging out with teenagers, he tried wine for the first time. Sherrill told The Washington Post that he was a shy child, and he finally "felt like I fit in." He then broke into houses and stole purses, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

After several stints in prison and rehab, Sherrill was "tired of hurting everybody around me," he says, and in 1988 he stopped drinking and doing drugs. Sherrill slowly rebuilt his life — he repaired his relationships with his wife and children, took literacy classes so he could learn how to read and write, and eventually, after eight years, he earned an associate's degree. "I spent a lot of time taking chances doing negative things," he said. "It was time for me to start taking chances doing positive things."

When it came time for his son to go to college, he helped him with his paperwork, and the staff at Queens University of Charlotte told Sherrill that he should also consider applying. His son ultimately enrolled at North Carolina A&T University, and Sherrill came up with a challenge: whoever got the best GPA at the end of each semester would give the other $100. His son graduated and is now a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch, and Sherrill, after seven years, received his degree in human service studies earlier this month. "I started a lot of things in my life I didn't finish," he told the Post. "College wasn't going to be one of them." Catherine Garcia

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