This just in
March 2, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday to meet with the nation's leaders and offer the United States' support in the escalating conflict with Russia. The announcement came hours after Kerry, appearing on the Sunday talk shows, warned Russia to withdraw its troops or face consequences, sanctions, and a potential ouster from the G-8 superpowers. "It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country," Kerry said. "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext."

Kerry was scheduled to visit Lebanon early this week, but will now instead head to Kiev. Jon Terbush

Noted
5:47 a.m. ET

Polygamist Nathan Collier, who has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives, said Wednesday that he had applied for a marriage license with his second wife, Christine, claiming he was inspired by last week's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. The reality TV star and his wives Victoria and Christine applied in Billings, Montana. Collier said he would sue if the application is turned down. "It's about marriage equality," he said. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier says he asked the ACLU of Montana to help him if he decides a lawsuit is necessary. ACLU legal director Jim Taylor tells The Associated Press that while he hasn't seen Collier's request and had no opinion about his case, the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling "is about something very different." Harold Maass

Maritime disasters
5:13 a.m. ET

On Thursday, a ferry carrying 173 passengers and 16 crew sank minutes after leaving Ormoc city on Leyte Island in the Philippines, killing 36 people and leaving 118 survivors; 19 passengers are still missing. The MBCA Kim-Nirvana was en route to Camotes island, about 27 miles to the south, when its bow hit a big wave and the ferry capsized, survivors tell The Associated Press.

Maritime accidents are unfortunately common in the Philippines, a populous archipelago made up of 7,100 islands. Peter Weber

Who will think of the children?
4:27 a.m. ET

Sometimes progress comes at a steep cost. Sealed Air Corp., the company that invented Bubble Wrap and has sold it since 1960, is changing things up — and in the new version of its iconic product, iBubble Wrap, you won't be able to pop the plastic capsules. Sealed Air is making the change because shipping the pre-inflated Bubble Wrap takes up a lot of space — yes, Bubble Wrap has to be shipped, too — and the new version is delivered in flat sheets that online retailer and other customers will inflate at their warehouses, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Sealed Air almost discontinued Bubble Wrap a few years ago, leaving the market to imitators, because the bulk of the packages made it too expensive to ship more than 150 miles. The new iBubble Wrap takes up 1/50th of the space before it is inflated. With the rise of e-commerce, protective packaging material is big business, The Journal reports, hitting $20 billion in global sales in 2013, $2 billion of that bubble packaging. iBubble Wrap may help Sealed Air recapture more of that market, but does nobody care about the kids? (Or the older Bubble Wrap fanatics?) You can see the new Bubble Wrap in action in the Wall Street Journal video below. Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
3:36 a.m. ET

Chris Christie, the Republican governor of Jon Stewart's home state of New Jersey, jumped in the already-very-crowded 2016 GOP presidential race Tuesday morning; Stewart got around to mocking him on Wednesday's Daily Show. In a recent survey, 65 percent of New Jersey residents said Christie would make a lousy president, he noted, but that's not the governor's biggest problem.

"Let's do some straight talk," Stewart said, laughing. "It's not that New Jerseyeans love you too much to let you go, it's that you've already finished second in the loud Northeastern egomaniac primary," with the winner being Donald Trump. "How far must Christie have fallen to be a two-term governor unfavorably compared to a perfume-selling escalateur" like Trump, he mused. But his No. 1 problem is that "he has crossed a red line for Republicans," Stewart said, committing "the unpardonable crime of treating Barack Obama like a person." Well, it's a theory. Peter Weber

Gay marriage
2:23 a.m. ET
Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals bowed to the inevitable and ordered federal courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to quickly issue final rulings on same-sex marriage in their states, noting pointedly that the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation "is the law of the land and, consequently, the law of this circuit, and should not be taken lightly by actors within jurisdiction of this court."

In Texas, at least, a brief rebellion against Friday's Supreme Court's ruling, encouraged by state Attorney General Ken Paxton, was already coming to a close. As of Wednesday morning, according to Texas for Marriage, 80 percent of Texas counties were issuing same-sex marriage licenses, including Hood County, where county clerk Katie Lang had told her staff: "We are not issuing them because I am instilling my religious liberty in this office."

Bud Kennedy at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram obtained that eyebrow-raising communiqué through a freedom-of-information request, but in the process he uncovered a listserv used by all Texas county clerks, and most of them were baffled and angry at Texas officials for not preparing them or offering them guidance.

"We were the first people to be affected and the last ones to be contacted," Deborah Rushing, the clerk for Yoakum County, wrote to her colleagues. "No one had our back." Clerk Jennifer Fountain said that one local resident accused her of "taking Shelby County to the fires of hell" by issuing same-sex licenses, even though nobody complained about other marriage contracts, including those she had issued to "couples that I've had in court for beating each other up" and "people that have lived together for 20 years." Paxton, she added, "hung us all out to dry, threw us under the bus."

Red River County's Shawn Weemes spoke for a lot of fellow clerks: "I [am] so not looking forward to Monday." You can read more about how Texas county clerks dealt with same-sex marriage at the Star-Telegram. Peter Weber

allllrighty then
2:21 a.m. ET

Either Jim Carrey is preparing for the role of a lifetime as an unhinged Twitter user, or the actor knowingly had an online meltdown where he called California's governor a "corporate fascist" and posted several photos of children crying over a new, strict vaccination law.

After Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday signed into law a bill that requires all public school children to be vaccinated beginning in 2016, Carrey went on a Twitter rampage, writing that Brown "says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in mandatory vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped." Later, he added, "They say mercury in fish is dangerous but forcing all of our children to be injected with mercury in thimerosol is no risk. Make sense?" Then, he clarified, "I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!"

Carrey then turned on the CDC, saying they "can't solve a problem they helped start. It's too risky to admit they have been wrong about mercury/thimerasol. They are corrupt." After tweeting several times that he's "PRO-VACCINE/ANTI-NEUROTOXIN," Carrey started adding photos of freaked out looking children to his messages. He finally went silent on the matter Wednesday morning, but not before he was bombarded with pro-vaccination tweets and news articles about how he was descending into madness. It's not too surprising that Carrey has these views — his ex-girlfriend Jenny McCarthy is famous for speaking out against vaccinations. What is surprising is that he thought people were actually waiting for him to weigh in on the matter. Catherine Garcia

dang flipper
1:47 a.m. ET

It was a Father's Day the Frickman family will never forget, thanks to a dolphin that jumped into their boat and broke both of Mrs. Frickman’s ankles.

It was "absolutely crazy," Dirk Frickman told the Orange County Register. One minute, his family was headed back to Dana Point Harbor with several dolphins peacefully swimming next to them — the next, one of the dolphins leaped up and landed hard inside the boat, knocking over Frickman's wife, Chrissie, and hitting his daughter, Courtney. It started to flop around on Chrissie's legs, causing her to scream in agony. "I had this 350-pound dolphin in my boat," Frickman said. "There was no way to get it off the boat."

It looked like a scene out of a horror film, Frickman said, with blood gushing out of cuts on the frightened dolphin's tail and nose. He quickly called Harbor Patrol, and when an officer met them at the dock, Frickman said, "he looked at the boat and said, 'Oh, my God. I've never seen this before.'" Chrissie and Courtney were taken away by ambulance, and finally, after splashing water on the dolphin to keep it alive, Frickman and the officer were able to use a rope to get the dolphin into the ocean. "The dolphin was hopefully saved," he said. "It swam away with no problem."

Chrissie wasn't as lucky; she spent five hours in the emergency room with two broken ankles. Her husband has been staying home to take care of her, and when he shares what happened with his business clients, no one believes him — which he completely understands. "It's totally bizarre," he said. Catherine Garcia

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