March 1, 2014

The Russian military is reportedly in effective control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, a move that is bound to have deep repercussions for the region and Russia's relationship with the West. It's early days yet, but so far the sense is that Russian President Vladimir Putin has pulled a fast one on the new provisional government in Ukraine and a European Union that would like to pull Ukraine and other Russian satellites into its orbit.

But what if the wily Putin has actually made a terrible mistake?

That is what Eugene Romer and Andrew S. Weiss suggest in an article in Politico Magazine, arguing:

We should not take for granted that even in Ukraine’s east and south, where so many ethnic Russians live, that a military occupation will be a cakewalk. Many local residents surely do not want to become Russia’s 90th province. In Ukraine’s west, where the Soviet Army had to fight a protracted counterinsurgency campaign after WWII against Ukrainian nationalist guerrillas, armed resistance is certain to be strong. During the revolution, many army depots and armories were overrun so there are more weapons floating around Ukraine than at any point since 1991. And the leadership of the main instruments of coercion — the army, the interior ministry, and the intelligence service — are all in the hands of political leaders with strong Ukrainian nationalist credentials. [Politico Magazine]

Furthermore, the fallout at the international level is going to be hell for Putin, even if the West stops short of intervention. The last scraps of credibility Russia had as a member of the United Nations Security Council — where it has steadfastly blocked action against Bashar al-Assad on the grounds of sovereignty — are shot. The great "reset" with the United States is in tatters. The Sochi Winter Olympics — which was supposed to be the face of a kinder, gentler Russia — will go down as the most expensive fig leaf in history. Romer and Weiss also suggest that Russia will be kicked out of the Group of Eight; surely some kind of economic pain will be involved.

Putin's Russia is more isolated than ever. Is Crimea worth all that? Ryu Spaeth

3:15 p.m. ET

In a new campaign ad out Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls on people of all genders, ethnicities, races, ages, and sexualities to come together and bring his political revolution to the Oval Office. The 60-second ad, released just days after the Vermont senator trounced Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, flashes face after face onscreen. The individual faces are then torn in half and put together randomly, in a representation of the unity Sanders urges in the ad.

"When we stand together, as white and black and Hispanic and gay and straight and woman and man. When we stand together and demand that this country works for all us, rather than the few, we will transform America," Sanders says in the ad. "And that is what this campaign is about, is bringing people together."

Watch it. Becca Stanek

2:59 p.m. ET

When will Marco Rubio's troubles end? After being taunted by robots in New Hampshire, the Florida senator's latest struggle has come in the form of a Twix bar that has reportedly gotten the best of his molar.

"I just bit into a Twix bar and I go, 'Man this Twix bar's got something really hard in it. And I go, 'Oh my gosh, I cracked my tooth,'" Rubio told The Washington Post.

Rubio was on a flight to Washington, D.C. when the incident took place. He visited the dentist the next morning to get a temporary fix on his cracked molar, with a permanent replacement planned from his regular dentist when he gets back to Miami.

Rubio has reportedly defended the fact that he broke his tooth on a chocolate bar by saying it was frozen. Jeva Lange

2:34 p.m. ET
ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images

The last remaining anti-government protester at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered Thursday afternoon, ending the 6-week-long occupation. Authorities confirmed that the final holdout, David Fry, walked off the refuge and turned himself in to the FBI around 2 p.m. ET Thursday, despite his earlier claims that he would "die a free man."

Fry's three remaining comrades had turned themselves over to federal agents earlier Thursday. The final surrender comes hours after protest leader Ammon Bundy's father, Cliven Bundy, was arrested Wednesday night. Becca Stanek

2:20 p.m. ET
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

On Feb. 11, 2006, then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his companion, Harry Whittington, while quail hunting in Texas. A decade later, Whittington told the New York Daily News that despite the fact that he still has pellets lodged in his cheek and neck, he never did receive an apology from Cheney.

"[Cheney] never did need to apologize. It was an accident. He expressed his concern about me publicly, but he never had reason to apologize because we knew how seriously he was affected by it," Whittington said, showing exceptional understanding for someone who was literally shot in the face. Whittington, on the other hand, famously apologized to Cheney for the incident back in 2006.

The Daily News added that Whittington only recently fired a gun for the first time in a decade, when his son-in-law and friends took him quail hunting outside his hometown. He stressed that accidents are common while hunting quail, and that he holds "no hard feelings at all" against Cheney. Jeva Lange

1:37 p.m. ET

Alan Grayson was the Democratic representative for Florida's 8th congressional district from 2009 to 2011, a period during which he happened to have another job as well — as a hedge fund manager. While Grayson's role running a hedge fund as a sitting member of the House has already led to an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics, emails obtained by The New York Times show the extent to which Grayson's jobs were intertwined "and how he promoted his international travels, some with congressional delegations, to solicit business."

Grayson's hedge fund, which until recently had operations in the Cayman Islands, is questionable as well. Grayson has reportedly boasted about traveling to "every country" in the world while creating investment strategies that took advantage of companies suffering because of economic or political turbulence.

[A] hedge fund marketing document cited a quote attributed to an early member of the Rothschild banking family in advising that "the time to buy is when there's blood in the streets."

Mr. Grayson defended his approach. "What creates the opportunity is when people overreact to something bad happening," he said.

At least some of Mr. Grayson's global travel has been paid for by the United States government, congressional records show. Mr. Grayson has traveled in official congressional delegations to Finland, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, according to a tally of those records by LegiStorm, a website that assembles data on Congress. He has also traveled to Israel on an official trip paid for by a private group, according to LegiStorm. [The New York Times]

According to House rules, lawmakers are not allowed to hold outside jobs that make more than $27,495, although Grayson has said he didn't report any earned income from the fund despite some investors that would have been paying management fees. Read the full report in The New York Times. Jeva Lange

11:27 a.m. ET
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

John Kasich is keeping his expectations low for the upcoming Feb. 20 primary in South Carolina. After pulling off a comfortable second-place finish in the GOP's New Hampshire presidential primary Tuesday, the Ohio governor admitted in a Thursday interview with CNN's New Day that he doesn't expect South Carolina's election to go quite as well. "We're going to compete here," Kasich said of South Carolina's primary. "We don't expect to win here."

Kasich's defense of his campaign — and his concession about South Carolina — follows Republican opponent Jeb Bush's jab that Kasich "has nothing in South Carolina." "But on the other hand, if you look at the person who says that, they spent like well over $100 million — something like that — and they got like nothing," Kasich said, reminding Bush that, for spending more money than any other candidate, his results so far have fallen short.

Bush finished two spots behind Kasich in New Hampshire and two spots ahead of him in Iowa, where Bush came in sixth and Kasich came in eighth. Becca Stanek

11:01 a.m. ET
Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

One day after civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton sat down for a meeting with Sen. Bernie Sanders, he remains unconvinced that the Democratic presidential candidate is adequately addressing the issue of race in income equality.

"One of the things that I was saying to Senator Sanders is saying that you've got to deal with income inequality and wages is fine, but what about the race element of that?" Sharpton said Thursday on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "He did not address that directly," Sharpton added.

As it stands right now, Sharpton says, all he is hearing from Sanders is "rhetoric" and him "talking about his ideology," but he has yet to hear "a list or enumeration of the kind of things we can do to redress or overturn these things." That, he says, is what he pushed Sanders to do in their sit-down over breakfast in Harlem Wednesday. "Are you going to talk about affirmative action?" Sharpton said. "Are you going to talk about racial disparities in terms of promotions and access to capital?"

Sharpton says that addressing these issues is going to be key as Sanders moves forward in the race. "As we leave the New Hampshire/Iowa states, which are basically white electorate, they're going to have to deal now with issues across the board," Sharpton said of both Democratic presidential candidates.

Sharpton is set to meet with Sanders' Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, next Tuesday. Becca Stanek

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