Wiretap: A slap and tickle Ukraine policy; Durango stands up to the NRA

Fred Kaplan writes in Slate that the goal now is to stop Putin at Crimea. He says the West can do two things that, though they seem contradictory, are actually complementary: Flood Ukraine with resources, showing Putin and the Russian oligarchy where the money is. And allow room for diplomacy to work, recognizing that Russia does have real interests. Kaplan says this is not Cold War II, in which the entire world was divided. This is Russia trying to revivify the empire.

Janet Yellen had an awkward time in her first news conference as Fed chairwoman. When she stumbled, if only slightly, the markets shuddered. Via the New Yorker.

Obama has filled out his NCAA bracket, but the real March Madness on his mind is the March 31 deadline for Obamacare signups. And so he has also filled out his 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered bracket. Via the New York Times.

The Durango Gun Club, which enjoys free rent for its indoor facility from the city and virtually free rent for its outdoor facility from La Plata County, backed away from a plan to require all of its 700 members to become members of the National Rifle Association. Members of the public and city officials said they felt it was wrong to subsidize “the NRA’s extreme political agenda.” The gun club said it was never its intention to support NRA politics but just to win grant money the NRA supplies for programs that boost its membership roles, including making your local gun club “100 percent NRA.” That’s a political proposition, says the Durango Herald: “The NRA often deflects criticism that its platform is politically extreme by invoking its 4 million members.” City Manager Ron LeBlanc is unequivocal on the matter and won’t be intimidated. “Do you think the NRA is going to act out and have some sort of repudiation for city officials? Yes, that’s always a risk – that’s their modus operandi,” he said. “But we’re not going to back down or not do the right thing because of that.”

Assessing five theories on Flight 370: While none of them may be believable on their own, it seems that one of them must be right. Via the Washington Post.

The Michigan legislature is considering a pay-it-forward plan for college tuition. You don’t pay anything until you’re done – and then, when you have a job, you pay it forward, at a fixed percentage of income, for the next generation of college students. Could it work? Maybe, but the legislature hasn’t set a hearing yet. Via the Detroit Free Press.

Nate Silver starts his new @538 site, and suddenly it’s Silver vs. the left. What were the odds on that? Via Think Progress.

The latest scientific discovery: A bird-like dinosaur that roamed America, now know as the Chicken From Hell. (Made you look, right?)

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