Georgia Lady Bulldogs survive first game in SEC tournament with 53-43 win over Vanderbilt, giving Andy Landers his 29th 20-win season in 35 years.

Here are some midday news-views items from the virtual concession stand:

* Today’s opening prayer in the U.S. Senate delivered by–the Dalai Lama. Amazing.

* Obama rejects referendum on Crimea’s status, arguing it would violate international law.

* Prospect‘s Amelia Thomson-Deveux reports on closure of the last two rural abortion clinics in Texas after their inability to comply with new state provider laws aimed at producing this very outcome.

* WaPo’s Dana Milbank argues Darrell Issa’s silencing of Democratic colleague Elijah Cummings represented a “new low” for the Californian. That’s saying a lot.

* Something I missed in early reporting of Christie CPAC speech: he blasted Harry Reid for “picking on” those “great Americans” Charles and David Koch. Think Chris is trying to score brownie points with most powerful figures in American conservatism?

And in non-political news:

* 91% of Great Lakes now covered in ice. Brrrr.
But good for water supplies.

As we break for lunch, here’s the Rev. Gary Davis again, performing the dark, powerful “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.