Morning Reads

Good morning! Here are some of the stories we’re reading as we try to keep warm on a frigid morning in NYC…

He’s got a pen and a phone –> NYT’s Peter Baker reports that Obama will announce in tonight’s State of the Union speech an executive order raising the minimum wage of federal contract employees to $10.10 per hour. Slate’s Joshua Keating continues his series, “If It Happened There,” with a look at how American media would cover the SOTU if it were delivered in a foreign country. At TNR, Mike Konczal begs the president to use the words “full employment.” AND: Almost all House and Senate members who back a minimum wage refuse to pay their interns.

Finally –> After years of promises, three influential Republicans unveiled an alternative to Obamacare that basically amounts to making you pay more for health care. ThinkProgress’ Sy Mukherjee looks at the five worst things it would do.

What might have been –> Iceland let its banks fail instead of bailing them out, and then spent its money expanding the social safety net. At Bloomberg, Omar Valdimarsson reports that five years later, unemployment is at four percent and the Icelandic government is trying to get it down to two percent.

Back-door ban –> At The Nation, Zoë Carpenter reports that a slew of new “regulations” may put every abortion clinic in Louisiana out of business.

Down on the farm –> Molly Ball writes at The Atlantic that farmers, who tend to be loyal Republicans, are getting fed up with the tea party wing’s continued obstruction of the farm bill.

R.I.P. –> Peace activist and folk music legend Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94. MoJo marks his passing by revisiting a 2004 profile of Seeger by David Hadju.

Move along, nothing to see here –> Study finds that an average of 20 children and adolescents are hospitalized with gunshot wounds every day in the US.

Not enough gerrymandering –> Arizona voters approved a referendum to create a non-partisan commission to draw up the state’s electoral districts, but now Republican legislators are suing to have it thrown out so they can replace it with their own.

Wonk alert –> Henry Aaron and Gary Burtless have a study for the Brookings Institution estimating how much Obamacare will boost average incomes for those at the bottom of the economic pile.

Scared of their base –> At The Washington Examiner, Byron York is not pleased that Republicans are considering the option of doing something on immigration after deadlines to file primary challenges have passed.

Puppy love is in your genes –> Alice Robb writes at TNR that we may be genetically programmed to be fascinated by the Puppy Bowl.

Battle of the Hall of Famers (Or: The internet is awesome) –> Enjoy a slow-mo animated GIF of Carl “The Meal Ticket” Hubbell brushing George Herman “Babe” Ruth off the plate with a wicked inside pitch in 1935.

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