Morning Reads

Good morning! It’s International Polar Bears Day, and a leading conservation group encourages you to do one small thing to fight climate change. In the meantime, here are some morning reads…

Demonstrators celebrate after they learn Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB1062, a bill designed to allow Arizonans to refuse service to gays, at the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

LGBT wins –> A federal judge struck down Texas’ ban on gay marriage — the fifth such ruling since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA last June — and Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona’s gay discrimination bill.

Quite a few bad apples –> The Army disqualified 588 soldiers as sexual assault counselors, recruiters and drill sergeants for infractions like sexual assault. Progress, yet one has to worry that they still have jobs. Tom Vanden Brook reports for USA Today.

Not big on democracy –> Ohio cut early voting favored by African Americans. Zachary Roth reports for MSNBC.

Big Brother on your webcam –> The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman and James Ball report that Britain’s surveillance agency, GCHQ, has been spying on Yahoo webchat users. The Optic Nerve program reportedly targeted 1.8 million users worldwide in one six-month period alone.

Climate change havoc –> At MoJo, Jeremy Schulman reports on a controversial new study that looks at historic patterns of temperature and crime and predicts a significant increase in murders, rapes, assaults and other mayhem as America gets hotter.

Christie’s next move? –> Bob and Barbara Dreyfuss report for The Nation that Chris Christie is likely to attack public workers’ pensions, yet again, as he positions himself for a 2016 presidential run.

Blocked –> Sen. Rand Paul blocks Surgeon General nominee for agreeing with the mainstream medical establishment that gun violence is a public health problem. Sy Mukherjee reports for ThinkProgress.

Rumors of its death are premature –> In Democracy: a Journal of Ideas, Theda Skocpol writes that the tea party movement is alive and well and wielding plenty of influence over today’s GOP.

Army spying on activists? –> At The Stranger, Brendan Kiley previews an upcoming trial that will reveal more details about John Towery, a veteran who was allegedly paid by the US army to infiltrate, monitor and disrupt anti-war activists.

Point/counterpoint on a horror story –> A victim of kidnapping and rape was detained by authorities as a material witness and compelled to testify against her assailant. Many people are outraged, seeing it as a second victimization, as Robin Marty reports for Care2But at SlateAmanda Marcotte argues that while the anger is understandable it is also misplaced, as prosecutors ultimately “made the right call.”

All in on Obamacare –> Karen Tumulty reports for WaPo that some GOP strategists are worried that the party has put all its midterm eggs in the anti-Obamacare basket. ALSO: Alexander Burns reports for Politico that Planned Parenthood is planning an all-out offensive on repro rights for the midterms.

LIZ!! –> Sen. Elizabeth Warren made her first foreign policy address, stressing the need to focus more energy on avoiding civilian casualties when engaging in military action, according to Noah Bierman of The Boston Globe.

Cooking the books on Keystone –> Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Weiners has a good backgrounder on the apparent conflicts of interest that critics says tainted Keystone XL’s environmental review.

Trend yet? –> Marijuana legalization in Alaska is going to be decided by a popular vote, according to WaPo’s Niraj Chokshi.

Time to start thinking about a Prime Directive? –> NASA almost doubled the number of planets known to humanity on Wednesday when it confirmed 715 new neighbors identified with the planet-hunting Kepler telescope, reports the AP’s Seth Borenstein.

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