Morning Reads

Good morning! Eighty-three years ago today, “The Star Spangled Banner” — originally, “In Defense of Fort McHenry” — became the national anthem of the United States. Since then, most Americans have only heard the first quarter of it — we don’t sing about the “havoc of war” or patriots’ blood washing away the Brits’ “foul footsteps’ pollution” or “the hireling and slave” before baseball games. Go figure.

Stat of the day: Under 10 percent — the tax rates paid by a third of America’s most successful corporations.

Arrested –> Hundreds of young people were arrested protesting Keystone XL at the White House on Sunday. Emily Stephenson reports for Reuters.

What Florida needs is more shooting –> Henry Pierson Curtis reports for McClatchy that Florida lawmakers are considering expanding “Stand Your Ground” to make it legal to brandish a weapon or fire warning shots when you feel threatened — one of a number of anti-gun-safety provisions being considered. Meanwhile, Marissa Alexander, sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot toward her allegedly violent husband, has been told by prosecutors that if she loses a second trial, scheduled for July, she’ll be sentenced to 60 years. Jon Swain with the story for The Guardian.

Ukraine –> Maria Alyokhina, a founding member of Pussy Riot who was released from prison prior to the Sochi Olympics, has written a piece about Putin’s recent moves for TNR. ALSO: MoJo’Kevin Drum offers a pretty good prediction about how the crisis in Crimea will play out in our political discourse.

The definition of plutocracy –> The NYT’s Nick Confessore reports: “Clubs of elite donors in both parties are taking a more central role in shaping policy and campaigns, displacing party leaders and… outside-spending organizations.”

Another victim of the drug war –> Robert Duncan got laid off from his broadcasting gig, and after a while took a job working in a medical marijuana dispensary operating legally under CA law. He had no ownership stake in the operation, and a lawyer he consulted told him it wouldn’t be a problem. Today, he begins a two-year prison sentence. The Huffington Post is going to accompany him live later today.

There’s always money for war –> At Other Words, Mattea Kramer explains why those defense cuts we keep hearing about won’t actually lead to less defense spending.

(Alleged) sleaze –>  Wisconsin lawmakers are seeking to oust state Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer (R) after a lobbyist and a staffer accused him of sexual harassment at a Republican fundraiser in DC. He had previously been charged with “inappropriate behavior” at an ALEC conference in Chicago. Daniel Bice reports for the Milwaukee J-S.

A third party that’s working for working people –> Sarah Jaffe profiles the Working Families Party for In These Times.

View from the other side –> At Slate, Tik Root offers readers the perspective of a Yemeni family that lost four sons to the “War on Terror.”

Dems’ white people problem –> Jackie Calmes reports for the NYT that Democrats are trying to figure out how to win back less educated white male voters.

Buried lede –> Towards the end of this piece by Capital New York’s Eliza Shapiro is news that charter school mogul Eva Moskowitz is closing 22 schools for a day and bussing the kids and their parents up to Albany to stage a rally in support of charter schools.

Bad governance –> At The Nation, John Nichols considers whether Maine’s Paul LePage is the worst governor in the US.

Funny and scary –> The great Roy Edroso takes a tour of right-wing bloggers’ reactions to the fight over Arizona’s gay discrimination bill for The Village Voice.

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