Morning Reads

Good morning! Today is National Pi Day (NπD?), and also Albert Einstein’s birthday — it seems like an appropriate coincidence.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 –> It’s still inconclusive, but new information suggests that two communications devices were intentionally shut down on the missing aircraft, according to ABC News. ALSO: Reuters reports that the plane appears to have been flown intentionally toward the Andaman Islands, and may have continued for several hours after dropping off of Malaysian radars. The search area has once again been expanded.

Heating up in Ukraine –> Steven Lee Myers and Alison Smale report for the NYT that Russian troops are amassing on the Ukrainian border in advance of a referendum on Crimea’s future. AND: Mike Eckel reports for the AP that Russia and Ukraine are trading accusations about who was responsible for the carnage caused by those snipers in Kiev. ALSO: John McCain played the Ronnie card, slamming his fellow Republicans as un-Reagan-like for their opposition to an aid package to Ukraine. Seung Min Kim reports for Politico. BUT: Ron Paul said Putin “has some law on his side” with the invasion of Crimea, according to Noah Rothman at Mediaite.

Only to die in the House –> A bipartisan group of senators struck a deal to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. Danny Vinik has the details at TNR.

Lacking self-awareness –> Facebook whiz kid Mark Zuckerberg, who can apparently speed-dial the most powerful man on Earth, called Obama to complain about the NSA collecting data on Americans. Privacy advocates are probably wishing for a better spokesperson. Will Oremus has the story at Slate.

LIZ!!! –> At Mother Jones, Erika Eichelberger offers us “Ten Things Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Protection Agency Has Done for You.”

The religious right is right about this –> Salon’s Josh Eidelson interviews the head of Justice Fellowship, a conservative Christian group advocating for prison reform.

Coalocracy –> The AP and a local ABC News station report that internal emails show that Duke Energy lobbyists got North Carolina regulators to intervene in several lawsuits over pollution leeching from its coal ash dumps.

Fear of decent wages –> Krugman’s good today, explaining that a likely statistical blip suggesting that wages are increasing is leading to all kinds of bad economics.

“Satan, “savagery” and a “culture of death” –> Philip Elliot reports for the AP that anti-choicers are looking for a candidate who will engage in the kind of civil discourse about reproductive rights that they expect.

Blue Georgia? –> At The Daily Beast, Patricia Murphy argues that demographic shifts, along with a couple of Democratic candidates with big name recognition — Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter — are putting the Peach State into play.

Elections matter –> Steven Greenhouse reports for the NYT that Bill de Blasio’s administration, “seeking to be generous to its allies in labor without jeopardizing New York City’s finances,” is pushing for an unprecedented nine-year contract with NYC teachers.

Good governance –> In an attempt to tame air pollution, Paris is making public transportation free, according to Agence France Presse, via The Raw Story.

Bad governance –> Laura Sullivan reports for NPR that the government is spending a couple of billion dollars per year on empty buildings.

Sci-fi becoming sci-fact –> Jason Koebler at Vice: “Australia Is Building a Laser To Shoot Junk Out of Orbit”

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