Morning Reads

Bonjour — it’s UN French Language Day! It’s also National Proposal Day, so if you’ve been itching to pop the question you can ask your honey: Veux-tu m’épouser? Bases: covered.

Stat of the day: 87 percent — share of Chicago voters who supported a non-binding referendum on setting the minimum wage for large employers at $15 per hour, according to The Nation’s John Nichols.

Machiavelli could have predicted it –> Ukraine has effectively conceded, and is pulling its troops out of Crimea, reports the BBC. AND: Columbia University political scientist Kimberly Marten picks up on a linguistic tell by Putin that suggests he may be adopting a dangerous ethos of Russian ethnic nationalism. AND: As if on cue, Robert Evans reports for Reuters that Moscow is now signaling its “concern” for Russian citizens of Estonia.

“Pattern of deception” –> Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden “scorched” senior CIA and NSA officials in a speech on Tuesday — and criticized the FISA intelligence court — according to The Oregonian’s Bryan Denson.

Win for red state politicians; loss for voting rights –> A federal judge ordered that proof of citizenship, which many voters lack, be included on federal election forms. Eric Lach reports for TPM.

Florida’s gruesome execution theater” –> The Intercept’s Liliana Segura writes in WaPo that the Sunshine State will execute a man using a problematic chemical agent, and that it fits a history of the state’s gruesome implementation of the death penalty.

The working poor: you or your neighbors –> Also in WaPo, Sarah Jaffe from In These Times notices a bizarre pattern of media coverage that treats low-wage workers as “some exotic Other.”

How’s that re-branding effort going? At TAP, Paul Waldman says that a year after the GOP’s much discussed “autopsy report,” the party hasn’t changed and doesn’t have much incentive to do so.

A real IRS scandal –> David Cay Johnston blows the lid on waste, favoritism and abusive labor practices at the IRS’ New York offices.

Pay-it-forward –> Michigan becomes the latest state to consider a plan that allows students to attend college tuition-free, to be financed with a small share of their future earnings. David Jesse reports for the Detroit Free Press.

The Devil didn’t go down to Georgia –> But the Moral Mondays movement did, and it’s fighting to get the Peach State to expand Medicaid. Tara Culp-Ressler reports for Think Progress that while 40 activists were arrested on Tuesday, the legislature went ahead with a measure to block the governor from insuring 600,000 Georgians.

Rumors of death… exaggerated –> Ed Kilgore looks at the latest Obamascare hype — and the anonymous sources fueling its fire — at The Washington Monthly.

Plane derangement syndrome –> Fox News host Bill Hemmer said it took 2,000 years to find Noah’s Ark — the discovery of which Fox News itself labelled “a hoax” — and expressed confidence that Malaysian Airways flight 370 will be discovered in less time. Meanwhile, Don Lemon of CNN, which seems to have become the most trusted source for missing airplane news, asked whether it was so “preposterous” to think that a black hole had swallowed up the Boeing jet.

Chicken from Hell” –> The seven-foot tall feathered dinosaur formerly known as such now has a proper scientific name, “Anzu wyliei,” according to the AP.

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