Morning Reads

Good morning! Forty-nine years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr., and 3,200 other civil rights activists set out from Selma, Ala., on a march to Montgomery, the state capital, to demand their right to vote. Less than two weeks earlier, a smaller group of activists — including current Rep. John Lewis — had been viciously attacked attempting a similar march. In August of that year, President Johnson would sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Cold War redux –> At TNR, Julia Ioffe argues that the sanctions Obama imposed on Russia on Wednesday will hurt Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, but may blow back on Russian liberals if the oligarchs lash out at them in response. And while Republicans are complaining that the restrictions don’t go far enough, Erik Wasson reports for The Hill that their corporate allies have been lobbying behind the scenes to keep the sanctions limited in scope.

The struggle continues –> A year after the Supreme Court eliminated the most powerful provision of the Voting Rights Act, Zachary Roth reports for MSNBC that conservatives appear to be preparing an assault on another one.

Kochtupus –> Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin report for WaPo that a subsidiary of Koch Industries is the biggest leaseholder in Canada’s tar sands. While the connection is indirect, the finding calls into question the company’s claim that “Koch Industries have absolutely nothing to do with Keystone XL (KXL).” ALSO: Carl Hulse and Ashley Parker report for the NYT that the Kochs’ Americans For Prosperity is “spending freely” to hone its anti-government message and turn-out-the-vote techniques.

Zero tolerance for little kids –> Kimberly Hefling and Jesse Holland report for the AP that thousands of preschoolers are being suspended in the US, and they’re disproportionately black. Educators say that in most cases, extra support would be more effective than sending them home.

Sneaky –> Salon’s Alex Pareene argues that presidential draft campaigns, like the new one to draft Ted Cruz, are a scam to get your money and email address.

Mystery ship –> Eric Schmitt reports for the NYT that US officials are wondering why Iran seems to be building a large-scale model of an American aircraft carrier.

Awkward –> Sam Stein reports for HuffPo that Scott Brown, campaigning for a Senate seat in New Hampshire, visited the home of some Republican voters to pillory Obamacare only to be told that it had been a “lifesaver” for the couple. Paul Ryan had a similar experience at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, according to Scott Keyes at ThinkProgress.

Due process –> Thirteen Americans — all Muslims, one a Marine vet — have sued the government for putting them on the no-fly list, which doesn’t include any process for review. Noel Brinkerhoff has the details at

Thanks, guys –> Lindsay Abrams at Salon: “Exxon agrees to look into this whole climate change thing.”

Quiet crisis –> Previous studies had shown that the long-term unemployed faced discrimination and other difficulties re-entering the workforce, but a new study concludes that if they do land a gig, “15 months later, they’re more than twice as likely to have left than to have settled into steady, full-time employment.” Catherine Hollander reports for The National Journal.

Public money –> North Carolina charter schools say they’re not required to release data on how much they pay their teachers. But Ann Doss Helms reports for The Charlotte Observer that the legislature, which will fork over $304 million to the private companies this year, is now challenging that notion.

Obstruction works for some –> Obama says that Congress’ inability to legislate with divided government plays a major role in turning off traditional Democratic constituencies during midterm elections, according to Justin Sink at The Hill.

He advanced LGBT rights –> At Truthdig, Peter Scheer writes that Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, who died yesterday, was so hateful that he ended up hurting the religious right’s efforts to block LGBT rights.

Enjoy your day –> Here’s a viral vid of Rep. John Lewis dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy.”

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