Morning Reads

Good morning! Sorry it’s Monday. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the US-led NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo.

Stat of the day: 18.9 percent — share of Americans who “struggle to afford food,” according to Gallup. With just over one in four in that category, Mississippi leads the pack.

Surveillance state –> Jimmy Carter told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he corresponds with foreign leaders by snail mail because he assumes the NSA is monitoring his communications. Eric Bradner has the details at Politico. ALSO: Der Spiegel has a report about NSA spying on the Chinese government.

Intellectual contortions –> TPM’s Sahil Kapur reports that Antonin Scalia’s past rulings are going to force him to really stretch to justify ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby in the challenge to the ACA’s birth control mandate, but observers expect that he’s up to the job.

Is there hope for survivors of the drug wars?” –> The headline on a terrific #LongRead by Monica Potts at The American Prospect looking at the lives of ex-felons in Baltimore.

Military police –> “SWAT teams were deployed about 3,000 times in 1980 but are now used around 50,000 times a year.” The Economist reports on the militarization of domestic law enforcement.

Economic weapons –> Andrew Kramer reports for the NYT that Russia is putting an economic squeeze on Ukraine. ALSO: US oil and gas companies have close ties to their Russian state-owned counterparts, complicating the narrative that energy production can be wielded as a weapon in the current crisis. Steve Horn has the story for DeSmogBlog (via Truthout).

There’s no way justice was done in this case” –> A Mississippi woman is scheduled to be executed on Thursday for a murder her son confessed to committing. Nicole Flatow reports for ThinkProgress that jurors weren’t allowed to hear the evidence that might have cleared her.

Then and now –> McClatchy’s Sean Cockerman on the lingering damage from the Exxon Valdez disaster, a quarter of a century later. And an oil spill from a damaged barge is blocking the Houston shipping channel and threatening a wildlife preserve today. Molly Hennessy-Fiske has the details at the LAT.

This is a stupid narrative” –> So says Salon’s Elias Isquith of the notion that Rand Paul is going to turn millennials into stalwart Republicans.

Stealth attack –> Direct assaults on Social Security are politically hazardous, but Michael Hiltzik reports for the LAT that the program’s opponents keep engineering cuts to its administrative budget in a campaign to make it dysfunctional.

Tarnished silver” — So headlines Paul Krugman’s piece as he joins the chorus of those criticizing Nate Silver’s new outlet. BUT: Nobody disputes Silver’s number-crunching prowess, and his latest forecast gives slight odds in favor of a Republican takeover of the Senate.

Let’s hope he doesn’t kill any young reporters –> Kevin Spacey is lobbying the Maryland legislature as it considers increasing a tax credit for film production, most of which has been gobbled up by his Netflix hit, House of Cards. The show’s producers have threatened to pull out of the state if the money doesn’t flow, reports Katherine Faulders for ABC News.

Crying “wolf” –> UC-Berkeley economists Michael Reich and Ken Jacobs write in the NYT that none of the dire predictions about job destruction have proven true after previous minimum wage hikes.

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