Morning Reads

Good morning! Here in New York, they’re forecasting a stretch of ten days with temperatures in the mid-40s to low-60s. We didn’t make The Weather Channel’s, “Ten Cities That Barely Survived the Winterpocalypse” list, but like many in the Northeast and Midwest, we’ve been wondering if spring would ever come. The answer appears to be: maybe!

Imagine a gender-balanced court –> The Supreme Court’s three women expertly dissected Hobby Lobby’s claim that as a “corporate person” it has the same right to exercise religion as human people, according to Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker. And at TPM, Sahil Kapur reports that there was an interesting exchange yesterday when Elena Kagan used Antonin Scalia’s past arguments to challenge lawyers for Hobby Lobby. Nonetheless, given the court’s conservative majority, most observers think Hobby Lobby’s favored to win.

Speaking of which –> Sen. Elizabeth Warren relied on a study examining around 20,000 cases from the last 65 years to conclude, “the five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century.”

Big-time corruption alleged –> Democratic California state Sen. Leland Yee, whom many believed had aspirations to higher office, was indicted on charges of corruption and gun trafficking(!) after an FBI sting operation. A reporting crew of Josh Richman, Howard Mintz, Jessica Calefati and Robert Salonga has the story for the San Jose Mercury News.

Our most segregated schools aren’t where you might think –> Joy Resmovits reports for HuffPo that they’re in NYC. AND: At the Education Opportunity Network’s blog, EON Director Jeff Bryant explains how corporate education “reform” perpetuates racial disparities.

And they’re not even joking –> Patrick Graham reports for Reuters that “after months of revelations on alleged collusion and market manipulation,” the “troubled” foreign exchange industry is defending its longstanding claim that “self-regulation” is as effective as actual regulation.

Didn’t see that one coming –> The National Labor Relations Board ruled on Wednesday that college athletes at Northwestern University are employees, and have a right to form a union. ESPN’s Brian Bennett calls it “a potentially game-changing moment for college athletics.”

Georgia clown car –> MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin went down to the Peach State to take in the GOP Senate primary, where all five candidates are trying to prove that they’re the real conservative in the field.

Toxic profits –> Tim Murphy reports for MoJo that a massive chemical spill is poised to wipe one Louisiana town entirely off the map.

The idea that we need to arm ourselves against our own government is the worst sort of right wing paranoia.” –> Oliver Willis looks at our “perverse” gun culture over at The Daily Banter.

If a progressive budget falls in the woods… –> At TNR, Danny Vinik laments the fact that the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget “isn’t part of the conversation,” and tries to remedy the problem with a Q & A with Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison.

Plus ça change –> The construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., drew protests, death threats, vandalism and a suspected arson attack. Now plans to build an adjacent cemetery are eliciting another round of Islamophobic hatred from local tea partiers, who reportedly turned on a black reporter during a heated courthouse confrontation with mosque supporters. David Ferguson reports for The Raw Story.

A painful debate in MA –> While the inclusion of a rabidly anti-gay candidate in a Massachusetts gubernatorial forum on LGBT issues may have been painful for some observers to watch, it couldn’t have compared to the pain felt by Democratic state Treasurer Steve Grossman, who passed a kidney stone during the proceedings, according to The Boston Globe’s Akilah Johnson.

Profile in courage –> “Anti-gay Catholic League president Bill Donohue” thought he had a smart response to the controversy surrounding the exclusion of LGBT groups from the Saint Patrick’s Day parade: he applied to march in New York’s Gay Pride parade, expecting to be turned down. But when organizers turned the tables by embracing him with open arms, Donohue mumbled something about homosexual indoctrination and chickened out, according Christopher Mathias at Huffpo.

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