Morning Reads

Good morning! The all-powerful martini lobby got today designated as National Martini Day, so if you’re so inclined… well, you know what to do.

Maybe we should listen to these guys –> Craig Whitlock at WaPo: “US military leaders warn of difficulty of Iraq airstrikes.” ALSO: Martin Chulov and Spencer Ackerman report for The Guardian that some US senators are floating the idea of conditioning US airstrikes against ISIS militants on Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki’s resignation, but he refuses to step down. AND: Rod Nordland and Suadad al-Salhy report for the NYT that ISIS fighters may have taken control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery.

Dark money –> At the Center for Public Integrity, Julie Patel reports that “the Internal Revenue Service will propose new and specific rules defining how much money ‘social welfare’ nonprofits may spend on political campaigns.”

Warning shot –> Earlier this week, we mentioned that Republicans were considering using a must-pass spending bill to kill the EPA’s new greenhouse gas regulations — a move that could lead to another government shutdown. On Wednesday, Obama warned that the politics of such a gambit might not work out well for the Grand Old Party, saying, “If Republicans want to repeat their government shutdown play to protect the profits of big polluters, they’re placing a pretty risky bet.” Sahil Kapur reports for TPM.

Another mess –> At TNR, Sune Engel Rasmussen warns that Afghanistan may also be sliding into crisis — “a full-blown power struggle with ethnic overtones” — amid allegations of widespread election fraud.

This makes repeal kind of tough –> According to a new HHS report, almost 90 percent of those enrolled in the federal health insurance exchange received subsidies, and their average premiums fell from $346 per month before tax credits to $82 after. The data don’t include people who participate in state-run exchanges. Jayne O’Donnell and Kaitlyn Krasselt have more details at USA Today.

Offensive and inaccurate” –>The St. Louis Post-Dispatch announced that it would no longer carry George Will’s column, saying that while they had been considering a change for a while, a recent column “in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status made the decision easier. The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.”

You want a specimen of being so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?” –> The Atlantic’s James Fallows doesn’t seem convinced that Dick Cheney is the ideal messenger to convey the GOP’s criticism of Obama’s foreign policy.

Miracle of private enterprise? –> Juan Gonzalez reports for the NY Daily News that fewer than half of the students who entered the inaugural class of Eva Moskowitz’ flagship charter school completed the eighth grade, and while school officials touted their high standardized test scores, none did well enough on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test to earn a place in NYC’s elite public high schools.

A “driving force” behind the scenesTAP’s Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux profiles the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which she says is the driving force behind the Hobby Lobby suit and a number of other “politically charged lawsuits.”

An honest mistake –> Matthew Watkins reports for The Dallas Morning News that “the Dallas County Commissioners Court declared Tuesday that African-Americans deserve reparations for slavery, even though most commissioners didn’t seem to know that they were doing so.”

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