Morning Reads

President Lyndon Johnson gives Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a pen used to sign the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964. (Image: Library of Congress)

President Lyndon Johnson gives Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a pen used to sign the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964. (Image: Library of Congress)

Good morning! Today is the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act, which, along with the Voting Rights Act the following year, would represent the most significant expansion of individual rights since the end of the Civil War.

Stat of the day: 21 — the number of federal courts that have ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional after a judge struck down Kentucky’s ban yesterday.

Not fans of transparency –> Shane Goldmacher reports for National Journal that the House Ethics Committee, “behind closed doors and without a public announcement,” killed a requirement that lawmakers disclose who picks up the tab for their “all-expenses-paid trips around the world.”

Iraq –> Raheem Salman and Oliver Holmes report for¬†The Guardian that “Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the first session of Iraq’s new parliament on Tuesday after Shi’ites failed to name a prime minister to replace Nuri al-Maliki, dimming any prospect of an early national unity government to save Iraq from collapse.” ALSO: Time’s Karl Vick writes that Iraqi Kurds are moving ahead with a referendum on independence. ALSO, TOO: “Oil Prices Soar as Iraq Tumbles Into Chaos.” AND: Josh Rogin reports for The Daily Beast that those Russian “advisers” Vladimir Putin sent to Iraq along with the first five of 12 promised fighter jets will actually be flying missions over the country as Iraqi pilots currently lack the necessary training.

Rent’s too damn high –> Chelsey Dulaney at the WSJ: “Apartment rents rise as incomes stagnate.”

Everyone loves charts! –> And TNR’s Danny Vinik offers four of them that show “the rift” between corporate conservatives and the GOP base.

What could possibly go wrong? –> Two years after Japan’s increasingly nationalistic conservative party won a landslide election, AJA reports that “Japan’s Cabinet has agreed on a proposal to end a ban on its military fighting abroad, a major shift away from the country’s postwar pacifism.”

Defiant” –> At the LAT,¬†Jenny Deam has the story of a clerk in Colorado that keeps issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples despite being ordered to stop doing so by the state’s attorney general. “History will be on our side,” said Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall.

Corruption –> Thomas Libous, a “powerful Republican state senator in New York,” allegedly “lied to the FBI about arranging for a lobbying company to help pay his son’s legal salary.” Frances Burns has the details at UPI.

Post-racial –> At The Guardian, Laura Murphy writes that the Mexican ‘germ invasion’ is “the right’s latest anti-immigration myth.”

Changing America –> Politico asked a bunch of legal scholars and journalists to weigh in on how the Supreme Court “changed America this year.” ALSO: Paul Horwitz writes in the NYT that the Hobby Lobby decision “is only the beginning” of a flood of cases claiming the right to ignore laws that violate corporations’ “religious liberty.” RELATED: Lina Kahn at WaMo: “How corporations became people you can’t sue.”

More paws than big feet –> When Oxford University researchers conducted DNA analyses on “more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and similar mythical beasts like the Himalayan Yeti, they found all of them came from more mundane creatures like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons.” Maria Cheng reports for the AP.

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