Morning Reads

Good morning! Today is Vladimir Putin’s 62nd birthday, and the 13th anniversary of the beginning of our war in Afghanistan. It’s the longest conflict in American history, and on September 30, the Obama administration signed an agreement with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that will allow around 10,000 US troops to remain in the country through 2023.

On the doorstep of Europe” –> Islamic State fighters have entered the strategically important town of Kobani in Syria. Lizzie Dearden reports for The Independent that Kurdish sources say that there was heavy fighting there yesterday, and the town “will certainly fall soon.”  ALSO: A Chicago-area teenager was arrested at O’Hare airport on Saturday while allegedly in transit to Syria to join IS. Ben Mathis-Lilley has that story at Slate.

Marriage –> The Supreme Court declined to review challenges to gay marriage bans in five states, allowing a series of lower court rulings striking them down to stand, and nuptials to proceed. At The New Yorker, Amy Davidson argues that the decision means that marriage equality will eventually be the law of the land in all 50 states.  AND: Catherine Thompson reports for TPM that opponents of marriage equality apparently agree, condemning the court in no uncertain terms and vowing to fight on.

Charges for Wall Street banks? –> Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report for the NYT that federal prosecutors are aiming to bring charges against some of the biggest banks for colluding to manipulate foreign currency prices.

Care is something that is not particularly valued in the United States” –> At Salon, Sarah Jaffe writes that Ebola has emerged in our “blind spot” — a threat that we can’t just bomb away.

The plot against public education” –> Bob Herbert writes in Politico Mag that “millionaires and billionaires are ruining our schools.”

The next Hobby Lobby –> The University of Notre Dame has asked SCOTUS to “intervene in its case against the Obama administration over the coverage – or non-coverage – of contraception.” The administration gave religiously-affiliated nonprofits that object to contraception the option to write a letter or fill out a form, after which their insurer will cover the contraception directly. But Notre Dame is arguing that filling out the form represents a “substantial burden.”

Methane –> At The Hill, Robert Howarth writes that Obama’s approach to reducing our global warming emissions “largely ignores the low-hanging fruit to slow the rate of global warming: reducing emissions of methane.” While there has long been a focus on carbon, scientists have developed a better understanding of methane’s significant role in climate change.

Bad shepherds” –> At Religion Dispatches, Patricia Miller reports that Pope Francis opened the Catholic church’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family with a condemnation of religious leaders who seek money and power and “lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move.” Conservatives within the church are looking to fight any changes in doctrine related to divorce, homosexuality, etc.

Street preacher –> With help from the ACLU, an Indiana woman is suing an Evangelical Christian highway patrol officer for aggressively proselytizing her during a routine traffic stop. Jill Disis reports for The Indiana Star. 

The horror –> An anti-immigrant group has unearthed a terrible “threat” to the nation: More Americans are becoming bilingual. Lynn Tramonte has the details at the America’s Voice blog.

Big money –> USA Today: “With Senate control in view, some GOP donors boost giving.” AND: the 92nd Street Y produced this short video with Leah McGrath Goodman, Newsweek’s finance editor, discussing the threat dark money poses to America’s democracy…

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