Morning Reads

Happy Friday — and a happy 75th birthday to Carl Yastrzemski!

Eighteen years ago today, Bill Clinton signed the 1996 welfare reforms into law. Provisions turned responsibility for setting the rules of the program — including eligibility requirements — over to the states. As University of Minnesota sociologist Joe Soss explained to BillMoyers.com in May, it created a “racially biased system where the toughness of the rules you confronted really depended on your racial characteristics.”

Stat of the day: 191,369 — the number of people who have been killed in the Syrian civil war, according to the United Nations.

Invasion” –> That’s how Ukrainian authorities described the entry of that Russian “aid convoy” into Eastern Ukraine “without the consent of the Ukrainian government and unaccompanied by Red Cross escorts, as had been earlier agreed.” Andrew Roth and David Herszenhorn report for the NYT.

Illegal after all –> The GAO concluded that “the Pentagon broke the law by transferring five Taliban commanders from the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without notifying Congress 30 days in advance” in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to Politico. The administration contends that in certain circumstances, the notification requirements Congress placed on the release of Gitmo detainees violates the separation of powers.

Trial of the century? –> For entertainment value alone, it has to be former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption trial. WaPo’s Rosalind Helderman, Matt Zapotosky and Steve Hendrix have highlights of McDonnell’s second day on the stand.

Unconstitutional” –> On Thursday, a North Carolina judge struck down a state voucher program that gave tax dollars to families to enroll their children in private or religious schools, ruling that the private institutions aren’t adequately regulated to assure a quality education.

How not to quell a riot” –> An editorial in The Economist argues that in terms of managing tensions, you would be hard-pressed to come up with a single thing police in Ferguson didn’t do wrong. AND: At TNR, Tracey Meares reports that Ferguson’s schools “are just as troubling as its police force,” and argues that the town won’t heal unless they’re fixed.

Related –> Tim Mak reports for The Daily Beast that the “SWAT Lobby” is “pressing Capitol Hill to not cut off the supply of armored vehicles, body armor and other military equipment to the nation’s cops.”

End it” –> At TAP, Gershom Gorenberg writes that it’s time for the international community to to stop “managing” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and do whatever it takes to resolve it once and for all.

Strange bedfellows –> At Grist, Ben Adler reports that an Aspen ski resort and William Koch are teaming up to develop new procedures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a Colorado coal mine.

Look at the numbers” –> At NYT, Princeton scholar Tali Mendelberg and Bennett Butler argue, “A true measure of a president’s priorities lies hidden in plain sight in his budget proposals.” They found that when it comes to aid for the poor — food, housing, health care and education — Obama at least “attempted to deliver far more than his counterparts.”

La homofobia –> Fiona Govan reports for The Telegraph that “a Spanish senator from the ruling conservative party is facing calls to resign after she blamed Spain’s national debt on ‘subsidies offered to homosexuals.’”

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