Morning Reads

Good morning! This is World AIDS Day. The theme for 2014 is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.” Here are some ways you can take action.

On this date in 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, after refusing a bus driver’s order that she give up her seat for a white passenger. Parks is often portrayed as a weary seamstress who spontaneously decided that she had had enough with Jim Crow. In fact, she was a dedicated civil rights activist. The local chapter of the NAACP believed her inner strength made her well suited to see her case through at a time when opposing segregation in the South could come at a high price. Three days later, the Montgomery bus boycott was launched. 

Real torture, then the bureaucratic kind –> Matt Schrier is a 36-year-old freelance photographer who was captured by Syrian militants and held for months in captivity. He says that he faced “a second kind of nightmare” dealing with the FBI after his escape. Nancy A. Youssef reports for McClatchy DC.

Where do we go after Ferguson? –> Michael Eric Dyson writes in the NYT that “one’s culture, one’s experiences, one’s fears and fantasies” influence perceptions of incidents like the Michael Brown shooting, and cautions that we may be “doomed to watch the same sparks reignite, whenever and wherever injustice meets desperation.” AND: The police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy gun at a local playground when Cleveland police officers killed him, is causing outrage within the African-American community and beyond. Meg Wagner reports for the NY Daily News that surveillance footage of the shooting reveals that the police left Rice without medical attention for four minutes until an FBI agent arrived on the scene and administered first aid.

The fight continues –> Ned Resnikoff reports for Al Jazeera America that “fast food workers in at least 150 cities nationwide will walk off the job on Dec. 4, demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union.”

Gerrymandered –> Mathematicians at Duke University ran a series of simulations using North Carolina district maps that weren’t manipulated to give Republicans a partisan advantage. None of them produced results similar to the actual 2012 election, which gave Democrats only four of the state’s 13 House seats despite winning 51 percent of the popular vote. Robin Smith has the details at Duke Today.

Amnesty for the coal industry” –> An editorial in the Lexington Herald-Leader laments Kentucky’s lax regulation of the coal industry, and argues that the real cost of coal should include the injuries, illnesses and deaths suffered by miners and environmental damage from extraction.

Related –> The Hill’s Timothy Cama offers five serious threats to the EPA’s new rules regulating emissions from power plants.

Voodoo economics –> Jim Puzzanghera reports for the LAT that the new Republican congressional majority may change the way the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyses proposed legislation in a way that would bias their findings toward deeper tax cuts. AND: At AJA, David Cay Johnston writes that, “thanks to recent tax cuts in Kansas and tax hikes in California, we have real-world tests” in which conservative trickle-down economic theories don’t fare well. 

No 1992 replay? –> Veteran political oddsmaker Charlie Cook told Steve Rose of The Kansas City Star that he thinks there’s a high likelihood that neither Hillary Clinton nor Jeb Bush will head their respective parties’ tickets in 2016. UPDATE: Charlie Cook tweets: “Contrary to the Kansas City Star’s report, I did not, nor have [I] ever predicted that Clinton’s chances of running were 25-30% or even <60%.”

Rape culture –> At Salon, Emma Goldberg writes about her visit to Steubenville, Ohio, scene of a 2012 gang rape perpetrated by two of the community’s beloved football players. Goldberg says that little has changed in the town since the assault thrust the small town into the national spotlight.

Ancient tech –> Researchers say the Antikythera Mechanism — the world’s first computer, which was capable of predicting eclipses — dates back to 205 BCE, about a century earlier than previously believed. Via: UPI.

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