Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, as well as other news of the day, we’re pleased to publish this daily digest compiled by’s Michael Winship.

California, where’d you go?  –> Grist magazine’s Katie Herzog reports that not only is California dying of thirst, it’s sinking: “The cause, according to officials, is the rapid pumping of groundwater in response to the drought plaguing the state… There is hope that El Nino will bring some relief to the arid region this fall,” Herzog concludes, “but many scientists now predict that California and the Southwest will enter a period of ‘mega drought’ in the next 35 years.”

At Think Progress, Katie Valentine covers a new study that’s “the first to estimate just how much climate change [has] contributed to the drought. The study, published Thursday in Geophysical Research Letters, found that climate change can be blamed for between 8 to 27 percent of the drought conditions between 2012 and 2014 and between 5 to 18 percent in 2014… Climate change’s absolute contribution was ‘virtually identical’ between the two periods — meaning climate change has contributed a fairly steady amount to California’s drought over the last three years.” MORE on the study from Justin Gillis at The New York Times.

Jimmy Carter: “It’s in God’s hands” –> The former president held a press conference in Atlanta yesterday and announced that traces of the cancer first found in his liver have been discovered in his brain. At The Atlantic, James Fallows, who worked in the Carter White House, describes the media briefing as “an extraordinary display of human grace. And humor!” Recommended: Fallows writes that he finds it “amazing that so many things [Carter] did, and tried to do, stand up so well in the long run.” Exhibit A: Read Lawrence Wright’s Thirteen Days in September, his account of the Carter-brokered peace between Egypt and Israel at Camp David in 1978.

Snap elections in Greece –> Jon Henley in The Guardian: “Seven months after he was elected on a promise to overturn austerity, the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has announced that he is stepping down to pave the way for snap elections next month.” The debt-devastated Greeks are facing the crippling consequences to the latest European bailout, and Tsipras said last night on Greek TV that he feels “a moral obligation to place this deal in front of the people, to allow them to judge… both what I have achieved, and my mistakes.”

Henley continues: “The 41-year-old Greek leader is still popular with voters for having at least tried to stand up to the country’s creditors, and his leftwing Syriza party is likely to be returned to power in the imminent general election, which government officials told Greek media was most likely to take place on 20 September.”

Before Tsipras’ speech, Jon Queally at Common Dreams related some of the events leading to the prime minister’s decision and its ramifications.

“What in fact is the Iranian threat?” –> At TomDispatch, Noam Chomsky has written a comprehensive and studied defense of the Iran nuclear agreement that is must reading for the weekend.

Women agains ISIS –> You’ve read the reports about girls and women brutally abused by ISIS. Now see this BBC report on the Kurdish and Yazidi women fighting back.

The further adventures of Mike Huckabee –> Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly’s “Political Animal” blog writes of the increasingly desperate candidate and the search for campaign cash that took him to the Middle East: “Huck held a fundraiser for Americans living in West Bank settlements deemed illegal under international law. It was part of what sounds like a rather disastrous trip to Israel when the former Arkansas governor should have probably been at the Iowa State Fair.”

RIP –> The Rev. George M. Houser, “believed to be the last living member of the inaugural Freedom Ride — the volatile, sometimes violent bus trip through the South by a racially mixed group.”  That was in 1947. AND: Don’t miss Gene Demby’s conversations with black reporters about what it’s like reporting on black death at NPR’s excellent Code Switch blog. USA Today’s Yamiche Alcindor tells Demby: “It’s not beat fatigue” — when you’re just itching for something new — “so much as …emotional fatigue, because you’re really pouring yourself into these stories,” she said.

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