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.

Last night’s GOP debates –> Well, that happenedand thatand that… (respectively, from Politico, Mother Jones and CNN Politics)

Brian Beutler at The New Republic’s analysis of the evening is headlined, “The Republican Hunger Games Have Only Just Begun,” and he writes, “… It seemed to reveal something that should alarm Republicans: In addition to the fact that they have no obvious candidate to consolidate behind, the fractured field is leaving each favored contender vulnerable to other dark horses who are happy to maul and obstruct them.” The Nation’s John Nichols thought Rand Paul had a good night: “[He] distinguished himself with coherent questioning of mass incarceration, calls for criminal-justice reform, and aggressive referencing of the injustices that extend from a failed drug war.”

And the team at The Atlantic note, “What [viewers] didn’t learn was a great deal about policy. That was a result of a couple, related problems. First, the rules of the debate allowed anyone who was mentioned by a rival to offer a rebuttal. But that often just led to a sideswipe at a third rival, producing a daisy chain of rebuttals, as the topic of conversation drifted farther and farther away from the original question and toward a series of recriminations already familiar from the campaign trail. Second, and relatedly, the moderators allowed themselves to be rolled over by the candidates over and over—the inmates taking over the asylum, perhaps.”

Indecent behavior –> At InsideClimate News, Neela Banerjee, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer report that back in in July 1977, oil executives at the Exxon Corporation were warned that “carbon dioxide from the world’s use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity,” The petrochemical giant “assembled a brain trust that would spend more than a decade deepening the company’s understanding of an environmental problem that posed an existential threat to the oil business.

“Then, toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon curtailed its carbon dioxide research. In the decades that followed, Exxon worked instead at the forefront of climate denial. It put its muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed. It lobbied to block federal and international action to control greenhouse gas emissions. It helped to erect a vast edifice of misinformation that stands to this day.” MORE from the public television investigative series Frontline, which has been in partnership with InsideClimate News.

“I’m embarrassed for our country” –> Jon Stewart was on Capitol Hill yesterday buttonholing reluctant legislators to renew the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that takes care of the first responders who showed up within minutes of the 2001 attacks. “It starts expiring next month,” The Huffington Post’s Michael McAuliff and Peter James Callahan report, “and lawmakers have yet to begin considering the new legislation that could make the aid permanent… The former Daily Show host portrayed the impending lapse as shameful, and apologized on behalf of the country to the more than 100 responders gathered on the grass outside the Capitol…

“‘Nobody had to lobby you to rush to those towers on that day,’ he said. ‘I am sorry, and I apologize.'”

Also embarrassing –> Ahmed Mohamed is a Muslim ninth grader in Irving, Texas, and a smart kid. He built an electronic clock and took it to school. His English teacher decided it looked like a bomb. The police arrived and questioned Ahmed, then put him in handcuffs and took him to a juvenile detention center. Outrage ensued. Now Mark Zuckerberg wants to meet him and he has an invitation from President Obama to the White House. has a whole string of updates on how this story unfurled.

Naming names –> The Washington Post’s Matea Gold has an interesting story on the drive in California to get on next year’s ballot an amendment to reveal secret campaign donors: “Dubbed the Voter’s Right to Know Act, the proposed amendment would enshrine in the state Constitution the right to campaign finance disclosure — making California the first state to put it on par with the rights to speech and privacy, among other fundamental guarantees. The measure also would require political ads to display their top ‘true donors’ and overhaul the state campaign finance disclosure database to make it easier to track special interests.

Must see –> Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s video, “Why We Must Fight the Attack on Planned Parenthood.”

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