Morning Reads

Good morning! Hope you had a pleasant holiday weekend. Here are some of the stories we’re reading as we get caught up and ready to get back into the groove…

Better –> At least the front end of is working much better, according to HHS. In the LAT, Michael Hiltzik says there’s good reason to be hopeful about the relaunch.

Growing movement –> Following Black Friday protests last week, fast food workers seeking $15 per hour will stage one-day strikes in 100 cities this Thursday. Stephen Greenhouse reports for the NYT. ALSO: RJ Eskow writes at Campaign for America’s Future that the fight for a living wage may be creating a broader social movement. AND: Goldy reports for The Stranger that Seattle will be ground zero in the fight for $15 per hour this year, either through the legislature or at the ballot box. AND: U of M economist Arindrajit Dube on why it makes good economic sense to raise the wage floor.

Do-nothing Congress –> Paul Kane reports for the WaPo that the 113th Congress has only been capable of contrived crises and standoffs — it will go down in history as the least productive session.

Arizona kids left unprotected –> A scandal is brewing amid reports that Governor Jan Brewer’s hand-picked choice to head the state’s child protection agency ignored reports of abuse and neglect. Via: AP.

Talking-point down! –> New study shows that tighter regulations don’t kill jobs. Sean McElwee reports for Salon.

That’s one way to cut costs –> US Army was caught pirating $180 million in software, reports Brian Fung in the WaPo.

Poisoned fruits –> MoJo’s Tom Philpott looks at a study that found arsenic in all kinds of foods we like.

No permawar –> Robert Dreyfuss calls for blocking the US-Afghan security agreement in The Nation.

Time to play offense? –> Jeremy Bird, Obama’s 2012 field director, writes at TNR that fans of democracy should be pushing to use technologies that would make voting easier.

PM fight –> Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blasts Benjamin Netanyahu for trying to undermine the Iran deal; says Bibi “declared war” on the US gov, according to Raphael Ahren in the Times of Israel

Can’t have nice things –> At Salon, Alex Pareene argues that getting decent mass transit in the US is so tough because most politicians don’t actually know anyone who uses it.

Soft tissue –> Scientists claim they’ve found soft-tissue preserved from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, possibly containing DNA. This excites TPM’s Josh Marshall, and then a couple of paleontologists debate the discovery’s significance — here and here.

Scary clowns –> Guardian headline says it all: “Norfolk police warn of alarming clown epidemic.”

What else is going on? Let us know in the comments!

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