Morning Reads

Good morning! (Sorry it’s Monday.) Ninety-eight years ago today, the British and French finalized the Sykes-Picot agreement, which carved up the Middle East into two zones of influence. The pact negated T.E. Lawrence’s promise of an Arab homeland, and ignited a firestorm of controversy when it was revealed to the public.

Sixty years later –> Saturday marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark civil rights ruling that desegregated American schools. Max Marchitello writes at ThinkProgress that our educational system continues to deprive people of color the opportunities that they need. ALSO: At HuffPo, Diane Ravitch argues that today’s charter movement threatens to once again create two very different school systems.

“An attempt to muddy the climate change waters” –> Michael Mann dissects the latest dishonest claim made by climate change deniers: that a journal’s refusal to publish a sloppy study after reviewers found some errors shows that scientists are “McCarthyites.” ALSO: The Guardian’s Nafeez Ahmed reports that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has been largely responsible for advancing this narrative. Ahmed writes: “As usual, it’s Big Oil that’s set to benefit, not the public.”

“America’s demented welfare mentality” –> At Salon, Matt Bruenig looks at new research that finds that our social safety net does almost nothing for the neediest, with most benefits going to the working poor and concludes that if we stopped giving handouts to the rich we could do a lot better.

The origins of tea party wrongness –> At TAP, Cass Sunstein looks at how one contrarian historian’s work “elaborated the view that our Constitution is libertarian, in the sense that it sharply restricts the power of the national government.” ALSO: Nicholas Confessore recalls in the NYT how David Koch’s “quixotic” 1980 campaign for vice president gave birth to the Koch brothers’ political network.

Canadian exceptionalism –> Kat Long has a fascinating piece at Slate about how Canadian PM Stephen Harper is capitalizing on nostalgia for a long-lost mission to discover the Northwest Passage to push for Canadian control of the Arctic now that climate change is opening up its riches to the world.

No apologies –> EJ Dionne writes that Elizabeth Warren is ushering in an unapologetic brand of liberalism. “Where others equivocate, she fights back with common sense.”

The Republican war on workers’ rights –> Corey Robin writes about it at The Washington Post.

Graduation time –> At TNR, Alice Robb looks at empirical research showing that most commencement speeches are bland and formulaic. BUT: Vox’s German Lopez offers the 21 greatest graduation speeches of the last 50 years.

Will the Next Labor Movement Come from the South? –> Amy B. Dean asks that question in an interview with Saket Soni, director of the National Guestworker Alliance, at Truthout.

Speaking of which –> While Democrats face a tough environment approaching the midterms, Eleanor Clift reports for The Daily Beast that big, early ad spending by Harry Reid’s Super PAC has boosted the stature of several vulnerable Dems in the South.

“Fabulously frivolous” –> An eccentric with a long list of grievances has filed a lawsuit against almost everyone for all the money in the world. Rich Calder reports for the NY Post.

Nameless giant –> Scientists have uncovered what they believe to be the biggest dinosaur that ever walked the planet. It was 130 feet long and stood 65 feet tall, but it hasn’t yet been named. While it was as big as Godzilla, fortunately for other critters at the time, the Argentinosaurus-like dinosaur was an herbivore. Via: BBC.

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