Morning Reads

Good morning! Fifty-three years ago today, The London Observer published a front page article titled, “The Forgotten Prisoners.” The piece urged amnesty for political prisoners. Reprinted in newspapers around the world, it gave birth to a campaign which later would be institutionalized as Amnesty International.

Maya Angelou has died –> The memoirist and poet was 86. She spoke with Bill Moyers for his 1982 series, Creativity, about growing up in the Jim Crow South.

Americans have learned that it’s harder to end wars than it is to begin them” –> That was how Obama framed a plan to withdraw almost all troops from Afghanistan by 2016, Mark Landler reports for The New York Times. “This is how wars end in the 21st century,” the president said.

Blood money –> In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting, Peter Dreier and Jennifer Fiore call for divestment from gun manufacturers in The Nation. ALSO: At The Daily Beast, Cliff Schecter writes about how “gun nuts try to excuse” the Santa Barbara shootings — and why they’re all wrong. ALSO, TOO: In The New York Times, Weill Cornell Medical College Professor of Psychiatry throws cold water on the idea that we can prevent mass shootings by improving our mental health care system.

The GOP has a problem attacking the VA –> H.A. Goodman writes at HuffPo that just a few months ago, 41 out of 43 Republican senators filibustered a landmark bill that would have modernized and funded programs to support our veterans .

Origins of the religious right –> In a provocative #longread for Politico, Randall Ballmer argues that the religious right organized to defend school segregation, not to oppose abortion.

Did the Palestinians win the symbolism contest over Pope Francis’ visit? –> TAP’s Gershom Gorenberg thinks they did, but he isn’t sure that it matters much at the end of the day.

Michiganders are getting a raise –> The good news is that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign a bill raising the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 per hour over the next four years — and indexing it to inflation after that. The bad news is that the measure is widely perceived as a way of killing off a ballot initiative that would have raised the floor to $10.10 per hour over three years — and which wouldn’t have left tipped workers behind as the current legislation does. Gary Heinlein has the story for The Detroit News.

A rose by any other name –> A Yale study finds that people are much more concerned over “global warming” than they are about “climate change,” reports Joe Romm at ThinkProgress. ALSO: Desmogblog’s Anne Landman reports that a groundbreaking Colorado initiative that “would give cities and towns the right to regulate or ban outright any for-profit enterprise that threatens the environment or the health, safety or welfare of its citizens” has passed a crucial legal hurdle.

The appearance of corruption –> Brendan Fischer reports for PR Watch that the judge who tried to halt the dark money probe into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker “regularly attended all-expenses paid ‘judicial junkets’ funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other ideological and corporate interests.”

Wall Street has blood on its hands –> A new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Purdue University finds that the foreclosure crisis “significantly contributed to the increase in suicides” during the Great Recession. Ansel Hertz reports for The Stranger.

More to the story? –> Last week’s shootings at a Jewish museum in Brussels have been widely reported as an anti-Semitic attack, but Amir Oren, a tuned-in national security reporter for Ha’aretz, writes that it may actually have been a professional hit targeting two Israeli spies, or people believed to be spies.

Enjoy your day –> The National Zoo finally gave its Asian small-clawed otters an electronic keyboard. As you can see in the linked video, they’re pretty darned happy about the development.

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