Morning Reads

Good morning! The Civil War ended 149 years ago today. The carnage had claimed the lives of 620,000 troops on both sides. And 60 years ago, Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy charged that the CIA was chock-full of communists. But at that point in his career, he was widely seen as a grandstanding buffoon and few took this claim seriously.  

Big deal –> Neela Banerjee reports for the LAT that the EPA’s new power plant regulations will target a 30 percent reduction from 2005 levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Prisoner swap –> On Saturday, the US released five Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Army Private Bowe Bergdahl, the only American prisoner of war in Afghanistan. Matthew Rosenberg and Carlotta Gall report for the NYT that the exchange may spur additional negotiations. BUT: Nolan Feeney reports for Time that Republicans are furious, claiming that Obama didn’t give Congress notice of the transfers 30 days in advance as required by law.

Corrupt –> Two reports exposing match-fixing and payoffs to senior officials at FIFA, soccer’s governing body, have rocked the sport in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup. Terrence McCoy has the details at WaPo. 

“Downright foolishness” –> The NRA, fearing a “rising backlash,” excoriated open carry activists who think going into restaurants armed to the teeth is a good way to exercise their right to bear arms. Mark Follman reports for MoJo. 

Penny wise –> Curtis Tate at McClatchy: “GOP plans to pay for 1 year of highway funds with 10 years of postal service cuts.”

Could Facebook stealthily decide an election? –> Yes, and at TNR, Jonathan Zittrain looks at a recent experiment that showed exactly how it could be done.

“The extremes are becoming almost intolerable” –> Paul Buchheit offers a statistical portrait of the “paralysis of an unequal society.”

Act local –> Michelle Chen reports for The Nation that local governments are using their buying power to get rid of sweatshop labor.

On the chain gang –> Beth Schwartzapfel has a good #longread at TAP about America’s widespread use of prison labor — often for just pennies per hour.

Farewell to the king –> Juan Carlos, who was monarch during Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy, is abdicating the throne he’s occupied for 40 years. His son, Crown Prince Felipe, will be the new monarch. Ashifa Kassam reports for The Guardian that Carlos has had a series of health problems.

A little spooky — Scientists at the UC San Diego School of Medicine have selectively suppressed a memory in mice, “profoundly altering the animals’ reaction to past events,” and then reactivated it. Via: Science Daily. 

Didn’t Jesus have a beard? –> Scott Kaufman at The Raw Story: “Professor fired from Christian university after image of his epic beard appears on beer can.”

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