Good morning! Be careful out there — it’s Friday the 13th.
Forty-three years ago today, The New York Times published the first in a series of excerpts from a classified Pentagon study of US involvement in Vietnam. The report, which had been leaked to The Times by Daniel Ellsberg, a DoD employee who’d grown disillusioned with the war, revealed that the US government had been lying to the public about both America’s goals in the conflict and its progress in achieving them. The Pentagon Papers, as they came to be called, would add momentum to an already robust antiwar movement.
Stat of the day: 937 percent — the inflation-adjusted rise in average CEO pay from 1978 to 2013, according to a new report from EPI.
What a mess –> Iran has deployed two battalions of its elite Quds Forces to assist the Iraqi government in combatting ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Howard Koplowitz has the details at The International Business Times. ALSO: Loveday Morris and Liz Sly report for WaPo that the Kurds have seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. ALSO, TOO: Dexter Filkins writes at The New Yorker that the rise of extremists in Iraq is, at least in part, “America’s legacy.” AND: At ThinkProgress, Hayes Brown and Adam Peck have a helpful and “terrifying” chart that shows the whole Middle East is turning into one extended war zone.
Giving it away –> Elon Musk announced on Thursday that his company, Tesla Motors, wouldn’t enforce the patents on any of its electric car technologies. Wired’s Jordan Golson writes that Musk sees letting others use the technology he’s developed as a way to further his goal of transitioning us away from gas-fueled vehicles.
“NRA-induced paralysis” –> Neil Macdonald writes for the CBC about the increasing paranoia among American gun activists.
Miles apart –> WaPo’s Aaron Blake looks at a new Pew report on American polarization that finds that our two major parties haven’t been this far apart on the issues in decades. AND: Jonathan Chait looks at the study and writes at NY Mag that conservatives now have zero tolerance for Republicans negotiating legislation with Democrats.
Out of sight –> Regulators charge that ExxonMobil “delayed crucial inspections, skewed risk data and ignored warning signs before its Pegasus oil pipeline ruptured in Arkansas last year.” The company is challenging a $2.7 million fine for the incident, and Elizabeth Douglas reports for InsideClimate News that the proceedings will be closed to the public.
Points for creativity –> Verizon’s lobbyists are telling lawmakers that Net neutrality is awful for blind, deaf and disabled Americans, according to MoJo’s Erika Eichelberger.
Not into that whole free speech thing –> The ACLU is suing the mayor, a former police chief and other officials in Peoria, Illinois, on behalf of a man who was arrested in April after he created a parody account of the mayor on Twitter “primarily to amuse his friends.” Kim Zetter reports for Wired.
“Every movement, no matter how small, requires rethinking” –> You may recall the story of TV reporter Miles O’Brien losing an arm after a freak accident on location earlier this year. Today he has a fascinating piece at NY Mag about the difficulties of adjusting to his new reality.
Terrible story –> A desperately poor mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail where she’d been sentenced to two days for failing to provide proof that she was unable to pay $2,000 in fines resulting from her kids’ truancy. Alan Pyke reports for ThinkProgress that the case illustrates “a much broader national phenomenon, with court costs and fees magnifying the statutory penalties for a variety of minor infractions such that the financial penalty snowballs into an unpayable debt for low-income people.”
Aftershocks from the Cantorquake –> Peter Beinart writes at The Atlantic that Eric Cantor’s loss on Tuesday reveals an “unprecedented crisis of authority in today’s GOP.” His colleague David Frum all but begs GOP leaders to establish some discipline. Politico’s Edward Isaac Dovere and Carrie Budoff Brown write that “giddy” Democrats are popping popcorn and just watching the whole “implosion” unfold. But Norm Ornstein warns in The NY Daily News that they won’t be so happy when they see how far to the right the GOP moves after this upset. And John Oliver says we shouldn’t shed a tear for Cantor, who’s now “going to go and make an absolute fortune basically doing the same thing with all the people he’s already been doing it with” as a lobbyist.
Signs of recovery –> For the first time, scientists have pieced together enough data to offer a portrait of the worldwide great white shark population over the past 200 years, and they were pleased to discover that the predator’s numbers appear to be recovering after a significant decline in the 1970s and 80s. Science Daily has more details.