Morning Reads

Good morning — and a happy 71st to Paul McCartney! (Assuming he didn’t die in 1966.)

Thirty years ago today, Alan Berg, an outspoken liberal radio talker, was gunned down in Denver by a group of right-wing extremists led by a man named Bruce Pierce. The killing would inspire Oliver Stone and Eric Bogosian’s film, Talk Radio.

Stat of the day: 61 percent — share of Brazilians who told Pew that hosting the World Cup is a “bad thing because it takes money away from public services.”

Iraq –> BBC: ISIS fighters clashed with Iraqi troops in Baquba, less than 40 miles from Baghdad. There are reports that 44 prisoners were killed during a battle at a police station in the city. NPR: The militants have attacked Iraq’s largest oil refinery in Baiji. ALSO: At The National Memo, Henry Decker offers “Five Iraq ‘Experts’ (Who Are Always Wrong About Iraq).” AND: At WaPo, Katrina vanden Heuvel wonders why we’d care about the advice of those who helped destroy Iraqi society in the first place.

Bad day for conservative conspiracy theories –> US Special Forces operators, working with the FBI, captured the alleged mastermind of the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi. David Kirkpatrick reports for The New York Times that Ahmed Abu Khattala is “a local Islamist militant, with no known connections to international terrorist groups,” who, as Susan Rice suggested on the Sunday talk shows after the incident, “was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.” ALSO: Igor Volsky reports for ThinkProgress that conservatives who have long suggested that every news story was a distraction from Benghazi have suddenly decided that the capture of Khattala was a distraction from… their other pseudo-scandals. AND: Perhaps the only silver lining for Benghazi conspiracists is that according to Gallup, “fewer than one in five Americans say they are following the story ‘very closely.'”

Executive power does some good –> Neela Banerjee reports for the Los Angeles Times that Barack Obama “announced a series of measures Tuesday to protect parts of the world’s oceans, including the creation of a marine sanctuary that would close a large swath of the central Pacific to fishing and energy development.”

Disastrous irony –> While energy companies are “part of the problem of climate change, generating the lion’s share of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Fiona Harvey reports for The Guardian that a new report predicts that “they will also suffer as global warming picks up pace, as generators — from nuclear reactors to coal-fired power plants — feel the brunt of the weather changes.”

Paying criminals to be good –> Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy looks at an out-of-the-box experiment to reduce violent crime in Richmond, California, by offering stipends to the city’s most dangerous residents in order to stay out of trouble.

Plutocracy is bipartisan –> At Bloomberg, Richard Rubin writes that Bill and Hillary Clinton “are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of US households” to shield some of their assets from the estate tax.

Speaking of which –> Sabrina Joy Stevens writes at The American Prospect about the billionaires behind that huge lawsuit against teachers’ tenure in California.

Economic data released –> Neil Irwin at The Upshot: “The Economy May Be Improving. Worker Pay Isn’t.”

Who would have thunk it? –> The business community in Lake Ozark, Missouri, pushed for a ban on the open carry of firearms for fear that it would hurt tourism. “Turns out, people don’t find it particularly relaxing to be surrounded by strangers carrying guns,” writes Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress.

Right-wing terrorism barely makes news –> Dylan Scott reports for Talking Points Memo that Brent Douglas Cole, the man who allegedly shot a California Highway Patrol officer and a Bureau of Land Management Ranger on Saturday was an anti-government conspiracy theorist and member of the “sovereign citizen” movement.

Oy vey, y’all –> Mark Liebovich’s profile of Rick Perry opens with the Texas governor telling patrons at a Los Angeles delicatessen: “I’m more Jewish than you think I am.”

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