Good morning — and happy Friday! On this date in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded his nemesis Alexander Hamilton during a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Duels were not uncommon, but fatalities were rare, and the public was outraged that Burr had killed such a prominent American.
Stat of the day: 9.5 million — number of Americans who gained insurance coverage during the last ACA enrollment period, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund.
Booted –> Last week we told you about the intense controversy in Germany following the discovery of an alleged double agent who gave US officials details of that country’s probe into NSA snooping. Today, Greg Miller and Stephanie Kirchner report for WaPo that “the German government ordered the CIA’s top officer in Berlin to leave the country Thursday in an extraordinary escalation of a conflict between the two allies over US espionage.”
Bloodshed –> The Guardian’s Orlando Crowcroft reports that 100 people, most of them noncombatants, have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza. AND: Obama has offered to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, according to Michael Wilner of the Jerusalem Post, but Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu rejected the proposal out-of-hand. ALSO: At TAP, Gershom Gorenberg offers an emotional report from the mourning tent for the Palestinian teenager slain by extremists last week. AND: Noam Sheizaf at 972 Mag: “Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city.”
Counterpunch –> Months after Tennessee officials’ threats helped defeat the United Auto Workers’ campaign to organize workers at a VW plant in Chattanooga, the union and the automaker agreed to establish a works council and a local union at the plant. The union won’t be officially recognized until a majority of the plant’s workers choose to join. Conservative union-busters are irate, and promise to retaliate. G. Chambers Williams III has the story for The Tennessean.
“The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers” –> Robin McKie reports for The Guardian that Miami is experiencing a building boom in low-lying areas that will sink beneath sea levels in the not-too-distant future.
“Hysterical” –> Kurdish officials in Iraq said that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has “become hysterical,” and called for his resignation, according to AFP’s Prashant Rao. AND: Yuka Tachibana offers a look at life in Mosul under the rule of The Islamic State for NBC News.
Out of sight, out of mind –> According to Pew, the “number of full-time newspaper statehouse reporters has fallen 35 percent since 2003.”
Inhumane –> TNR’s Danny Vinik points out that the murder rate in Honduras is six times that of Chicago, and asks, “how can we send children back to that?”
Ignoring a growing terrorism threat –> A new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center concludes that the standoff between the BLM and anti-government gunmen at the Bundy Ranch was carefully coordinated in advance by militia groups. The SPLC warns of increasing danger from a militarized movement that’s largely being ignored by government officials. Travis Gettys has more at The Raw Story.
War crimes? –> Apparently, if you were picked up and held at Guantanamo Bay for ten years without ever being charged with a crime, the US military won’t return your valuables. You’re released with little more than the clothes on your back. Jason Leopold writes for Vice that this policy, rather than the extreme interrogations most people would consider torture, represents a clear war crime — “pillage.”
Dumb journalism –> Tom Kludt at TPM: “Pundits collectively lose it over a quote Obama didn’t even say.”
The final frontier –> Science Guy Bill Nye is very excited about the announced 2016 launch date for “a tiny spacecraft designed to sail by the power of the sun.” (Agence France-Presse via The Raw Story.)