Good morning — and a happy Bastille Day to all our friends in France!
On this day in 1798, eight years after our Constitution was ratified, and just a few years after the French Revolution began, the Sedition Act became law, effectively suspending the First Amendment’s free speech protections by criminalizing criticism of the government.
Stat of the day: “about 2 percent” — share of Catholic clergy who are pedophiles, according to Pope Francis’ estimate.
Divestment –> The World Council of Churches, representing a half-billion Christians, passed a resolution urging its members to divest from fossil fuels. Emily Atkin has the details at ThinkProgress.
A “crisis” created by partisanship –> Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer explains that immigration courts are being overwhelmed by a modest spike in refugee children “in large part because of Republicans’ unwillingness to fund and staff them like other federal courts.”
Tough assignment –> Eric Schmitt and Michael Gordon report for The New York Times that “a classified military assessment of Iraq’s security forces concludes that many units are so deeply infiltrated by either Sunni extremist informants or Shiite personnel backed by Iran that any Americans assigned to advise Baghdad’s forces could face risks to their safety.”
“There’s No Sense in Prison” — at Truthout, Sarah Jaffe interviews Cecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who was just released after serving 58 days in jail for “assaulting” the NYPD officers she says brutalized her during a protest.
Dubious maps –> Paul Weber reports for the AP that the feds are taking a lead role pushing “allegations that Republicans intentionally discriminated against minorities when drawing new election maps” in Texas. (Via: The Houston Chronicle.) ALSO: On Friday, a Florida judge ruled that “the Florida legislature illegally drew the state’s congressional districts to primarily benefit the Republican party,” and ordered them redrawn.
“Enough is enough” –> The American Federation of Teachers is in open revolt against the Obama administration’s education policies, and has called for Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s resignation. Allie Grasgreen reports for Politico.
Where their bread is buttered –> Lisa Desjardins reports for CNN that “House Republicans, who fervently pound the podium against the deficit, didn’t blink Friday at passing a whopping $287 billion business tax cut measure with no effort to pay for or offset that amount.”
Scandinavia, USA –> At Slate, Leah Boustan, Hernan Winkler and Eric Zolt write about their research that shows that as inequality has risen, local communities have followed the Norwegian example and raised taxes on the middle class and the poor to pay for social services that benefit the middle class and the poor.
Dangerous ideology –> House Republicans passed an amendment to the energy bill last week that “requires the Department of Energy to assume that carbon pollution isn’t harmful and that climate change won’t cost a thing.” David Gutman has the story at the West Virginia Gazette.
Money not-so-well spent –> At Wall Street Cheatsheet, Meghan Foley reports that two studies have concluded that hundreds of millions of dollars spent by conservative advocacy groups on ads attacking Obamacare had very little impact on public opinion.
Is the tea party a religious movement? –> At The Daily Beast, Jack Schwartz argues that politics alone “can’t explain” the tea partiers’ belief system.
Post-racial –> Two high-ranking police officers in Florida lost their jobs after an FBI investigation revealed that they were members of the Ku Klux Klan. The two deny the charge. Another officer from the same department resigned five years ago after admitting he was a local Klan leader.
Swimming with the fishes –> But in a good way — here’s a cool video of a couple of graduate students from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego swimming with a huge school of anchovies.