Morning Reads

Good morning! It’s Work Like a Dog Day, but that doesn’t mean you need to put in extra hours — it’s a day to honor the dogs that work all kinds of tough jobs for humans. 

Can’t drink the water –> Ohio has declared a state of emergency as 400,000 residents of Toledo are without drinking water for a third straight day after toxic chemicals were discovered in a local water plant. Nolan Feeney has the details for TIME.

Now they know how Angela Merkel felt –> Der Spiegel reports that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on John Kerry as he was attempting to broker a Mideast peace deal. ALSO: Glenn Greenwald reports for The Intercept that, “over the last decade, the NSA has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU; also known as Unit 8200), including data used to monitor and target Palestinians.” AND: Steven Erlanger and Fares Akram report for The New York Times that the US State Department condemned what it called Israel’s “disgraceful shelling” of a UN school that was being used as a shelter on Sunday, killing 10 Palestinians. It was the seventh time a UN “safe haven” has been hit during the fighting. They also report that Israel “seemed to be trying to de-escalate the war without negotiating with Hamas” by pulling out a number of ground troops over the weekend.

ALEC is coming to a town hall near you –> Candice Bernd reports for Truthout that at ALEC’s annual meeting in Dallas, the group launched its new arm, the American City County Exchange (ACCE), to influence local lawmakers.

Back to the drawing board –> After a ruling that congressional districts had been gerrymandered to give Republicans a partisan advantage, a Florida judge ordered the state legislature to redraw the lines. Gary Fineout reports for the AP (via: Talking Points Memo).

So much for that –> An investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee quietly absolved the administration of any wrong-doing in the BENGHAZI!! attacks — and found that officials had not intentionally misled the public about what had happened. Carolyn Lochhead reports for the SF Gate.

Not without a fight –> Business groups are “vowing to fight” Obama’s executive orders requiring federal contractors to disclose labor law violations and appoint compliance advisors, according to The Hill’s Benjamin Goad.

The executive branch spends a lot of time not enforcing laws” –> At The New Republic, Eric Posner explains that if Obama decides to limit deportations of some categories of undocumented immigrants, as he is reportedly considering, it would be consistent with the executive branch’s powers under all previous presidents. ALSO: Alexander Bolton writes for The Hill that CNN’s Candy Crowley called out Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his oft-repeated but “wildly inflated” immigrant crime statistics.

Coming out” –> The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool writes about the stigma faced by American atheists — and why some are urging other nonbelievers to publicly “come out” in order to normalize atheism.

The Islamic State –> The Washington Post’s Terrence McCoy reports that The Islamic State, which has seen a surge “in wealth, manpower and resources in recent weeks,” took two more Iraqi towns over the weekend — and is exacerbating an already severe refugee crisis.

Not as exciting as early reports suggested –> Thomas Sumner reports for Science News that “methane [gas], not an alien spacecraft crash, is probably responsible for the 30-meter-wide crater that suddenly appeared in Siberia in mid-July.” Oh well.

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