Morning Reads

Good morning! Welcome to the (approximate) midpoint of summer. (For those in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re halfway through the winter!)

Forty-nine years ago today, the US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving LBJ carte blanche to rapidly expand US forces in Vietnam without a formal declaration of war. Only two US senators voted against it.

Stat of the day: 31 — the number of “credible” cases of voter impersonation fraud discovered in a comprehensive study covering one billion votes cast in the US, according to Loyola law prof Justin Levitt.

Red States v. Planet Earth –> Twelve states are asking the “DC Circuit Court of Appeals to effectively invalidate the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently-proposed regulations of carbon emissions from existing coal plants,” reports Emily Atkin for ThinkProgress.

A humanitarian crisis that could turn into a genocide” –> As many as 100,000 Yazidis, members of a religious minority in Iraq, are trapped in the Sinjar mountains, cut off and surrounded by Islamic State fighters. The US is considering a humanitarian airlift. At The New Yorker, George Packer tells the story of a friend who managed to escape.

Murder mystery –> Several senior Israeli defense and police officials have said that Hamas was not responsible for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens that became a casus belli of the recent Gaza conflict. Now the Israeli government says that it has captured the “mastermind” behind the kidnappings, who confessed that the mission had been funded by Hamas. But Sheera Frenkel reports for Buzzfeed that a lawyer for the detainee says he was “under heavy torture” when he made the admission. ALSO: At The Guardian, Giles Fraser interviews Gideon Levy, a prominent liberal columnist for Ha’aretz, and several other activists about the almost universal loathing — sometimes violently expressed — that most Israelis have toward the country’s peace movement.

Small victory –> In response to public outrage, Walgreens announced that it wouldn’t “invert” to another country to avoid paying US taxes. Roger Hickey has the details over at CAF.

The politics of health insurance –> Brianna Ehley notes in The Fiscal Times that the rate of uninsured is dropping the fastest “in states with hotly contested Senate races where Republicans have campaigned using a strict anti-Obamacare strategy.”

Hardworking moms –> At Salon, Sarah Jaffe looks at the real-world damage that the right’s cynical “welfare queen” narrative has done to low-income single mothers, especially women of color.

Weird politics –> Esquire’s Charles Pierce ponders how voters in Missouri could have been convinced that shielding abusive puppy mills from regulation was a good idea. Won’t somebody think of the puppies?

Sanctuary –> A Presbyterian church in Tucson, Arizona, is offering sanctuary to a young undocumented immigrant who is facing a deportation order despite having no criminal record and a family in the US. It will be the second time this year that the church has defied ICE agents and sheltered someone scheduled for deportation.

Mission accomplished –> North Carolina mega-donor Art Pope has successfully shifted the state’s political center far to the right and is now resigning his position as its budget director.

Monkey owns it” –> A curious crested black macaque monkey playing with a photographer’s equipment in Indonesia managed to capture some memorable images — including a “selfie” that went viral. The photographer claims the rights to the images, but Wikimedia says that the monkey took the picture, and because non-humans can’t hold copyrights it’s now in the public domain. This leads to an obvious question: If an infinite number of monkeys tapping away at an infinite number of typewriters were to create a work like Shakespeare’s, who would own the copyright?

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