Morning Reads

Good morning! Seventy-nine years ago today, FDR signed the Social Security Act into law. Studies suggest that if the program didn’t exist, today’s elderly poverty rate would be around 40 percentage points higher.

Success, for now –> The Pentagon says that by late Wednesday, US “airstrikes and Kurdish fighters had broken the Islamic militants’ siege of Mount Sinjar, allowing thousands of the Yazidis trapped there to escape.” Helene Cooper and Michael Shear report for the NYT.

Police state –> Last night, all eyes were on Ferguson, Missouri, where heavily armed SWAT teams cut off protesters and leveled their weapons at them. Journalists, a St. Louis alderman and at least one state lawmaker were arrested. HuffPo has a roundup, with pics. AND: Police refuse to release the name of the officer responsible for the death of Michael Brown, but the ACLU is using Missouri’s sunshine law to try to get the information. ALSO: At NPR, Monica Potts looks at what modern policing looks like from the perspective of someone who once investigated police misconduct. MEANWHILE: The family of an unarmed, mentally handicapped black man who was killed in a police shooting in Los Angeles say he was laying helplessly on the ground at the time of the shooting. Matt Ferner reports for HuffPo.

Create your own reality –> Earlier in the year, the RNC was creating fake campaign websites that looked like they belonged to their Democratic opponents. Now, they’re creating fake local news websites to feed campaign talking points to people who Google search a candidate’s name. Shane Goldmacher reports for National Journal.

Rift –> Marissa Newman reports for The Times of Israel that “the US-Israeli diplomatic relationship has reached new lows, with the White House and State Department last month tightening the reins on arms transfers to Israel.” ALSO: At Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner writes about growing polarization in the American Jewish community over Israel’s strikes on Gaza. AND: James North and Phil Weiss report for Mondoweiss that Israeli claims that Hamas had dug tunnels between Gaza and kindergartens in Israel, which the American media reported as fact, appear to have been war propaganda.

Drowning cities –> Salon’s Lindsay Abrams reports that Detroit is underwater, and argues that as a result of global warming, this kind of extreme weather event is becoming the new normal.

Skewing history –> Conservative groups are up in arms over the College Board’s AP history exam, which they say paints American history in a negative light. Scholars say it’s accurate. Caitlin MacNeal reports for TPM.

Not-so-libertarian moment –> NYMag’s Jonathan Chait charges that a recent NYT cover story on the supposed rise of libertarianism is based on some dodgy polling and credulous reporting. AND: Ed Kilgore writes that “in the emerging ideological enterprise of ‘constitutional conservatism,’ theocrats are the senior partners, just as they have largely been in the Tea Party Movement, even though libertarians often get more attention.”

Miracle carcinogen product –> Katy Daigle at TPM: “Industry Execs Push Great New Product for India’s Poor: Asbestos.”

Riding the backlash –> Matea Gold reports for WaPo that North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, a vulnerable Democrat, is running against the hard-right turn her state’s legislature has taken — and the backlash that it’s provoked.

Nutcases” –> Asked what the biggest obstacle to addressing climate change is today, former president Jimmy Carter replied: “some nutcases in our country that don’t believe in global warming.” Laura Barron-Lopez reports for The Hill.

Correction –> Yesterday we told you about the Florida man charged with murder after asking Siri where he could dump the body. The story was widely reported, but police officials say it was also totally wrong. We regret passing it along.

Send him to Congress next –> According to a local CBS station in Minnesota, “voters in Cormorant elected a dog named Duke” to be their next mayor “by a landslide.”

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