Good morning — and happy Friday!
The Woodstock Music Festival kicked off in Bethel, New York, 45 years ago today. Promoters had planned on holding the concert in nearby Woodstock, but town officials, fearing they’d be overrun by hippies, denied permission for the event at the last minute. (They missed an epic show, and Woodstock has been overrun by hippies ever since.) Richie Havens opened the festival, and by the time it closed an estimated 400,000 people had attended. Today, millions of Americans of a certain age swear that they caught the show.
Stat of the day: 42 percent — the share of African-Americans who think relations with the police have worsened over the past 20 years, according to a HuffPo/YouGov poll. Only 12 percent believe they have improved over that period.
Quiet night in Ferguson –> Police took off the battle gear in Ferguson, Missouri, last night — a new commander, Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, made a point of walking with the protesters wearing a normal patrol uniform — and everything was peaceful AND: Police say the officer involved was Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran with no disciplinary actions on his record. ALSO: Check out our essential reader on Ferguson and the militarization of American police.
Related –> Rand Paul calls for cops to be demilitarized in Time Magazine. AND: Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat, is introducing legislation to end a program that funnels surplus military equipment to domestic police departments. Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman report for Politico. ALSO: At The Daily Beast, Nick Gillespie makes the case for requiring that all police be outfitted with personal body-cameras.
Giving up –> Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Thursday that he would not challenge the selection of a successor. AJA has the details.
Progress –> On Wednesday, the NYT ran a story about how difficult it is for baristas and other low-wage workers to deal with irregular schedules and last-minute call-ups. Jodi Cantor reports for the Times that Starbucks “announced changes to its worker scheduling policies on Thursday, in response to a New York Times article.”
Convoy –> A convoy of Russian “aid” vehicles is awaiting inspection before entering Ukrainian territory. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Russian military vehicles were seen crossing into Ukrainian territory held by Moscow-backed separatists. AND: Courtney Weaver and Christian Oliver report for FT that the EU is concerned that the controversial aid convoy is “a diversion while Russian trucks and arms crossed the border elsewhere.”
“Nothing in the news business sells faster than fear” –> AlterNet’s CJ Werleman writes that “Fox News is really freaked out by atheists.”
Fracking –> At MoJo, Chris Mooney talks to Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea about the growing scientific case against hydraulic fracturing.
Quasi-slavery –> At TNR, Josh Kovensky notes that America’s huge population of prisoners makes as little as 25 cents per hour of work they put in, and argues that they should be paid the minimum wage.
Delivering for someone –> Patricia Murphy writes at The Daily Beast that while “Tea Party-affiliated Super PACs keep losing elections, their grassroots fundraising keeps going up, up, up.”
Bloody trade –> Millie Kerr writes at PSMag that the only way to save the African elephant is to end the sale of all ivory.
A mess for the courts to sort out –> A small town in Colorado has taken the unusual step of suing all of its residents after an election got so messed up that nobody really knows who’s supposed to be running the place. Nancy Lofholm reports for The Denver Post.