Morning Reads

Good morning — and happy Lyndon Baines Johnson Day to all our friends down in Texas!

Mission creep –> Helene Cooper and Mark Landler report for the NYT that the US “has begun to mobilize a broad coalition of allies behind potential American military action in Syria and is moving toward expanded airstrikes in northern Iraq.” AND: AFP reports that the US is providing intelligence information to the Syrian regime through Russian and Iraqi intermediaries. US officials deny they’re aiding the Assad regime. ALSO: NBC profiles a seemingly normal young American who was killed fighting for the Islamic State in Syria this week. ALSO, TOO: The Islamic State is demanding millions in ransom for a 26-year-old American aid worker who was kidnapped a year ago.

Pause –> CNN obtained an unconfirmed audio recording that may have picked up Michael Brown’s shooting in the background. According to a forensic expert who analyzed the audio, six shots were fired, there was a pause, and then four more can be heard. AND: Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing: “Police claim to have no record of widely-reported arrests of journalists in Ferguson, Missouri.”

Another questionable shooting –> An attorney for the family of a young black man killed by police in an Ohio Wal-mart while handling a BB gun he’d purchased at the store says that surveillance video of the shooting doesn’t line up with officers’ accounts of the incident. A bystander also died after suffering from an “unspecified medical emergency” during the shooting. Travis Gettys has more at The Raw Story.

Too hot to play outside –> A group of scientists who study the impact of climate change on tourism say that Qatar will be dangerously hot for spectators during the 2022 World Cup. Karen Kaplan reports for the LAT. ALSO: The upcoming IPCC report, a draft of which several media outlets obtained this week, is nothing short of terrifying.

Upside –> A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states legalizing medical marijuana have seen a significant decrease in deaths from the abuse of prescription painkillers. Sam Collins has more detail at ThinkProgress.

Poor, victimized banks –> Four people charged with fraudulently obtaining mortgages were acquitted in California after defense lawyers successfully argued that a large share of the mortgage industry had been based on “liar loans” that the banks (the supposed victims of the “fraud”) knew to contain false information. Former banking regulator — and Moyers & Company guest — William K. Black was a key witness for the defense. Denny Walsh has more details at the Sac Bee.

For naught –> After seven weeks of fighting, a new, open-ended ceasefire appears to be holding in Gaza. Thousands of people have been killed and an enormous amount of infrastructure destroyed, but nothing else has changed: Hamas remains in control of the territory and retains its remaining military capacity, and the seven-year-old blockade hasn’t been eased. Peter Enav and Ibrahim Barzak look at the aftermath for the AP.

You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners” –> At TNR, Jessica Schulberg writes that “in the twelve years that it has been in operation, Gitmo has become notoriously linked to torture, indefinite detention, and government secrecy.” She adds that convicted war criminals get better treatment at The Hague.

Conflict of interest –> The Los Angeles Unified School District suspended its contract with Apple to supply students with iPads amid charges that “LAUSD officials had conflicts of interest with Apple and Pearson,” the company that supplied the educational materials contained on the tablets.

We had even bought a coffin and paid a deposit for the funeral” –> Like something out of a cheesy B movie, a Brazilian man who had been pronounced dead of a heart attack was discovered wriggling around in a body bag in a hospital morgue by family members. Via: HuffPo.

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