Morning Reads

Good morning! Happy Statehood Day to our friends in California, and happy Chrysanthemum Day to everyone in Japan!

Stat of the day: 65.1 percent — the likelihood of Republicans taking over the Senate in November, according to Nate Silver’s forecasting model.

Bad record to break –> Reuters reports that the World Meteorological Organization announced today that a surge in carbon dioxide resulted in atmospheric concentrations growing last year “at the fastest rate since reliable global records began.” “We are running out of time,” said the organization’s chief.

To the point of death” –> As the Senate prepares to release its report on CIA interrogations during the Bush era, Peter Foster reports for The Telegraph that “the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding.”

The perils of standing while Hispanic in the Bronx” –> The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf looks at a now-viral video showing a number of NYPD officers taking turns beating a young man who had the temerity to ask why he had been stopped and searched.

Fearmongering works –> At The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald notes that many Americans are now worried that there are ISIS “sleeper cells” in the US, and support for military action overseas has increased dramatically.

Someone is lying” –> Newly leaked video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer led the team to cancel his contract and the league to suspend him indefinitely. But Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky writes that the NFL’s latest public statements about the video don’t match up with what previously was reported. AND: In case you didn’t find the affair sufficiently appalling, Ashe Schow reports for The Washington Examiner that the New Jersey prosecutor who gave Rice an easy plea bargain “is now trying to throw the book at a young mother of two who tried to protect herself and her family from violence.”

Rebranding effort –> WaPo’s Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger report that Koch Industries “is adopting a more visible strategy to neutralize critics on the left and promote a warm, patriotic image of its multinational empire.”

Standing their ground –> Two activists who blocked a coal ship in Massachusetts defended themselves in court by claiming that their actions were “necessary in light of the imminent threat of climate change.” But the district attorney dropped the charges against them, telling the Boston Globe, “Because of my sympathy with their position, I was in a dilemma… I do believe they’re right, that we’re at a crisis point with climate change.”

Ideology over good governance –> In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a very modest program to expand health insurance coverage after Republicans succeeded in defeating his efforts to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. The GOP’s prize for their efforts: 175,000 more low-income Virginians without health care.

A great deal has changed in the past two years” –> At The New Yorker, William Finnegan looks behind the scenes at the fast-food strikes — “a new form of labor activism” that sees “dignity” as its primary objective.

Nastygram –> Harvard law prof Lawrence Lessig, the man behind the “super PAC to end all super PACs,” got a nasty email from the Scott Brown Senate campaign, accusing him of dishonesty for calling Brown a “lobbyist” when Brown isn’t registered as such. Lessig shot back with the ‘rose by any other name’ defense, noting that Brown was hired by a boutique lobbying firm to influence Congress. (Earlier this year, Lee Fang reported for The Nation that as few as 12 percent of people in the influence-peddling business are actually registered as lobbyists.)

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