Morning Reads

Good morning! And L’Shana Tova — Happy New Year — to our Jewish friends!

On September 25, 1929, pioneering airman Jimmy Doolittle, who would go on to lead the famed “Doolittle Raid” on Japan during World War II, proved his theory that instrument-only flight was possible by taking off, navigating and landing a plane while completely blind.

Several stories of police violence this morning…

  • VOX’s Dara Lind reports that surveillance video from an Ohio Wal-Mart appears to show that David Crawford, the black man killed by police while talking on the phone, dropped the BB gun he had been holding before officers shot him UPDATE: VOX corrected their article after publication — Crawford was shot before dropping the BB gun, but wasn’t aiming it at anyone as the police department had claimed. Despite the video, the AP reports that “a special grand jury has declined to indict either police officer involved in the fatal shooting,” and now the Justice Department is opening its own investigation.
  • John Monk reports for South Carolina’s The State that the SC trooper “who stopped a man for a seat belt violation outside Columbia and then shot him – apparently without provocation – was arrested Wednesday and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.” Dashcam video shows that the officer ordered the man out of his car, asked to see his license, and then opened fire when the man turned to retrieve it. The victim is black; the trooper is white.
  • An unarmed 14-year-old African-American teen was shot and killed by a Terrebonne Parish deputy Tuesday night in Houma, Louisiana. The boy was among several who were hanging out in an abandoned building when the incident occurred. According to Breanna Edwards at The Root, the boy’s family says he was shot four times in the back.
  • In Ferguson, a memorial for Michael Brown was incinerated in a mysterious fire early Tuesday morning. Police were videotaped watching it burn, according to WaPo’s Mark Berman. The incident resulted in a fresh round of protests on Tuesday night, and Berman’s colleague, Wesley Lowery reported that “some police in Ferguson last night wore ‘I am Darren Wilson’ bracelets while policing protest.”

War –> According to wire reports collected by Ha’aretz, the US “was joined by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in striking modular oil refineries in eastern Syria on Wednesday, in an effort to choke off Islamic State finance.” AND: The Telegraph reports that Saudi prince Khaled bin Salman and the UAE’s first female pilot took part in the strikes. ALSO: Tim Shorrock at Salon: Who profits from our new war? Inside NSA and private contractors’ secret plans.”

A defeat for Walker and conservatives” –> A federal appeals court overturned a lower court’s ruling that blocked the “John Doe” investigation of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and over two dozen conservative groups for alleged campaign finance violations. Scott Bauer has the details at TPM.

An infuriating new cause” –> David Boise, who argued for Gore in Bush v. Gore and later battled California’s Proposition 8, “is representing former AIG CEO Maurice ‘Hank’ Greenberg” in a lawsuit “alleging that the federal government’s bailout of AIG in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis represented an illegal taking from AIG’s shareholders,” according to Alec MacGillis at TNR. MacGillis says that even if the government wins the case, the litigation is already costing taxpayers a fortune.

Middle-class squeeze –> The Center for American Progress released a report on Wednesday detailing the continuing economic pain being felt by households in the middle of the pack, as rising costs overcome stagnant wages.

LOL? –> The Washington Examiner’s Byron York, who has good sources within Republican circles, writes that Mitt Romney is seriously considering another run in 2016.

Tale of two Obamacares –> At VOX, Ezra Klein explains that while the Affordable Care Act is portrayed in the conservative media as something akin to a giant meteor striking the US, the insurance reforms are working pretty well at this point.

Water vapor and clear skies –> NASA announced a major discovery yesterday: A Neptune-sized planet outside our solar system that features water vapor and a thin atmosphere that will allow the agency the visibility for further study. It is not, however, in the “Goldilocks zone” — neither too close nor too far from the nearest star — where scientists believe extraterrestrial life is most likely to exist. Sarah Gray has more details at Salon.

How to talk occupation at a Rosh Hashanah dinner and make it out alive” –> Practical tips for gathering with family to celebrate the new year from Noam Sheizaf at 972 Mag.

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