Morning Reads

Good morning — and a happy 57th birthday to Martin Luther King, III! 

On this date in 1983, a truck bomb detonated outside a barracks in Beirut, killing 241 US Marines. No significant American retaliation followed the attacks, and Ronald Reagan began pulling troops out of Beirut four months later. The tragic incident wasn’t politicized, and no Benghazi-like conspiracy theories followed.

Details still murky –> It’s still unclear whether a gunman shot dead by Ottawa police carried out yesterday’s apparent terror attacks alone, or if there are other shooters at large. One Canadian soldier was killed outside the Parliament.  The BBC has a timeline of events. AND: HuffPo Canada runs down what we know about the alleged shooter, 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had a history of drug-related offenses and may have been mentally ill. AND: In the wake of the shootings, Ottawa’s police chief sent a letter to various communities of faith, including Muslims, urging them to get in touch if they feel threatened. ALSO: At MoJo, James West contrasts the CBC‘s “calm, credible breaking news reporting” with the hair-on-fire sensationalism and racy, scare graphics typical of US cable news.

Leaky –> According to The Washington Post, unnamed sources say the grand jury investigating the police shooting of Michael Brown heard evidence that appears to support Officer Darren Wilson’s version of events. BUT: Matt Pearce reports for the LAT that the Justice Department has condemned the leaks, saying that they’re an attempt to shape public opinion before a decision on whether to indict Wilson is announced.

Justice –> A jury convicted four former Blackwater mercenaries on Wednesday for wantonly firing on Iraqi civilians in the 2007 Nisur Square massacre in Baghdad. Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards have the details at Reuters. 

Judges dial for dollars –> At National Journal, James Oliphant writes, “Thirty-nine states elect some portion of their Appellate Court or high-level trial judges,” and warns: “as judicial candidates increasingly resemble their office-seeking cousins, critics are gravely concerned that the judiciary is being cheapened, that public trust is eroding the same way it has with other branches of government.”

Ground forces –> Karen DeYoung reports for The Independent that “the United States and Iraq are drawing up a campaign plan for offensive operations by Iraqi ground forces to gradually reclaim towns and cities that have been occupied by Isis.” AND: Isabel Coles and Dasha Afanasieva report for Reuters that Kurdish Peshmerga fighters from Iraq will support Kurdish defense forces in Syria. The two groups are putting aside their differences to confront a common enemy. 

What’s the matter with Kansas conservatives? –> AlterNet’s Steve Rosenfeld spent several weeks exploring the political terrain in the Sunflower State, and returned with a #longread about how social issues are actually putting the state’s conservatives back on their heels.

Not so certain –> The Nation’s George Zornick flags an interview Elizabeth Warren gave to People Magazine in which for the first time the senator appeared to leave the door open to a 2016 run.

Christie gives away the game –> TNR’s Brian Beutler says NJ Gov. Chris Christie revealed a bit too much when he told a crowd at a Chamber of Commerce event that Republicans needed to win state houses so they can control “the voting mechanism” in those states.

Big issue –> At Ecowatch, Anastasia Pantsios reports that we’re seeing “unprecedented” midterm campaign spending on both sides of the debate over energy and the environment — issues that used to be on the back burner. AND: We told you last week that the DSCC were pulling dollars out of Kentucky’s senate race. But Alexander Bolton and Jessica Taylor report for The Hill that internal polls show the race has tightened and Democrats are diving back into the race with a new ad buy.

Someone’s excited about Halloween –> We’re not breaking our no-cat-video rule, but on a day full of bad news, here’s a porcupine named Teddy Bear experiencing the ecstasy of fresh pumpkins…. (Via Boing Boing)

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