Morning Reads

Good morning! We wish a very silly 75th birthday to John Cleese.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s now-famous speech in support of Barry Goldwater’s bid for the presidency.  His nationally televised remarks were titled, “A Time for Choosing.” He said, “You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but… there is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream – the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order – or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”

Winding down –> In what WaPo describes as “the most dramatic signal to date that the 13-year-old [Afghanistan] war is drawing to a close,” over the weekend, US and British forces handed over two major military bases in Helmand Province to local troops. Under the current Status of Forces Agreement, a residual NATO force will remain in the country through 2024.

Down to the wire –> NBC has six new Marist polls showing tight — and tightening — races in key states that will determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years.

The wrong policy for the wrong reasons” –> A nurse who worked in West Africa –and who has twice tested negative for Ebola — says her involuntary quarantine in New Jersey is “inhumane,” and Slate’s Josh Voorhees writes that the policy is based on politics rather than science. AND: After the White House criticized Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for adopting forced quarantine policies, both appear to have backed off, stressing that confinement at home is adequate. The AP reports (via Yahoo News).

Related –> At The Daily Beast, Cliff Schecter writes that “scaremongering…about Ebola, ISIS [and] 10-year-old children on our southern border” obscures “the real killer in our midst: the pervasiveness of guns, which kills up to 30,000 Americans every year.”

Hitler’s men worked for US –> Eric Lichtbau reports for The New York Times that “the C.I.A. and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government’s ties to some still living in America.”

Blue Texas? –> TNR’s John Judis writes that Texas can turn blue, but it will take more than just waiting around for the demographics to shift.

More than likely” –> George P. Bush, who is running for Texas land commissioner, told ABC’s Jonathan Karl that it is “more than likely” his father Jeb will run in 2016.

Ukraine –> David Stern reports for the BBC that “pro-Western parties will dominate Ukraine’s parliament after the first elections… since February’s revolution.” Three million Ukrainians in two breakaway regions in the East, which have been wracked by violence, didn’t participate in the vote. ALSO: In Brazil, leftist President Dilma Rousseff defeated her opponent Aecio Neves in what Reuters’s correspondents Brian Winter and Alonso Soto called “one of the closest, most divisive campaigns in Brazil in decades.”

Secret weapon” –> At Salon, David Sirota writes that to make their case to the public, marijuana legalization advocates have effectively used comparisons of the relative harms of alcohol and marijuana, including direct challenges to their opponents to participate in “drug duels” — alcohol shots vs. marijuana tokes.

A disease as challenging as climate change” –> That’s how Paul Buchheit over at AlterNet describes the “stark facts” of the world’s wealth-gap.

People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity” –> That’s how a Marathon County, Wisconsin, Sheriff’s official responded to public outcry after his department sent 24 officers and an armored personnel carrier to the home of a 75-year-old man who owed the town of Stettin a bunch of fines for having unsightly equipment on his property. David Edwards has more details at The Raw Story.

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