Morning Reads

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On this date in 1963, Jack Ruby gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of John F. Kennedy, as authorities rushed him through the basement of a Dallas police station. It was the first time a killing was captured on live television. And in 1971, a mysterious man calling himself Dan Cooper — dubbed “DB Cooper” by the media — hijacked a Boeing 727 shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. The man demanded and received a $200,000 ransom and then parachuted to an uncertain fate over the Pacific Northwest. It remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in American history.

He wasn’t up to the job” –> That’s what one unnamed senior official said when news of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s resignation broke this morning. Jim Miklaszewski reports for NBC News. At The New York Times, Helene Cooper writes, “His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.”

A regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances” –>  In The New York Times Magazine, Deborah Sontag and Robert Gebeloff offer a look at the dark side of North Dakota’s oil boom.

Friday document dump, BENGHAZI!! edition –> The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee issued a report concluding that there were no intelligence failures in the lead-up to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi — and that there was nothing the military could have done to save Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans killed in the incident. AND: According to Mediaite, if you get your news from Fox News, which has run thousands of segments promoting various Benghazi conspiracy theories, you may have no idea of the new report’s existence.

More combat –> The White House is extending US troops’ combat role in Afghanistan past the December 31 deadline Obama had previously announced. Via: NBC News. AND: Azam Ahmed reports for the NYT that the Taliban still dominate large parts of the country. Only a short drive from Kabul, Afghan troops leave their base for only an hour a day “when the Taliban allow them to visit the bazaar as long as the soldiers remain unarmed.”

Police shootings –> The Salt Lake Tribune reports that, “in the past five years, more Utahns have been killed by police than by gang members. Or drug dealers. Or from child abuse.” Only incidents of domestic violence led to more violent deaths than police shootings over that period, according to the Tribune.

Related –> Daniel Wallis reports for Reuters that the FBI arrested two men on Friday who are “suspected of buying explosives they planned to detonate during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, once a grand jury decides the Michael Brown case.” AND: CNN reports that a 26-year-old Missouri woman “appears to have accidentally fatally shot herself in the head with a gun bought to prepare for possible Ferguson-related unrest.”

The anxieties of the GOP majority” –> Alex Isenstadt and Kyle Cheney report for Politico that Republican leaders are trying to avoid another government shutdown — or talk of impeachment — out of concern that extreme measures could backfire on the party just as it takes control of both chambers of Congress. AND: Last week we told you that some GOP leaders were worried that Obama’s executive action on immigration could provoke the kind of xenophobic rhetoric from far-right lawmakers that might push Latino voters further toward the Democrats. At the LAT, Cathleen Decker looked at one reason for their concern, recalling how the immigration battles of the 1990s helped reshape California’s politics.

Blowback –> Mona Mahmoud reports for The Guardian that “US air strikes in Syria are encouraging anti-regime fighters to forge alliances with or even defect to [the] Islamic State.”

Megastorms –>The record-breaking snowfall in Buffalo, New York, has climate change deniers dancing a jig, but at Live Science, Marlene Cimons explains that “the science behind these catastrophic storms suggests that they do not occur despite global warming, but in fact because of it.”

World War II still deadly –> Several blocks of the French city of Rennes were evacuated after an undetonated British bomb was unearthed during a construction project, according to AFP. Unexploded ordinance from World War II quite recently has killed people in Germany — in 2010 and again this past January.

R.I.P. –> The WaPo’s obituary for controversial former DC Mayor Marion Barry, who died Saturday night at age 78, is worth a read.

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