Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, as well as other news of the day, we’re pleased to publish this daily digest compiled by’s Michael Winship.

Violence in the age of terror –> On Thursday, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a gunman born in Kuwait, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez,  killed four US Marines, wounded three other people and was himself killed. That afternoon, James Holmes the mass murderer who opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, was found guilty of “24 counts of first-degree murder — two for each victim slain — as well as 134 counts of first-degree attempted murder, six counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of explosives possession.” Take some time this weekend to read an essay by The New Yorker’s George Packer on a book by former Human Rights Watch researcher John Sifton, “Violence All Around.”

Bad judgement in Wisconsin –> At ThinkProgress, Alice Ollstein writes, “In a major victory for Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled early Thursday morning along partisan lines to halt the investigation into whether the newest Republican presidential candidate illegally coordinated with right-wing advocacy groups during his 2012 recall campaign.”

“Saying they want to ‘prevent the chilling of otherwise protected speech,’ the Court’s four conservative justices ordered that the probe be terminated, and that those working on the case ‘permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation.'”

Tara Malloy, senior counsel, The Campaign Legal Center: “At least two of the justices in the majority should have recused themselves from the case because the groups under investigation played major roles in electing those justices to the court. The U.S. Supreme Court has not looked kindly on such blatant conflicts of interest.” Mary Bottari and Brendan Fischer at the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch have an excellent backgrounder, “The Disappearance of John Doe,” and Brendan also writes, “Five Things to Know about the Scott Walker John Doe Ruling.”

In Planned Parenthood news –> That edited video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of fetal tissue continues to create an uproar. Media Matters reports, “… The GOP is capitalizing on right-wing media’s phony outrage despite the fact that numerous media outlets have called out CMP’s ‘shady video,’ concluding it ‘shows nothing illegal.’ … Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul are both urging donors to ‘chip in a contribution’ to defund Planned Parenthood.” Here’s the official response from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

“How racist is solitary confinement?” –> At the end of a week when President Obama called for a Justice Dept. review of solitary confinement and visited El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma, The Intercept’s Erika Eichelberger writes, “… a new study authored by health officials with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) shows that… black and Hispanic inmates are vastly more likely to be punished with solitary confinement than their white counterparts, and less likely to receive diagnoses of mental illness…  the study findings fall in line with data from a handful of states suggesting that people of color in other jurisdictions are locked in extreme isolation at similarly disproportionate rates.”

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead –> In Friday’s Washington Post, Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy have a story headlined, “Clinton burns through millions as she assembles a political battleship.” The candidate has hired more than 400 staff members and spent sizable sums on polling and consultants: “But the large expenditures cut against the image Clinton’s team has promoted of a lean organization that would not repeat the mistakes of what many considered her undisciplined campaign in 2008. And they raise questions about whether Clinton’s fundraising can keep pace with her rapid spending.”

Smile when you say that, pardner –> Donald Trump, whose campaign strategy seems to center around loutishly dissing anyone who dares speak against him, may have picked the wrong hombre to trash talk when he went after Rick Perry. Talking Points Memo reports that after Trump told Sean Hannity at Fox News that Perry had “failed at the border,” the former Texas governor replied, “… What Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism – a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.” Those new eyeglasses are paying off, Governor.

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