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.

The Campaign Ad Arms Race –> “2016 Campaigns Will Spend $4.4 Billion On TV Ads, But Why?” A reasonable question asked by NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben. “It’s the need for name recognition, at first,” she writes. “Later on, fear, habit and the hunger for the small sliver of votes at play also drive the huge spending.” Not to mention the percentage of the take scooped up by television stations and networks, media consultants, time buyers and ad producers.

The 3 R’s: Readin’, Ritin’, and Republicans –> At an all-day forum in New Hampshire yesterday, six of the Republican presidential candidates took questions on education policy. “Teachers unions were a punching bag and Common Core standards not quite the bogeyman you’d expect,” Politico’s Caitlin Emma and Kimberly Hefling report, as they offer “five takeaways from the hours of wonky K-12 discussion.” MORE: The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post.

Afterwards, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said: “At an event where the big public education ideas are test, blame, punish and privatize, it’s sad but no surprise that our union was the piñata. That just emboldens us to keep fighting to reclaim the promise of public education: High-quality early childhood education, great neighborhood schools and affordable, debt-free college. Sadly, the policies these candidates are pushing have undermined that promise. Our children deserve better than what these Republican candidates are selling.”

What is birthright citizenship? –> All the GOP candidates are talking about it. Jack Martinez at Newsweek has an explainer. And Mark Murray at NBC News has a summing up of the candidates’ positions on it.

The Iran Deal –> Karoun Demirjian in The Washington Post: “Congress is unlikely to override a promised veto by President Obama if both chambers reject a deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear capabilities, according to a Washington Post analysis of where the votes currently stand. But several things have to happen first.”

Last night, George Jahn of the Associated Press reported, “Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.” But Barak David at the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz writes, “A few hours after AP released the initial details of the agreement, a revised report emerged overwriting some of the more troubling issues pertaining to the inspection of Parchin,” and noted, “The International Atomic Energy Association said Thursday that it was satisfied by the access its inspectors would receive to the Parchin military site, where the Iranians are suspected of experimenting with components to create a nuclear bomb.”

Meanwhile, Ha’aretz also reports that in a full-page ad in today’s New York Times, “Some 26 senior American Jewish leaders have signed a public declaration calling on Congress to support the nuclear deal with Iran… Although most of the signatories to the petition are identified with the center or left, they brandish impressive credentials of past positions at the most senior levels of the American Jewish establishment.”

Beheading a scholar –> As gruesome reports of widespread acts of brutality committed by ISIS continue, word comes of yet another beheading, this time, Bryan Schatz at Mother Jones writes, a scholar of antiquities: “82-year-old Khaled al-Asaad, a renowned archeologist who had served as the keeper of [the ancient Syrian city] Palmyra for more than 50 years. Asaad reportedly refused to reveal the location of Palmyra’s artifacts to ISIS. After over a month of interrogation, the insurgents removed his head, and then hung his corpse from a column in a main square.”

Drink this book –> ICYMI, although still being tested and perfected, “The Drinkable Book” is a fantastic idea. Matthew Gunther in Chemistry World: “A group of researchers from the US, in collaboration with a non-profit organisation, has designed a book with silver-impregnated pages that can be used to filter contaminated water. One page from this ‘drinkable book’ can potentially filter up to 100 litres of drinking water and may provide a cheap, sustainable solution for communities suffering from severe sanitation problems. Waterborne diseases, such as typhoid or diarrhoeal illnesses, kill 1.5 million people a year globally.” MORE from the BBC, Al Jazeera, TIME magazine.

RIP –> Former House Representative Louis Stokes, first African-American congressman from Ohio, first African-American to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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