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.

Yom Kippur –> Tzom kal. May all our Jewish colleagues, friends and readers have an easy fast.

The Pope’s here –> Have you heard? The pontiff touched down in Washington yesterday afternoon, greeted by President Obama, Vice President Biden and their families, among others. Before Pope Francis arrived, Ned Resnikoff at Al Jazeera America reports, “Members of Good Jobs Nation, the labor-backed campaign to win higher pay and union recognition for service employees at federal sites in the capital, halted work on Tuesday morning as part of a protest timed to coincide with the pope’s US visit. Sen. Bernie Sanders… joined roughly 1,000 workers from privately managed, federally owned workplaces… [and] religious leaders for a march to Capitol Hill.”

Meanwhile, according to Steven Mufson and Michelle Boorstein at The Washington Post, “there is simmering controversy” over the Obama administration’s guest list for the Pope’s visit to the White House this morning, “especially among conservative commentators who believe that the president should not have invited people at odds with the Vatican’s positions on gay clergy, same-sex marriage and abortion.”

Hillary takes Keystone stand –> Jon Queally at Common Dreams writes, “Joining political rival Bernie Sanders in his long-held opposition and distancing herself from the reluctance of the Obama administration to reject the project outright, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton came out publicly against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline for the first time on Tuesday. ‘I think it is imperative,’ Clinton said during a campaign stop in Iowa, ‘that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is—a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change.’ Citing her personal perspective, Clinton continued by saying the controversial project is ‘one that interferes with our ability to move forward with all the other issues. Therefore I oppose it.'” Now if she’d just make clear her position on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The rich don’t always win –> Victoria Bassetti at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice notes that following Donald Trump’s logic, “if we want a corruption-free democracy only billionaire politicians will do. If he’s right, then we’re in bigger trouble than we thought. In the last seven federal elections only 206 of 11,644 candidates were self-funding millionaires. Cumulatively, they spent more than $638 million running for office. But they did not have a spectacular win-loss record. Only 20 of them won… [O]ne study suggests self-funded candidates are actually less likely to win. In an analysis of 157 open-seat elections between 1996 and 2002, one researcher found that a candidate’s chances of success were actually diminished by self-funding.”

Remedy for Rx sticker shock –> After that big expose in The New York Times, Judd Legum at ThinkProgress reports, “Martin Shkreli, the controversial pharmaceutical CEO and former hedge fund manager, announced that he would reduce the price of the drug Daraprim to ‘a point that is more affordable.’ Shkreli has been the subject of unrelenting criticism since he implemented a 5000% increase in the price of the drug — from $13.50 per pill to $750 — which is used to treat severe infections in AIDS patients and infants.

“Shkreli, who talked to ABC News, declined to name the new price for the medicine, which has been on the market for 60 years. ABC described Shkreli as ‘the most hated man in America.'”

To be young, gifted, and poor –> Interesting read by Jeff Guo in The Washington Post about Broward County, Florida, and the realization that gifted children in poor neighborhoods were being overlooked by the school system. “Broward’s struggle reflects a nationwide problem with inequality in gifted education,” Guo writes. “… Critics say gifted programs amplify inequality because they disproportionately recruit children from high-income families — another example of how opportunity accrues to those already blessed with opportunity. In the early 2000s, white children in Broward were nearly four times as likely as black children to be labeled gifted.”

His dream come true –> The New York Times announced yesterday that Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, will write a yearlong storyline for Marvel Comics superhero Black Panther. “I don’t experience the stuff I write about as weighty,” he told The Times’ George Gene Gustines. “I feel a strong need to express something. The writing usually lifts the weight. I expect to be doing the same thing for Marvel.”

RIP –> Legendary NY Yankee catcher Yogi Berra. The Hall of Famer played more times in the World Series than any other player. A funny, class act.

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