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.

Guns. Death. Again. –> At Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, at least 10 were killed and seven wounded by a gunman who reportedly demanded to know his victims’ religion. It was “the fourth shooting on a college campus since August and the deadliest since the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that killed 32,” Jonathan Michael Bach at The Daily Beast wrote.

At the New Civil Rights Movement website, David Badash reported on President Obama’s comments after the shootings, “in what likely was the most angered, angst-ridden, and unreserved press conference he has held to date…

“‘We’ve talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston,’ he [said], rattling off the names of cities forever changed by mass shootings. ‘It cannot be this easy for someone who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun,’ he pleaded. Challenging the NRA’s claim, the president said, ‘more guns’ and ‘fewer safety laws’ won’t make Americans safer.’There is a gun for roughly every man woman and child in America… How can you with a straight face make an argument that more guns make us safer?'”

ALSO, Becca Andrews at Mother Jones reports that two years ago, the sheriff handling the UCC investigation, “was one of hundreds of sheriffs around the country to vow to stand against new gun control legislation. In a January 15, 2013, letter to Vice President Joe Biden, he wrote, ‘Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings.'”

Money talks –> Lots of chatter in the campaign world about Bernie Sanders’ fundraising success. Sophia Tesfaye in Salon: “Sanders raised $26 million in the third quarter, according to campaign spokesman Michael Briggs…  Sanders’ campaign said its average donation is $24.86. Although his campaign would not release a precise tally of the percentage of their funds coming from small donors, it has touted its independence from big-money donors. Still, Clinton far outpaces Sanders for total funds raised so far, having raised $47.5 million by June 30 compared with Sanders’s $15.2 million at the time.”

At Policy.Mic, Gregory Krieg has a series of charts demonstrating that, “After a summer in which Sanders crept up on or surpassed Clinton in a series of statewide polls, the independent from Vermont is now seeing his momentum translate into a surge of new campaign cash.”  BUT, The Nation’s John Nichols reminds us, “There is a measure of irony in the sudden attention to Bernie Sanders — long and loud in his criticism of big money in politics — as a fundraising virtuoso… Reforms remain as necessary as ever. Thus, while the headlines about Sanders this week will focus on his current fundraising, it is more important that earlier this year — with far less attention — he reintroduced a constitutional amendment to effectively overturn US Supreme Court decisions that have struck down limits on campaign spending by corporations and the wealthiest donors.”

Bipartisan justice –> At the Institute for Policy Studies blog, Karen Dolan reports that yesterday, “The Senate Judiciary Committee started rolling [the] ball toward a fairer criminal justice system” with a bipartisan reform bill. “This legislation could have been stronger,” Dolan says, “… But for a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators to come together and do what they were elected to do is a big deal. And this legislation is a big deal, too” Read the details.

What a coincidence–> Tierney Sneed at Talking Points Memo writes, “Facing a budget crisis, Alabama has shuttered 31 driver’s license offices, many of them in counties with a high proportion of black residents. Coming after the state recently put into effect a tougher voter ID law, the closures will cut off access — particularly for minorities — to one of the few types of IDs accepted. According to a tally by columnist John Archibald, eight of the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters saw their driver’s license offices closed.”

“Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis?” –> Esquire’s Charlie Pierce has an intriguing theory. AND, Jim Yardley at The New York Times reports, “Pope Francis’ encounter with Kim Davis last week in Washington, which was interpreted by many as a subtle intervention in the United States’ same-sex marriage debate, was part of a series of private meetings with dozens of guests and did not amount to an endorsement of her views, the Vatican said on Friday.”

RIP –> The great Irish playwright Brian Friel, author of Philadelphia, Here I Come and Dancing at Lughnasa.

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