Morning Reads

Good Morning! Here’s your daily digest of news we’re following, compiled by’s John Light.

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Last, best chance –> The UN’s Paris climate change conference convenes today. The last time leaders got this close to a serious emissions-cutting deal was the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, 18 years ago. The AP’s Seth Borenstein writes that the planet has changed dramatically since then; it’s now a “hotter, waterier, wilder Earth that world leaders are trying to save.” At The New York Times, Justin Gillis offers some “Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change.” And at Mother Jones, Tim McDonnell has an explainer on what you should know about the conference.

AND: President Obama and a collection of billionaires, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, have announced plans for public and private investment adding up to “the biggest investments in clean energy technologies in history.” Andrew Freedman reports for Mashable.

Planned Parenthood shooting –> A gunman shot and killed three people and injured nine on Saturday during a rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Sources told reporters that the attacker, when questioned about motives, made a comment about “no more baby parts,” a likely reference to a series of videos released by anti-abortion activists that claimed, falsely, to show Planned Parenthood “selling baby parts” for profit, Jeanie Stokes reports for AFP. Speaking on CNN, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper described the act as “a form of terrorism… and maybe in some way, it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric that we see… there are bloggers, and, you know, talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over and just intense anger.”

At The Nation, Zoë Carpenter writes that since the videos first appeared, attacks and arsons at Planned Parenthood clinics have been on the rise. AND: The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti asks, “Do we really think that there are no consequences to claiming that abortion is murder, or that Planned Parenthood is an organization of money-hungry monsters selling baby parts?”

Many of the same politicians who seized on the videos for political capital denied that their anti-Planned Parenthood fervor could have played a role in encouraging the attack. GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who in a September GOP debate offered a nightmarish and inaccurate take on the videos, called the murderer a protester, grouping him with Black Lives Matter activists: “It’s obviously a tragedy… Any protesters should always be peaceful. Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or pro-life protesters.” Jose A. DelReal reports for The Washington Post. Ted Cruz called the attacker a “transgendered leftist activist” because the attacker once said on a voter registration form that he was “female” — though Zack Ford at ThinkProgress notes that was quite possibly no more than an error.

Dodging oversight –> “… At least 20 investigations across the government… have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs over the shrinking access of inspectors general to confidential records, according to records and interviews,” Eric Lichtblau reports for the NYT. “The impasse has hampered investigations into an array of programs and abuse reports — from allegations of sexual assaults in the Peace Corps to the F.B.I.’s terrorism powers, officials said. And it has threatened to roll back more than three decades of policy giving the watchdogs unfettered access to ‘all records’ in their investigations.”

Another Russian plane off course? –> Straying from its mission in Syria, “A Russian jet recently entered Israeli airspace but was not shot down,” the Associated Press reports, “thanks to an open communication system between the two countries, Israel’s defence minister has said.” AND: John McCain and Lindsey Graham are calling on the US  “to nearly triple military force levels in Iraq to 10,000 and send an equal number of troops to Syria as part of a multinational ground force to counter Islamic State in both countries.” (Reuters via The Guardian)

New Gilded Age in Illinois –> Nicholas Confessore reports for The New York Times on how a wealthy few from around the country are working to reshape Illinois with a policy agenda that many of the state’s citizens oppose: “The families remaking Illinois are among a small group around the country who have channeled their extraordinary wealth into political power, taking advantage of regulatory, legal and cultural shifts that have carved new paths for infusing money into campaigns. Economic winners in an age of rising inequality, operating largely out of public view, they are reshaping government with fortunes so large as to defy the ordinary financial scale of politics.”

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