What We're Reading

Daily Reads: World Enters ‘Uncharted Territory’ on Climate; Manafort and the Oligarch

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

The World Enters 'Uncharted Territory' on Climate

Clouds over the Great Lakes, viewed from space. (EPA via Flickr)

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.



A new world –> The World Meteorological Organization released its annual State of Global Climate report yesterday, chronicling global warming’s impacts over the last year and suggesting that humanity has set the planet on a dangerous path, with 2016’s record-breaking weather phenomena continuing into 2017. “We are now in truly uncharted territory,” the director of the WMO-sponsored World Climate Research Program told InsideClimate News.

The report found that 2016 was a full 1.1 degrees Celsius above average temperatures in preindustrial times, before humans started spewing fossil fuels into the atmosphere on a large scale, and that much of the warming was concentrated in the rapidly melting Arctic.

Energy ratings in the wind –> Some companies are asking the Trump administration not to cut the EPA’s Energy Star program, which labels products as energy efficient in the hope that consumers will buy them. Corporations such as 3M, Johnson Controls Inc., Philips Lighting and Intel signed on to a letter organized by environmental advocates which argues that the program “helps businesses, state and local governments, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, homeowners and consumers save money.” The ratings are another victim of Trump’s proposed budget cuts at the EPA.

Manafort and the oligarch –> The big story this morning comes from the Associated Press: “President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, the Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.”

The “frozen trucker” incident –> We didn’t learn much about what Neil Gorsuch believes during his second day of hearings, Matt Ford writes for The Atlantic. But at Slate, law professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman delves into one case that seems telling: “I have read very few modern opinions that were more callously written” than his dissent in TransAm Trucking v. Administrative Review Board, Shugerman writes. The case, which Shugerman recounts, is also known as the “frozen trucker,” and involves a truck driver who was fired after waiting more than three hours for help after his trailer’s brakes broke, then abandoned the trailer. If you’d like to keep up with the questioning in the Gorsuch hearings, check out Scotusblog’s live feed.

Texas’ latest assault on abortion rights –> The Texas Senate has passed two laws this week that would make it harder for women to have an abortion. The first would allow doctors to lie about whether a child has birth defects that might lead a parent to decide to abort, Catherine Pearson writes for The Huffington Post. The bill “would prevent parents from suing their care provider if their baby is born with disabilities, even if their doctor discovered the fetus’ condition and failed to disclose it.” The second would ban a procedure that is considered the safest method of second trimester abortion, Marissa Evans writes for the Texas Tribune.

Selling your digital footprint –> Last year, the FCC put in place rules that prevent internet service providers — companies like Comcast and Time Warner — from selling or sharing the huge amount of information they collect on their customers. Now, under Trump, these companies see a chance to roll those protections back, and are lobbying the government to do so. The Electronic Frontier Foundation busts three myths being used to push the rollback.

All talk? –> Before taking office, Trump pledged to put in place a vetting process for all deals that came before his companies, to avoid conflicts of interest. “But two months into Trump’s presidency,” Andy Kroll and Russ Choma write for Mother Jones, “there are serious questions about the rigor and transparency of the Trump Organization’s vetting process.”

Our nation’s “crimmigration” system</a> –> At the Boston Review, Alan A. Aja and Alejandra Marchevsky argue that the immigration debate has gotten lost in questions of who “deserves” to be in America and who doesn’t. The consequences of this tactic to “emphasize immigrant respectability,” the authors write, “have been catastrophic for those who have been deported under the guise of criminality, perpetuating a silence that provides cover for a massive deportation regime that must be questioned and dismantled.”

Meanwhile, at Jacobin, Clio Chang calls for a new approach to the health care debate. Advocates should push for a “society where people are afforded benefits not because they’re sympathetic, but because they’re human beings; where health care is treated not as a commodity that people must beg for online, but a birthright that no one should go without.”

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Kristin Miller.



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email.