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Morning Reads: Obama’s Overtime Rule Thrown Out; Clinton Urged to Challenge Vote in Three States

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

Morning Reads: Obama's Overtime Rule is Thrown Out

President Barack Obama walks on the South Lawn towards the White House after arriving on Marine One. (Photo by Andrew Harrer - Pool / Getty Images)

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Good morning. We’re taking Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving. We’ll see you back here on Monday, November 28!

Major setback for workers –> Marianne Levine for Politico: “In a stunning blow to the Obama administration’s economic legacy, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday delaying implementation of a regulation that would extend overtime eligibility to an estimated 4.2 million workers. The ruling puts in serious jeopardy the most significant wage intervention by President Barack Obama, who has been unable to persuade Congress to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour.”

So… what if the election was rigged? –> At New York magazine, Gabriel Sherman writes that, “Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked,” Sherman notes. These experts say they have observed suspicious trends in districts where electronic voting machines were used. If Clinton were to challenge the election results, she would have to win all three states to beat Trump. The deadline to file a challenge in Wisconsin is Friday; it’s next week in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

But hold on: At Vox, Andrew Prokop lays out reasons for skepticism: “For one, it’s quite possible that electronic-voting machines were more often used in counties that were already more likely to support Trump — for instance, counties with lots of low-education or rural white voters, who strongly supported Trump across the whole country. Indeed, back-of-the-envelope insta-analyses by Nate Silver and Nate Cohn suggest this is the case, though it’s hard to rebut claims that haven’t been made publicly.”

Complicating things further, Kyle Cheney reports for Politico:  “At least a half-dozen Democratic electors have signed onto an attempt to block Donald Trump from winning an Electoral College majority, an effort designed not only to deny Trump the presidency but also to undermine the legitimacy of the institution. The presidential electors, mostly former Bernie Sanders supporters who hail from Washington state and Colorado, are now lobbying their Republican counterparts in other states to reject their oaths — and in some cases, state law — to vote against Trump when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19.”

Fake news, real censorship –> Mike Isaac reports for The New York Times that Facebook “has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas, according to three current and former Facebook employees, who asked for anonymity because the tool is confidential. The feature was created to help Facebook get into China, a market where the social network has been blocked, these people said. [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg has supported and defended the effort, the people added.”

There’s also this: “The fake-news problem, which has hit countries across the globe, has already led some governments to use the issue as an excuse to target sites of political rivals, or shut down social media sites altogether.” And ICYMI: Buzzfeed reported last week that in the months before Election Day, fake news stories about the presidential race actually reached readers more often than real news stories.

*Shrug* –> Trump had a sit-down interview with The New York Times yesterday, producing this tidbit, among others: “On climate change, Mr. Trump refused to repeat his promise to abandon the international climate accord reached last year in Paris, saying, ‘I’m looking at it very closely.’ Despite the recent appointment to his transition team of a fierce critic of the Paris accords, Mr. Trump said that ‘I have an open mind to it’ and that clean air and ‘crystal clear water’ were vitally important.”

But at the same time, Donald Trump “is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on ‘politicized science,’ his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said,” Oliver Milman reports for The Guardian. Without NASA research, we would have to rely on other countries to evaluate climate change’s progress.

Meanwhile, the president-elect has pledged to lift regulations that he says are hampering the mining of “clean coal.” But Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson report for The Washington Post that these regulations don’t even exist: “While energy experts and businesses can point to a variety of federal environmental regulations on oil and gas drilling, most were perplexed by what Trump might have been talking about with regard to restrictions on ‘clean coal.'”

And: Donald Trump has picked South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to be his ambassador to the United Nations. She is no fan of climate action.

Trump Foundation violates IRS rules –> David A. Fahrenthold at The Washington Post: “President-elect Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has admitted to the Internal Revenue Service that it violated a legal prohibition against ‘self-dealing,’ which bars nonprofit leaders from using their charity’s money to help themselves, their businesses or their families.” It’s as if they didn’t even try, one tax expert told Forbes, “It’s easy to avoid self-dealing… That’s what makes the Trump Foundation issues so unbelievable. It’s as if no one ever bothered to learn what the rule was.”

Happy Thanksgiving –> Chefs and celebrities will descend tomorrow on the Standing Rock encampment opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for the activists there, many of whom are Native Americans hoping to protect their water source from the contamination that would come with an oil spill. The protests escalated this week, with a heavily armed police force blasting demonstrators with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures.

“We are rushing toward our own extinction because of climate change,” Judy Wick, one of the organizers of the dinner, told Civil Eats. “Native Americans showed early settlers how to cultivate the crops needed to survive. Now, once again, they’re the ones pointing the way toward the survival of civilization.”

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!



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