What We're Reading

Morning Reads: 2015 a Hot Year for the US, Hotter for the World

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

Morning Reads: 2015 a Hot Year for the US, Hotter for the World

Tourists visit the White House and a secret service officer patrols wearing short sleeves on an 80-degree November day. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Second warmest –> It’s official: According to NOAA, 2015 was the second warmest year on record in the US, taking the title from 2012. Every state in the country was warmer than average last year. It’s also almost certain that 2015 will be the hottest year on record worldwide, but that data won’t be released until later this month. ALSO: “Eight of the top 10 warmest years on record for the Lower 48 have occurred since 1998,” writes Jason Samenow at The Washington Post.

Handmade epoch –> Adam Vaughan at The Guardian: “There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists. The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an ‘Anthropocene’ – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.”

About that Keystone lawsuit –> We noted yesterday that TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline, is suing the Obama administration for blocking the project. At BillMoyers.com, John Light explains how this suit illustrates a key fear environmentalists have about such Obama trade deals as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They argue that the agreements run contrary to climate pacts like the one negotiated in Paris last month, making it harder for small countries to take action against global warming.

“Demand leaders brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies” –> In a New York Times op-ed this morning, President Obama follows up on his Tuesday announcement of executive action to attempt a tightening of gun laws and writes, “It’s clear that common-sense gun reform won’t happen during this Congress. It won’t happen during my presidency. Still, there are steps we can take now to save lives. And all of us — at every level of government, in the private sector and as citizens — have to do our part.”

Will the NRA meet its match? –> It could happen soon, argues Eliza Newlin Carney at The American Prospect: “The gun picture is changing, and the gun safety lobby has begun to flex its political muscles on a broad new scale. It’s not just that a string of mass shootings, including the massacre of 20 Connecticut first-graders in 2012, has brought together a fired-up coalition of suburban moms, big-city mayors, and progressive activists. It’s that deep-pocketed donors such as Bloomberg have started to put serious money behind combating gun violence.”

Who’s the real reformer? –> At Vox, Matt Yglesias digs into a policy dispute between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on how to regulate Wall Street. Each argues that the other doesn’t go far enough, but for different reasons.

More FEC inaction –> The FEC dismissed two cases filed during the 2012 election against Karl Rove’s group, Crossroads GPS. “It appeared the commissioners deadlocked along party lines on one or both cases, leading to their dismissal without any penalty,” Kenneth P. Doyle reports for Bloomberg BNA. That 3-3 party line, ideological split among FEC commissioners has kept the agency from doing much of anything for years.

News from the dark web –> Andy Greenberg at Wired: “The so-called dark web, for all its notoriety as a haven for criminals and drug dealers, is slowly starting to look more and more like a more privacy-preserving mirror of the web as a whole. Now it’s gained one more upstanding member: the non-profit news organization ProPublica.”

Progressive political progress –> The Atlantic profiles the Working Families Party, a progressive party to the left of Democrats that has exercised a good deal of influence in some elections, including here in New York. On Moyers & Company in 2014, Bill spoke with Dan Cantor, Executive Director of New York’s Working Families Party, and Jonathan Soros, co-founder of the Friends of Democracy super PAC .

The world’s oldest way to exercise influence –> Headline in the Kansas City Star: “Missouri bill defines sex between lobbyists and lawmakers as a gift.”

Morning Reads is compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship.

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