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Morning Reads: The GOP Still Has No Obamacare Alternative

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

Morning Reads: The GOP Still Has No Obamacare Alternative

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walk together to a Senate GOP policy luncheon in the US Capitol November 3, 2015. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

About that H-bomb –> Still not clear whether North Korea was telling the truth or making it up yesterday when the government said it detonated its first hydrogen bomb. Ju-Min Park and Se Young Lee report for Reuters: “The United States and weapons experts voiced doubts the device was as advanced as North Korea claimed, but calls mounted for more sanctions against the isolated state for its rogue nuclear program.”

62nd time’s the charm –> House Republicans have voted, again, to repeal Obamacare. But for the first time, because a similar bill has made it through the Senate, the repeal can head to Obama’s desk, where it certainly will be vetoed. The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board explains that the bill also cuts funding for Planned Parenthood, making it especially veto-worthy, and clearly nothing more than symbolic.

Anyone have a better idea? –> Noam Levey at the LA Times: “More than five years after the health law was enacted, the GOP still has no unifying healthcare platform. And if Trump extends his run atop the Republican presidential field, his unorthodox healthcare positions may soon define the GOP. Trump, who is increasingly worrying Republican party leaders, has said little on the campaign trail about healthcare beyond bashing the current law and promising that ‘everybody’s going to be taken care of’ and ‘the government’s gonna pay for it,’ as he said on ’60 Minutes’ in September.”

Go back where you came from –> Claudia Koerner and Salvador Hernandez at Buzzfeed: “When an Oregon sheriff asked residents Wednesday night at a community meeting if they wanted the armed occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to go home, almost every hand in the room went up.”

Final tally –> On-duty police officers killed 986 Americans with a firearm in 2015, “well more than double the average number reported annually by the FBI over the past decade,” report Sandhya Somashekhar and Steven Rich at The Washington Post. “Although black men represent 6 percent of the U.S. population, they made up nearly 40 percent of those who were killed while unarmed.”

Getting warmer –> For a while, those seeking to confuse the public on climate change argued that we were experiencing a global warming “pause.” That didn’t end up being true, though warming did slow down for a decade and a half. But now it’s speeding up again — and in fact, new research indicates we’re now seeing a “global warming spurt.” John Upton reports for Climate Central.

Emergency –> “California has declared a State of Emergency for the Southern California Gas Company gas leak in Porter Ranch — the largest natural gas leak ever recorded, which has been going on since last year,” reports Kate Knibbs for Gizmodo. The gas leak “caused thousands of residents to relocate after complaining about sore throats and headaches for months” and is contributing mightily to climate change.

TransCanada sues Obama –> Via NAFTA and the US Federal Court in Houston, the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline is suing the Obama administration, alleging that blocking the pipeline caused the company to lose money. It wants $15 billion of taxpayer money in compensation. The Canadian Press news agency reports, via the CBC, “A group of environmental, land and tribal organizations — including the Sierra Club and 350.org — issued a statement saying the company was ‘throwing the corporate equivalent of a temper tantrum’ in hopes of ‘forcing American taxpayers to pay them billions of dollars to recoup their losses.'”

Surprise, Wall Street lobbyists aren’t Feeling the Bern –> Bernie Sanders rolled out his plan to regulate Wall Street earlier this week, which includes breaking up “too big to fail” banks into smaller institutions. Financial insiders are less than thrilled. Zaid Jilani reports for The Intercept that one Obama-aide-turned-lobbyist — who promotes himself using an article in which he is described as “hedge funds’ secret weapon” — took to Twitter to criticize the Sanders plan.

“A deep fatalism, not ignorance” –> Back in the 80s, a young Barack Obama sent an analysis of T.S. Eliot’s work to a friend. In The New York Review of Books, Columbia University professor Edward Mendelson posits that Obama’s respect for Eliot’s “fatalism” suggests an interesting and troubling insight into his presidency.

When they’re least expecting it –> Headline at Washington’s WJLA-TV: “ABC7 News car broken into while crew was attending anti-robbery press conference in D.C.”

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

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