Welcome to Wonkbook, Wonkblog’s morning policy news primer by Puneet Kollipara (@pkollipara). To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism or ideas to Wonkbook at Washpost dot com. To read more by the Wonkblog team, click here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
To view this on the web, click here.
Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: 2,700. That's the number of air missions the U.S. Navy and Air Force had flown in Iraq even before President Obama's announcement of heightened military action against the Islamic State.
Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: These states cut their incarceration rates and still had a drop in crime.
Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) High-powered Russia sanctions' effects; (2) looking back on two 20-year-old crime laws; (3) is ISIS an NSA game-changer?; (4) women's health issues and the elections — now versus 2012; and (5) Hillary sounds like she's running.
1. Top story: The effects of the new sanctions against Russia
U.S. will watch Russia closely before lifting latest sanctions. "U.S. and European officials have said that the latest round of sanctions against Russia could be removed if the peace process outlined with Ukraine is completed. But in Washington, the Obama administration made it quite clear that before any sanctions are removed, it wants to see the completion of all 12 points of the peace plan outlined in Minsk, Belarus, and the complete removal of Russian material and forces from Ukraine....The latest measures...block Western energy majors from contributing technology, goods or services to Russian efforts to extract oil from the Arctic, deep offshore fields and shale formations....Tougher financial sanctions from the U.S. and EU will restrict all but short-term financing to the biggest state-controlled banks that dominate Russia’s financial sector, as well as some defense and industrial firms." William Mauldin in The Wall Street Journal.
Explainer: How far do the U.S., EU sanctions on Russia go? BBC.
The energy sanctions could especially hurt. "The new measures...are a major broadening of the previous sanctions, which only banned the export of high technology oil equipment into Russia....The companies will have 14 days to wind-down activities....Russia, the world's second-largest oil exporter, is counting on its Arctic and 'tight' shale oil reserves to sustain production at around 10.5 million barrels per day, amid declining output at old West Siberian fields. Valery Nesterov from Russian state bank Sberbank, which was also sanctioned by the EU and the United States, foresaw serious complications." Olesya Astakhova, Katya Golubkova and Vladimir Soldatkin in Reuters.
Russia will try to help affected energy firms, but only to an extent. "Russia is ready to support sanctions-hit energy companies Rosneft and Novatek from its National Wealth Fund, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Saturday, according to Russian news agencies. He stressed, however, that any support would be limited by an existing cap on the fund's investments." Jason Bush in Reuters.
Exxon riled the U.S. by exploiting a loophole in the previous sanctions. "Last month, Exxon Mobil Corp. and OAO Rosneft started drilling their first Arctic oil well after sanctions were imposed to restrict such exploration....The new drilling not only annoyed Exxon’s competitors and U.S. and European officials....The original measure, it turned out, while banning U.S. and European companies from providing technology, allowed them to provide services for long-term oil exploration. That meant Exxon could continue to oversee drilling and lend its expertise to its projects with Rosneft. The U.S. and Europe moved yesterday to end that exception." Alan Katz, Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Joe Carroll in Bloomberg.
Exxon's Arctic ambitions may be dashed, at least for now. "As part of the latest round of sanctions against Russia, the United States government took aim at Exxon’s project in the Arctic Ocean....The sanctions won’t hurt Exxon’s profit for years. Exxon, which is working with the Russian energy giant Rosneft, just started exploratory drilling in the Arctic, and it could be a decade before the project started producing oil in meaningful quantities. But the sanctions, particularly if they last for an extended period, could damage Exxon’s relationship with Russia, crimping the company’s growth strategy." Stanley Reed and Clifford Krauss in The New York Times.
With energy sanctions, closest U.S.-Russia ties may now be toast. "If enacted, these latest energy sanctions could sever what are arguably the closest ties remaining between Russia and the West. In the two decades since the Cold War ended, Russian and American astronauts have worked together on the International Space Station, and the Russian military has helped the U.S. get equipment in and out of Afghanistan. But the strongest area of cooperation has come in the energy industry, where U.S. oil majors such as Exxon and Chevron...have entered into a number of joint ventures with Russia’s state-controlled energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom." Matthew Philips in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Falling oil prices put U.S. at economic, political advantage globally. "The drop in oil prices to their lowest in two years has caught many observers off guard, coming against a backdrop of the worst violence in Iraq this decade, heightened tensions between the West and Russia, and sanctions against Iran....The move underlies how the shale oil revolution is creating a political and economic advantage for Washington and its Western allies. Russia and Iran are heavily reliant on oil sales and face budget shortages at current price levels, analysts say, weakening their position when negotiating over Ukrainian sovereignty or the Iranian nuclear deal. And higher oil production from the United States as well as Canada is providing a buffer." David Sheppard and Rania El Gamal in Reuters.
Former BP chief warns on sanctions could hurt oil supplies. "Tony Hayward said that cutting off capital markets from Russia’s energy groups, which would eventually lead to less investment in Russian oil production, was likely to damage long-term supply. He said the US shale boom had obscured the growing risks to the world’s supply picture, but its effect would wear off....As output from mature basins such as the North Sea and Alaska’s North Slope declines, the world had been banking on new barrels from places such as Canada, Iraq and Russia. But the latter’s future production from untapped resources in the Arctic and the vast shale reserves of Siberia are under threat because of sanctions." Guy Chazan in The Financial Times.
How Russia's ban on EU food imports has triggered deflation fears in Europe. "A few months ago, many economists thought the main blow to Europe’s economy from the conflict in Ukraine would be higher natural gas prices; now the culprit is cheap, abundant food. The Russian ban has lowered prices for Finnish dairy products, Spanish peaches, Latvian cabbage, and other produce, according to Brussels-based Copa-Cogeca, one of Europe’s largest farmers’ unions. It’s also hurt prices for beef, pork, and chicken, which are banned as well....The effects are likely to be felt even in countries that don’t export a lot of produce to Russia." Gabi Thesing and Whitney McFerron in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Other economic/financial reads:
U.S. retail sales move higher; consumer spirits rise. Lucia Mutikani in Reuters.
Fed rallies team to forestall next crisis. Binyamin Appelbaum in The New York Times.
World awaits white smoke from Fed. John O'Donnell in Reuters.
BIS warns on latest emerging market cycle. Alen Mattich in The Wall Street Journal.
KRUGMAN: How to get it wrong. "It seems to me, however, that it’s important to realize that the enormous intellectual failure of recent years took place at several levels. Clearly, economics as a discipline went badly astray in the years — actually decades — leading up to the crisis. But the failings of economics were greatly aggravated by the sins of economists, who far too often let partisanship or personal self-aggrandizement trump their professionalism. Last but not least, economic policy makers systematically chose to hear only what they wanted to hear. And it is this multilevel failure — not the inadequacy of economics alone — that accounts for the terrible performance of Western economies since 2008." Paul Krugman in The New York Times.
ROY: Obamacare's failure to collapse doesn't mean success. "It’s true: Obamacare isn’t collapsing. But in the real world, we don’t measure the success of the 'Affordable Care Act' by its failure to collapse. We measure it by looking at the underlying affordability of American health care....The story is more complicated than either side would like you to believe. It is a good thing that premiums on Obamacare’s exchanges aren’t rising rapidly for 2015. But premiums did go up a lot in 2014. And they may go up again, as the 'three R' program phases out. The bottom line is that if you shop for coverage on your own, and you don’t qualify for Obamacare’s subsidies, you’re probably paying a lot more for insurance today than you did before. And that’s why Obamacare remains unpopular." Avik Roy in Forbes.
COWEN: The economic gender gap will eventually close. "This longer-term, optimistic perspective has deep roots in economics, and was articulated eloquently in 'The Subjection of Women,' John Stuart Mill’s 19th-century essay. Mill said men and women were indeed different, but he saw the achievements of women as dependent on incentives and the work environment, which he thought could be improved beyond what most people in his day — and perhaps ours, too — could easily imagine. For all the sexist behavior we economists measure in the lab, the research around the bigger picture is supporting Mill’s optimism about a better world to come." Tyler Cowen in The New York Times.
KRISTOF AND WuDUNN: The way to beat poverty. "Jessica reminded us that the greatest inequality in America is not in wealth but the even greater gap of opportunity. We had been trying to help people in Zimbabwe and Cambodia, and now we found ourselves helpless to assist one of our daughter’s best friends. One reason the United States has not made more progress against poverty is that our interventions come too late. If there’s one overarching lesson from the past few decades of research about how to break the cycles of poverty in the United States, it’s the power of parenting — and of intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life or even before a child is born." Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in The New York Times.
LEVY: Education officials flunk Statistics 101. "As students return to school this fall, some basic math may come as a surprise: The data that officials employ to judge students and schools is misunderstood, ignored and or misused, particularly when measuring the performance of low-income students. There is, however, reason for optimism. New 'big data' methods for better analyzing more information are improving education research, forcing administrators, teachers, students and parents to question long-held assumptions." Harold O. Levy in The Wall Street Journal.
KLEIN: The greenwashing of big business. "What is wrong with us? I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things needed to cut emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have struggled to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck, because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and benefit the vast majority — are threatening to an elite minority with a stranglehold over our economy, political process and media." Naomi Klein in The Guardian.
SAMUELSON: The roughed-up American. "The gap applies to countless middle-class Americans. Having been roughed up, they face years of catch-up to get to where they once were. They feel poorer because they are poorer. They feel less secure because they are less secure. The crisis’s severity — and the fact that it surprised most 'experts' — shocked them. The large income and wealth losses compounded their sense of vulnerability. Their stubborn caution makes forecasting the economy’s future harder. The financial crisis and Great Recession have powerfully affected the national psyche — for the worse. We will be living with that legacy for a long time." Robert J. Samuelson in The Washington Post.
BERSHIDSKY: Saving net neutrality the BitTorrent way. "Eric Klinker, the chief executive of BitTorrent...has proposed — only half-seriously — an interesting solution to the net neutrality vs. bandwidth-hogging problem. Instead of having heavy traffic generators such as Netflix pay Internet providers for 'fast lanes' to their customers, Klinker suggests that providers pay other companies to get into a 'slow lane', shifting traffic to off-peak hours. Klinker's idea is typical of net neutrality advocates' arguments: It is largely based on the essentially Communist argument that Internet providers should shut up about any extra charges because they have plenty of money, anyway. There is, however, a curious and potentially useful technical side to the proposal." Leonid Bershidsky in Bloomberg View.
Miraculous golf shot interlude: Rory McIlroy's golf shot goes directly into...a spectator's pocket.
2. Two 20-year-old laws sought to cut crime — but did they work?
20 years later, major crime bill viewed as big mistake. "Twenty years ago this week, in 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed a crime bill. It was, in effect, a long-term experiment in various ways to fight crime. The measure paid to put more cops on the beat, trained police and lawyers to investigate domestic violence, imposed tougher prison sentences and provided money for extra prisons....If Clinton and Congress reflected the punitive mindset of the American people, what they didn't know was that soaring murder rates and violent crime had already begun what would become a long downward turn, according to criminologists and policymakers." Carrie Johnson in NPR.
Explainer: 3 reasons the Obama administration is reducing the Clinton-era crime law. German Lopez in Vox.
Little evidence that the previous ban on assault weapons worked."That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public....But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference. It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do." Lois Beckett in ProPublica and The New York Times.
More incarceration doesn't mean less crime. "State-level data also reinforce the idea that increases in the local prison population don't predict decreases in crime very well. The Pew Charitable Trusts recently rounded up data that illustrates this.... More often, we try to chart the relationship between two trends or data sets. Here, we're showing what's largely the absence of one, precisely because that absence matters for policy making. If anything, this picture suggests a narrative that runs counter to the common view that more prisoners lead to less crime: To the extent that there is any trend here, it's actually that states incarcerating more people have seen smaller decreases in crime." Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.
We don't really understand why crime rates have fallen. "Of course, there are many intervening factors that could account for the drop in crime in those states that are not linked to imprisonment rate. It's a chicken-egg situation: Does a decrease in crime lead to fewer people in prison, or vice versa? Or neither? The only real constant is that crime in America is at historic lows. Over the past 20 years, violent crime in the U.S. has dropped 48.2 percent. It's difficult to point to one reason that has led to the nationwide decrease in crime — more-aggressive policing and social programs are both likely factors. Solving the problem of crime in America is as difficult as it is ever-present." Emma Roller and Stephanie Stamm in National Journal.
Did 'stop-and-frisk,' while controversial to this day, help cut crime? "What’s not included in the Pew study is information about preemptive crime prevention. All five states that saw the greatest reduction in crime while reducing incarceration rates had implemented the highly controversial 'stop-and-frisk' policy in cities with high crime rates....The early and continued success of stop and frisk led other big cities to mirror the program." Eric Pianin in The Fiscal Times.
Background reading: Congress was all for sentencing reform — until Obama got involved. Katie Zezima in The Washington Post.
Domestic-violence protections still resonate 20 years after Clinton crime law enacted. "A key part of that 1994 law, known as the Violence Against Women Act, redefined wife beating as a crime rather than a joke....The Violence Against Women Act survived too, along with ahead-of-its-time ideas including community policing and special courts for nonviolent drug addicts....Same goes for the domestic violence provisions....Lawmakers added an element to protect women from abusive boyfriends. Later, they included a new training program for doctors to screen patients for physical abuse. And last year...Congress made social services available to people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity....Even today, the topic's never far from the news." Carrie Johnson in NPR.
Explainer: Experts offer 5 ways to curb domestic violence. Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.
Related: Congress has a lot to say to the NFL about the recent domestic-violence incidents. Gary Fields in The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, has Ferguson spawned a new civil-rights era? "Evidence suggests that Ferguson both disturbed and mobilized a nation....Officers around the country and in Ferguson are donning body cameras, and communities...are giving back their military-grade hand-me-downs. Moreover, a new generation of activists, who were not weaned on the nonviolence of the Civil Rights Era, is coming to the fore and looking to a different protest model....To be sure, the combination of protests, riots, and looting were hardly unifying. Whites continue to be far more likely to condemn the looting than are blacks. But there seems to be more agreement on one thing: Large shares of both blacks and whites thought police went too far in their response." Patrik Jonsson in The Christian Science Monitor.
Used with community concerns in mind, police body cameras can work, DOJ says. "The report makes 33 recommendations to police agencies on implementing body-worn cameras, including determining which officers will wear the cameras, when and where they will record, how to communicate to the community and subjects of the recording, what kind of discretion officers have in recording and what the storage procedures are. The report acknowledges the benefit of body-worn cameras for transparency and accountability, as well as evidence gathering, but notes officers and the community may have concerns about the new procedures and that police departments will incur a cost in setting up the program." Tal Kopan in Politico.
Other legal reads:
Building legacy, Obama reshapes appeals courts. Jeremy W. Peters in The New York Times.
Pa. execution delayed because state doesn't have lethal-injection drug. Mark Berman in The Washington Post.
Parody interlude: Watch this "Sesame Street" parody of "Star Wars," and prepare to get hungry.
3. Will Islamic State conflict be a game-changer in the NSA debate?
The battle with the Islamic State has given new ammunition for opponents of NSA reform bill. "The bill from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) would handicap American intelligence officials at a crucial moment, they say, and make it harder to track terrorists around the globe. Supporters of the bill — including top legal and intelligence officials in the Obama administration — deny that it would hamper the country’s ability to track groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They say that it’s a practical response to the uproar over the NSA programs that were exposed by Edward Snowden last summer. Still, the persistent opposition could become an obstacle for Leahy’s USA Freedom Act." Julian Hattem in The Hill.
Have we hit the post-Snowden era? "We're now just 15 months removed from Edward Snowden's first bombshell revelation about the United States' massive surveillance apparatus. But with Islamic extremists putting down roots in Syria and Iraq, Americans are very much reverting to a pre-Snowden attitude toward civil liberties. Or perhaps we should call it 'post-Snowden.' While the Snowden revelations led to a lot of American soul-searching when it came to just how much of our civil liberties we want to yield in the name of protecting ourselves from terrorism, the soul-searching has largely come to an end, according to a new poll." Aaron Blake in The Washington Post.
Latest NSA program to be exposed, 'Treasure Map,' would have wide reach. "It aims to map the Internet, and not just the large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. It also seeks to identify the devices across which our data flows, so-called routers. Furthermore, every single end device that is connected to the Internet somewhere in the world — every smartphone, tablet and computer — is to be made visible. Such a map doesn't just reveal one treasure. There are millions of them. The breathtaking mission is described in a Treasure Map presentation from the documents of the former intelligence service employee Edward Snowden which SPIEGEL has seen." Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Michael Sontheimer and Christian Grothoff in Der Spiegel.
Yahoo's predicament highlights the fine line between intelligence-gathering, snooping. "In 2007, the government’s authority to demand such data from technology companies without a search warrant was very much in doubt. That changed a year later, when crucial precedents establishing the government’s right to request emails, phone records and other user data were set in a secret court case in which Yahoo unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of the government’s demands for information about its foreign users. Documents from that case, which were released...after much of the file was declassified, paint a vivid portrait of a battle that pitted a leading Internet company against some of the top officials in the Bush administration." Vindu Goel in The New York Times.
Court rubber-stamps another NSA surveillance extension for Obama administration. "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the Justice Department's request for another 90-day extension of the National Security Agency's controversial mass surveillance program....The extension marks the third of its kind since President Obama pledged in January to reform how the NSA spies on Americans during a major policy speech delivered amid withering scrutiny of the nation's intelligence-gathering practices. Obama outlined a series of immediate steps to reform government surveillance and boost transparency, but noted he would wait for Congress to deliver him a bill before ending the bulk collection of U.S. call data." Dustin Volz in National Journal.
Other national security reads:
Lawmakers see budget opening in Islamic State battle. Jeremy Herb in Politico.
War plan joggles usual politics in Senate races. Charles Babington and Nicholas Riccardi in the Associated Press.
The Pentagon has an ISIS name problem. Jeremy Herb in Politico.
ISIS, ISIL or Islamic State: What's in a name? NPR.
Can Obama wage war without consent of Congress? Stephen Braun in the Associated Press.
4. How womens' issues are affecting this year's elections
No Todd Akins so far this cycle. "This time around, Republicans have avoided making controversial comments on subjects like rape — the sort of statements which two years ago cost them Senate seats in Missouri and Indiana. A number of their candidates have begun touting their support over-the-counter birth control. Where Democrats still believe they have the edge with female voters in 2014 is on economic questions that they say disproportionately affect women, such as raising the minimum wage, and assuring equal pay for equal work. Those issues are particularly salient with single women, who are solidly Democratic, but often difficult to motivate enough to get them to the polls." Karen Tumulty in The Washington Post.
Changing tack, GOP candidates support better access to birth control. "So what gives? First of all, Republicans are in a deep hole with female voters, and polls show all voters are less likely to support candidates who restrict women's reproductive rights. Republican strategist Katie Packer Gage says the GOP needed to get out of its defensive crouch....Calling for an over-the-counter pill allows Republicans to support access to birth control while also supporting the right of corporations to avoid covering it. Getting the pill at a pharmacy without a prescription leaves insurers and employers out of the picture altogether. But some Republicans are having trouble with their new talking points." Mara Liasson in NPR.
Poll: "War on women" motivates voters, especially women and minorities. Jay Newton-Small in Time Magazine.
Hobby Lobby declared open season for birth-control lawsuits. "The lawsuit is one of dozens of attacks on birth control coverage that enjoy new life as a result of the landmark Hobby Lobby decision. The Supreme Court's ruling applied only to the four types of emergency birth control methods (emergency contraceptives Plan B and Ella, as well as two types of IUDs) that were challenged, but lawyers quickly saw an opening to attack contraceptive coverage more broadly because the justices didn't distinguish the methods....Another side effect of the ruling (and an order that followed) was to compel the Obama administration to ease the rules on nonprofit employers who want to avail of their legal option not to pay for birth control coverage for employees." Sahil Kapur in Talking Points Memo.
A big decision looms in Texas abortion-law case. "Last month, a federal judge in Austin, Tex., struck down...a requirement that all abortion clinics in the state meet the same building, equipment and staffing standards as hospital-style surgical centers....The judge found that the surgical center rule put an unconstitutional burden on women seeking abortions, by causing closings that would force many women to drive more than 150 miles to the nearest facility. Lawyers for the Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott...appealed to the Fifth Circuit, and he asked the court to temporarily block the ruling....The Fifth Circuit panel made no ruling on Friday and did not indicate when it would issue one, although a decision seems likely in a matter of days." Manny Fernandez in The New York Times.
Related: Wendy Davis, Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Texas, tells of her own difficult abortions in "Forgetting." NPR.
What Missouri's new abortion waiting-period law means for women. "A new Missouri law imposing a 72-hour waiting period on women seeking abortions could decrease the abortion rate in the state, increase the abortion rate elsewhere and drive up expenses for women terminating pregnancies....Researchers have found that 24-hour waiting periods, which are law in more than 20 other states, cause women to undergo abortions later in pregnancies and travel to other states instead....In addition to affecting the timing, location and rate of abortions, waiting periods also increase costs for some women who are forced to travel to clinics at least twice." Kate Pickert in Time Magazine.
Other health care reads:
Pentagon may expand its involvement in Ebola outbreak. Julian E. Barnes in The Wall Street Journal.
In a matter of a year, Obamacare goes from top Congress issue to barely mentioned. Colby Itkowitz in The Washington Post.
'The Simpsons' interlude: See how they celebrated their 25th anniversary at the Hollywood Bowl.
5. Hillary Clinton sounds like a presidential candidate
Some of the best evidence yet that she's running in 2016. "On a day when many activists were sizing her up as a potential 2016 presidential candidate , Clinton sprinkled her speech with playful teases about what may be coming. She began her remarks with 'I’m baaaaaack!' and ended them by saying, 'Let’s not let another seven years go by.'...She acknowledged that she is thinking about another run but urged her audience to focus squarely on the November midterms, when control of the Senate is up for grabs and could be decided in Iowa. Hillary Clinton has been under pressure to address growing concerns in her party about income inequality....She did so here on Sunday." Philip Rucker and Dan Balz in The Washington Post.
Background reading: Clinton silent on 2016 bid, but campaign-style actions speak volumes. Amy Chozick in The New York Times.
If Sanders runs, he'll be running against Wall Street, not Clinton. "If Sanders does run, of course, he won't win. A poll from CNN this month put his support at 5 percent, less than it is for Hillary Clinton (by far), Vice President Biden (by a large amount) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). He's one of the few elected officials in American history to embrace the word 'socialist' to describe his policies. But even though his campaign is clearly an attempt to draw attention to the issues he cares about — wealth inequality, the Citizens United decision — he wasn't willing to strongly criticize either Clinton or President Obama in doing so." Philip Bump in The Washington Post.
Defeat of campaign-finance amendment especially bruising for Sanders. "In an interview Wednesday, Sanders admitted that the amendment was likely to fail. But he said Congress and a grassroots movement of concerned Americans need to continue working to overturn the Citizens United ruling, which he considers 'one of the worst in American history.' The senator said he's still enjoying his work, but that he's working in a 'very frustrating' environment. Which might help explain why he's traveling to Wisconsin and Iowa." Ed O'Keefe in The Washington Post.
Campaign-finance reform's future may rest with Silicon Valley. "This week did not go well for reformers hoping to defy expectations....A constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision and allow for stronger campaign finance regulation failed along party lines, as expected....But these shortcomings demonstrate that any serious hope reformers have of disrupting what they see as the increasingly entrenched status quo of money in politics will require extensive resources and creative strategies....Perhaps from the other side of the country." Jamie Lovegrave in National Journal.
Background reading: Outside groups, dark money organizations fuel 2014 midterm elections. Robert Maguire in OpenSecrets.org.
Other political reads:
U.S. judge questions Republican challenge to pay-to-play rule. Sarah N. Lynch in Reuters.
Wisconsin urges voter ID law restoration ahead of elections. Andrew Harris in Bloomberg.
Analysis: Both parties in Congress play it safe. David Espo in the Associated Press.
Animal science interlude: How does catnip work?
What’s at stake in San Francisco’s fight over how to legalize Airbnb. Emily Badger.
Taking the fight against the deadly prescription drug epidemic online. Jason Millman.
It’s official: Americans like red wine better than white wine. Roberto A. Ferdman.
These states cut their incarceration rates — and still had a decline in crime. Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham.
Name That Data! Christopher Ingraham.
The state of U.S. education: Above-average spending, below-average graduation rates. Christopher Ingraham.
Fed economists: America’s missing workers are not coming back. Max Ehrenfreund.
Long read: Regulator slow to respond to vehicle safety defects. Hilary Stout, Danielle Ivory and Rebecca R. Ruiz in The New York Times.
Parents poised to get easier access to college loans. Josh Mitchell in The Wall Street Journal.
States suing to stop CO2 cuts prep for them anyway. Bobby Magill in Climate Central.
Nevada woos Tesla in tax deal, but economic benefits prompt debate. Matthew L. Wald in The New York Times.
Chemical reform bill faces uphill battle in Senate. Frederic J. Frommer in the Associated Press.
Shared rides by Uber, Lyft break California law. Joshua Brustein in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Public-private deals spark turmoil. Mark Peters and Ryan Dezember in The Wall Street Journal.
In mining country, "war on coal" hard to see. Michael Kranish in The Boston Globe.
Lawyers for migrants? Administration says yes, no. Erica Werner in the Associated Press.
Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail us.
Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams and Ryan McCarthy.