The Ledes

Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

New York Times: "Connie Kopelov, whose wedding to Phyllis Siegel in 2011 was the first legal same-sex marriage in New York City, died in Manhattan on Saturday. She was 90." -- CW 

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, May 30, 2016.

USA Today: "Six people died and at least two others were missing Sunday after heavy rains in Texas and Kansas caused severe flooding. In one case near Austin, which received nine inches of rain this week, a vehicle with two people was swept off a flooded roadway. Threats of floods prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of prisoners near Houston, and inmates in another prison on Saturday fought with correctional officers after flooding caused a power outage." -- CW 

AP: "Mexican police have rescued kidnapped soccer player Alan Pulido, who appeared with a bandaged hand at a brief press conference Monday to declare that he was fine. Police and other officials said Pulido, a 25-year-old forward with Greek soccer club Olympiakos, was freed in a security operation Sunday shortly before midnight in the northeast border state of Tamaulipas. Pulido had been seized by gunmen as he left a party Saturday night." -- CW 

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (May 22): "An outbreak of a life-threatening illness that has been linked to foods packaged by a processing plant in Washington State has prompted a large-scale voluntary recall of frozen fruits and vegetables marketed under 42 brand names. The scale of the recall reflects the severity of the outbreak of the illness, listeria, and of concerns about how the contaminated food might have “trickled down” into other products, said Brittany Behm, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." -- CW

Washington Post: "After an epic duel of word masters, an 11-year-old Texan and a 13-year-old New Yorker tied Thursday night [May 26] in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the third year in a row two victors shared the championship trophy."

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

... Washington Post: The White House goes Scandinavian for a state dinner for the leaders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

New York Times: "Morley Safer, the longest-serving correspondent on '60 Minutes' who was known as much for his hard-hitting reporting as the quirky stories he covered, will formally retire this week after a career in broadcast news that lasted more than 50 years, CBS said on Wednesday. Mr. Safer, 84, served on '60 Minutes' for all but two of its 48 seasons. He started scaling back his appearances on the show after he turned 80; his last segment, a profile of the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, aired in March.... An hourlong program on Sunday, “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life,” will, among other highlights, recall an investigation by Mr. Safer that resulted in the freedom of Lenell Geter, a black man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Texas. In an appearance on the special, Mr. Geter credited Mr. Safer with saving his life."

U.K. Telegraph: "A Canadian schoolboy appears to have discovered a lost Mayan city hidden deep in the jungles of Mexico using a new method of matching stars to the location of temples on earth....In hundreds of years of scholarship, no other scientist had ever found such a correlation.... Studying 22 different constellations, [William Gadoury] found that they matched the location of 117 Mayan cities scattered throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. When he applied his theory to a 23rd constellation, he found that two of the stars already had cities linked to them but that the third star was unmatched. William took to Google Maps and projected that there must be another city hidden deep in the thick jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Canadian Space Agency agreed to train its satellite telescopes on the spot and returned with striking pictures: what appears to be an ancient Mayan pyramid and dozens of smaller structures around it."

Politico: "Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry will not be appearing on the channel for the time being, following a report in In Touch Weekly that he cheated on his wife with a Las Vegas hostess. 'We recently became aware of Ed’s personal issues and he’s taking some time off to work things out,' a Fox News spokesperson told Politico in a statement."

New York Times: “'Hamilton,' the groundbreaking hip-hop musical about the nation’s founding fathers, has been nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the most in Broadway history." ...

... Here's the full list of Tony Award nominees.

MIT News: "For the first time, an international team of astronomers from MIT, the University of Liège in Belgium, and elsewhere have detected three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, just 40 light years from Earth. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are comparable to those of Earth and Venus, and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system. The results are published [Monday, May 2] in the journal Nature.... The scientists discovered the planets using TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope), a 60-centimeter telescope operated by the University of Liège, based in Chile."

Washington Post's Reliable Source: At an "afterparty hosted by MSNBC following the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner [Saturday, May 1]..., a scuffle broke out between Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters and Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief.... The two flailed around a bit, upending a table and bumping into several people. 'Punches were definitely thrown,' said one witness. Before any damage was done, several bystanders, including Sean Spicer, communications director at the Republican National Committee, separated the two."

New York Times: "... a nearly 47,000-word journalistic series [by Walt Whitman] called 'Manly Health and Training,' were lost for more than 150 years, buried in an obscure newspaper that survived only in a handful of libraries. The series was uncovered last summer by a graduate student, who came across a fleeting reference to it in a digitized newspaper database and then tracked down the full text on microfilm.Now, Whitman’s self-help-guide-meets-democratic-manifesto is being published online in its entirety by a scholarly journal, in what some experts are calling the biggest new Whitman discovery in decades."

This is for safari:

... Via the New Yorker.

Washington Post: "Late last week, Comcast announced a new program that allows makers of smart TVs and other Internet-based video services to have full access to your cable programming without the need for a set-top box.  Instead, the content will flow directly to the third-party device as an app, including all the channels and program guide. The Xfinity TV Partner Program will initially be offered on new smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Roku streaming boxes.  But the program, built on open Internet-based standards including HTML5, is now open to other device manufacturers to adopt. As video services move from hardware to software, the future of the traditional set-top box looks increasingly grim. With this announcement, Comcast customers may soon eliminate the need for an extra device, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in fees."

BBC: "Dame Judi Dench and David Tennant have joined other stars at a gala marking 400 years since Shakespeare's death. Saturday's Shakespeare Live show in the playwright's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon included play scene performances, dance and music." Then this:

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Constant Comments

Anyone with a cheap computer can become a columnist or a pundit. -- Dennis Ryerson, Editor, Indianapolis Star

About Me: I have a cheap computer.
-- Constant Weader

Follow CONSTANTWEADER on Twitter... for breaking news. I update several times a day & tweet only the big deals.


The Commentariat -- June 1, 2016

Nick Gass of Politico: "Contrary to the opinion of his former Attorney General Eric Holder, President Barack Obama does not think that ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden rendered a 'public service' by leaking thousands of classified national security documents in 2013. 'The president has had the opportunity to speak on this a number of times, and I think a careful review of his public comments would indicate that he does not,' White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday, a day after Holder appeared on a podcast and acknowledged the role that Snowden's disclosures played in fostering a public debate about the role of government in surveillance." -- CW 

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it easier for landowners to challenge the decision of federal regulators that the use of property is restricted by the Clean Water Act. The justices ruled unanimously that property owners could file suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the agency’s determination that their land contains 'waters of the United States' covered by the Clean Water Act, which provides criminal and civil liabilities for violations." -- CW 

Lawrence Hurley of Reuters: "The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear an appeal asserting that the death penalty violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment filed by a Louisiana man convicted of fatally shooting his pregnant former girlfriend. Two of the eight justices, liberals Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said they would have accepted the case, repeating concerns about the death penalty's constitutionality they raised in a different case last year." -- CW 

Josh Gerstein of Politico: "The Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will not wade into a dispute over employee benefits in the bankruptcy reorganization of the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel in Atlantic City. The justices offered no comment as they turned down a petition from a union local representing workers at the casino, who said federal law called for a bankruptcy judges to preserve union contracts guaranteeing pension and health benefits." Thus, the lower court's ruling in favor of the (former) Trump entity stands. -- CW 

Presidential Race

Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Hillary Clinton on Tuesday rejected the idea that she instructed anyone at the State Department to keep quiet about her private email server, after an inspector general report released last week found that some staff were told to stay hush about the unusual set-up.... 'I certainly never instructed anyone to hide the fact I was using a personal email,' Clinton said, laughing toward the end of her sentence. 'It was obvious to hundreds of people, visible to the many people that I was emailing throughout the State Department and the rest of the federal government.' Clinton, whose campaign didn’t cooperate with the inspector general investigation, also said no interview with the FBI for its investigation into her private email server has been scheduled yet.” -- CW 

Nolan McCaskill: "Bernie Sanders wrapped up a news conference Tuesday but didn’t take a single question from the press. The Vermont senator spoke for roughly 10 minutes during what was billed by the campaign a health care press conference and featured remarks from industry professionals...." -- CW 

Evan Halper & John Myers of the Los Angeles Times: "After carefully avoiding any involvement in the Democratic presidential primary, Gov. Jerry Brown dropped his neutrality – and looked past his bitter history with the Clintons – to endorse Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. In an open letter to Democrats and independents, Brown urged voters who do not want to see a Donald Trump presidency to stop the infighting and rally behind Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.... It may have been Bill Clinton who helped seal the deal. The former president spent an hour and a half with the governor in Sacramento last week...." -- CW 

Well, I think the problem here is the difference between what Donald Trump says and what Donald Trump does. He's bragged for months about raising $6 million for veterans and donating a million dollars himself. But it took a reporter to shame him into actually making his contribution and getting the money to veterans. Look, I'm glad he finally did, but I don't know that he should get much credit for that. -- Hillary Clinton, to CNN's Jake Tapper, Tuesday ...

... Maggie Haberman & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "A defensive Donald J. Trump angrily listed more than two dozen veterans’ groups that he said had received $5.6 million thanks to his fund-raising and personal largess during a contentious news conference Tuesday in which he repeatedly railed against reporters who questioned him. Criticizing the news media at length, Mr. Trump demanded that journalists credit him for his act of charity and took umbrage at their scrutiny of his boasts and promises. In a heated, 40-minute appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, Mr. Trump dismissed a CNN reporter as 'a real beauty' and an ABC reporter as 'a sleaze,' and said that if he was elected president, the American public could expect a similar dynamic in the White House briefing room." -- CW ...

... David Fahrenthold & Jose DelReal of the Washington Post: "Trump blasted the news media — in terms that were bitter, even for him — for asking about how, and when, he was going to give this money away.... The donations Trump announced on Tuesday were related to a Jan. 28 fundraiser for veterans that he held in Des Moines, on a night when Trump skipped a GOP debate due to a feud with its host, Fox News. That night, Trump said he'd raised $6 million.... Trump said he would give $1 million of his own. After that, however, Trump became reluctant to release details about what had become of the money. At times, too, his staff gave out false information.... By law, nonprofit charities like Trump's foundation are not supposed to participate in political campaigns. At this event, however, Trump described the nonprofit's gifts at what was clearly a campaign event...." -- CW ...

... Eric Levitz of New York: Trump called " ABC News journalist Tom Llamas a 'sleaze.' When Llamas asked what made him a sleaze, Trump replied, 'You're a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well.' In a sense, this was the Donald's most honest answer of the afternoon: Any journalist who 'knows the facts well' is 'a sleaze' in Trump's eyes.” -- CW ...

... Lisa de Moreas of Deadline: "Donald Trump singled out ABC News’ Tom Llamas and, to a lesser degree, CNN’s Jim Acosta during today’s news conference about money the candidate had raised for veterans groups back in January. Trump called Llamas 'sleaze' and Acosta 'a real beauty,' respectively." -- CW ...

... CW: I hope it isn't lost on Reality Chex readers that the two reporters Trump directly attacked Tuesday "happened to be" Hispanics. ...

... Whiner-in-Chief, Ctd. Kevin Drum: "Trump pretty plainly tried to avoid making the personal $1 million contribution he promised at the time, and now he's outraged about being held accountable for this." -- CW ...

... Laura Clawson of Daily Kos: "How dare you look into my public promises and report on what you find! The job of the press is to make Donald Trump look good, and when the press fails at that, they should be ashamed of themselves!" -- CW ...

... Jose DelReal & David Fahrenthold: "One of the charities that Donald Trump selected to receive a donation from his veterans' fundraiser is a group with a rating of 'F' from CharityWatch, and has been criticized in the past for spending less than half of its incoming donations on programs that help veterans.... During his combative press conference, Trump said that all of the groups had been scrutinized.... The Better Business Bureau issued an 'alert' about the group in January, citing 'a pattern and high volume of complaints and customer reviews' that alleged customers received 'a high volume of what they consider to be harassing phone calls' from the group's solicitors.... An examination of the group's tax filings shows that the foundation spent just $2.4 million of its total $8 million budget on helping veterans directly in 2014." Earlier tax filings showed a similar pattern. -- CW ...

... Reuters: "New York City is investigating Donald Trump’s practice of closing down the public atrium in Trump Tower for presidential campaign events that are off limits to the public. In order to add more floors than zoning rules would otherwise allow, Trump ... agreed to create a two-story public atrium ... [in] the building. But security staff wearing Trump badges spent several hours shooing away a growing crowd of New Yorkers and tourists from the doors on Tuesday morning after Trump decided to hold a news conference in the atrium.... 'Department of Building inspectors will be investigating the allegations that the (public atrium) was closed contrary to the building owner’s agreement with the city,' Joe Soldevere, a department spokesman, told Reuters on Tuesday." -- CW 

Elliot Spagat of the AP: "Trump University gave employees detailed instructions on how to entice people to enroll in its real estate seminars, from targeting people making at least $90,000 a year and choosing words of flattery that are most persuasive to picking music for the gatherings — The O'Jays' 'For the Love of Money.' The 'playbooks' for the now-defunct business owned by Donald Trump ... were unsealed Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit by customers who say they were defrauded." -- CW 

Josh Marshall of TPM: "The press routinely goes into paroxysms - often rightly so - about innuendos or phrasings that might in some way be racist or suggest racial animus. [In Donald Trump's attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the Trump 'University" case] we have it in the open, repeated and showing itself as basically Trump's first line of attack when he is in anyway threatened. That's infinitely more dangerous than most things that routinely focus all the media's attention.... Few cases show more vividly how dangerous a person Trump is." -- CW 

... CW: I can easily imagine President Trump's repeatedly insisting that Justice Sonia Sotomayor recuse herself from hearing any cases in which the administration is a litigant because she's "hostile," "a hater" and "a total disgrace," who "happens to be Puerto Rican." And I wouldn't put it past him to do the same to the justices who "happen to be Jewish."

Is It #RealDonaldDrumpf or Is It Real Dementia? Sophia McClennen in Salon (April 25): "We have become so accustomed to [Donald Trump's] ramblings that we don’t really register them as anything more than standard nonsensical Trump-speak — a pattern of speech we have seen crop up across the GOP in recent years, most notably in [Sarah] Palin’s gibberish .... the odd syntax, the abrupt shift in topic, the disconnect from reality, the paranoia, and the seeming inability to even grasp the question.... What if it’s an example of someone who doesn’t have full command of his faculties?... At times it can be very hard to distinguish between extreme right-wing politics and symptoms of dementia." Read on. Thanks to Patrick for the link. -- CW 

Nora Kelly, in the Atlantic, wonders where Donald Trump sent all the money, including his own, he claims to have raised for veterans, a couple of days after he hijacked an event for veterans for his own self-aggrandizement. Very strange..."Donald Trump has a problem following through. He advocated for banning Muslims from U.S. soil, before qualifying all his policy proposals as 'a suggestion.' He campaigned on the premise he would self-fund his race, before deciding to raise money after all. So when news reports suggested Trump hadn’t donated all $6 million he said he raised for veterans’ groups at an event this past winter, the revelation seemed to follow his pattern...Trump repeatedly blamed the 'dishonest' and 'unfair' political press on Tuesday for misconstruing the donation process."

... Akhilleus: Drumpf knows all about dishonesty and unfairness. They constitute the core of his being. ...

... Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post: "It’s easy to mock Trump for denying reality. But in truth, he is hardly a pioneer in the postmodernist political effort to create parallel universes of facts. For years the right-wing commentariat has deliberately dismantled public trust in major U.S. institutions, including government and the 'mainstream media.'... In discrediting any rival and possibly neutral arbiter of truth and accountability — that is, entitling himself to his own facts as well as his own opinions — Trump ... frees himself up to invent colorful problems, conspiracies and villains that only a President Trump can defeat. And second, he robs the public of any independent means of assessing whether he’s ever actually succeeded.” -- CW 

The Turtle is Right! Leah Barkoukis, at the Confederate toilet paper site, Town Hall: "Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reassured listeners that Donald Trump will not change the nature of the Republican Party...Trump is not going to change the institution. He’s not going to change the basic philosophy of the party."

... Akhilleus: Quite right. Trump won't change the party. McConnell and the rest of the cynical, anti-American, anti-democratic calculators have already done that. Trump has merely watered the seeds they have sown. But it's a hoot to watch the Turtle Man pretend that he's still in charge. He's the Maginot Line of the Republican Party, and here come the Trump Panzers. Buh-bye, Mitchy.

Annals of Journalism, Ctd. Hadas Gold of Politico: "Satellite radio company SiriusXM has suspended Glenn Beck's syndicated show this week and is 'evaluating' the program's place over comments made last week by one of Beck's guests. Last week, fiction writer Brad Thor appeared on Beck's program and suggested GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump was a danger to America and that citizens would have to take means that may not be legal in order to get Trump out of office. Beck did not immediately admonish or distance himself from the comments, leading to the suspension by SiriusXM." -- CW 

Congressional Race/Weird News

Marc Caputo of Politico: "One of Dena Minning’s biggest assets in her congressional bid was her boyfriend: incumbent Alan Grayson, who’s leaving the U.S. House to run for U.S. Senate. Now, after Grayson has helped raise her profile and run for his U.S. House seat, he married her over the Memorial Day Weekend and gave her his last name, according to her Monday social-media posts and The Orlando Political Observer." -- CW 


The Commentariat -- May 31, 2016

Afternoon Update

Nora Kelly, in the Atlantic, wonders where Donald Trump sent all the money, including his own, he claims to have raised for veterans, a couple of days after he hijacked an event for veterans for his own self-aggrandizement. Very strange..."Donald Trump has a problem following through. He advocated for banning Muslims from U.S. soil, before qualifying all his policy proposals as 'a suggestion.' He campaigned on the premise he would self-fund his race, before deciding to raise money after all. So when news reports suggested Trump hadn’t donated all $6 million he said he raised for veterans’ groups at an event this past winter, the revelation seemed to follow his pattern...Trump repeatedly blamed the 'dishonest' and 'unfair' political press on Tuesday for misconstruing the donation process."

...Akhilleus: Drumpf knows all about dishonesty and unfairness. They constitute the core of his being.

The Turtle is Right! Leah Barkoukis, at the Confederate toilet paper site, Town Hall: "Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reassured listeners that Donald Trump will not change the nature of the Republican Party...Trump is not going to change the institution. He’s not going to change the basic philosophy of the party."

...Akhilleus: Quite right. Trump won't change the party. McConnell and the rest of the cynical, anti-American, anti-democratic calculators have already done that. Trump has merely watered the seeds they have sown. But it's a hoot to watch the Turtle Man pretend that he's still in charge. He's the Maginot Line of the Republican Party, and here come the Trump Panzers. Buh-bye, Mitchy.


Julie Davis of the New York Times: President "Obama, who has made a point of speaking out against anti-immigrant sentiment..., has instructed his top advisers that they must not fall short of meeting his goal to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States by the fall. But an onerous and complex web of security checks and vetting procedures, shared among several government agencies, has made the target difficult to reach." -- CW 

Adam Edelman of the New York Daily News: "Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder thinks fugitive leaker Edward Snowden actually performed a 'public service' when he passed on classified NSA secrets to journalists. 'We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,' Holder told David Axelrod on his CNN-produced podcast 'The Axe Files.'" -- CW 

Presidential Race

Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed: "In a memo to top supporters, Hillary Clinton’s top official sought to clarify the campaign’s response to a new report from the State Department inspector general and move past a controversy that has dogged the candidate now for 15 months. The 600-word letter from John Podesta, Clinton’s chairman and longtime adviser, addresses the IG report’s various findings, but comes back to a single point again and again: that Clinton knows the use of a personal email server was a 'mistake.'” -- CW 

Paul Waldman: "For all her many skills, Hillary Clinton is just not that good at running for president. That doesn’t mean she won’t be good at being president, and it’s a reminder that the two are not the same thing.... A different candidate would probably be farther ahead of Trump.... Clinton is also simply not very good at ... delivering speeches.... Clinton ha[s] yet to come up with a resonant theme for her campaign." -- CW ...

... Rebecca Traister of New York: On the campaign trail, "I watched [Hillary Clinton] do the work of retail politics — the handshaking and small-talking and remembering of names and details of local sites and issues — like an Olympic athlete. Far from seeing a remote or robotic figure, I observed a woman who had direct, thoughtful, often moving exchanges.... The dichotomy between her public and private presentation has a lot to do with the fact that she has built such a wall between the two. Her pathological desire for privacy is at the root of the never-ending email saga, to name just one example.... [Clinton's] pervasive defensiveness ... gets in the way of her projecting authenticity, an intense desire for privacy that keeps voters from feeling as if they know her — especially problematic in an era in which social media makes personal connection with voters more important than ever." CW: This is a fullblown profile of Hillary, & it's a pretty good read.

Maryalice Parks of ABC News: "Five animal rights protesters jumped over barricades and rushed the podium at a Bernie Sanders rally in East Oakland, California, on Monday night, prompting the Vermont senator's Secret Service detail to intervene. One of the protesters appeared to be hit by one of the security member's baton, while another was carried out of the venue by his arms and legs. For his part, Sanders did not seem rattled." -- CW 

International Man of Misery. Farah Stockman & Keith Bradsher of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump ... often portrays himself as uniquely capable of wringing concessions out of China through hard-nosed business tactics he has honed over the years. 'I beat China all the time,' Mr. Trump declared in a speech the day he announced his candidacy. 'I own a big chunk of the Bank of America building at 1290 Avenue of the Americas that I got from China in a war. Very valuable.'... Court documents and interviews with people involved in the deal tell a very different story of how he ended up with it.” CW: Naturally. It reads as if some Hong Kong billionaires made a chump of Trump. That dinner with the fish heads? Definitel designed to discomfit the Ignorant Abroad. -- CW ...

... Kevin Sullivan of the Washington Post: "If elected, Trump would be the first U.S. president to preside over a global business empire, one that includes seven resorts, hotels and other projects in foreign countries, 11 more under construction and plans for many more. Among them are properties in nations where the United States has important economic and national security concerns — such as Turkey, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan — that could put Trump’s personal business interests on a collision course with the duty of a president to act solely in the best interest of the United States." In -- CW 

Ed Kilgore: "Veteran journalist Ron Brownstein looked at the internals of some recent general election polls and found that adding gender to education levels among white voters produced a shocking gap between the two candidates...Brownstein argues that each candidate is reaching or in some cases exceeding the all-time records for their party in these demographics — which means the gap could be larger than ever, too...If the election does come down to a contest between women and men of any race or level of educational achievement, a Clinton victory would be not only historic, but a demonstration of the power of sisterhood against an opponent who's a cartoon-character representation of The Man." --safari

Emma Green of the The Atlantic: "Predictions are dangerous business, especially in the hall of mirrors that American politics has become. Suffice it to say, no one called this U.S. presidential election cycle—notTrump, not Sanders, not any of it. Except, perhaps, in a round-about way, a 1979 book about the presidential-primary system [by] James Ceaser, a University of Virginia professor. I spoke with Ceaserabout Trump and the unintended effects of trying to make democracy more democratic. " Includes interview. --safari (Thanks to PD Pepe for the link)

Michael Gerson, the WashPo's mild-mannered conservo-columnist, is very, very upset with Little Marco & Paul the Weasel Ryan: "Some Republicans keep expecting Trump to finally remove the mask of misogyny, prejudice and cruelty and act in a more presidential manner. But it is not a mask. It is his true face. Good Republican leaders making the decision to support Trump will end up either humiliated by the association, or betrayed and attacked for criticizing the great leader. Trump leaves no other options." CW: It is good to see a Republican-in-Good-Standing willing to write, "The GOP has selected someone who is unfit to be president, lacking the temperament, stability, judgment and compassion to occupy the office."

Seung Min Kim of Politico: "Donald Trump and his incendiary immigration rhetoric was supposed to send Latino voters to the polls in droves for Democrats this fall. But the Obama administration’s controversial immigration raids are threatening to weaken the Democrats’ advantage." --safari

Daniel Politi of Slate: "Donald Trump did not wait to reply. Less than two hours after Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol sent out a tweet that said there would soon be news of an 'impressive'independent presidential candidate, the presumptive Republican nominee went on the attack. In a series of tweets, the real estate mogul called Kristol a 'dummy' and an 'embarrassed loser.' He then said Republicans can 'say good bye to the Supreme Court' if an independent contender does materialize." --safari

Beyond the Beltway (and beyond)

Prisons vs. Prisoners. Rachel Poser of the New Yorker: "The P.L.R.A., [a Clinton-era piece of criminal-justice legislation known as the Prison Litigation Reform Act (P.L.R.A.)] passed by Congress in 1996, was designed to reduce the number of lawsuits brought by inmates against prisons....Prisoners’ advocates have argued for years that the P.L.R.A. makes it nearly impossible for inmates to get a fair hearing in court, and that it has crippled the federal judiciary’s ability to act as a watchdog over prison conditions...the number of federal lawsuits by inmates against prisons has fallen by sixty per cent in the twenty years since the P.L.R.A.’s passage...[I]n practice, critics say, these systems create a tangle of administrative procedures that discourage or disqualify inmates from filing lawsuits." --safari

Alexia Fernández Campbell of The Atlantic: "Girl Scouts has been losing members for more than a decade as it struggles to reach the new American girl, who is more likely than ever to be an ethnic minority or come from poor, immigrant families. Even though the organization’s researchers have highlighted the need to reflect the “changing face of girls” in America, Girl Scouts are still mostly white. The percentage of Latina scouts (12 percent) and African American scouts (11 percent) has hardly budged in the past four years. Meanwhile, nearly half of girls aged 5 to 17 in the United States are now ethnic minorities, up from 38 percent in 2000...[W]hy this recruitment failure matters: Many of these girls, who already face so many obstacles, are missing out on a program that has given millions of others the confidence and some of tools they need to succeed." --safari

Marina Koren of The Atlantic: "Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad, has been found guilty of crimes against humanity committed during his eight-year-rule and sentenced to life in prison. Habré was convicted Monday of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and rape, the BBC reported, nearly a year after his trial began...The trial was a landmark event in international criminal justice. In Africa, it marked the first time in which the courts of one country prosecuted the former ruler of another for alleged human-rights abuses." --safari

Tim Radford of the Guardian: "One in three children in Europe between the ages of six and nine are either overweight or obese, according to a report that also warns that by 2025 the number of under-fives worldwide who are overweight will have risen from an estimated 41 million now to 70 million...The cost of treating disorders related to obesity now amounts to a tenth of total healthcare costs in Europe, and, according to the report, threatens the sustainability of public health services in all nations." --safari

Michael Klare in Salon from "Pity the poor petro-states. Once so wealthy from oil sales that they could finance wars, mega-projects, and domestic social peace simultaneously, some of them are now beset by internal strife or are on the brink of collapse as oil prices remain at ruinously low levels. Unlike other countries, which largely finance their governments through taxation, petro-states rely on their oil and natural gas revenues...Now, with oil below $50 and likely to persist at that level, they find themselves curbing public spending and fending off rising domestic discontent or even incipient revolt...In 2016, one thing is finally clear, however: the business model for these corporatized states is busted." --safari


The Commentariat -- May 30, 2016

"Martyrs of the Race Course," Charleston, South Carolina,1865, an early "Decoration Day." Art by Owen Freeman for the New York Times.AP: "Memorials to veterans in a Los Angeles neighborhood and a town in Kentucky, as well as a Civil War veterans cemetery in Virginia, were damaged as the nation prepares to mark Memorial Day, officials said." ...

... Juan Cole: "On Memorial Day, it is as well to remember that US troops are still at war. Afghanistan is our nation’s longest such military engagement. But although there are only about 3,000 troops in Iraq and just a couple hundred in Syria, they are at the front lines in confronting the most dangerous terrorist groups...A former US military officer has said that US troops are actively engaged in fighting at both major remaining fronts against Daesh, al-Raqqa an Mosul." --safari...

... "Era Endless War/Era of Chickenhawks." Ben Fountain of the Guardian: "Just two of this season’s presidential candidates – Bernie Sanders and Rand Paulseriously questioned the the hard-military tactics of the past 15 years. Everybody else seems to be running around in a 2002 time warp, back when deploying the world’s most powerful military was supposed to bring peace and democracy to a maddeningly conflicted region. Gas on the fire. It failed, and a lot of people died. In this, the fourth presidential election of the Era of the AUMF [Authorization to Use MIlitary Force], the debate hasn’t been about war per se – whether it’s necessary, whether it’s an effective means to an end – but rather, a difference of degree: will we have more of the same, or much, much more of the same? The times are such that fantasy war-mongering is solidly mainstream." -- CW ...

... E.J. Dionne: President "Obama is constantly being criticized for 'apologizing' for the United States when he is in fact attempting to hold us to the very standards that make the United States the 'exceptional' nation his critics extol. Judging ourselves by our own standards is the best way to prove that our commitment to them is real." -- CW 

David Savage of the Los Angeles Times: "The Supreme Court is being asked to take up a bankruptcy dispute involving the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and to decide whether to restore the health and pension benefits of more than 1,000 casino workers. At issue is a conflict between labor laws that call for preserving collective bargaining agreements and bankruptcy laws that allow a judge to reorganize a business to keep it in operation. 'This is about how a bankruptcy was used to transfer value from working people to the super-rich,' said Richard G. McCracken, general counsel for Unite Here, the hotel and casino workers’ union that appealed to the high court. Billionaire Carl Icahn stepped in to buy the casino – founded by Donald Trump – after it filed for bankruptcy in 2014. As the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said in January, Trump’s 'plan of reorganization was contingent on the rejection of the collective bargaining agreement,'...  with the union." The Court ruled for the Trump & Icahn. -- CW 

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court is trying hard to reach common ground in the wake of the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. But some justices are trying harder than others.... The recent run of rulings, accounting for more than a quarter of all decisions in argued cases so far this term, tells the story. The court’s most conservative members — Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — wrote eight concurrences or dissents. Its two most liberal members — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor — wrote four." -- CW 

Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times: "A number of companies in the United States are training foreign law enforcement and intelligence officials to code their own surveillance tools. In many cases these tools are able to circumvent security measures like encryption. Some countries are using them to watch dissidents. Others are using them to aggressively silence and punish their critics, inside and outside their borders." -- CW 

Annals of Journalism, Ctd. Margaret Sullivan, now with the Washington Post: "... when a vindictive billionaire [Peter Thiel] can muscle his way into a lawsuit with the intention of putting a media company [Gawker] out of business, there’s reason to worry.... Ken Paulson, director of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, told me that congressional meddling in Facebook’s editorial practices would be 'dangerous, frightening and wrong.' He sees this as a case of government trying to police ideas." -- CW 

CW: Excellent discussion in yesterday's Comments thread.

Presidential Race

Julie Dolan, in a Washington Post interview by Janell Ross: Hillary "Clinton is the most experienced candidate in the field, but campaign rivals Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are leveling attacks against her that she’s not qualified for the job. In doing so, they're playing into a long-standing narrative that women lack what it takes to succeed in the male-dominated world of politics. The fact that two less-experienced male candidates are leveling this attack against her is telling. Neither Trump nor Sanders feels compelled to shore up their own credentials or justify their own relative lack of experience because they don’t need to; they benefit from a gendered double standard where men are automatically presumed qualified for public office and women are not.: -- CW 

What about Bill? Amy Davidson of the New Yorker on Hillary Clinton's "Bill problem," which Donald Trump so enjoys raising & which actually concerns many voters. -- CW 

Paul Krugman: "So far, election commentary has been even worse than I imagined it would be. It’s not just the focus on the horse race at the expense of substance; much of the horse-race coverage has been bang-your-head-on-the-desk awful, too.... Mrs. Clinton is clearly ahead, both in general election polls and in Electoral College projections based on state polls." -- CW ...

... Jonathan Martin, et al., of the New York Times: "With Donald J. Trump pulling even or ahead of Hillary Clinton in a series of recent national polls, the once unthinkable has become at least plausible. But if he is to be elected the 45th president, he must compete on a political map that, for now, looks forbidding." -- CW 

Biker Boy. Thomas Kaplan of the New York Times: "Donald Trump addressed "a gathering at the 29th annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle run, a vast event over Memorial Day weekend that is dedicated to accounting for military members taken as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action." -- CW ...

...Ben Jacobs of the Guardian: "Speaking to a crowd that spilled down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, [Donald Trump] was received as a conquering hero...Trump repeatedly claimed – falsely – that hundreds of thousands were trying to attend the event, at one point claiming there were '600,000 people trying to get in'...'I thought this would be like Dr Martin Luther King,' he said, in a reference to the 1963 March on Washington, a key event in the civil rights movement." --safari

Whiner-in-Chief, Ctd. Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump could have taken a victory lap last week. Instead, he went on a grudge tour.... Trump went after an odd and seemingly random group of people — Democrats and Republicans, famous and obscure. There seemed little to gain politically from the attacks, and his targets were linked by just one thing: Trump felt they had all done him wrong. So he blasted Republicans who have yet to endorse him, including Jeb Bush, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Mitt Romney. He declared that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton doesn’t look presidential, and he went after her allies, especially Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whom Trump continues to call 'Pocahontas' even after being told the nickname is offensive. He mocked those protesting him and slammed reporters covering his candidacy.... Trump also went after people who were probably unknown to his supporters until he brought them up: Barbara Res, a former employee quoted in an article about his treatment of women, and U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is assigned to hear a fraud case against now-defunct Trump University." -- CW 

Ignoramus-in-Chief, Ctd. Washington Post Editors: "LAST WEEK’S Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that voters think Donald Trump would handle the economy better than would Hillary Clinton. But from his destructive tax proposals to the illogical energy plan he detailed on Thursday, there is little basis for that belief.... Mr. Trump’s plan is dangerous as well as incoherent. Mr. Trump’s plan would lead to dirtier air and water — and to a massive blow to the global fight against climate change." -- CW

Amy Rosenberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer in Politico Magazine: "As Trump and Christie forged an unlikely political alliance..., Atlantic City is the one place in America that has been most clearly shaped by the both of them." And, BTW, Atlantic City is a disaster. CW: It's fair to suggest that Trump-Christie policies would make every American city much like Atlantic City. First, they would bankrupt cities. Then they would take over control of them. "Great Again"? Think Flint, Michigan. But way worse.

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite: Marco Rubio revealed "on Sunday morning’s State of the Union that he would be releasing his delegates to the Republican convention, casting his tepid support for Donald Trump as a lesser evil than voting for Hillary Clinton, and reflecting on his own failed campaign." Also, too, Marco is not too upset about Trump's overt racism. -- CW ...

... digby: "It's not a game and it isn't about ideology. It's about the fact that this loon is unfit. There are a few Republicans who are willing to say this out loud. But most are like Lil' Marco --- selling out whatever is left of their integrity for a favor from The Donald. This is the litmus test of litmus tests. Did you speak up when the party nominates someone who is manifestly unqualified or not?" -- CW...

...Tom Boggioni of RawStory: "Appearing on CNN, an opinion page editor from the Wall Street Journal [Bret Stevens] left no doubt how he feels about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying not only will he not vote for him, but that Trump needs to be crushed in the November election as a lesson to Republicans." --safari...

...We could use some more of this on mainstream media: --safari

...Tim Wise, an antiracism educator, and journalist W. Kalau Bell on Trump and racism: --safari

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Brian Beutler of the New Republic: "What Trump and his allies really hope is that they can hoodwink first-time voters or people who weren’t paying close attention back in the 1990s into believing known lies. Only the media can prevent this — but with Trump as GOP nominee, and party leaders rallying behind him, the media suddenly faces fresh incentives not to intervene, and they will become harder to resist over time.... Unless a critical mass of media figures agrees to treat the things Trump exhumes from the fever swamps of the 1990s with the appropriate contempt, Trump will enjoy the benefit of the doubt most major-party nominees expect." -- CW 

Martin Pengelly of the Guardian: "The Libertarian party on Sunday selected Gary Johnson as its nominee for president, on a second ballot.... The selection of a vice-presidential candidate, in which Johnson is hoping to be joined by the former Massachusetts governor William Weld, was not so swiftly concluded. Weld, seen by many Libertarians as 'Republican-lite', struggled for support before sealing the nomination early on Sunday evening." -- CW 

Congressonal Race

James Hohmann of the Washington Post: Tim Canova, "a little-known law professor" who is challenging Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) in the primary, "finds himself in the right place at the right time. Wasserman Schultz, 49, has become increasingly unpopular within the liberal base of the party — and among [Sen. Bernie] Sanders’s supporters in particular. Though she claims to be neutral in the presidential nominating contest, many Berniecrats believe that she has tipped the scales in Hillary Clinton’s favor." Sanders has endorsed Canova. -- CW

Louis Gohmert (he's so special, sometimes he deserves his own section)

Judd Legum of ThinkProgress: "There have been a lot of justifications for continued discrimination against LGBT people...But in a speech on the House floor this week, Congressman Louis Gohmert took things to the next level. Gohmert argued that we need to discriminate against LGBT people now or the future of humanity is in danger... At some point, a giant asteroid may start barreling toward earth, putting the future of humanity in doubt. We will then need to prepare a special spaceship and send a group of people to colonize Mars...If we can’t discriminate against LGBT people, Gohmert reminds us, all of the people on the special spaceship might end up being same-sex couples." --safari

Way Beyond the Beltway

Jim Yardley & Gaia Pianigiani of the New York Times: "Three days and three sunken ships are again confronting Europe with the horrors of its refugee crisis, as desperate people trying to reach the Continent keep dying at sea. At least 700 people from the three boats are believed to have drowned, the United Nations refugee agency announced on Sunday, in one of the deadliest weeks in the Mediterranean in recent memory." -- CW

Emma Graham-Harrison of the Guardian: "Iraqi army-led units have started an operation to storm the Isis-held city of Falluja, the latest phase in the week-long operation to capture the militant’s stronghold near Baghdad...A spokesman for Iraq’s elite counter-terrorisn service said troops entered the city from three directions. Explosions and gunfire could be heard in the southern Naimiya district as a military unit advanced." --safari


The Commentariat -- May 29, 2016

Presidential Race

Amy Chozick, et al., of the New York Times: "While she enjoys many demographic advantages heading into the fall, key Democrats say they are growing worried that [Hillary Clinton's] campaign has not determined how to combat her unpredictable, often wily Republican rival, to whom criticism seldom sticks and rules of decorum seem not to apply. Mrs. Clinton is pressing ahead with a conventional campaign.... But Mr. Trump is running a jarringly different crusade: accusing her husband, former President Bill Clinton, of rape; proposing that the country conduct brutal methods of torture; and suggesting that South Korea and Japan be permitted to develop nuclear arms. Prominent Democrats say a more provocative approach is needed." -- CW

Hugo Martin of the Los Angeles Times: "... Hillary Clinton has jumped into the dispute over whether Norwegian Air International is competing fairly against its U.S.-based rivals -- and she is taking a position critical of the Obama administration. Norwegian Air, a subsidiary of Norway-based Norwegian Air Shuttle, one of Europe's biggest low-cost carriers, has been accused by U.S.-based carriers and their unions of skirting U.S. and European labor laws by establishing a base in Ireland but hiring pilots out of Asia to save money.... Sen. Bernie Sanders also called on the federal government to deny Norwegian's permit." -- CW

Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is moving to head off a burgeoning controversy sparked by a federal probe that could have consequences for his close friend and political ally, Hillary Clinton. McAuliffe has launched a media blitz insisting the FBI will not find any wrongdoing in its investigation of contributions to his 2013 gubernatorial campaign. The governor said in a TV interview he is 'baffled' by the inquiry, which reportedly began last year. In a separate radio interview, he lashed out at Department of Justice and FBI after news of the investigation leaked to the press." -- CW

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is seeking to bar allies of Hillary Clinton from leading the powerful rules and platform committees of the Democratic National Convention in July, escalating his battle with party leaders. In a letter sent on Friday to party officials, lawyers for Mr. Sanders said that the appointments of Barney Frank, the former Massachusetts congressman, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut violated party rules. Mr. Frank is to co-lead the rules committee, and Mr. Malloy the platform committee. In the letter, Mr. Sanders’s lawyer Brad Deutsch said that both men have been 'harsh, vocal critics of Senator Sanders, and equally active supporters of his challenger, Hillary Clinton.' Mr. Frank has called Mr. Sanders 'outrageously McCarthyite' for his suggesting that Mrs. Clinton would be influenced by her speaking fees from Wall Street; Mr. Malloy has led efforts among Clinton allies to attack Mr. Sanders's record on gun control." -- CW ...

... Alexander Bolton of the Hill: Senior Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials have rejected a request from Bernie Sanders's campaign to change the leadership of two crucial committees at the convention." -- CW

Richard Marosi & Debbi Baker of the Los Angeles Times: "San Diego police arrested 35 people Friday during protests that followed Donald Trump's rally here, drawing praise from the presidential candidate on Twitter. 'Fantastic job on handling the thugs who tried to disrupt our very peaceful and well attended rally. Greatly appreciated!' Trump wrote." -- CW ...

... Rory Carroll & Nicky Woolf of the Guardian: "There were protests at almost every stop of ... [Donald Trump's] western swing this week, veering from a carnival-like vibe to violence." -- CW

Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post: "A federal judge has ordered the release of internal Trump University documents in an ongoing lawsuit against the company, including 'playbooks' that advised sales personnel how to market high-priced courses on getting rich through real estate. The Friday ruling, in which Judge Gonzalo Curiel cited heightened public interest in ... Donald Trump, was issued in response to a request by The Washington Post. The ruling was a setback for Trump.... Curiel's order came the same day that Trump..., who previously questioned whether Curiel's Hispanic heritage made him biased due to Trump's support for building a wall on the Mexican border, said ... Curiel 'happens to be, we believe, Mexican.' Trump called the judge a 'hater of Donald Trump' who had 'railroaded' him in the case.railed against the judge at a boisterous San Diego rally for his handling of the case, in which students have alleged they were misled and defrauded. The trial is set for November." ...

... Reid Epstein of the Wall Street Journal: "In one of his most personal attacks against an apolitical figure since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump delivered an extended tirade [at his San Diego rally] about the federal judge overseeing the civil litigation against his defunct education program.... Mr. Trump ... devoted 12 minutes of a 58-minute address to the litigation, which is scheduled to go to trial in San Diego federal court Nov. 28." -- CW ...

... CW: For the record, Judge Curiel was born in Indiana, a geopolitical area which very few Americans are stupid enough to place in Mexico. ...

... digby: "President Whining Bigot at your service.... I swear to God this campaign is the whiniest campaign I've ever heard. Everything is so unfaaaiiir. So I have a right to act like a baby and whine and whine and throw tantrums and hold my breath until I turn blue because those meanies are being sooooo mean!!! Boo fucking hoo." -- CW ...

... Josh Gerstein of Politico: "Just hours after Trump used a campaign speech at a San Diego convention center to unleash a remarkable verbal fusillade against U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge -- who also happens to be based in the same southern California city -- acknowledged a much more measured fashion of the criticism Trump has aimed at the court. 'Defendant became the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue,' Curiel said in an order unsealing a series of internal Trump University documents that Trump's lawyers asked be kept from the public." -- CW

Kristen East of Politico: "Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to defend his personal management style and his campaign's structure after a New York Times report outlined challenges facing the presumptive Republican nominee and his staffers as they pivot to the general election.... Maggie Haberman, one of the story's two authors, responded to Trump's criticisms on Twitter by saying he had confirmed the report -- that he has a small campaign staff.... About an hour later, Trump then tweeted: 'Don't believe the biased and phony media quoting people who work for my campaign. The only quote that matters is a quote from me!'" -- CW

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "Mr. Trump's campaign has engendered impassioned debate about the nature of his appeal and warnings from critics on the left and the right about the potential rise of fascism in the United States.... The discussion comes as questions are surfacing around the globe about a revival of fascism, generally defined as a governmental system that asserts complete power and emphasizes aggressive nationalism and often racism.... Mr. Trump has provided plenty of ammunition for critics. He was slow to denounce the white supremacist David Duke and talked approvingly of beating up protesters. He has praised Mr. Putin and promised to be friends. He would not condemn supporters who launched anti-Semitic blasts at journalists. At one point, Mr. Trump retweeted a Mussolini quote: 'It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.'" -- CW

Sean Sullivan & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "For the past two months, Donald Trump has presided over a political team riddled with turf wars, staff reshuffling and dueling power centers.... The tensions ... illustrate how Trump likes to run an organization.... Interviews with current and former Trump associates reveal an executive who is fond of promoting rivalries among subordinates, wary of delegating major decisions, scornful of convention and fiercely insistent on a culture of loyalty around him.... Trump's style offers a glimpse of the polarizing management techniques he would carry into the White House." -- CW ...

... Chas Danner of New York: "The Trump campaign has told some high-level GOP staffers that it wont have a lot of money to defend itself from attacks over the next few months, according to the Washington Examiner.... Trump's shift to RNC money is of course a huge departure from his stance during the GOP primaries, when he repeatedly boasted about how he was self funding his campaign, in large part to avoid being beholden to the very Republican establishment on which his campaign will apparently now rely.... Trump could try to blame the Republican Party for the loss, rather than take responsibility for what may end up being one of the most poorly-run presidential campaigns in history." -- CW ...

... Jonathan Chait: "Fortunately, many of the same qualities that would make Trump epically dangerous in the presidency -- his impulsive ignorance, blustering arrogance, and contempt for data -- also make him unlikely to obtain it." -- CW

... Unless voters listen to their stone-age brains: Bill Moyers interviews Rick Shenkman, editor and publisher of History News Network, author of Political Animals: How Our Stone-age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics. "We think the voters want the truth. The voters don't want the truth any more than you and I want the truth. You and I don't want to be told some truth that makes us uncomfortable about ourselves. The voters don't want to be told some truth that makes them uncomfortable about their choices."--LT

Matt Viser of the Boston Globe: The Trump Shuttle failed partly because of a softening economy but also because Donald Trump didn't know what he was doing. "'The shuttle was a clear example of how the exaggerated value accorded his name led Donald into a purchase whose foolishness was apparent almost immediately,' John O'Donnell, a former Trump official, wrote in his tell-all book 'Trumped!' 'But he was acting more impulsively than ever, giving less and less thought to the consequences of everything he did.'" -- CW

Ralph Benko of Forbes: Make America Great Again by minimizing the power of the Presidency and yielding power to a Prime Minister? "If Donald Trump authentically promised, and then fulfilled the promise, of making Paul Ryan the moral equivalent of his prime minister this could be a marriage made in heaven. It could fuse Trump's intuitive grasp of economic growth with justice with Ryan's policy mastery. This recipe could make Trump 'the greatest jobs president that God every created' and Ryan an historic Speaker and possible successor to the presidency." -- LT

News Ledes

New York Times: "Jane Fawcett, who was a reluctant London debutante when she went to work at Bletchley Park, the home of British code-breaking during World War II, and was credited with identifying a message that led to a great Allied naval success, the sinking of the battleship Bismarck, died on May 21 at her home in Oxford, England. She was 95." -- CW

New York Times: Hedy "Epstein, a Holocaust survivor who spoke widely about the persecution of the Jews in Germany, and who spent most of her adult life working for a broad range of social justice movements, died on Thursday at her home in St. Louis. She was 91." Epstein made international headlines when she was arrested in St. Louis in 2014 for protesting Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's actions in the aftermath of the Michael Brown police killing case. -- CW

Washington Post: "Cassandra Q. Butts, who was President Obama's classmate at Harvard Law School and a longtime member of the president's inner circle who advised him throughout his political career and served as a deputy White House counsel, died May 25 at her home in Washington. She was 50." -- CW