The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, May 2, 2016.

Guardian: "A freight train derailed close to Washington DC early Sunday and is leaking hazardous material and causing disruption in the area of the capital. More than 10 cars are understood to have left the tracks, a small portion of the long, 175-car southbound train. No injuries have been reported." -- CW

Public Service Announcement

New York Times: "Taking a stance sharply at odds with most American public health officials, a major British medical organization urged smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes, saying they are the best hope in generations for people addicted to tobacco cigarettes to quit. The recommendation, laid out in a report published Thursday by the Royal College of Physicians, summarizes the growing body of science on e-cigarettes and finds that their benefits far outweigh the potential harms." -- CW

Washington Post: "More than a third of advanced-melanoma patients who received one of the new immunotherapy drugs in an early trial are alive five years after starting treatment -- double the survival rate typical of the disease, according to a new study."

Zoe Schlanger of Newsweek: "If you are eating fast food, you're probably also eating phthalates,... a class of chemicals that have been linked to everything from ADHD to breast cancer, ...[which] are common in food packaging, drink containers, the tubing used to transport dairy and the equipment used to process fast food." --LT


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."

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

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:

New York Times: "The Pulitzers are in their centennial year, and the winners announced by Columbia University reflected in part the changes sweeping the media landscape." Here's the full list of the prize winners, via the New York Times.

CW: The AP produced this video in January 2015, but I just came across it:

New York Times: "James Levine, who transformed the Metropolitan Opera during four decades as its music director but has suffered from poor health in recent years, will step down from his post after this season to become music director emeritus, the company announced Thursday."

Politico: "Gabriel Snyder, editor in chief of The New Republic for the past 17 months, is leaving the magazine in the wake of its sale to Win McCormack.... The masthead change marks the first big move since McCormack, a publisher, Democratic booster and editor in chief of a literary journal called Tin House, bought TNR from Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in February after Hughes was unsuccessful at turning around the money-losing magazine’s business during his four years of stewardship."

The Great Octopus Escape. Guardian: "An octopus has made a brazen escape from the national aquarium in New Zealand by breaking out of its tank, slithering down a 50-metre drainpipe and disappearing into the sea. In scenes reminiscent of Finding Nemo, Inky – a common New Zealand octopus – made his dash for freedom after the lid of his tank was accidentally left slightly ajar. Staff believe that in the middle of the night, while the aquarium was deserted, Inky clambered to the top of his glass enclosure, down the side of the tank and travelled across the floor of the aquarium."

... Charles Pierce: "One of the best biographies I've ever read was Scott Berg's brilliant, National Book Award-winning account of the life of Maxwell Perkins, the editor at Scribner's who was responsible for bringing out the best work in Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Ring Lardner, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.... I'm going to be first in line to see [the film "Genius."] OK, so there won't be a line, but I'll be there nonetheless."

Michael Cavna of the Washington Post on the artistry in the film "All the President's Men."The real Woodward & Bernstein weigh in.

"You think old people are weirdos but then you understand that they don't see you and they can't hear you." Reuters: "The Genworth Aging Experience is a traveling show created by Genworth Financial Inc., an insurance company, in partnership with Applied Minds, a design and engineering company, that allows museum visitors to feel first-hand the effects of aging...[with the goal of building] empathy and awareness of the challenges elderly people face in everyday situations." -- LT note: this world could always use a little more empathy.

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The Commentariat -- May 2, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Voter Suppression Laws Work the Way They're Supposed to. Michael Wines & Manny Fernandez of the New York Times: "As the general election nears — in which new or strengthened voter ID laws will be in place in Texas and 14 other states for the first time in a presidential election — recent academic research indicates that the requirements restrict turnout and disproportionately affect voting by minorities. The laws are also ... reshaping how many campaigns are run — with candidates not only spending time to secure votes, but also time to ensure those votes can be cast." -- CW

Charles Pierce writes about what Donald Trump means to his supporters & suggests Trump doesn't get that. CW: It sure gave me that old fascist feeling. ...

... AND, tho Pierce had something nice to say about Chuck Todd, I guess he missed the segment Driftglass illuminates. It sounds like one of those teevee-smashing moments, especially when you realize that folks out in the Heartland are nodding along with the Muzak. -- CW

E.J. Dionne: "... a phony celebrity populism plays well on television at a time when politics and governing are regularly trashed by those who claim both as their calling. Politicians who don’t want to play their assigned roles make it easy for a role-player to look like the real thing and for a billionaire who flies around on his own plane to look like a populist." -- CW

A Vote for anyone other than Cruz is evil. ABC news reports that "Urging voters to pick him over rival and Republican front-runner Donald Trump, presidential candidate Ted Cruz framed the battle to win the Indiana primary as a choice between good and evil. 'I believe in the people of the Hoosier state. I believe that the men and women gathered here and the goodness of the American people, that we will not give into evil but we will remember who we are and we will stand for our values,' Cruz said at a rally in La Porte, Indiana"-- Akhilleus


Seung Min Kim of Politico: "Senate Republicans have left town for another recess with their yearlong claim that the Senate is 'back to work' an increasingly tough sell to voters.... But the chamber is on pace to work the fewest days in 60 years, the party continues to insist it won't act on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nomination, and Republicans' ballyhooed strategy to shepherd all dozen spending bills through the chamber is in serious trouble." -- CW 

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "... it appears the absence of [Justice Antonin] Scalia will be felt on the court’s work next term.... The court has accepted only six cases since Scalia died Feb. 13. The number is low compared with the average, editor Amy Howe said at an event last week reviewing the Supreme Court’s work. And none of the cases that the court has accepted for the term that begins in October approach the level of controversy that have marked the dramatic rulings of recent years." -- CW

John Pfaff, in a New York Times op-ed: "... despite this constitutional guarantee [of a government-appointed lawyer for criminal defendants who cannot afford one], state and county spending on lawyers for the poor amounts to only $2.3 billion — barely 1 percent of the more than $200 billion governments spend annually on criminal justice. Worse, since 1995, real spending on indigent defense has fallen, by 2 percent, even as the number of felony cases has risen by approximately 40 percent." -- CW

** Ezra Klein & Dylan Matthews of Vox: "The joke of President Barack Obama's performance on Saturday was that he wasn't joking." -- CW 

Julie Davis & Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "Malia Obama, the older daughter of President Obama, plans to attend Harvard University beginning in the fall of 2017, the White House announced on Sunday, waiting until her father leaves office to begin her college career." -- CW ...

... Gap Year. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "Malia Obama’s decision to take a year off before attending Harvard University in the fall of 2017 reflects a growing trend among high-achieving teenagers to pursue other interests and get a respite from the academic grind that has come to define high school for many young Americans. But it will also provide her with a chance to experience college as the glare of the presidential spotlight has begun to ease...." -- CW

Presidential Race

Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Bernie Sanders said on Sunday that he and Hillary Clinton were heading to a 'contested' convention this summer because she will need superdelegates to secure the nomination, a claim that clashes with the accepted definition of a contested convention.... Mr. Sanders urged superdelegates in states that he has won and those who came out in support of Mrs. Clinton before he declared his candidacy to switch their support to him." -- CW

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he raised $25.8 million in April, well shy of his eye-popping totals of recent months. The figure comes as Sanders’s chance of defeating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination have dwindled, with his loss to her in the New York primary on April 19 widely viewed as a turning point in the race." -- CW

Scammer-in-Chief. Ken Vogel & Isaac Arnsdorf of Politico: "In the days before Hillary Clinton launched an unprecedented big-money fundraising vehicle with state parties last summer, she vowed 'to rebuild our party from the ground up.'... But less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties’ coffers, according to a Politico analysis.... The venture, the Hillary Victory Fund, is a so-called joint fundraising committee comprised of Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 32 state party committees. The set-up allows Clinton to solicit checks of $350,000 or more from her super-rich supporters at extravagant fundraisers.... Most of the $23.3 million spent ... has gone towards expenses that appear to have directly benefited Clinton’s campaign...." CW: As I've written before, this is a scam, yet journalists who should know better unwittingly claim that Clinton is helping the party while Sanders is not. Clinton controls who gets what, & it turns out who gets what is mostly Clinton.

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: "Just hours after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against a new Indiana abortion law, Hillary Clinton stumped miles away from the state capitol and filed a sort of amicus brief. 'I will defend a woman's right to make her own health-care decisions,' Clinton said to a few hundred supporters packed into a sweltering recreation center. 'I’ll tell ya, I’ll defend Planned Parenthood against these attacks. And I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.'” -- CW

Mark Hensch of the Hill: "... Donald Trump on Monday said that CNN’s news coverage favors ... Hillary Clinton. 'They do call it ‘the Clinton network,’” he told Chris Cuomo on the network’s 'New Day' after the host questioned his blunt campaign rhetoric. Trump said that his recent remarks attacking Clinton’s gender and China’s currency manipulation are not controversial." -- CW

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton threw some practice jabs in interviews broadcast on Sunday, signaling a general election that could focus heavily on Mrs. Clinton’s gender and on her more hawkish foreign policy. 'The only card she has is the women’s card,’ Mr. Trump said, continuing to contend that Mrs. Clinton would not have won more than five percent of Democratic primary votes if she were a man.... Mrs. Clinton said she planned to ignore Mr. Trump’s 'bullying' and 'temper tantrums' and focus on issues if they face off in the general election." -- CW

Brittny Mejia, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "Thousands of people took to the streets in the annual May Day marches in downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights on Sunday to advocate for immigration reform, police accountability and an end to racism. The diverse array of protesters shared one thing in common: all were offended by something Donald Trump had said. The Republican presidential candidate literally loomed over one of the rallies in the form of a giant balloon effigy carrying a Ku Klux Klan hood. 'He's plastic, he doesn't have a heart, he doesn't have a brain,' organizer Francisco Moreno said...." -- CW

Bienvenidos, Cubanos! Patricia Mazzai of the Miami Herald: "Donald Trump is the catalyst who could force a decisive break between Miami-Dade County’s influential Cuban-American voters and the Republican Party, a new poll has found. Local Cuban Americans dislike Trump so much — and are increasingly so accepting of renewed U.S.-Cuba ties pushed by Democratic President Barack Obama — that Trump’s likely presidential nomination might accentuate the voters’ political shift away from the GOP, according to the survey shared with the Miami Herald and conducted by Dario Moreno, a Coral Gables pollster...." -- CW BUT, see also Beyond the Beltway. Not every Cuban-American is, um, on board. 

Shane Goldmacher of Politico: "Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary handily nearly three months ago, but state GOP officials are pushing a plan to block all of Trump's delegates from serving on any of the key committees at the national convention in July. Instead, the coveted convention slots would go entirely to delegates assigned to Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ted Cruz, even though Trump won 35 percent of the vote, more than double his closest competitor." -- CW

Read more here:

There are scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism. For every case known to the public, there are dozens and dozens more. We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies. — Donald Trump, foreign policy address, April 27

Trump gave a prepared speech for once, with even a teleprompter. So one would presume that someone would have looked this stuff up before writing it into his speech. Alas, there is no evidence that 'scores' of 'recent migrants' are charged with terrorism, and that for every case made public, there are 'dozens and dozens more. -- Michelle Lee, Washington Post

Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Sunday criticized Donald Trump's foreign policy after the Republican presidential front-runner outlined his 'America first' model. 'I think, based on the speech, you'd have somebody who doesn’t understand the difference between a business negotiation and a negotiation with sovereign powers,' Gates said on ABC's 'This Week.'" -- CW

** Ripe for Tyranny? Andrew Sullivan in New York: "Could it be that the Donald has emerged from the populist circuses of pro wrestling and New York City tabloids, via reality television and Twitter, to prove not just Plato but also James Madison right, that democracies 'have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention … and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths'?" --safari ...

     ... CW: See also discussion in today's Comments.

Lauren Collins of the New Yorker: "The temptation is to dismiss Melania [Trump] as a dummy, a compliant figure remarkable less for her personality than for her proportions...If we take the office of First Lady seriously, then it’s worth trying to figure out who Melania is as a person, versus a product to be placed." --safari

Trump the Boomer. Stephen Metcalf of Slate: "I think we can trace Trump’s political instinct to a less personal, more sociological source. In this we need only look to his birth certificate. There we see thatDonald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946. Is it possible Trumpismo, in its disdain for norms of speech and conduct, in its underlying craving for apocalyptic violence, is traceable to one simple fact? In almost plain sight, beneath the worldly swagger and breathtaking arrogance, lies Donald Trump the baby boomer." --safari

Olivier Laughland and Mae Ryan of the Guardian: "Although Trump has touted himself as “the greatest jobs president that God has ever created”, these workers [at Trump's Las Vegas hotel] point to the fact they are paid on average $3 less than the thousands of unionised hotel workers in Las Vegas who work identical jobs and enjoy a host of other benefits, including pensions and free health insurance, not available to Trump employees....Workers argue they have been subjected to surveillance, intimidation, and unlawful dismissal as they have sought to organize." --safari

Indiana -- #NeverTrump's Last Gasp. Chas Danner of New York: "A new NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll shows Donald Trump beating Ted Cruz by 15 points in Indiana, where the vote on Tuesday is seen by many as the actual last opportunity to halt Trump’s first-ballot nomination in Cleveland....Cruz’s 'Hail Carly' — as USA Today deftly characterized the candidate’s sudden choice of Carly Fiorina as a running mate last week — has apparently had only a modest impact on Cruz’s poll numbers. In the meantime, Cruz himself continues to profess his belief in an outcome which, so far, projections do not support... Appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Cruz again insisted that 'it is going to be a contested convention' — though he and his staff seem to have also acknowledged that if Trump wins Indiana, his nomination will be impossible to block." -- CW

He's been winning the women's vote in state after state. Ted is an immigrant. He is Hispanic. He can unify this party. -- Heidi Cruz , in Indiana Saturday

Dave Weigel: "Donald Trump returned to one of his favorite subjects, the Canadian birth of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), at an afternoon rally inside the city's largest sports arena. His cue came from the senator's wife, Heidi, who tripped over a word at a Saturday GOP presidential campaign rally and appeared to say that her husband was an immigrant. 'Heidi Cruz -- nice woman,' Trump began. 'She said this one: "My husband's an immigrant!" He's an immigrant! That's what I've been trying to say!'" -- CW 

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "... as the gravitational pull of [Donald] Trump’s recent primary landslides draws more Republicans toward him, [Ted] Cruz’s support among the party’s 2,472 convention delegates is softening, threatening his hopes of preventing Mr. Trump’s nomination by overtaking him in a floor fight." -- CW

Joanna Walters & Alan Yujas of the Guardian: "Ted Cruz made a last-ditch series of attacks on Donald Trump on Sunday, going so far as to call him corrupt, dismiss fellow Republicans, and invoke Trump’s endorsement by 'a convicted rapist'.... Cruz blitzed television airwaves on Sunday morning.... He accused Trump and [Hillary] Clinton of being agents of a corrupt system. 'They’ve both gotten rich exploiting Washington, exploiting government power,' he said on NBC’s Meet the Press. On two other shows, he called the pair 'enmeshed in corruption', 'ultimate Washington insiders' and members of a political 'cartel'.” The "convicted rapist" is Mike Tyson, whose endorsement Trump touted last week in Indiana -- the state where Tyson committed the crime. -- CW ...

... Watch sack o'shit Ted Cruz lie to a severely disabled man & his family about ObamaCare. Twice. In 30 seconds. -- CW Via Tommy Christopher of Mediaite.  

Marc Caputo of Politico: "Marco Rubio won’t be endorsing Ted Cruz during the Republican presidential primary, but he’s likely to back the Texas senator at a contested convention — if it gets that far. The de facto plan, Rubio’s backers say, is designed to help Cruz. It also, however, protects Rubio's political future, including if he decides to make another run for the White House." CW: Because it's All About Marco.

Beyond the Beltway

Seattle Times: "Hurling rocks, bricks and even Molotov cocktails, anti-capitalist protesters clashed with police in downtown Seattle Sunday, as May Day mayhem erupted again following a peaceful march. By 10:30 p.m., at least five officers had been injured and at least nine people had been arrested, Seattle police reported. One injured officer suffered a gash to his head when he was struck by a rock." -- CW

Annie Ramos & Catherine of CNN: "The first U.S. cruise ship bound for Cuba in decades set sail Sunday as salsa music played and protesters picketed nearby."

Michelle Kaske, et al., of Bloomberg: "Puerto Rico will default on a $422 million bond payment for its Government Development Bank, escalating what is turning into the biggest crisis ever in the $3.7 trillion market that U.S. state and local entities use to access financing." -- CW

Alene Tchekmedyian & Cindy Chang of the Los Angeles Times: "A top Los Angeles County sheriff's official has resigned amid mounting criticism over emails he sent mocking Muslims, blacks, Latinos, women and others from his work account during his previous job with the Burbank Police Department, the Sheriff's Department announced Sunday. After previously saying that he had no immediate plans to discipline his chief of staff, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement that he had accepted Tom Angel's resignation and intended to turn the controversy into a 'learning opportunity' for his department employees." CW: Right. Because he & his staff had no idea demeaning women & minorities wasn't A-OK. ...

... Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times: "Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who in 2013 ruled that New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy had violated the rights of minorities, said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg [& Police Commissioner Michael Kelly] 'really never appreciated what was wrong' with the Police Department’s procedure." CW: Too bad Bloomberg & Kelly didn't treat the ruling as a "learning opportunity." Because even if they know telling racist jokes is bad form, they have no idea that being stopped by a cop & subjected to a patdown for Walking While Black isn't A-OK.

A number of people ... stated that during the course of being stopped by the NYPD they were inappropriately touched, sexually harassed, and/ or sexually assaulted. Several interviewees described having their genitals touched or groped by the NYPD during searches and/or were told or forced by the NYPD to remove their clothes in public. Speaking out against inappropriate touching can lead to a charge of resisting arrest. These experiences often leave people feeling disrespected and violated. As one individual described, 'It made me feel violated, humiliated, harassed, shameful, and of course very scared.' -- Report, Center for Constitutional Rights, 2012 

... CW P.S. If Tom Friedman & the rest of the Bloomberg for President Cheerleading Squad want to know what this man should never be president, Judge Scheindlin just gave them part of the answer: he "just doesn't get it." 

Screw the People. CW: My excellent governor, Rick Scott (R-Crook), is off in California, trying to convince California companies to move to Florida because the minimum wage here is so low. He also says he's trying to get individuals to move to Florida because they "can't afford" to live in California. Yo, Rick, they can't afford to live in Florida, if they need to work.

Chelsea Manning in the Guardian: "[S]olitary confinement in the US is arbitrary, abused and unnecessary in many situations. It is cruel, degrading and inhumane, and is effectively a “no touch” torture. We should end the practice quickly and completely...Unfortunately, conditions similar to the ones I experienced in 2010-11 are hardly unusual for the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 inmates held in these conditions across the US every day." --safari

Way Beyond

Paul Krugman: EU countries are still in bad economic shape because Europe's political leaders have no idea how macroeconomics work.

Michelle Kaske, Jonathan Levin, and Brian Chappatta of Bloomberg: "Puerto Rico will default on a $422 million bond payment for its Government Development Bank, escalating what is turning into the biggest crisis ever in the $3.7 trillion market that U.S. state and local entities use to access financing." --safari

Loveday Morris of the Washington Post: "Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced their withdrawal from Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on Sunday, packing up and leaving just a day after they stormed parliament and began a sit-in. Addressing the demonstrators, Akhlas al-Obaidi, a protest organizer, urged people to go home to give political decision-making a chance...." -- CW


The Commentariat -- May 1, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Loveday Morris of the Washington Post: "Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced their withdrawal from Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on Sunday, packing up and leaving just a day after they stormed parliament and began a sit-in. Addressing the demonstrators, Akhlas al-Obaidi, a protest organizer, urged people to go home to give political decision-making a chance...." -- CW

Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Sunday criticized Donald Trump's foreign policy after the Republican presidential front-runner outlined his 'America first' model. 'I think, based on the speech, you'd have somebody who doesn’t understand the difference between a business negotiation and a negotiation with sovereign powers,' Gates said on ABC's 'This Week.'" -- CW

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "... as the gravitational pull of [Donald] Trump’s recent primary landslides draws more Republicans toward him, [Ted] Cruz’s support among the party’s 2,472 convention delegates is softening, threatening his hopes of preventing Mr. Trump’s nomination by overtaking him in a floor fight." -- CW

Julie Davis & Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "Malia Obama, the older daughter of President Obama, plans to attend Harvard University beginning in the fall of 2017, the White House announced on Sunday, waiting until her father leaves office to begin her college career." -- CW


... CW: I did try to watch Larry Wilmore's stand-up, and perhaps it got better later, but he's a comedian in the Don Rickles mode, who thinks insults for insults' sake are somehow humorous. Actually, no. The art of the putdown lies in the absence of malice. BTW, it's hard to listen to the entirety of Obama's remarks & conclude that he really likes Hillary best. I think he views her as the most competent, but he opens with two searing jokes at her expense (altho he doesn't name her), & he's pretty kind to Bernie, who had the grace to show up. ...

... C-SPAN's White House Correspondents' Dinner live video is here.

Valerie Plame, in a Washington Post op-ed: "... embedded within the vast U.S. intelligence complex is a bloated bureaucracy that creates turf battles and inefficiencies that can lead to dire and even deadly consequences. The tale of Robert Levinson — a retired Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI agent turned CIA contractor who disappeared in 2007 from a resort island in the Persian Gulf — underscores the dangers of the multi-headed bureaucratic monster called the CIA.... Barry Meier’s new book, 'Missing Man,' catalogues how Iranian and U.S. officials knew far more about Levinson’s disappearance than previously acknowledged." -- CW

Chas Danner of New York: "Billionaire businessman and occasional politician Michael Bloomberg ... put [Donald Trump & Bernie Sanders] at the center of his anti-demagogue commencement address to University of Michigan graduates on Saturday. Via an adapted transcript of the speech published on Bloomberg View, the former New York mayor never mentions either candidate by name, but the references are clear." -- CW

The Supremes (Seem to) Buy Bob McDonnell's "Wayne & Garth Defense." Gilad Edelman, in the New Yorker: "The threat of harsh federal penalties is supposed to keep people from breaking the law, even if the chances of getting caught are slim. That logic evidently doesn’t apply to politicians, in the Court’s view, because the practice of selling access is so thickly embedded in American political culture that they simply can’t stop doing it." -- CW

One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated. -- Larry Summers, ca. 2009

Fuck you, losers. -- CW Translation ...

... Historian Beverly Gage, in the New York Times Book Review, reviews books about "limousine liberals" by Thomas Frank & Steve Fraser. -- CW

** Laura June, in New York, on the myth of maternal "flex time." -- CW: Everyone who has a job that involves working with people of child-bearing/rearing years should read this.

Michael Corkery of the New York Times: "Swift — the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication — is billed as a supersecure system that banks use to authorize payments from one account to another. 'The Rolls-Royce of payments networks,' one financial analyst said. But last week, for the first time since hackers captured $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank in February, Swift acknowledged that the thieves have tried to carry out similar heists at other banks on its network by sneaking into the beating heart of the global banking system." -- CW

Daniel Lewis of the New York Times: "The Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan, a Jesuit priest and poet whose defiant protests helped shape the tactics of opposition to the Vietnam War and landed him in prison, died on Saturday in New York City. He was 94." -- CW

Anne Barnard of the New York Times: "As Syria convulsed from the bloodiest week there in months, the United States and Russia declared on Friday that they had won agreement for a new partial truce in several strategic areas, but that it would not immediately include Aleppo, the divided city where recent attacks killed more than 200 people." -- CW

Presidential Race

... Nick Corasaniti of the New York Times: "As Hillary Clinton begins to look past Senator Bernie Sanders to a possible general election campaign, a new ad she began running this past week pays Mr. Sanders a high compliment. It is unmistakably an homage to Mr. Sanders’s 'America' ad, which featured the music of Simon and Garfunkel: Mrs. Clinton’s commercial, called 'Love and Kindness,' showcases the rich harmony of Andra Day, a singer nominated for a Grammy for her single 'Rise Up.'...” -- CW

Stephanie Ebbert of the Boston Globe: “'Donald Trump clearly feels threatened by Secretary Clinton’s qualifications to be president so he’s attacking Hillary Clinton for being a woman,' [Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth] Warren [D] said in a telephone interview with the Globe. 'That’s what weak men do. It is an old story, and I don’t think the American voters will fall for it.' Warren was responding to Trump’s assertion that Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, was playing the 'woman card.'” -- CW

MoDo says Donald Trump is more girly than Hillary Clinton. She doesn't make her case, but she has a point -- but only if you associate feminism with a "tender ego, pouty tweets, needy temperament and obsession with hand sanitizer." I don't. -- CW

Kyle Cheney of Politico: "Donald Trump's campaign got burned again Saturday in the hunt for loyal delegates ..., this time on turf where he'd recently trounced his rivals in primary elections.... In Arizona [Trump lost] about 40 of the 55 delegate slots that were up for grabs.... Ted Cruz ... emerged with the bulk of support from the state's delegates.... In Virginia, where Trump beat Cruz by a two-to-one margin in a March 1 primary, Cruz's forces captured at least 10 of the 13 delegates on the ballot. The Texas senator won 18 of 24 delegates in local Missouri conventions, even though Trump won that state on primary day as well. In all, Cruz won about 80 delegate slots on the day of the more than 170 up for grabs. Another handful went to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and even Marco Rubio ... scored about seven supportive delegates.... Trump ... scored strong victories in Massachusetts delegate fights and held his own in Arkansas and Alaska...." -- CW

Cindy Carcamo, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "Latino activists said they expect more large protests as Donald Trump moves his presidential campaign into California." -- CW

Gubernatorial Race

Jenna Portnoy of the Washington Post: "Ken Cuccinelli II, the polarizing former Virginia attorney general, said Saturday he will not run for governor, scrambling the contest and opening the door for a far-right conservative to vie for the Republican nomination in 2017. An active surrogate for Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential bid, Cuccinelli has been traveling the country in support of the senator from Texas while overseeing the campaign’s delegate selection process in Virginia.... Cuccinelli’s decision removed a major obstacle to the party’s nomination for Ed Gillespie, the longtime GOP strategist and former White House counsel who is trying to appear as the inevitable candidate with a robust fundraising operation and early establishment endorsements." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Phillip Zonkel of the Long Beach (California) Press Telegram: "A Superior Court judge Friday made sweeping statements about the Long Beach Police Department’s treatment of gay men in the community, saying in a ruling over a lewd conduct case that the department intentionally targets gay men, and that the prosecutor’s office portrays them as 'sexual deviants and pedophiles.'” CW: I'm sure the Long Beach police aren't the only ones.

Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post: "A fanatical Donald Trump supporter, who was arrested by the FBI in Oregon this week after repeatedly threatening to kill President Barack Obama and federal agents, had multiple pipe bombs in his home, authorities alleged in court on Friday. John Martin Roos, a 61-year-old from Oregon, has been charged with communication of a threat in interstate commerce, and additional charges are likely forthcoming." -- CW

Way Beyond

Loveday Morris & Mustafa Salim of the Washington Post: "A state of emergency was declared in the Iraqi capital on Saturday as protesters stormed Iraq’s parliament, after bursting into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, where other key buildings including the U.S. Embassy are located, in a dramatic escalation of the country’s political crisis. Live footage on Iraqi television showed swarms of protesters, who have been demanding government reform, inside the parliament building, waving flags, chanting and breaking chairs. Some lawmakers were berated and beaten with flags as they fled the building while other demonstrators smashed the car windows. Others remained trapped inside rooms in parliament and feared for their lives, lawmakers said." -- CW



The Commentariat -- April 30, 2016

The White House Correspondents' Dinner is tonight. CW: C-SPAN begins coverage of the "red carpet" at 6 pm ET, but my recollection is that the President doesn't begin his shtick until about 9 pm ET. ...

... David Litt, "a former White House speechwriter, is the head writer and producer for Funny or Die DC," in a New York Times op-ed on President Obama's approach to comedy: "... this president has a talent for comedy -- an impressive sense of timing and audience. His administration combined that talent with an understanding of a changing media landscape and the emergence of viral videos. Jokes became a real tool to move his agenda forward." -- CW ...

... Jessica Taylor of NPR: "Posing as her character C.J. Cregg, who was the press secretary in the ["The West Wing" TV series]..., actress Allison Janney took a surprise turn on the podium to the delight and surprise of the real White House press corps." -- CW:

Michael Shear & Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times: "President Obama will use the power of his office to try to jump-start long-stalled 'smart-gun' technology that could eventually allow only the owner of a firearm to use it, the White House announced Friday. Over the opposition of gun rights groups, he also vowed to push ahead with a new federal policy giving the F.B.I. access to more mental health records of some Social Security recipients to better flag people who might be banned from buying a gun." -- CW ...

... The Washington Post story, by Juliet Eilperin & Michael Rosenwald, is here. -- CW ...

Oliver Milman of the Guardian: "The Obama administration has warned the US will need to deal with a wave of 'climate refugees' as the Arctic continues to warm, joining with the Canadian government to express alarm over how climate change is affecting indigenous communities. Sally Jewell, US secretary of the interior, painted a stark picture of communities relocating and lives disrupted in her first official visit to Canada. The Arctic, which is warming at twice the rate of the global average, has just recorded its lowest recorded peak ice extent after what's been called a 'warm, crazy winter'." -- CW

Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times: "Mistakes by the crew flying an AC-130 gunship, compounded by equipment and procedural failures, led to the devastating attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan last year, and 16 American military personnel, including a general officer, have been punished for their roles in the strike, the Defense Department announced on Friday. The punishments for the attack on Oct. 3 in Kunduz, which killed 42 people, will be 'administrative actions' only, and were not more severe because the attack was determined to be unintentional. The punishments include suspension and removal from command as well as letters of reprimand, which can seriously damage a career. But none of the service members being disciplined will face criminal charges." -- CW: BTW, this is your classic Friday afternoon news dump. (Also linked, um, Friday afternoon.) ...

... Gregor Aisch, et al., of the New York Times: "The disciplinary measures were unlikely to satisfy Doctors Without Borders and other rights groups that have said the attack may have constituted a war crime and that have called for an independent criminal investigation. The punishments were 'administrative actions' that could include suspension or removal from command." The Times report summarizes the findings of the investigation. -- CW

Rachel Bade of Politico: "The Pentagon is pushing back against the [GOP-led] House Benghazi Committee, saying its repeated requests for documents and interviews are straining the department's resources -- and, to make matters worse, many of the queries are speculative or hypothetical. Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Hedger complained in a letter to the committee on Thursday about its continued demands for information, and implied that the panel is grasping to make assertions based on theory rather than facts." -- CW

Richard Wolf in USA Today: The Supreme Court refused Friday to block Texas' photo ID law, the strictest in the nation, from remaining in effect for now, but it left open the possibility of doing so this summer if a lower court challenge remains unresolved. Civil rights groups who say the law discriminates against black and Hispanic voters had argued that it should be blocked because it was struck down by a federal court in 2014 and a three-judge appeals court panel last year. The full appeals court will hear the case next month. -- Akhilleus ... (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

     ... The New York Times story by Adam Liptak is here. -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Danny Yadron of the Guardian: "At the FBI's request this week, the supreme court ruled that federal judges should be able to issue hacking warrants to federal law enforcement for anywhere in the US if the suspect has tried to hide their location, as criminal suspects are wont to do. Additionally, the FBI could get authority to infiltrate any computer -- regardless of the owner -- if it has already been taken over by bad hackers. The changes to so-called 'rule 41' go into effect 1 December unless Congress acts to block them. The move has set up a showdown with Senator Ron Wyden, the most senior Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, who is marshaling the opposition on Capitol Hill. He told the Guardian on Friday that he plans to introduce a bill blocking the court's move." -- CW

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "Former Alabama governor Don E. Siegelman was sent to solitary confinement this week at the Louisiana facility in which he is imprisoned on political corruption charges, according to his son Joseph Siegelman. Siegelman, 70, was quoted extensively in a Washington Post article this week on former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell, whose 2014 conviction on public corruption charges was reviewed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Siegelman was transferred to solitary confinement at the federal correctional institution at Oakdale, La., on Monday after the story was posted online, according to his son. But Bureau of Prison officials, who refused to confirm that the former governor was in solitary confinement, said that there was no link." -- CW

John Sides in the Washington Post: "In an election season about voter anger, one important thing is underappreciated: voter optimism. And in particular, optimism about the economy." -- CW

Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post: "The GOP is poised to permanently lose a generation of voters, and not (only) because of its odious and uncommonly disliked presidential front-runner. New survey data suggest that young people have become increasingly averse to just about every plank in today's creaky Republican Party platform." -- CW ...

... Miranda Blue of Right Wing Watch: "Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator and Tea Party firebrand who is now the president of the Heritage Foundation, became the latest in a string of conservatives to admit that restrictive voting laws ... are an attempt to help Republicans win elections.... DeMint [said] ... Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's move to restore the voting rights of people in the state who had served time for felonies ... was 'awfully suspicious' and tied it to what he claimed was a Democratic plan to get votes from 'illegals' and through 'voter fraud.'... 'And so it's something we're working on all over the country, because in the states where they do have voter ID laws you've seen, actually, elections begin to change towards more conservative candidates.'" -- CW ...

... Steve Benen: "It's one of those classic cases of someone making a mistake by accidentally telling the truth." -- CW

Presidential Race

Daniel Strauss of Politico: "Bernie Sanders' campaign is withdrawing its lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee that alleged the party organization wrongly revoked the campaign's access to its voter data file. In its statement on Friday announcing the withdrawal, Sanders' campaign also strongly maintained that it never deliberately stole information." -- CW

Kristin Salaky of TPM: "Asked during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper about Trump's 'crooked Hillary' nickname, Clinton said types of comments from men were common in her experience. 'I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get 'off the reservation' in the way they behave and how they speak,' Clinton said. 'I'm not going to deal with their temper tantrums or efforts to try to provoke me.' The former secretary of state didn't specify who else she was referring to." -- CW: I'd have written that last sentence, "The former first lady didn't specify...."

Reince as Sister Mary Elephant. Nick Gass of Politico: "Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus warned his fellow party members on Friday that they should watch what they say about each other, a day after it was reported that former House Speaker John Boehner referred to Ted Cruz as 'Lucifer in the flesh' and a 'miserable son of a bitch.'" -- CW

Jonathan Martin & Adam Nagourney of the New York Times: "Mr. Trump's remarks [yesterday at California's GOP convention] offered a vivid illustration of the current state of his campaign: As he edges closer to the nomination, he is under pressure to curb his hard-edged language and exude a more statesmanlike demeanor. But the continuing attacks from other Republicans plainly rankle him, and he appears to have little appetite to make peace with his critics." -- CW ...

... Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times: "Undeterred by protesters who nearly blocked his way into a California Republican convention, Donald Trump called on the party Friday to unite behind him even as he lashed out at what he portrayed as its corrupt system for picking presidential nominees. Police in riot gear were unable to stop egg-tossing demonstrators who broke through street barricades and rushed to the entrance of the convention hotel near San Francisco International Airport, forcing Trump's motorcade to pull over on the shoulder of the 101 Freeway. Surrounded by Secret Service agents, the New York developer hopped a concrete barrier and entered the hotel through a back door. 'It felt like I was crossing the border,' Trump joked to hundreds of Republicans at a lunch banquet. The crowd laughed." -- CW ...

... Cindy Carcamo, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "As Donald Trump's presidential campaign moves into California, he's being met by a revitalized, youthful Latino-rights movement playing from a different rule book than its predecessors. Trump faced large and hostile demonstrations outside a rally Thursday night in Costa Mesa and at the Burlingame hotel where he delivered a speech to the California Republican Convention." -- CW

Another Great Endorsement for the Donald! Katherine Krueger of TPM: "In a sit-down interview with a Richmond news station, the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan said Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is his candidate for President." -- CW

** Charles Pierce: "A country that remembers, a country with an empowered memory that acts as a check on the dangerous excesses of power itself, does not produce a Donald Trump." CW

Paul Waldman: "Like so much about Trump, his conception of what it means to be presidential is both curious and disturbing. As near as one can surmise, for Trump, to be presidential means to be polite.... So what does 'presidential' mean to the rest of us? At the simplest level it suggests a combination of dignity and command, someone who holds enormous power and demonstrates him or herself worthy of it.... 'Presidential" is less about behavior than about identity: A person doesn't act presidential, a person is presidential.... [Trump] may not realize it, but just by being a 69-year-old rich white guy, in the eyes of his supporters he's as presidential as could be. But in 2016, people who see that as the beginning and end of being presidential are probably in the minority. Just like people who support Donald Trump." -- CW ...

... Playing the Men's Card. Dana Milbank: "Trump orchestrated his primary campaign success on the basis of economic and racial resentment. Now he's building a general-election strategy -- against the first woman to lead a major party's presidential ticket -- on gender resentment.... It may be the best card he has to play, with 7 in 10 women regarding him unfavorably. A man who has demagogically divided Americans by race and ethnicity now aims to finish the job by dividing us by views of gender roles." -- CW ...

... Conservopundit Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post: "If Trump were a woman, not only would he not get 5 percent of the vote, but also he would be tarred, feathered, branded and ridden out of town backward on a donkey. Voters male and female would recognize immediately that such a woman was inappropriate, lacking in quality and character, perhaps more than a little crazy -- and utterly unqualified to be president of the United States. The only thing Trump's got going for him, one is tempted to say, is the men's vote, which is no way to deflect accusations of a GOP war on women." -- CW

Senate Short-Timer "Goes from #NeverTrump to Ready for Trump. Jonathan Chait: "For a brief period of time, '#NeverTrump' was practically Marco Rubio's presidential-campaign slogan. Rubio made slashing attacks on Trump as a 'con artist.' Rubio's campaign website sold anti-Trump swag, like a '#Never Trump' bumper sticker.... Now, appearing on Univision, Rubio sounds ready to rally around Trump.... So maybe a con artist can be the Republican nominee after all. Perhaps we should have paid more attention to the fact that Rubio's campaign page advertising the '#NeverTrump' bumper sticker used the word removable. Twice." -- CW

George Will's Last Stand: Republicans must keep Donald Trump out of the White House. -- CW

Even if Donald Trump dresses up as Hillary Clinton, he shouldn't be using the girls' restroom. -- Ted Cruz, in Indiana ...

... Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "As Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seeks every possible edge to stop Donald J. Trump, he has seized on a once-obscure issue with a proven power to inflame conservatives: letting transgender women use women's bathrooms. Mr. Cruz mentions it constantly in Indiana, a state with many social conservatives that is all but a last stand for him in his fight to deprive Mr. Trump of the Republican presidential nomination." -- CW

Roll the Videotape. Please. CW: Gabriel misunderstands the motivation behind Ted's weird obsession with trans people. According to Cruz & his daughter Caroline, Ted recently dressed up in "this pink boa .. and these, like, big goofy-looking underwear" for a school event. "That was on a videotape the whole time," Caroline reported. Yeah, Ted likes to dress up in women's underwear & frou-frou. So repeatedly bringing up the bathroom thing is Ted's way of getting ahead of the inevitable release of the videotape, which, again according to Caroline, "they're sending out to all the parents." -- CW ...

... BTW, Ted Cruz's daughter Caroline really can't stand him. -- CW

... Gail Collins reflects on recent events in Ted's campaign. Also, she has suggestions for other possible Cruz running-mates, not that Carly isn't great! -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

George Mason Wakes Up, Finds Koch Boys Have Put Dead Justice in His Bed. Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "... the announcement last month that George Mason [University] would rename its law school in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia..., and that it was tied to a $30 million combined gift from the Charles Koch Foundation and an anonymous conservative donor -- focused attention for the first time in a serious way on whether the administration and trustees at George Mason had allowed Virginia's largest public university to become an ideological outpost. The university administration insists that the answer is no. But a drumbeat of public letters, social media posts and campus debates expressing concerns about the gift suggests a vocal group of faculty, students and state legislators are not convinced." -- CW

Reuters: "A Louisiana man has walked free from the state's notorious Angola prison after serving 41 years of an unconstitutional life sentence over the killing of a white high school student during a violent segregation standoff. The high-profile case of Gary Tyler, 57, ended when he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 21 years -- just over half of the time served -- and told he could go home on Friday...." -- CW

Meera Jagannathan & Ethan Sacks of the New York Daily News: Actor "Will Ferrell 'is not pursuing' a controversial comedy in which he would have portrayed former president Ronald Reagan in the throes of dementia.... A source close to the actor told the Daily News that a smart satirical script by Mike Rosolio had gotten unfairly politicized after Reagan's children had condemned the project." -- CW


The Commentariat -- April 29, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Richard Wolf in USA Today: The Supreme Court refused Friday to block Texas' photo ID law, the strictest in the nation, from remaining in effect for now, but it left open the possibility of doing so this summer if a lower court challenge remains unresolved. Civil rights groups who say the law discriminates against black and Hispanic voters had argued that it should be blocked because it was struck down by a federal court in 2014 and a three-judge appeals court panel last year. The full appeals court will hear the case next month. -- Akhilleus ...

     ... The New York Times story, by Adam Liptak, is here. -- CW

Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times: "Mistakes by the crew flying an AC-130 gunship, compounded by equipment and procedural failures, led to the devastating attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan last year, and 16 American military personnel, including a general officer, have been punished for their roles in the strike, the Defense Department announced on Friday. The punishments for the attack on Oct. 3 in Kunduz, which killed 42 people, will be 'administrative actions' only, and were not more severe because the attack was determined to be unintentional. The punishments include suspension and removal from command as well as letters of reprimand, which can seriously damage a career. But none of the service members being disciplined will face criminal charges." -- CW


Presidential Race

Greg Sargent: "The Clinton and Sanders camps are now signaling how the Democratic primaries might wind down without too much noise, contentiousness, disruption, and anger." -- CW

Paul Krugman on why the Democratic establishment candidate prevailed & the GOP establishment candidates are home playing golf: "Both parties make promises to their bases. But while the Democratic establishment more or less tries to make good on those promises, the Republican establishment has essentially been playing bait-and-switch for decades. And voters finally rebelled against the con." -- CW ...

... Tim Egan: "With Trump, you can be sure of one thing: He will betray those [working class] people. We know this because he already has. Wage stagnation is the most glaring symptom of a declining middle class. Trump's solution? He believes that 'wages are too high.'" -- CW

Michael Finnegan, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "Donald Trump put his roughest edges on display Thursday night in Costa Mesa as he opened his California primary campaign with a raw performance highlighting his hard-line views on illegal immigration and torture while trashing an array of rivals.... More than 8,000 supporters erupted in a thunder of cheers as Trump vowed to make Mexico pay for a wall along its border with the United States to keep such criminals from harming Americans." CW ...

... Ruben Vives, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night, stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate." -- CW

Lauren Gambino of the Guardian: "In the 24 hours since her profile of Donald Trump's wife, Melania, appeared in GQ magazine [linked here yesterday], the Russian-American journalist [Julia Ioffe] has received a torrent of antisemitic, vitriolic and threatening messages from supporters of ... [Donald Trump]." CW: Ioffe's profile, as far as I could tell, was negative only insofar as she repeated Donald Trump's own misogynistic remarks. Talk about not being able to handle the truth. ...

... Mike Alesia of the Indianapolis Star: "... on the political stump Wednesday night in Indianapolis, Donald Trump proudly noted [an] endorsement from ... [former boxer] Mike Tyson.... It was [in Indianapolis] where [Tyson] was convicted of raping beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington in 1992 -- and subsequently spent three years in prison.... Trump was a supporter of Tyson's after the conviction, saying that 'to a large extent' he was 'railroaded.' Trump had a financial interest in the case because Tyson's fights made money for his hotels. In an NBC News interview from Feb. 21, 1992, obtained by Buzzfeed and posted recently, Trump described the case this way: 'You have a young woman that was in his hotel room late in the evening at her own will. You have a young woman seen dancing for the beauty contest -- dancing with a big smile on her face, looked happy as can be.'" -- CW ...

I think when Donald Trump debates Hillary Clinton she's going to go down like Monica Lewinsky. -- Bob Sutton, chairman of the Broward County, Florida, GOP Executive Committee

... Eugene Scott of CNN: Bobby Knight, ex-Indiana basketball coach who famously threw a chair across the court during a game and was once arrested for assault, loves him some Trump because he "would drop an A-bomb like Truman." -- LT ...

... Another Great (Semi-) Endorsement for Trump. Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Former Boston Red Sox player Curt Schilling said out of the remaining presidential candidates, he would back front-runner Donald Trump -- under one condition.... 'The caveat to that is, I need him to start acting like a leader.'... Schilling said he wanted to hear less of what Trump will do and more of how he'll accomplish those goals." CW: See also Other News & Views for more on my continuing coverage of the Red Sox star Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley never heard of.

... Gideon Resnick of The Daily Beast: "Rush Limbaugh has a prescription for America's sexual frustration that's better than Viagra: Donald Trump. 'If Trump's the nominee, and if he does unload on Hillary Clinton, as he's promising to do,' said the gasbag radio host, 'let me just tell you something, you do not know how many gazillion Americans are going to be delirious and orgasmic with delight.'" --safari

Peter Beinhart of the Atlantic: "[I]n evaluating Trump's incoherence [in his foreign policy address], it's worth remembering that the more 'serious' Republican foreign policy candidates whom he toppled -- men like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Lindsey Graham were incoherent too. Trump's just incoherent in a different way." --safari

**Franklin Foer, in Slate, has a long piece on Paul Manafort, Trump's pseudo campaign manager, and his career of making tyrants electable. It's scary. "He has a particular knack for taking autocrats and presenting them as defenders of democracy. If he could convince the respectable world that thugs like Savimbi and Marcos are friends of America, then why not do the same for Trump? One of his friends told me, 'He wanted to do his thing on home turf. He wanted one last shot at the big prize.'" --safari

Colleen Long & Michael Balsamo of the AP: "An envelope containing a suspicious white powdery substance caused a scare when it was opened at a campaign office of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but it later was deemed to be harmless. The envelope was mailed to Manhattan's Trump Tower, near Central Park, police said. A campaign staffer opened the envelope Thursday night and immediately called police." -- CW

Michael Bender & Mark Niquette of Bloomberg: "The race [in Indiana] is shaping up to be a last stand not just for [Ted] Cruz, but also for the 'stop Trump' movement, an unlikely confederation of activists and party donors. But, from members of the donor class in Indianapolis unwilling to back Cruz to blue-collar voters in Elkhart outraged by the collaboration, the movement is not coalescing, and is even backfiring. 'People who were supporting [John] Kasich have been coming into the office to pick up Trump signs,' said Laura Campbell, Republican chairwoman of Hamilton County...." -- CW

Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times: The "alliance" between Ted Cruz & John Kasich has hit a new low. "... taking the stage at a convention hall [in Indiana], Mr. Cruz told voters that Mr. Kasich had no path to victory. 'John Kasich has pulled out,' he said, omitting any further context. 'He's withdrawn from the state of Indiana.'... But as Mr. Cruz spoke, Mr. Kasich's chief strategist, John Weaver, tapped out a semicryptic message on Twitter: 'I can't stand liars'." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

"America First." Donald Trump is set to assure us that once-intended irony will become his foreign policy. Thanks to Patrick:

... Judd Legum of Think Progress: "Where, exactly, Trump would take America's nuclear policy is anyone's guess. But it's one area where Trump's unpredictability is [not] entertaining." -- CW

...the rest of the world is not entertained either: Adrienne Varkiani of Think Progress: The rise of Trump in the presidential race has certainly surprised many in the United States, but it's also come as a shock to much of the rest of the world.... [T]he media in other countries has taken a humorous, and critical, look at his candidacy. -- LT

I thought you were going to ask about basketball rings. -- President Obama, to a student journalist from Indiana (see April 27 Comments for context)

Amber Phillips of the Washington Post: "At a town hall Wednesday at Stanford University, [former House Speaker John] Boehner called [Ted] Cruz 'Lucifer in the flesh.'... I've never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,' he added. Boehner even suggested he would vote for Donald Trump, but not Cruz." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post: "Ted Cruz fired back at former speaker John Boehner on Thursday, accusing him of allowing 'his inner Trump to come out.'... He tethered Boehner to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump over and over again." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Anna North of the New York Times reprises some of the ways politicians have described Ted Cruz. In public. -- CW

Other News & Views

Sarah Wheaton of Politico: "President Barack Obama is opening a new front in the gun control debate, readying a big push for so-called smart gun technology -- an initiative that the gun lobby and law enforcement rank and file is already mobilizing against." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Claire Landsbaum of New York: "The problem with journalism, [President] Obama said [to student reporters], is that it focuses on bad news instead of good. 'It is very hard to get good stories placed,' he said. 'People will assign you stories about what's not working. It's very hard for you to write a story about, "Wow, this thing really works good."'" CW: I thought this was dumb when Nancy Reagan said it, & I think it's dumb when President Obama says it.

Jordain Carney of the Hill: "The Senate confirmed President Obama's nominee to be the ambassador to Mexico on Thursday night, breaking a months-long stalemate. Senators confirmed Roberta Jacobson, currently the assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, by a voice vote before leaving town for a week-long recess. The post has been vacant since her predecessor, Anthony Wayne, retired in July." -- CW

Jack Ewing of the New York Times: "The chief executive of Volkswagen said on Thursday that he personally apologized to President Obama this week for cheating on vehicle emissions tests, while making what amounted to a plea for mercy as the German carmaker negotiates penalties with United States officials." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Gardiner Harris of the New York Times: "In an unannounced visit shrouded in secrecy, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. came to Iraq on Thursday for the first time in almost five years, hoping to help a weak prime minister and bolster the military campaign against the Islamic State. The intense security and clandestine nature of the trip reflected the challenges Iraq still faces 13 years after the United States-led invasion. Mr. Biden arrived for the visit, which was under discussion for months, at a moment when the country's political leadership is mired in yet another crisis." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Capitalism Is Awesome, Ctd. New York Times Editors: "As its profits show, McDonald's makes a lot of money on fast food." But "workers and citizens [don't get] ... fair share of such profits through decent pay and robust corporate taxes.... Taxpayers continue to pick up the difference between what fast-food workers earn and what they need to survive. An estimated $1.2 billion a year in taxpayer dollars goes toward public aid to help people who work at McDonald's." -- CW ...

... Danielle Paquette of the Washington Post: "Pay disparities between men and women start earlier in their careers than frequently assumed and have significantly widened for young workers in the past year, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute. Paychecks for young female college graduates are about 79 percent as large as those of their male peers, the think tank found a serious drop from 84 percent last year." -- CW

The Washington Post has a searchable map by Zip code that compares housing prices in 2004 to today's values. -- CW

John Cox of the Washington Post: "The military has filed new criminal charges against Marine Maj. Mark Thompson, a former U.S. Naval Academy instructor who insisted that he had been unfairly convicted of sexual misconduct with two female midshipmen. After revelations about his case in The Washington Post, the military has now charged Thompson with making a false official statement and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." -- CW

Amara Grautski of the New York Daily News: "Curt Schilling says he isn't racist -- or homophobic or transphobic -- but he can't say the same of his former coworkers. 'Some of the most racist things I've ever heard have come out of people that are on the air at ESPN,' Schilling said, according to Newsday. 'They're some of the biggest racists in sports commentating.'... The former ace pitcher ... was fired last week for sharing an insensitive Facebook post about transgender people. Schilling, a proud conservative, had been in hot water at ESPN for other social media posts in the past." -- CW

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Rupert Neate of the Guardian: "Mark Thompson, the chief executive of the New York Times and former director-general of the BBC, is facing a multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit alleging that he introduced a culture of 'deplorable discrimination' based on age, race and gender at the newspaper. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two black female employees in their sixties in New York on Thursday, claims that under Thompson's leadership the US paper of record has 'become an environment rife with discrimination'." Thompson has a history of age & gender discrimination at the BBC. -- CW

Matt Ford of the Atlantic: "The U.S. Supreme Court approved a new rule Thursday allowing federal judges to issue warrants that target computers outside their jurisdiction, setting the stage for a major expansion of surveillance and hacking powers by federal law-enforcement agencies...Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat and longtime critic of federal surveillance programs,...criticized the proposed changes as a 'sprawling expansion of government surveillance.' 'These amendments will have significant consequences for Americans' privacy and the scope of the government's powers to conduct remote surveillance and searches of electronic devices." --safari

Beyond the Beltway

Richard Winton, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "Federal agents arrested three people, including the older brother of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, on charges of marriage fraud and lying to federal investigators on Thursday morning, authorities said. Syed Raheel Farook, his wife, Tatiana Farook, and her sister Mariya Chernykh are charged in a five-count indictment filed in federal court alleging that Chernykh entered into a fraudulent marriage with Enrique Marquez Jr., who has been accused of providing weapons used in the deadly Dec. 2 attack at the Inland Regional Center." -- CW

Jack Healy of the New York Times: Colorado is "flirting with a radical transformation: whether to abandon President Obama's health care policy and instead create a new, taxpayer-financed public health system that guarantees coverage for everyone. The estimated $38-billion-a-year proposal, which will go before Colorado voters in November, will test whether people have an appetite for a new system that goes further than the Affordable Care Act. That question is also in play in the Democratic presidential primaries." -- CW

Lisa Leff of the AP: "The chancellor of the University of California's Davis campus was put on paid leave Wednesday amid an uproar over her service on corporate boards and the school's hiring of consultants to improve its image online, following the widely criticized pepper-spraying of protesters by campus police, the university's president announced. UC President Janet Napolitano plans to appoint an independent investigator to examine the "serious and troubling" questions raised by the actions of Chancellor Linda Katehi and to determine if they violated any university policies, Napolitano's office announced in a statement." -- CW

Way Beyond

Andreas Cremer of Reuters: "Germany is set to launch a new incentive scheme worth about 1 billion euros ($1 billion) to get more consumers buying electric cars...[the incentives] are to be shared equally between the government and automakers...Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW." -- unwashed

What a world. Alastair Jamieson of NBC: "Belgium is to issue iodine tablets to its entire population as part of a revised nuclear emergency plan, a measure unveiled just months after it emerged that ISIS-linked bombers spied on a top scientist and hoped to build a 'dirty bomb.'" --safari

News Ledes

** New York: "An ISIS-linked hacking group has posted a hit list that includes the names of thousands of New Yorkers. The list, released by the ISIS-related group Caliphate Cyber United, reportedly includes as many as 3,600 names, some of whom are employees at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, but many of whom are average residents. Experts speculate that the list is being used as a scare tactic and that there's no immediate threat." -- CW

NBC News: "A man infected with Zika virus in Puerto Rico has died from complications of the infection, health officials said Friday.... It's the first death in the United States from Zika virus." -- CW

Washington Post: "North Korea has sentenced a former Virginia man to 10 years in prison with hard labor for subversion, its official news agency said Friday, in the latest case involving an American being detained by Kim Jong Un's regime." -- CW