The Ledes

Friday, April 29, 2016.

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

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, April 28, 2016.

NBC News: "The county sheriff investigating the death of Prince is asking for help from the Drug Enforcement Administration, federal law enforcement officials told NBC News on Wednesday. The officials say prescription painkillers were found in his possession when he died and in his house in Minneapolis, though officials have yet to say what role, if any, those medications may have played in his death."

Washington Post: "Airstrikes on rebel-held areas in the Syrian city of Aleppo destroyed a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders, the aid group said Thursday, killing at least 14 patients and staff in the latest attacks that have all but unraveled a cease-fire accord." -- 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

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.

Washington Post: An archivist found the original patent for the Wright brothers' "Flying Machine" "in a special records storage cave in Lenexa, Kan., where it was sent at some point after it vanished around 1980." Somebody in the National Archives apparently had misfiled it.

New York Times: "A thousand years after the Vikings braved the icy seas from Greenland to the New World in search of timber and plunder, satellite technology has found intriguing evidence of a long-elusive prize in archaeology — a second Norse settlement in North America, further south than ever known. The new Canadian site, with telltale signs of iron-working, was discovered last summer after infrared images from 400 miles in space showed possible man-made shapes under discolored vegetation. The site is on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, about 300 miles south of L’Anse aux Meadows, the first and so far only confirmed Viking settlement in North America, discovered in 1960."

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Wednesday
Apr202016

The Commentariat -- April 21, 2016 

Afternoon Update:

And This Pantsuit Comes with a Full Metal Jacket. Mark Landler in the New York Times Magazine: "Throughout her career [Hillary Clinton] has displayed instincts on foreign policy that are more aggressive than those of President Obama -- and most Democrats.... Clinton's foreign-policy instincts are bred in the bone -- grounded in cold realism about human nature and what one aide calls 'a textbook view of American exceptionalism.'... For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has." ...

     ... CW: To readers put off by Ben Nelson's Norton's over-the-top diatribe against the Clintons -- here's a scary dose of reality for ya.

Eric Levitz of New York: "Donald Trump says transgender people should be able to "use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.' On NBC's Today show Thursday morning, the GOP front-runner said he opposes North Carolina's 'very strong' bathroom bill, which allows businesses to prohibit transgender people from doing just that." -- CW

"John Kasich Reveals Secret Balanced-Budget Plan Is Stored in Undisclosed Location in Columbus, Ohio." Jonathan Chait:" John Kasich has been running for president as the candidate of sobriety and 'ideas,' the main one of which is his 'plan' to balance the budget. The trouble ... is that such a plan does not exist.... The other day, Kasich stopped by the Washington Post editorial page for an interview, where columnists Catherine Rampell and Ruth Marcus attempted to pin him down. The result was a comic masterpiece best appreciated if read in the voice of Jerry Lundegaard, William H. Macy's Fargo character." -- CW

Ian Shapira of the Washington Post: "More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy and the possibility of a four-year prison sentence for the abduction -- an outcome that a former agency historian describes as 'unprecedented.' Sabrina De Sousa, 60, was one of 26 Americans convicted in absentia by Italian courts for her alleged role in the February 2003 rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr...." -- CW

Jack Ewing of the New York Times: "Volkswagen agreed on Thursday to fix or buy back nearly 500,000 diesel cars in the United States that are equipped with illegal emissions software. But the measures fell short of a broader settlement that will eventually also include fines and additional compensation for owners stemming from the carmaker's admission that it rigged diesel vehicles to cheat on pollution tests." -- CW

*****

** Harriet Tubman Gets the Twenty. Old Hickory Gets the Boot. Ana Swanson & Abby Ohlheiser of the Washington Post: "The U.S. Treasury has decided to keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the new $10 bill, after encountering fierce opposition to its plans to replace the founding father with a woman, Treasury officials said Tuesday. The Treasury will feature the portrait of African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, which now features former president Andrew Jackson, officials said." -- Akhilleus (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... The New York Times story, by Jackie Calmes, is here. -- CW ...

... Elliot Hannon of Slate: "The internet -- and presumably the real world -- was abuzz Wednesday with the great news that abolitionist Harriet Tubman is headed to the $20 bill. The move, along with other planned changes to the currency, was largely a hit for those people who are not Ben Carson. And who better to get the ax than Andrew Jackson! The seventh U.S. President's record as a human being while in office was pretty despicable.... It seemed to get skipped over that Jackson's not actually getting scrubbed from the bill he will appear on the back of the new $20." -- CW ...

Doctor Ben's Fractured History. Andrew Jackson ... was a tremendous president. I mean, Andrew Jackson was the last president who actually balanced the federal budget, where we had no national debt.... I love Harriet Tubman. I love what she did, but we can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill. -- Ben Carson, Wednesday

So in Ole Doc Demento's mind, the fact that Jackson didn't understand economics (and, BTW, hated the paper money on which his likeness appears) makes up for his dealings as a slave trader & engineer of mass genocide (Indian Removal Act). So glad you're still around to torture us with the stupid, Doc. -- Constant Weader

Oh. Steve M. figures out where Carson studies history. Watch the video. Not really a surprise, is it?

... Kevin Drum: "We really ought to be using $50 bills as our go-to walking-around currency these days, and that's what ATMs should be churning out. By 2020, maybe they will be. And by 2025 cash will probably have disappeared entirely. So by the time Tubman finally makes it onto the twenty, we won't be using them much anymore. Women just can't catch a break." -- CW

Nicole Gaouette, et al., of CNN: "The White House moved to tamp down suggestions that ties with Saudi Arabia are fraying, with administration officials saying that President Barack Obama 'really cleared the air' with King Salman at a meeting Wednesday. Yet even as White House officials stressed that the leaders made progress, a prominent member of the Saudi royal family told CNN 'a recalibration' of the U.S.-Saudi relationship was needed amid regional upheaval, dropping oil prices and ongoing strains between the two longtime allies." -- CW

Chris Mooney & Brady Dennis of the Washington Post: "Representatives from more than 150 countries will gather at the United Nations on Friday to officially sign a global accord aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change. But in the four months since that historic pact was negotiated in Paris, a drumbeat of grim scientific findings has underscored that staving off the worst consequences of global warming may take far more aggressive actions." -- CW

Coral Davenport of the New York Times: "The Senate on Wednesday passed the first broad energy bill since the George W. Bush administration, a bipartisan measure to better align the nation's oil, gas and electricity infrastructure with the changing ways that power is produced in the United States. The bill, approved 85 to 12, united Republicans and Democrats around a traditionally divisive issue -- energy policy -- largely by avoiding the hot-button topics of climate change and oil and gas exploration that have thwarted other measures." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Any Day Now! Give us a little time, another month or so. I think we'll be pretty close to a Republican alternative [to ObamaCare]. -- Fred Upton (R-Mich.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman

... Steve Benen: "One of the best running jokes in American politics is the one about Republicans releasing their own alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Any day now, GOP leaders have been saying for many years, they're going to have a plan that rivals 'Obamacare,' and it's going to be awesome." -- CW ...

... Kevin Drum: "They know what they want, and they know how to craft it, but they still don't know how to make up a plausible set of lies about how it will do anybody any good. As soon as they figure that part out, they'll go public the next day." -- CW

House of Noes: Paul Ryan having some trouble getting things done? Isn't he a Very Serious Person? John Bresnahan in Politico writes that "Almost six months into the job, Ryan and his top lieutenants face questions about whether the Wisconsin Republican's tenure atop the House is any more effective than that of his predecessor, former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Ryan has flattered the House Freedom Caucus and pursued promises to empower rank-and-file Republicans with reforms to how the House operates -- yet it's yielded little in the way of actual results."...

     ...Akhilleus: Further down in the piece you'll find that Ryan's office touts his speakership as nothing short of immensely successful, but another Republican congressperson admits that not much has been done. The fault? Obama's! Natch.

Dana Milbank on Marsha Blackburn's (RTP-Tenn.) sham "House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, commonly known as the Planned Parenthood committee." It ain't just the videos that are discredited. ...

     ... CW: I couldn't find any news stories about something Milbank wrote: "... several House Republicans on Monday [made] the extraordinary gesture of voting against a ceremonial bill honoring the first woman to be elected to Congress." I guess these guys are such notorious misogynists that one more demonstration of their antipathy to women isn't even newsworthy.

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for American families whose loved ones were killed by terrorism to collect nearly $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets, but not without a warning from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that the court was squandering its power. The justices ruled 6 to 2 that Congress had not violated the separation of powers by passing a bill that made it easier to collect the money for those whose family members were killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Rick Hasen has more on the Supreme Court's unanimous decision on the Arizona election law. -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Miranda Blue of Right Wing Watch: Sen. Chuck "Grassley [R-Iowa] told [anti-abortion] activists that when someone asked him for an update on the nomination [of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court] last week, he said that 'an update would suggest that something has changed' and that he still intends to block any nominee until the next president takes office. He said that preventing 'another liberal' from joining the Supreme Court was necessary to keep 'even the reasonable restrictions on abortion that have been enacted into law through the democratic process' from being 'swept away.'" -- CW

Jack Ewing of the New York Times: "Volkswagen is close to completing a deal to resolve claims in the United States over its admission that it rigged vehicles to cheat on pollution tests, according to three people involved in the case. A deal, if completed, is expected to include fines from regulators and compensation to owners that could collectively cost Volkswagen billions of dollars." -- CW

Bryan Lowder of Slate: "On Tuesday, [Target] affirmed that, at least within Target's airy stores, transgender employees and guests are welcome to use the restrooms and fitting rooms consistent with their gender identity." -- CW ...

... So Maybe Curt Won't Be Shopping at Target. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times: "Curt Schilling, a former All-Star pitcher and one of the highest-profile baseball analysts on ESPN, was fired from the network Wednesday, a day after he drew intense criticism for promoting offensive commentary on social media." -- CW

... Nik DeCosta-Klipa of the Boston Globe has more on Schilling's FaceBook post & his defense thereof. Includes a link to the now-deleted original post. -- CW

Jesse Eisinger of The New Yorker: "Why the S.E.C. Didn't Hit Goldman Sachs Harder" - James Kidney, a longtime S.E.C. lawyer suggested that the attitude at the S.E.C. that "'[m]ost of our civil defendants are good people who have done one bad thing'... held his agency back from pursuing the people who made the decisions that led to the financial collapse." -- LT

Presidential Race

Frank Rich on the state of the presidential race. Amusing, especially when he gets to the part about the GOP convention as Trump reality show. -- CW

Patrick Healy & Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont grappled with tough and narrowing choices about campaign strategy and fund-raising on Wednesday after his crushing loss in the New York primary and a series of difficult contests ahead." -- CW

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Hillary Clinton's focus on gun control will continue on Thursday when she heads to Connecticut to meet with families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting before the state's primary next week." CW: This is getting increasingly sickening.

Ben Norton of Salon makes the case against Hillary Clinton & the Democratic party. CW: Norton doesn't bother to mention liberal elected Democrats -- and there are quite a few -- but he nails the Clintons & President Obama with some inconvenient truths that should make you squirm if you reckon you're a liberal.

CW: Looks like the New Donald Trump will still let the Old Donald Trump go out on the campaign trail. Claire Landsbaum of New York: "'The campaign is evolving, and so am I,' he said. 'I'll be more effective and more disciplined. I'm not going to blow it.' But in his first post-New York rally appearance on Wednesday Trump seemed like his old belligerent self, throwing out 'Lyin' Ted's' and 'Crooked Hillary's' with abandon and taunting protestors as they were ejected. 'We're not going to be so politically correct,' he told the Indianapolis crowd." ...

... Steve M.: New "precious" media narrative notwithstanding, Trump is "never going to be 'presidential' for more than a few hours." -- CW

Nate Cohn of the New York Times: "Pennsylvania, which holds its primary next Tuesday, uses a nonbinding 'loophole' primary -- and that could cost Donald Trump the Republican nomination.... His chances may come down to the whims of 54 unpledged Pennsylvania delegates.No other state leaves so many of its delegates unbound -- allowed to vote for whomever they please at the convention." -- CW

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: "Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) criticized his party for a lack of ideas Wednesday in a wide-ranging and occasionally combative interview with The Washington Post's editorial board." -- CW

Creepy Ted Cruz Quote of the Day: Frances Langum in Crooks and Liars, brings the latest Cruzian pearl of wisdom to our attention. After an abysmal performance in New York (zero delegates), Cruz called up some distinctly odd (even for him) imagery. "...in this speech in Philadelphia...he just couldn't not gross out the listener with some bizarre wrestling man-on-woman surrender on the mat imagery... 'But America has always been best when she Is lying down with her back on the mat, and the crowd has given the final count.'" errrrr....what? -- Akhilleus

Beyond the Beltway

Elisha Anderson, et al., of the Detroit Free Press: "A judge in Flint authorized charges today against three officials involved in the Flint water crisis, the first time criminal charges have been brought against government officials in the public health calamity. Multiple charges were filed by Michigan's attorney general against Mike Glasgow, 40, of Flint, the city's laboratory and water quality supervisor Mike Prysby, 53, of Bath, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official; and Stephen Busch, 40, of DeWitt, the suspended Lansing district coordinator for the DEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance.... The charges include felonies of misconduct in office, conspiracy related to tampering with evidence. They carry maximum penalties of up to five years in prison and up to four years in prison, respectively." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Sam Stanton & Denny Walsh of the Sacramento Bee: "A psychologist who spent seven years working inside California's correctional system filed a federal lawsuit against state prison officials Wednesday, alleging they routinely covered up how inmates died. The suit, filed in federal court in Sacramento by Dr. Eric Reininga, 63, also alleges that he was fired last year after he leaked information to The Sacramento Bee about an inmate who died after being pepper sprayed in the face and left in his cell." -- CW

Peter Holley of the Washington Post: "The British Foreign Office has released an advisory warning travelers to be aware of controversial new laws in North Carolina and Mississippi before visiting the United States. The travel advisory update -- directed to members of the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community -- was posted on the Foreign Office's website Tuesday." -- CW

Jenny Jarvie of the Los Angeles Times: "Charlotte is one of a growing number of liberal Southern cities that finds itself locked in a bitter political standoff with state governments increasingly dominated by Republicans. Throughout the nation's most conservative region, socially progressive pockets -- urban hubs such as Charlotte that seek to liberalize laws on LGBT rights and other issues -- are clashing with predominantly rural state governments that heed the traditional religious values shared by the bulk of their citizens." -- CW

Hailey Branson-Potts of the Los Angeles Times: "Linda Katehi, the chancellor of UC Davis, has apologized for the university's hiring of image consultants to bury Internet references to a pepper-spraying incident of student protesters by campus police and has promised a series of public forums to answer questions." -- CW

Way Beyond

Eric Schmitt of the New York Times: "Russian attack submarines, the most in two decades, are prowling the coastlines of Scandinavia and Scotland, the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic in what Western military officials say is a significantly increased presence aimed at contesting American and NATO undersea dominance." -- CW

The Queen & future kings. AP photo.Dan Bilefsky of the New York Times: "On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 90th birthday, and a grateful Britain will honor a woman her biographer Douglas Hurd, a former foreign minister, has called 'The Steadfast.'... Befitting a workhorse who carried out 341 engagements last year, Elizabeth kicked off birthday celebrations on Wednesday in a dutiful display: at a Royal Mail delivery center, where she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, watched workers sort mail.... On Friday, President Obama will offer the queen birthday wishes at Windsor Castle." -- CW

News Ledes

New York Times: "Prince, the songwriter, singer, producer, one-man studio band and consummate showman, died Thursday at his residence, Paisley Park, in Chanhassen, Minn., according to a statement from his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure. He was 57." ...

     ... President Obama's statement on Prince's passing is here.

New York Times: "Frederick Mayer, who as a German Jew fled Nazi Germany for Brooklyn as a teenager in 1938, only to parachute back into Nazi-controlled Austria seven years later as an American spy on an improbable secret mission, died on Friday in Charles Town, W.Va. He was 94."

Wednesday
Apr202016

A Victory for the "Me Generation"

By Marie

I listened to Clinton's victory speech last night, and my immediate reaction was, "Damn, that woman needs a better speechwriter." But this morning I read the transcript, linked below, & I didn't see anything wrong with the words. It was the delivery.

Clinton excuses herself as not being a "natural politician" like her husband & President Obama. But that claim is as false as it is a dig at Bill & Obama. She is a natural politician in the worst sense: she curries favor with those who can fill her campaign coffers, she manipulates facts to the extent that they constitute lies, she is the paradigm of the "Me generation."

The ways she is not a natural politician is in her carelessness -- her assumptions that the rules other must follow don't apply to her (private e-mails), her secrecy (her 1993 healthcare initiative), her rolling revisions when the facts don't back her up, her failure to think thru & follow thru on the outcomes when she does get the result she wants (Libya). And her carelessness is reflected in her speech deliveries -- even when she says the right words her speechwriter puts in front of her, she comes across as manipulative & selfish. There is nothing endearing or laudable about her.

The idea that Bill Clinton & Barack Obama are "naturally" better speakers is also a crock. They study their craft. You can hear it in Obama's speeches; he borrows the style of black preachers. He didn't just come to his style because of the color of his skin, for Pete's sake; he practiced.

The same with Bill: there is an anecdote in a book by David Maraniss (I think it is) where he relates how Bill Clinton practiced for hours copying Ronald Reagan's style. He got videotapes of Reagan's speeches & studied Reagan's mannerisms, right down to his gestures. According to Maraniss, Clinton came running from his practice room one day & said, "I got it, I finally got it!" What did he get? -- a particular hand gesture Reagan made.

But these talented speakers are talented because they want to connect to voters. They may not really "feel your pain," but they at least remember how the pain feels, & they want your vote enough to call up those memories of their own hard times. Hillary Clinton suppresses whatever pain she has felt (and like all of us, she has feelings); that's what makes her such a wooden speaker. Actually "feeling your pain" would mean letting down her guard, letting her seem less royal & special & better than you & me.

Describing the 2016 election as the "most important in recent history" is something of a crock. From the standpoint of court appointments & a few other matters, it is very important. But the fact is that in November, we will have a choice between two of the worst nominees in modern history. This will be the "Me generation" come to its ignoble end. I shudder to think of what kind of presidency is in the offing.

Tuesday
Apr192016

The Commentariat -- April 20, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Coral Davenport of the New York Times: "The Senate on Wednesday passed the first broad energy bill since the George W. Bush administration, a bipartisan measure to better align the nation's oil, gas and electricity infrastructure with the changing ways that power is produced in the United States. The bill, approved 85 to 12, united Republicans and Democrats around a traditionally divisive issue -- energy policy -- largely by avoiding the hot-button topics of climate change and oil and gas exploration that have thwarted other measures." -- CW

Elisha Anderson, et al., of the Detroit Free Press: "A judge in Flint authorized charges today against three officials involved in the Flint water crisis, the first time criminal charges have been brought against government officials in the public health calamity. Multiple charges were filed by Michigan's attorney general against Mike Glasgow, 40, of Flint, the city's laboratory and water quality supervisor; Mike Prysby, 53, of Bath, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official; and Stephen Busch, 40, of DeWitt, the suspended Lansing district coordinator for the DEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance.... The charges include felonies of misconduct in office, conspiracy related to tampering with evidence. They carry maximum penalties of up to five years in prison and up to four years in prison, respectively." -- CW

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for American families whose loved ones were killed by terrorism to collect nearly $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets, but not without a warning from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that the court was squandering its power. The justices ruled 6 to 2 that Congress had not violated the separation of powers by passing a bill that made it easier to collect the money for those whose family members were killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran." -- CW

Rick Hasen has more on the Supreme Court's unanimous decision on the Arizona election law. -- CW

Harriet Tubman Gets the Twenty. Old Hickory Gets the Boot. Washington Post: The U.S. Treasury has decided to keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the new $10 bill, after encountering fierce opposition to its plans to replace the founding father with a woman.... The Treasury will feature the portrait of African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, which now features former president Andrew Jackson, officials said." -- Akhilleus

*****

Presidential Race

With one percent reporting, Hillary Clinton is leading Bernie Sanders in the New York primary 60 percent to 40 percent. With 32 percent reporting, Clinton is maintaining her 60-40 lead. At 9:46 pm ET, CNN called the race for Clinton. The AP also called the race for Clinton.

With less than one percent of precincts reporting, the AP has called the New York primary race for Donald Trump. Trump has nearly 69 percent of the vote, trailed by John Kasich with about 18 percent & Ted Cruz with 13.6 percent. With 50 percent reporting, Trump has 62.4 percent of the vote, Kasich 23.6 percent & Cruz 14 percent.

Julie Pace of the AP: "Hillary Clinton emerged from New York's presidential primary closer to clinching the Democratic nomination and becoming the first woman to reach that milestone. Republican Donald Trump strengthened his own path to the general election with a commanding victory, but has little room for error in the states ahead." -- CW

John Cassidy of the New Yorker: "... when all is said and done, it may well turn out that the 2016 general-election campaign began in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night." -- CW

Charles Pierce: "Since it looks like we're going to have the whole Bernie Sandham Clinders business at least through the Oregon primary -- and probably all the way through California at the beginning of June -- I'd like to take the opportunity to establish some First Principles for both sides in the obviously vain hope that they'll listen." -- CW

Patrick Healy & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump wrested back control of the Republican presidential race on Tuesday with a commanding victory in the New York primary, while Hillary Clinton dealt a severe blow to Senator Bernie Sanders as she won her adopted home state with powerful support from women and blacks.... [Trump's victory] speech sounded more presidential than any other he has given on an election night...." -- CW

Here's a rough transcript of Hillary Clinton's victory speech, via Vox. -- CW

Amy Chozick of the New York Times: Hillary "Clinton has had dramatic highs and crushing lows in her political career and in this campaign. But since she first ran for office 16 years ago, New York has always been the state that loved her back, and on Tuesday it delivered one of her biggest boosts yet toward becoming the first woman to capture the Democratic Party's nomination for president." CW: Actually not the state, but the city. Take a look at the map. Upstate is mostly Bernie-green.

Jordan Weissmann of Slate: "Bernie Sanders lost his old block in Brooklyn." -- CW

Jeet Heer of the New Republic: "The Sanders campaign should be seen not as a failed gambit but as a road map to the future of the Democratic Party. If a candidate can combine Sanders's economic populism with the ability to articulate that message in the South, then the future will belong Sanders, and Clinton's triumph will be seen as the last gasp of the centrism that dominated the party in the long aftermath of Reaganism." -- CW

...Matthew Yglesias of Vox: "Bernie Sanders is (still) the future of the Democratic Party - Sanders is the overwhelming choice of young voters, scoring 67 percent of voters under 30 in New York even while losing overall amidst a set of election rules that were highly unfavorable to his cause." -- LT

This is what passes for a "more presidential" speech by Donald Trump:

... Isaac Chotiner of Slate: "Among a great many other things, this election has given us a good measure of just how far we've defined down presidential. Trump may indeed have been restrained on Tuesday night in celebrating his predictable but impressive win in the New York Republican primary, but he was certainly not presidential." -- CW

Ben Mathis-Lilley of Slate: "... New York state's unofficial election-night results website has Donald Trump losing only one of New York's 27 congressional districts: The 12th, which covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens as well as the eastern side of Manhattan -- including the Fifth Avenue block that's home to Trump Tower, which is where Trump lives and where the Trump Organization is based." -- CW

Gabriel Sherman of New York on "how Paul Manafort took over the Trump campaign." -- CW

Ted Finds Out How Much New York Values Him. Nick Gass of Politico: "After weeks of racking up victory after victory in the delegate fight, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was left completely out in the cold Tuesday night in New York. As Donald Trump scored what is likely to be a near-sweep of his home-state's New York delegates with more than 60 percent of the popular vote..., Cruz received less than 15 percent overall, and only cracked 20 percent in two congressional districts." -- CW

That nice Sean Hannity got mad at that nice Ted Cruz. What a shame. -- CW

The New York Times' election results page is here.

New York state polls close at 9 pm ET Tuesday. New York Times reporters are liveblogging election-related events. ...

... Laura Bult of the New York Daily News: "A record-setting deluge of Primary Day voter complaints led Tuesday to the angry promise of a full-scale investigation into the city's long-bumbling Board of Election. The flood of gripes, running the gamut from locked doors to botched voter rolls, led irate city Controller Scott Stringer to announce an immediate probe of an incompetent agency.... Presidential primary voters in the five boroughs ran an obstacle course of ineptitude to cast their ballots: Broken machines, shuttered precincts and purged voter rolls. The most complaints came from Brooklyn, where entire sections of poll books listing the names of eligible voters were reported missing, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman." -- CW ...

... Laura Nahmias of Politico: New York City "Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that 'major reforms' are needed at the City's Board of Elections, amid widespread reports of voter purges and problems at polling sites during voting in New York State's presidential primary.... The Board of Elections confirmed that it had removed 126,000 Brooklyn Democrats from its voter rolls since last fall, in part because the Board was 'a little behind' in updating its voter registration records...." -- CW

Gail Collins & Arthur Brooks discuss the presidential race in "The Conversation." -- CW

Jesse Byrnes of the Hill: "Bernie Sanders says Hillary Clinton shouldn't expect his supporters to automatically back her should she win the Democratic presidential nomination. 'It's a two-way street, the Clinton people are also going to have to listen to what these people are fighting for,' Sanders said during an interview on CNN's 'New Day.'" -- CW

The Last Oligarch. Will Bunch on philly.com on Hillary & Bill Clintons' ties to the super-wealthy. "... when Bill and Hillary Clinton found themselves in private life and making the real dough, the couple was involved in the creation of five Delaware corporations -- three related to the Clinton Foundation non-profit, one for Bill's 'consulting' fees, and one for a $5.5 million Hillary book advance. Why take advantage of the low tax rates and limited public-disclosure laws of the American Cayman Islands? I guess that's what Delaware offered.... Even if [Hillary] does win, you have to think that her era of oligarchic rule in winding down." -- CW

Garrison Keillor for NPR: "How did we wind up with these old people running for president?" CW: Thanks to exalto for the link. This morning I mistakenly removed exalto's link to Keillor's piece, thinking -- with some reason, albeit erroneous -- that exalto was a Calyban alias. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Susanne Craig of the New York Times: "Over the past several months, Donald J. Trump has crisscrossed the country making dozens of campaign stops..., often in his sleek Cessna jet.... The plane's registration is expired.... Dozens of those flights were made after Jan. 31, when the registration expired.... The F.A.A. warned Mr. Trump that the Cessna's registration was set to expire [& had expired].... It costs only $5 [to register the plane]...." CW: Luckily for Trump, he's Flying While White. If he were a black guy with an expired car registration, which costs more to renew, he could end up in jail -- or dead. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

It's very close to my heart because I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen down at 7-Eleven, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down, and I saw the greatest people I've ever seen in action. -- Donald Trump, April 18 ...

... Dana Milbank: Looks like Donald Trump's plan to Make America Great Again revolves around product placement. -- CW

...Aaron Rupar of Think Progress: check out this product placement: "Forget Everything Donald Trump Said. His Real Message Was The Guy Standing Behind Him...2010 New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino,a real estate developer who rode the tea party wave to a surprising victory in that year's Republican primary, who is mostly remembered for a series of ridiculous and offensive things he said and did (during and before his campaign). -- LT

Matt Wilstein of The Daily Beast: "Speaking to Morning Joe on the morning of New York's primary, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) once again made it clear that he is no fan of Ted Cruz. (...) 'I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I'll take cyanide if he ever got the nomination." --safari

Daniel Marans of Huffington Post: "Are you kidding me, @TedCruz?" In an epic twitter response to Ted Cruz's whining about the 'significant sacrifice' he's made to run for President, Sen. Elizabeth Warren "lambasted Cruz for failing to support policies that would address the even greater stresses American families face due to economic circumstances not of their choosing." -- LT

** Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker explains the function of political parties to the presidential candidates. If, like some of the candidates, you're not sure how parties are designed to function, read Gopnik. -- CW

Stephen Colbert interviews the Stealth Candidate who is definitely not running for president but just happened to show up on the late-nite show circuit:


Other News & Views

AP: "President Barack Obama opened a brief trip to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with a one-on-one meeting with King Salman in Riyadh. The visit for a Persian Gulf summit comes against the backdrop of increasingly strained U.S. relations with the Saudis, who remain deeply opposed to his outreach to Iran and skeptical of his approach to Syria." -- CW ...

... Michael Shear of the New York Times: President Obama arrived [in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia] Wednesday morning, barely a day after publicly expressing support for the long-delayed release of congressional documents that concluded Saudi officials in the United States might have played a role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." -- CW

Rachel Bade of Politico: "House Democratic leaders on Tuesday morning blasted GOP leaders for the collapse of a Puerto Rico rescue package last week amid Republican infighting, accusing the GOP of putting conservatives ahead of the Caribbean Island's needs. In a series of morning press conferences, top Democrats knocked the GOP for failing to negotiate with them on the measure, which is intended to prevent Puerto Rico from defaulting on hundreds of millions in debt." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

** Sam Hanenel of the AP: "A unanimous Supreme Court says an Arizona commission did not violate the principle of one-person, one-vote when it redrew the state's legislative districts in a way that created some with more residents than others. The justices on Wednesday rejected a challenge from a group of Republican voters who claimed the state's Independent Redistricting Commission illegally packed GOP voters into some districts while leaving other Democratic-leaning districts with smaller populations." CW: This story is up only on the WashPo site, so you'll have to read it there. ...

     ... The reporters at ScotusBlog discuss the decision, way down the livefeed. -- CW

Marshall Fitz in Medium: "The media largely concluded that the Justices are likely to deadlock in a 4-4 tie [in U.S. v. TX immigration case].... But the analysis is flawed because it exaggerates the significance of the questions raised by the Justices and, more importantly, ignores the weight of the legal arguments presented by the Solicitor General...." Via Paul Waldman -- CW ...

... Brianne Gorod in the New Republic: "There were a lot of tough questions asked of both sides at oral argument [Monday] morning, but only one side [-- the administration's Solicitor General --] had good answers. While those answers may not tell us exactly where the Court will land, they do tell us where it should land. When the Court announces its decision later this year, that decision should, at long last, unfreeze DAPA." -- CW

States Pressured to Restore Planned Parenthood Funding<: Stephanie Armour in the WSJ: "The Obama administration on Tuesday warned states that halting Medicaid funding to organizations because they provide abortion services could put them in violation of federal law, putting pressure on states to restore funding stripped from Planned Parenthood Federation of America." Akhilleus: Confederate law breaking never ends. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Carolyn Johnson of the Washington Post: "UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurer, said Tuesday that in 2017 it will exit most of the 34 states where it offers plans on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges." -- CW

Yuri Kageyama of the AP: "Mitsubishi Motors Corp., the Japanese automaker tarnished by a massive recall-cover-up 15 years ago, owned up to another scandal Wednesday, saying employees had intentionally falsified fuel mileage test data for several vehicle models.... The models are all so-called 'minicars' with tiny engines whose main attraction is generally great mileage. They were produced from March 2013." -- CW

David Pierson of the Los Angeles Times: "Intel Corp. will slash 12,000 jobs, or about 11% of its workforce, to help offset declining PC sales and reposition the giant chipmaker as a firm focused on cloud computing and smart devices, the company said Tuesday." -- CW

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed: "Donald Trump's campaign paid Breitbart News national security editor Sebastian Gorka $8,000 for 'policy consulting' last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings.... Earlier this year, Gorka was reportedly caught trying to go through security at Reagan Airport in February with a handgun. Gorka's wife Katharine Gorka is one of Ted Cruz's national security advisers. She also has written in the past for Breitbart...." CW: Three cheers for Breitbart's high journalistic standards.

Beyond the Beltway

** Paul Egan & Matthew Dolan of the Detroit Free Press: "Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will announce criminal charges today in connection with his ongoing investigation of the Flint drinking water crisis, three sources familiar with the investigation told the Free Press on Tuesday.... Schuette, a Republican who is widely expected to run for governor in 2018, opened an investigation in January, tapping former Detroit FBI Director Andrew Arena and Royal Oak attorney Todd Flood to head the probe." CW: Hmmm, we may find ourselves using the word "scapegoat" quite a bit in the next few days. We'll see.

Alan Feuer of the New York Times: "In a Brooklyn courtroom packed with the relatives of his victim, Peter Liang, the former New York City police officer who fatally shot Akai Gurley while on patrol in a housing project stairwell, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years of probation, escaping a prison term in the divisive police misconduct case." -- CW 

Kate Mather of the Los Angeles Times: "The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday found that officers were justified in shooting an unarmed man in Los Feliz last year who had a towel wrapped around one of his hands." -- CW

Eric Levitz of New York Magazine: "Supply-side economics has been about as good for the people of Kansas as human sacrifice was for the Mayans. (...) But, somehow, the job creators were displeased by Brownback's offering. (...) Thus, Republican dissidents are demanding tax hikes: Specifically, they want Brownback to repeal the tax exemption for farmers and business owners to raise more than $200 million in additional, annual revenue. The conservative-leaning think tank the Tax Foundation also encourages the exemption's repeal."--safari

Amber Phillips of the Washington Post: "... it does seem like the secession movement is growing [in Texas], or at least organizing, and may have become too big for [Republican] party officials to ignore." -- CW

The God Loophole. Chistina Cauterucci of Slate: "These days, the phrase 'religious liberty' functions, more or less, as code for 'anti-LGBTQ.' But current fights over bathroom access and public accommodations aren't the first time religious freedom has been used to set up troubling legal frameworks. Take, for example, day care..... Nearly half of all child care facilities in Alabama -- that's more than 900 day cares -- claim religious affiliation, exempting them from inspections, employee training requirements, and mandatory staff-to-child ratios." --safari

Moriah Balingit of the Washington Post: "A federal appeals court in Richmond has sided with a transgender high school student, saying that he can proceed with his lawsuit arguing that his school board's decision to ban him from the boy's bathroom is discriminatory." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Martin Weil of the Washington Post: "About 300 arrests were made Monday at the U.S. Capitol, bringing to more than 1,200 the total number of arrests made in connection with demonstrations that have been held there since April 11. The total is one of the largest in any protest here in years. The groups involved in the protests, which assembled under the names 'Democracy Spring' and 'Democracy Awakening,' said they are trying to persuade Congress to enact campaign spending reforms and to protect voting rights.... The Ben & Jerry's ice cream website said the company's cofounders, Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen, were among those arrested." -- CW

Julieta Chiquillo of the Dallas Morning News: "Whole Foods Market said Tuesday that it will take legal action against an Austin pastor who accused the store of writing a homophobic slur on a personalized cake.... The bakery employee who wrote the message [which Whole Foods say was not] on the cake is also a member of the LGBTQ community, according to Whole Foods." -- CW

Samantha Page of Think Progress: "Porter Ranch already experienced the largest recorded natural gas leak in U.S. history over the winter, when a leak at the [SoCalGas] Aliso Canyon Storage Facility spewed more than 97,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere...Over the weekend, the neighborhood was hit with another natural gas leak...[by] a third party company that [also] operates at the Aliso Canyon site." -- unwashed

Carimah Townes of Think Progress: Big Brother will fit in your pocket -'"Uber For Cops" Lets Anyone With A Smartphone Report 'Suspicious People' To The Police" -- LT

Way Beyond

Michael Weissenstein of the AP: "Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro delivered a valedictory speech Tuesday to the Communist Party that he put in power a half-century ago, telling party members he is nearing the end of his life and exhorting them to help his ideas survive." -- CW

Anne Barnard of the New York Times: "On Tuesday..., government warplanes attacked the ... marketplace [in the northwestern Syrian town of Maarat al-Noaman], killing dozens of people, according to residents and rescue workers. The attack confirmed the apparent unraveling of a fragile cease-fire agreement between Syrian government forces and some armed opposition groups. The attack in Maarat al-Noaman, and a similar one in the nearby town of Kafr Nabl, came several days after the start of a new insurgent offensive in a neighboring province, and a day after the main Syrian opposition group said it would no longer participate in diplomatic discussions in Geneva." -- CW

Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones: "Happy 4/20"! -- unwashed. Ah, the old days...hangin' out...passin' joints around...listenin' to Moby Grape on the HiFi...starin' at the Lava Lamp...

Katie Valentine of Think Progress: "The lower house of the Dutch parliament passed a motion recently that would ban the sales of non-electric cars in the country by 2025...[including] hybrids which wouldn't be allowed under the ban... The [Netherlands] opened the world's first solar road in 2014, a 230-foot stretch of bike path that's embedded with solar cells." -- unwashed

News Lede

Washington Post: "As many as 500 migrants seeking a better future in Europe may have drowned last week in the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy, U.N. refugee officials said Wednesday. If true, the toll would make the incident one of the worst tragedies involving refugees and migrants over the last year." -- CW

Monday
Apr182016

The Commentariat -- April 19, 2016

I need help here. -- Constant Weader

Unrelated Note: I may have to start removing all stupid comments, which is a shame, because I make stupid comments, too. Anyway, I have neither the time nor the interest to check the ISPs associated with every suspicious comment, so I may unfairly remove some comments by people who are merely lazy, inarticulate or mean-spirited. And I actually am sorry about that as the stupid is occasionally amusing. But now is the season of my discontent, which will have to suffice as a good enough reason to cut the crap.

Afternoon Update:

Susanne Craig of the New York Times: "Over the past several months, Donald J. Trump has crisscrossed the country making dozens of campaign stops..., often in his sleek Cessna jet.... The plane’s registration is expired.... Dozens of those flights were made after Jan. 31, when the registration expired.... The F.A.A. warned Mr. Trump that the Cessna's registration was set to expire [& had expired].... It costs only $5 [to register the plane]...." CW: Luckily for Trump, he's Flying While White. If he were a black guy with an expired car registration, which costs more to renew, he could end up in jail -- or dead.

States Pressured to Restore Planned Parenthood Funding: Stephanie Armour in the WSJ writes "The Obama administration on Tuesday warned states that halting Medicaid funding to organizations because they provide abortion services could put them in violation of federal law, putting pressure on states to restore funding stripped from Planned Parenthood Federation of America." Akhilleus: Confederate law breaking never ends.

Rachel Bade of Politico: "House Democratic leaders on Tuesday morning blasted GOP leaders for the collapse of a Puerto Rico rescue package last week amid Republican infighting, accusing the GOP of putting conservatives ahead of the Caribbean Island's needs. In a series of morning press conferences, top Democrats knocked the GOP for failing to negotiate with them on the measure, which is intended to prevent Puerto Rico from defaulting on hundreds of millions in debt." -- CW

Moriah Balingit of the Washington Post: "A federal appeals court in Richmond has sided with a transgender high school student, saying that he can proceed with his lawsuit arguing that his school board's decision to ban him from the boy's bathroom is discriminatory." -- CW

Garrison Keillor for NPR: "How did we wind up with these old people running for president?" CW: Thanks to exalto for the link. This morning I mistakenly removed exalto's link to Keillor's piece, thinking -- with some reason, albeit erroneous -- that exalto was a Calyban alias.

*****

Presidential Race

Democrats & Republicans hold primaries in New York state today. ...

... Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton are the heavy favorites to win in their home state, where both have been known presences for many years. But there are some tantalizing subplots that could help direct the remaining acts of this political theater. Voting begins at 6 a.m. in parts of the state, and lasts until 9 p.m. everywhere." Haberman suggests "some things to watch." -- CW ...

... Ryan Cooper of the Week: "Donald Trump is right about one thing: The New York state voting system is a total mess. To vote in Tuesday's primary, New Yorkers who were not party members will have had to submit their change of party registration by Oct. 9, more than six months ago. Though there is a reasonable case for closed party primaries, having the deadline that far in advance is utterly unjustifiable." Read on. -- CW

Eric Levitz of New York: "... days before the Empire State's crucial primary vote, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have come out in favor of a bipartisan Senate bill that would allow "victims of 9/11 to sue the Saudi government.... The kingdom has threatened to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars in American assets if the bill passes Congress.... The Obama administration is taking the Saudis' fury seriously...., and has expended considerable energy trying to stifle the Senate bill." -- CW (See also link to story about presidential veto threat, in Other News & Views below.)

Eric Levitz: "In a letter to the DNC, Sanders's campaign attorney Brad Deutsch accuses the Clinton campaign of 'serious apparent violations' of campaign finance laws.... Over the weekend, Politico published a report on Clinton's first-quarter campaign spending that largely affirms Sanders's complaint." -- CW ...

... Election law expert Rick Hasen says Sanders' case is weak. He suspects Deutsch's "letter is less about legality and more about feeding into the Sanders' campaign theme that Hillary Clinton is corrupt in her campaign finance dealings." -- CW ...

... Clare Foran of the Atlantic has more on the dispute. -- CW

Ron Brownstein of the Atlantic: Bernie "Sanders's rise in national surveys has upended one of the most durable patterns of the primary system in both parties since the mid-1970s. This far into the race, the candidate who has accumulated the most delegates through the early contests almost always has also led in national polls among voters in their party. But in several recent national public surveys, Sanders has surged to virtually tie, or even slightly surpass, Clinton, who has led among both pledged and unpledged delegates since late February.... As advisers in both camps acknowledge, Sanders's national gains means that he arrives in each new state with a bigger and broader base of support than he enjoyed earlier in the contest." -- CW

Eliza Collins of Politico: "The Clinton campaign has a question for Bernie Sanders: Are you to becom[ing] 'a Ralph Nader and try to destroy the party?' Clinton's chief strategist Joel Benenson accused Sanders of issuing attacks that hurt the Democratic Party in an interview with CNN's 'New Day' on Tuesday, the day of the New York primary." CW: Yeah, right.

Wherein New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio blames Bernie Sanders for the controversy over that "colored people time" skit De Blasio & Hillary Clinton did. CW: Congratulations, Bernie. You've become Obamacized. Now everything is your fault.

** David Dayen in the New Republic: "The actual transcript [of Hillary Clinton's Goldman Sachs speeches] is unnecessary because we already have enough in the public domain to know the real issue with these speeches: the rapport and camaraderie between political leaders and financial institutions, which results in a frame of mind that accepts their arguments and privileges their views." Read on. -- CW

CW: I know everything the candidates say today is bound to be stupid, but this might be the stupidest. Eliza Collins: "Donald Trump has some thoughts about Hillary Clinton saying she carries hot sauce in her bag: She's 'phony' and 'pandering.'" -- CW

Nate Cohn of the New York Times: "If the polls are right, [Donald Trump] will dominate in New York on Tuesday and in the coming races across the Eastern Seaboard. He could win nearly all of the delegates at stake -- keeping him on a narrow path toward the Republican nomination. That would set him up for what will probably be the most important test of the race: Indiana on May 3.... It's hard to avoid the conclusion that his quest to reach a majority of delegates before the convention could all turn on Indiana." -- CW

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast: "The night before the vital New York primary, at a large campaign rally in Buffalo, Donald Trump got the date of the September 11 attacks wrong.'I was down there, and I watched our police and our fireman, down there on 7/11, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down.'" --safari ...

     ... CW @safari: Maybe Trump was at a 7-11, enjoying a Big Gulp.

Ken Vogel & Ben Schreckinger of Politico: "In a shakeup that's roiling Donald Trump's presidential campaign, the GOP front-runner told senior staffers at a Saturday meeting that he wants his recent hires Paul Manafort and Rick Wiley to take the reins in upcoming states, giving them a $20-million budget for key contests in May and June, according to three sources with knowledge of the meeting."-- CW ...

... Major Garrett of CBS News: "Paul Manafort, hired last week to be the convention manager, will now run the Trump campaign, with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski reduced to a role that amounts to body man and scheduler." -- CW ...

... Marc Caputo of Politico: "Donald Trump's [CW: now former] campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was cleaning up one political mess in Florida when he walked himself into another, launching an error-filled attack on the state's GOP chairman and revealing his camp's internal goal for delegate accumulation." -- CW

Danielle Allen, in a Washington Post op-ed, takes apart Donald Trump's long whine in the form of a Wall Street Journal op-ed. For some odd reason, Allen characterizes Trump's complaint as an unprincipled "crafty assemblage of sophisms meant to throw sand in people's eyes." -- CW

Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "A longtime Republican consultant who has been harshly criticized by Donald J. Trump filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit on Monday accusing him and his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, of making false statements that harmed her professionally and personally. The consultant, Cheri Jacobus, accused Mr. Trump and Mr. Lewandowski of libeling her by depicting her as a disappointed job-seeker who turned on Mr. Trump after he declined to hire her." -- CW

Jason Silverstein of the New York Daily News: "Illma Gore, the creative mind behind the infamous painting of Trump in the buff -- and with a tiny penis -- says Trump's legal team has threatened a lawsuit over her dismaying depiction of GOP presidential front-runner." -- CW

Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times: When tenants of rent-contolled apartments at 100 Central Park South fought Donald Trump, he tried every ruthless trick in the book to take possession of their homes. "The battle played out for years in courtrooms and the New York news media, becoming a kind of parable of the limits of 1980s capitalist ambition in the social democratic city." -- CW

**How to Hack an Election. Jordan Robertson, Michael Rey & Andrew Willis of Bloomberg. This fascinating article (published March 31) centers around the "Karl Rove" of Latin America, Juan José Rendón, and the main hacker Andrés Sepúlveda. While it focuses on Latin America, the article ends with this: "Last year, based on anonymous sources, the Colombian media reported that Rendón was working for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Rendón calls the reports untrue. The campaign did approach him, he says, but he turned them down because he dislikes Trump (...)But Rendón says he's in talks with another leading U.S. presidential campaign -- he wouldn't say which -- to begin working for it once the primaries wrap up and the general election begins."

Better Ted than Trump. Tierney Sneed of TPM: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell turned down an opportunity to comment on his personal beef with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to implicitly criticize Donald Trump and said he is 'increasingly optimistic' that there were would be a contested GOP convention in Cleveland." -- CW

Julian Hattem of the Hill: "Officials within Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) office refused to meet with Muslim advocates on Monday, they claimed, after a controversial adviser for Cruz's presidential campaign accused the advocates of pushing 'the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood.' In a contributor's op-ed published on The Hill's website, Frank Gaffney warned that 'organizations associated with Islamic supremacism' are seeking to 'dominate' an advocacy day on Monday on Capitol Hill." -- CW

Steve M.: According to Ted Cruz's anti-gay marriage logic, states should be able to prevent interracial marriages, too. CW: And people from different religions, too. And people over the age of 60. And citizens of other countries. And people with freckles. Whatever.

The Dildo Factor. Amanda Marcotte in Salon: "This is the constant theme in Cruz's opinions on the subject of sexuality and family life: If it limits sexual pleasure and channels people into traditional gender roles, it's good, but if it allows people to enjoy sex for non-procreative reasons, it's bad.... His brand-new pro-dildo stance is completely out of step with his entire history of backing multiple efforts to chip away at policies and technologies that allow women and LGBT people to conduct their private sex lives on their own terms." -- CW

New York Times Editors: "Central to the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz has been the claim that the Affordable Care Act has been a complete failure, and that the only way to save the country from this scourge is to replace it with something they design. It's worth examining the big myths they are peddling about the Affordable Care Act and also their ill-conceived plans of what might replace it." The editorial goes on to debunk some of the myths. -- CW

Cruz of Gold. Ben Walsh in the Huffington Post, reminds Republicans (and everyone else) why they hate Ted Cruz. "He told CNBC on Friday that he wants to push America back to the gold standard. This is a hare-brained policy that no other country uses and not a single surveyed economist thinks is a good idea. Under the gold standard, a dollar is worth a certain amount of gold." Oh, and just so you know, Donald Trump loves the Gold Standard as well. Akhilleus: Where is William Jennings Bryan when you need him? Cruz has declared that "...the Fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy..." Oh, okay. Then we can let commodities investors and hoarders monkey with it instead. Sounds reasonable.

Scariest Headline of the Week. Walter Shapiro in Roll Call: "How Liz Cheney Could Pick the Next President." Okay, it's an unlikely -- but not impossible -- turn of events. And we've already seen how things worked out when her dad picked the next vice president (his choice, of course, being himself). -- CW

Trump's No Competition Bid for NY Governor. This morning on NPR, Ed Cox, chairman of the Republican Party of New York revealed that Donald Trump was seriously considering making a bid for the Republican nomination for governor in 2014 but would only do it if the party bosses handed him the nomination. He didn't want to have to compete against any other candidates. When told that's not the way it works, apparently, there was a bit of a Trumper tantrum. -- Akhilleus

The Past is Prologue. The Estimable Rick Pearlstein, writing in Salon, believes that the rise of Trumpism calls for a rewrite of American conservatism. Nazi rallies in Madison Square Garden, Klan riots in Queens, racial profiling, housing discrimination, lawsuits, Roy Cohn, vigilantism, and the birth of right-wing hate radio are all intimate parts of the Education of Donald. -- Akhilleus

A Real Estate Empire's Racist Foundations. Pearlstein's piece includes a fascinating bit of historical trivia, which in this case is anything but trivial. Eminent American folksinger Woody Guthrie once put into lyrics his belief that "...Old Man Trump knows/Just how much/Racial Hate/he stirred up..." when Fred Trump, Donald's father, established what Guthrie refers to as a "that color line" at his housing projects. The lyrics were uncovered recently by Will Kaufman, a professor of American Literature. -- Akhilleus

Other News & Views

Dana Milbank: "The Supreme Court's choice: chaos or more chaos." -- CW ...

... The Supreme Court is all tied up. Dahlia Lithwick of Slate: "...Maybe the judicial branch is about to get karate chopped in the face by the ugliest political fight of the year. Arguments on Monday in United States v. Texas...certainly suggest a 4-4 tie is not just in the cards but also highly likely. Such a ruling would choke both the executive branch and the court, without affording much clarity or direction about the real scope of executive powers." --safari ...

... Nina Totenberg of NPR: Justice "Kennedy, who has in the past has written opinions in favor of giving the executive broad powers on enforcement, seemed dubious in this case. He said 4 million people is a lot of people and it seems that to give them quasi-legal status should be a legislative decision, not an executive decision." -- CW

Kevin Liptak & Antoine Sanfuentes of CNN: "Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to announce this week that Alexander Hamilton's face will remain on the front of the $10 bill and a woman will replace Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill, a senior government source told CNN on Saturday." -- CW

Have a Bad Weekend Doing Your Taxes? Blame H&R Block. Helaine Olen of Slate: "Tax day has become uncommonly time-consuming and miserable, and we can assign much of the blame to the lobbying muscle of the tax-prep industry, which has used its clout to stymie efforts to simplify our taxes." -- CW

American Politics, Inc. Anna Palmer & Brianna Gurciullo of Politico: "Republicans have been struggling for months in the shadow of Donald Trump to get corporate sponsors to pony up for their convention. Now Democratic fundraisers are feeling their pain, too.... The competition for dollars this year is more intense than ever. Donors are no longer limited in how much they can give to candidates and national party committees, but some may be feeling taxed by all the requests." --safari

Tevi Troy in Politico: "One of the most spectacular fissures of this already dramatic political season has been the messy, public divorce of the Republican intelligentsia from the party's suddenly energized populist voter base...but this year's split between intellectuals and the rank-and-file GOP goes beyond the front-runner. In fact, neither of Trump's remaining rivals, Ted Cruz nor John Kasich, is particularly cozy with the conservative intelligentsia.... If this divide deepens, it would mark the end of a romance between conservative intellectuals and the voters who propel their candidates into office that goes back several decades." --safari ...

...Jacob Weisberg of Slate: "The Reagan Democrats have become the Trump Republicans, and signs point once again to a breach with the party they have reflexively supported for decades...The revolt of the Republican masses bears out the thesis of Thomas Frank's 2004 book What's the Matter with Kansas?" --safari

AP: "UN ambassador Samantha Power's trip to Cameroon's frontlines in the war against Boko Haram started horrifically on Monday as an armored Jeep in her motorcade struck and killed a young boy who darted into the road." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

David Eggert of the AP: "Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will drink Flint water at home and at work for at least a month to show to residents it is safe with the use of a faucet filter, he said Monday." -- CW

WKRN News (Nashville): "Austin Peay State University is investigating after six nooses were found hung on campus. (...) Each was a different color, collectively appearing to be organized in the colors of a rainbow. School officials say upon finding them, campus police removed the nooses 'out of concern of hate symbolism and its potential impact to the campus.'" Via The Daily Beast --safari

Joel Ebert of the Tennessean: "The [Tennessee] House sponsor of a bill that would require students in public school grades K-12 and higher education institutions to use the restroom that corresponds with their sex at birth is killing the controversial legislation. Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, said Monday she plans on delaying any action on the highly contentious measure in an effort to further study the issue." -- CW

Travis Gettys of Raw Story: "A former law enforcement officer is trying to overthrow the U.S. government one county at a time by encouraging sheriffs to disobey federal laws they don&'t like. Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, has been involved in a number of anti-government actions... His group, which claims to have several hundred sheriffs as dues-paying members, is circulating a survey intended to push other sheriffs into disregarding federal laws they believe are unconstitutional." --safari

Tom Jackman of the Washington Post: "On the day he was scheduled to face trial for murder, former Fairfax County[, Virginia,] police officer Adam D. Torres pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Monday for shooting John B. Geer to death as he stood unarmed in the doorway of his Springfield home in August 2013." -- CW

The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans. Neal Gabler of The Atlantic: "America is a country, as Donald Trumphas reminded us, of winners and losers, alphas and weaklings. To struggle financially is a source of shame, a daily humiliation -- even a form of social suicide. Silence is the only protection." --safari

AP: "A New York City man accused of harassing relatives of a teacher killed in the Newtown school massacre has been sentenced to two years of probation as part of a plea deal. Matthew Mills pleaded guilty Monday under the Alford doctrine to interfering with police." -- CW

Way Beyond

A Quantum Trudeau "Scandal." Will Oremus of Slate on that viral video of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau explaining quantum computing to reporters: "A Canadian blogger pointed out that Trudeau himself had suggested to reporters at the event that they lob him a question about quantum computing so that he could knock it out of the park with the newfound knowledge he had gleaned on his tour. And so Monday brought the counter-take parade ... led by Gawker with the headline, 'Justin Trudeau's Quantum Computing Explanation Was Likely Staged for Publicity.' But read on. The counter-narrative is muddy, too. -- CW

News Ledes

New York Times: "Hundreds of people were wounded and dozens were killed on Tuesday in central Kabul, as a huge explosion struck during the morning rush hour and a gun battle between security forces and militants apparently followed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack."

USA Today: "Drenching rain, which brought flash floods to much of eastern and southern Texas on Sunday and Monday, deluged Houston, killing five and leading to scores of water rescues."

New York Times: "The actress Doris Roberts, who played Ray Romano's meddling mother in the television comedy 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' has died, a family spokeswoman said. She was 90."