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
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
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
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
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."