The Ledes

Thursday, May 5, 2016.

AP: "A massive wildfire raging in the Canadian province of Alberta has grown to 85,000 hectares (210,035 acres) in size and officials would like to move south about 25,000 evacuees who had previously fled north. More than 80,000 people have emptied Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada's oil sands." -- CW

Guardian: "The local police investigation into the death of Prince is being beefed up with staff from the US attorney’s office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as a California doctor who specializes in prescription drug addiction revealed the singer’s representatives reached out for urgent help the day before he died.." -- CW

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, May 4, 2016.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Prince was found dead one day before he was scheduled to meet with a California doctor in an attempt to kick an addiction to painkillers, an attorney with knowledge of the death investigation said Tuesday." -- CW

AP: "The entire population of the Canadian oil sands city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, has been ordered to evacuate from a wildfire that officials said destroyed whole neighborhoods.... The wildfire, whipped by unpredictable winds on a day of unseasonably hot temperatures, worsened dramatically in a short time and many residents were given little notice to flee." -- 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

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

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

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

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

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

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

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

This is for safari:

... Via the New Yorker.

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

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

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."

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Constant Comments

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

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

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


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.


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 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


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."


The Commentariat -- April 18, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Adam Liptak & Michael Shear of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday seemed sharply divided during an extended argument over a challenge to President Obama's plan that would shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work in the country legally." -- CW ...

... Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "Instead, the court's conservatives and liberals seemed split, and a 4-to-4 tie would leave in place a lower court's decision that the president exceeded his powers in issuing the directive. It could affect about 4 million undocumented immigrants who have been in the country since 2010 and have family ties to U.S. citizens and others lawfully in the country." -- CW ...

Former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), in a New York Times op-ed: "... whether or not you like President Obama's actions, he has operated under longstanding provisions of law that give the executive branch discretion in enforcement. This presidential prerogative has been recognized explicitly by the Supreme Court. Moreover, the nature of immigration enforcement and the resources (or lack thereof) appropriated by Congress necessitate exactly the type of choices that the president has made.... President Obama's directives to focus enforcement efforts on those who have committed crimes in the United States and recent border crossers are a rational executive prioritization, given the resources and the realities." -- CW

Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "Nine more states put the final touches on their delegations to the July convention and once again, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) schooled [Donald] Trump, installing his supporters in positions to ensure that he could win the nomination if the contest stretches into later rounds. In most cases, the delegates will be required to vote for Trump on a first ballot at the convention but could switch to Cruz if subsequent ballots are necessary." -- CW


David Savage of the Los Angeles Times: "The Supreme Court's last great case of the Obama era comes before the justices Monday when the administration's lawyers defend his plan to offer work permits to as many as 4 million immigrants who have been living here illegally for years." -- CW ...

... Whatever will Chief Justice Roberts do? Adam Liptak of the New York Times, with help of court observers, reads the tea leaves. -- CW

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate: "... if Antonin Scalia had lived until July the docket was full of poisoned pills and silent time bombs that would have exploded in President Obama's face this summer. Until and unless we reckon with what might have been at the high court this term, it's impossible to understand why there will be no hearings for Judge [Merrick] Garland. GOP senators ... are angry because the court as the weapon of choice to screw the president has been taken from them, and they want it back." -- CW

Lolita Baldor of the AP: "Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Baghdad Monday to talk to Iraqi leaders about beefing up Iraqi forces working to retake the northern city of Mosul, a critical goal in the effort to defeat the Islamic State group. A senior U.S. official said that as the U.S. moves to help the Iraqis, it will also likely mean that at least a 'small number' of additional American forces will go to the warzone." -- CW

Richard Lardner of the AP: "The Pentagon misled Congress with inaccurate and vague information about sexual assault cases that portrayed civilian law enforcement officials as less willing than military commanders to punish sex offenders, an Associated Press investigation found.... But in a number of cases, the steps taken by civilian authorities were described incorrectly or omitted. Other case descriptions were too imprecise to be verified. There also is nothing in the records that supports the primary reason the Pentagon told Congress about the cases in the first place: To show top military brass as hard-nosed crime fighters who insisted on taking the cases to trial." -- CW

Abandon All Hope. Michael Lind, in a New York Times op-ed, writes a prognosis for the future of both major parties, but his analysis of where the Democrats are going is extremely depressing. -- CW ...

... Jamelle Bouie takes stock of the Sanders campaign & finds it pretty much like previous (failed) insurgent campaigns. If liberals want to change the Democratic party, Bouie writes, they're going to have to do the hard, boring groundwork of building their coalition at local & state levels. -- CW ...

... Jelani Cobb of the New Yorker: "The current language of 'income inequality' is a low-carb version of the Old Left's 'class exploitation.' The new phrase lacks rhetorical zing; it's hard to envision workers on a picket line singing rousing anthems about 'income inequality.' The term lacks a verb, too, so it's possible to think of the condition under discussion as a random social outcome, rather than as the product of deliberate actions taken by specific people." -- CW

Presidential Race

E.J. Dionne: Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton should do more to "acknowledge that the differences between them are minor compared with the philosophical chasm that separates them from any of their potential Republican foes." -- CW

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "... Bernie Sanders's campaign said his rally on Sunday in Brooklyn's Prospect Park drew more than 28,000 people, which would make it the largest such event for a candidate who routinely generates large, boisterous crowds." -- CW

John Wagner: "Bernie Sanders on Sunday brought his presidential campaign to a run-down public housing complex in Brooklyn, usually an overlooked destination on the road to the White House, in a bid to underscore what he characterized as the nation's misguided spending priorities." -- CW

Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "On Sunday, Bernie Sanders "visited First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem to speak with the Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr. about his past civil rights work, the need to reform the criminal justice system and his experience growing up in a family fraught with financial stress. And while he was visiting the church, the Sanders campaign also began a new fundraising pitch using comments from the actor George Clooney, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary Clinton over the weekend, that the amount of money in politics is 'obscene.'... Mr. Clooney said, 'Yes. I think it's an obscene amount of money,' Mr. Clooney said. 'The Sanders campaign, when they talk about it is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree completely.'" -- CW ...

... Colin Wilhelm of Politico: "One of Hillary Clinton's most famous supporters, actor George Clooney, says he hopes Bernie Sanders 'stays in for the entire election.... I think what he's saying in this election is important if you're a Democrat,' Clooney said, adding he'd do 'whatever I can' to help Sanders if he wins the nomination." -- CW ...

... Driftglass watches the Sunday showz & likes George Clooney. Confederate talking heads? Not so much. -- CW

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos of BuzzFeed: "An online merchant has accused the Bernie Sanders campaign of 'trademark bullying' after a Bernie 2016, Inc. attorney sent him a cease and desist letter regarding T-shirts, mugs, and sweatshirts depicting the candidate with historic communist leaders.... The products show Sanders next Karl Marx, Joseph Stalin, and others with the tagline, 'Bernie is my comrade.'" -- CW

Liz Kruetz of ABC News: "If Donald Trump was hoping to get a quick rise out of Hillary Clinton with a new nickname - 'Crooked Hillary' - it didn't work. 'He can say whatever he wants to say about me, I really could care less,' Clinton said on ABC's 'This Week With George Stephanopoulos,' 'I don't respond to Donald Trump and his string of insults about me.' Trump unveiled his new nickname for Clinton at a Saturday rally in Watertown, New York." CW: She means, "I couldn't care less," but I guess she's conforming to a vernacular idiom common in New York City.

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump said on Sunday that he hoped the Republican convention in July 'doesn't involve violence' as he pressed his case that the system is rigged against him." -- CW ...

... Bethania Markus of the Raw Story: "... Donald Trump said during a speech in Syracuse, New York on Saturday that the Republican party will have a 'rough time' at the party convention in Cleveland in July if his voters aren't heard, according to KCCI. Trump is angry over the likelihood of a brokered convention, which means that he could be denied the nomination even if he wins the majority of votes.... About 300 people protested the Trump rally, according to About 10 of them managed to sneak inside the rally, and were led out by security." -- CW ...

...or maybe his supporters are all sound and no fury. Colorado Pols: "Trumpmageddon" Protest Fizzles. -- LT

... "Trump Massacred in delegate Fights." Jonathan Easley & Katie Glueck of Politico: "The weekend was another delegate bloodbath for Donald Trump. In Georgia. In Wyoming. In South Carolina. In Kansas. In Florida. Ted Cruz put on a clinic, mobilizing his GOP activist base to capture at least 50 delegates on Saturday while Trump came away with about a dozen in another bruising defeat that undermines his chances to become the Republican presidential nominee." CW: Do we really need to use words like "massacre" and "bloodbath" to describe a relatively civil process? Yeah, I know; it's Politico. But still. Let's wait till Trump's predicted "riots" & "rough time" really come to Cleveland. ...

... Tom LoBianco of CNN: "... Florida proves a reminder that it's going to be a tough fight to wrest the Republican presidential nomination from front-runner Donald Trump. GOP leaders in Florida selected 15 of their 99 delegates, all of whom were pledged to vote for Trump through three ballots at the Republican National Convention in July. But former rival Marco Rubio ... did well here in the battle over so-called 'double agents' -- delegates committed to voting for one candidate but who actually support another -- that has had Trump crying foul for weeks. These delegates are free to vote against Trump on convention rules, possibly elevating [Ted] Cruz, John Kasich or even a nominee not in the race right now." -- CW ...

... Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "The balance of power in the Republican Party has suddenly shifted to delegates, many of whom are entering the national spotlight for the first time. Delegates say their lives have been turned upside-down by the possibility of a contested convention in July, where their votes could decide whether Donald Trump, or another candidate, is the party's presidential nominee." -- CW

Jonathan Blitzer of the New Yorker: Donald Trump brings his hate speech to a fundraiser in "Patchogue. [, Long Island,] New York..., the site of a horrific hate crime. Seven high-school students, who had set out to attack an immigrant, killed a thirty-seven-year-old Ecuadorian named Marcelo Lucero." -- CW

"Wacko Bird." Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times: "... a close reading of [Ted] Cruz's policy prescriptions, influences and writings over two decades, combined with interviews with conservative intellectual leaders and Cruz allies, suggest two powerful truths about the man.... He would be the most conservative presidential nominee in at least a half-century, perhaps to the right of Barry Goldwater.... And he has, more effectively than almost any politician of his generation, anticipated the rightward tilt of the Republican Party of today, grasping its conservatism even as colleagues dismissed him as a fringe figure." -- CW

Laura Bult
of the New York Daily News: "More than 200 outraged New York voters have joined a lawsuit claiming the party affiliation on their voter registration changed without their consent. The voters say they are unfairly being shut out of Tuesday's primary. The suit, to be filed Monday in Brooklyn, calls for New York to be an open primary state, allowing anyone to vote in primaries regardless of party affiliation." -- CW ...

... No, Most "American Independents" in California Don't Pine for George Wallace. John Myers, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "With nearly half a million registered members, the American Independent Party is bigger than all of California's other minor parties combined. The ultraconservative party's platform opposes abortion rights and same sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire United States border.... But a Times investigation has found that a majority of its members have registered with the party in error. Nearly three in four people did not realize they had joined the party, a survey of registered AIP voters conducted for The Times found. That mistake could prevent people from casting votes in the June 7 presidential primary, California's most competitive in decades." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

The Boston Marathon is today. has several stories about it. -- CW ...

... Cindy Boren of the Washington Post: "For the first time, two runners who lost parts of their legs in the bombings will attempt to run the race. It won’t be difficult to spot Patrick Downes and Adrianne Haslet-Davis, each of whom will be running on a prosthetic blade." -- CW

AP: "Pennsylvania has become the 24th state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill into law Sunday afternoon surrounded by a jubilant crowd of supporters at the Capitol building in Harrisburg. 'Marijuana is medicine and it's coming to Pennsylvania,' said Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach, the bill's co-sponsor." -- CW

Bob Cesca in Salon: "... Missouri Republicans are confirming Donald Trump's notion of punishing women for having abortions.... Officials with clinics across Missouri are facing contempt charges if they don't turn over the medical records [of women who have had legal abortions] -- which, by the way, would violate the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).... Just last month, the Missouri House passed a bill requiring that underage girls receive parental consent from both parents before having an abortion. (Current law demands only one parent.) Furthermore, despite the state's attorney general finding no evidence of illegal fetus tissue harvesting, the Missouri House voted last week to ban fetal tissue donation." -- CW

Today in Responsible Gun Ownership. Travis Gettys of the Raw Story: "A Texas man brings real gun to water gun fight -- and shoots 15-year-old girl." .. CW

Way Beyond

Stanley Reed & Andrew Kramer of the New York Times: "Officials from 18 oil-producing nations failed on Sunday to reach a deal to freeze oil production at current levels. The officials, who represented most of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as Russia, seemed to head into the meeting full of confidence that a deal to stabilize the oil markets could be reached. Instead, the talks dragged into the evening before Qatar's energy minister, Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada, told a news conference that the group had been unable to reach agreement." -- CW

Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times: "With their nation transfixed, Brazilian legislators began casting votes on Sunday on whether to approve impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, the leader of South America's largest nation, whose tenure has been buffeted by a colossal corruption scandal and the worst financial crisis in decades." -- CW ...

     ... New Lede: "Brazilian legislators voted on Sunday night to approve impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, the nation's first female president, whose tenure has been buffeted by a dizzying corruption scandal, a shrinking economy and spreading disillusionment. After three days of impassioned debate, the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, voted to send the case against Ms. Rousseff to the Senate. Its 81 members will vote by a simple majority on whether to hold a trial...."

The Virgin Islands Consortium: "A [GOP] Territorial Committee meeting held at party Chairman John Canegata's shooting range in St. Croix (Virgin Islands) on Saturday, 'abruptly ended with an elected delegate and senior citizen woman being slammed against the wall and thrown to the floor because she objected to the gestapo-like tactics of the VI Chairman John Canegata.' [according to] committee Vice Chairman Herbert Schoenbohm.... 'The majority of us caucused in a quiet location on both islands after being threatened to leave Canegata's private property.... Especially being held in his shooting gallery where he struts around like a petty tyrant with a firearm on his belt, while banging the table with large ammunition cartridge being used as a gavel. People are not used to a Republican meeting being in a combat zone and will avoid future meetings if something isn't done about his lack of control," Via The Daily Beast --safari