The Ledes

Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

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

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, May 30, 2016.

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

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

Public Service Announcement

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

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

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is for safari:

... Via the New Yorker.

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

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

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Monday
May162016

The Commentariat -- May 17, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Patricia Zengerle of Reuters: "The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia's government for damages, setting up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto. The Saudis, who deny responsibility for the 2001 attacks, strongly object to the bill. They had said they might sell up to $750 billion in U.S. securities and other American assets in retaliation if it became law. Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and a...co-sponsor, said the bill is overdue. Asked if Senate Democrats would back a veto, Schumer said he would vote against Obama. -- Akhilleus

Kate Linthicum of The Los Angeles Times: "Bernie Sanders and Democratic party leaders clashed Tuesday over violence that erupted over the weekend at the Nevada Democratic convention, which party official blamed on a disgruntled group of Sanders supporters. At issue in the escalating argument: Whether the fire that Sanders has lit among millions of supporters with his critiques of Wall Street greed and political corruption will burn the party this summer." -- Akhilleus

Erin Kelly of USA Today: "With the summer mosquito-season fast approaching, the Senate voted Tuesday to advance a bipartisan compromise that would provide $1.1 billion to help public health officials battle the Zika virus as it begins to threaten the continental United States...The Senate compromise provides $800 million less than the $1.9 billion that President Obama has been seeking since February. But it is far more than the House is proposing. Republican House leaders introduced legislation Monday that would provide $622 million in Zika funding." -- Akhilleus

And Speaking of Zika...Norman Ornstein in The Atlantic predicted that this congress, which he considers the worst ever, "...will slap together something on Zika and opioids, and declare victory. Most likely, it will be too little, too late, and taxpayers will foot larger bills in subsequent years, while too many people will suffer, and too many will die." Ornstein writes that it is "...no exaggeration to call the current, 114th Congress the worst ever at least edging out the infamous 112th."

Akhilleus: If anything, Ornstein is too generous in his assessment. He doesn't attempt to answer the question of "Why Johnny Can't Govern", but we all know why. Confederates hate government, don't care about governing, and couldn't do it if you paid them. Oh wait...

*****

Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: "On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down an unusual order seeking more briefing in Zubik v. Burwell, a challenge to Obama administration regulations intended to expand access to birth control. Under the regulations at issue in Zubik, most employees must include contraceptive coverage in their employer-provided health plan...Tuesday's order suggests that the Court is willing to give an 80% victory to the Obama administration. Though their current rules might be struck down, the Court appears ready to greenlight a slight tweak to those rules that would still ensure that most women employed by religious objectors obtain birth control coverage." -- Akhilleus

Garrett Epps of The Atlantic: "The United States Supreme Court, whose Oz-like roar until recently terrified all who heard, is now short a justice and is slowly coming undone. Its voice from the bench, like HAL's [the ominous computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey], is slowing and blurring. The Court's per curiam 'decision' in Zubik v. Burwell, announced Monday, is the latest evidence of its slide toward paralysis." -- Akhilleus

Presidential Race

Primary Day in Kentucky and Oregon: Eric Braden of CNN: "If Bernie Sanders is going to catch Hillary Clinton, he'll need to narrow the delegate gap -- significantly -- on Tuesday night. Two Democratic presidential primaries are taking place: Kentucky, with 61 delegates up for grabs, and Oregon, with 74 delegates. For Sanders, erasing Clinton's lead in pledged delegates (currently 1,722 to 1,424) will take winning about two-thirds of those that remain. That's to say nothing of Clinton's huge edge among superdelegates -- a project Sanders is saving for later." -- Akhilleus

Today in the Horse Race: NBC News: Hillary Clinton Holds Slight Lead Over Donald Trump. "Attention is now rapidly moving to the hypothetical match-up between the leading candidates with an emphasis on a Clinton and Trump contest. In this week's poll, Americans are nearly split between their choice of Trump or Clinton; her margin over Trump narrows from 5 points last week to 3 points this week to 48 percent to 45 percent." -- Akhilleus

If You Can Stand It: Dan McAdams, a psychologist, explores the mind of Donald Trump in The Atlantic: "Who, really, is Donald Trump? What's behind the actor's mask? I can discern little more than narcissistic motivations and a complementary personal narrative about winning at any cost. It is as if Trump has invested so much of himself in developing and refining his socially dominant role that he has nothing left over to create a meaningful story for his life, or for the nation. It is always Donald Trump playing Donald Trump, fighting to win, but never knowing why."

Akhilleus: Spelunking gear and disinfectant not included.

An Image None of Us Needs: "Last Week Tonight host John Oliver gave perhaps the best description so far of Donald Trump's tenuous relationship with the Republican establishment. 'Trump and the Republican establishment are like a teenage Christian couple who've made an abstinence pledge,' Oliver said. 'They are going to have sex. It is just a matter of time. But they still need to make a big show of resisting it for anyone who might be paying attention.'" -- Akhilleus

Another Minority Group Insulted. Emily Crockett on Vox: "In a Friday interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump mocked Elizabeth Warren by referring to her as 'Pocahontas'...'Trump’s inability to discern the difference between Sen. Warren and Pocahontas is no accident,' Cherokee Nation citizen Mary Kathryn Nagle told MSNBC's Adam Howard on Monday. 'Instead, his attack on her native identity reflects a dominant American culture that has made every effort to diminish native women to nothing other than a fantastical, oversexualized, Disney character.'" -- Akhilleus

Beyond the Media

It's All So Unfair! Charlie Pierce in Esquire: Noted Genius Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg Forced to Meet Glenn Beck [and other outraged Confederate "intellectuals"]. You may recall that, last week, there was another outbreak of conservative hemorrhagic outrage when a former Facebook contractor charged that people working at the social media behemoth were downplaying conservative entries in Facebook's "trending topics" feature...What's the point of having fck-you money if you can't say fck you to Glenn Beck? ...

... Akhilleus: What I'd like to know is whatever happened to that bullshit about freeeedom to run your own business as you see fit? Rand Paul wants nothing more than to toss black people out of his eye poking shop because freeeedom. Is anyone suggesting that Fox News live up to its "Fair and Balanced" lies? Certainly not. I guess that freedom business only applies to wingnut cranks and Confederate oligarchs.

Beyond the Beltway

Old Times There Are Not Forgotten. Emma Brown of the Washington Post: 62 Years after Brown v Board of Education, "A federal judge has ordered a school district in the Mississippi Delta to desegregate its middle and high schools, capping a legal battle that has dragged on for more than five decades...The order, written by Judge Debra M. Brown and released late Friday, comes 62 years after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education. And it comes a half-century after Cleveland families first sued the district for continuing to operate racially segregated schools. 'The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally-guaranteed right of an integrated education,' Brown wrote. 'Although no court order can right these wrongs, it is the duty of the district to ensure that not one more student suffers under this burden.'"

Akhilleus: Hey, they were gettin' to it. Any decade now them darkies would have been allowed to sit in a classroom with the white kids.

Scott Walker's Voter ID Law on Trial: Jesse Opoien of the Cap Times in Madison, WI: "Attorneys challenging a series of Wisconsin voting laws implemented over the last five years argued Monday that lawmakers intended to discriminate against non-white voters by passing them. The trial began with a former Republican legislative staffer testifying that not only was that the intent, but some state senators were "giddy" to do so. 'Restricting access to the ballot box was not simply a consequence, but the very purpose of these laws,' lawyer Josh Kaul told the court, asking not only to have the laws struck down, but for a judge to find they were passed with discriminatory intent." -- Akhilleus

Way Beyond the Beltway

The Bush-Cheney Debacle Continues to Pay Dividends. Krishnadev Kalamur in The Atlantic: "Two separate sets of attacks in Shia-dominated parts of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, have killed dozens and wounded several others, Iraqi officials said. ISIS claimed responsibility for two car-bomb attacks in Shaab, in northeastern Baghdad, killing at least 28 people. A third blast then hit Sadr City, killing at least 14 people. Those numbers came from the Associated Press. Al Arabiya, the Arabic-language broadcaster, has a higher death toll." -- Akhilleus

On Another Planet

Tea Party Not Far Enough to the Right. Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review (Idaho): "In Idaho's northernmost legislative district, Republican Party politics has been pulled farther to the right in recent years with the rise of the tea party. But now a new element is pushing the party farther still: the arrival of conservative Christian 'preppers' fleeing more populated states, who see the region as a 'redoubt' -- a place to settle and defend themselves when the whole country goes bad.

Akhilleus: These people seem genuinely unhinged. In addition to Idaho, they're targeting Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and Montana. This is like whole towns taken over by Bundy type, government hating, evangelical law unto themselves types. They even have their own real estate operations alerting like minded loons to move there to help with the takeover. A longtime resident of the area and staunch, lifelong right-wing Republican is being attacked by the insurgents as a 'liberal authoritarian progressive' [who] accused her of 'gun grabbing' and wanting to 'tax more so she can spend more on her socialists [sic], pro-homosexual union allies working in governmental schools.'" Wow.

Sunday
May152016

The Commentariat -- May 16, 2016

CW: Looks as if somebody completely deleted this day's page. What makes this super-weird is that some of the comments from May 16 ended up in the May 17 Commentariat. Here's some of what was in the page for the 16th:

Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post: "President Obama delivered a commencement address at Rutgers University on Sunday that ... sounded a lot like a tough, aggressive takedown of [Donald Trump].... The 45-minute-long address was filled with obvious jabs at ... Donald Trump, whom the president didn't name but who was a foil for the graduation speech's most cutting applause lines." -- CW

Presidential Race

Philip Bump of the Washington Post on "what happened at Saturday's dramatic Nevada Democratic convention." -- CW

TMZ: "'The Wire' star Wendell Pierce was arrested Saturday after allegedly physically assaulting a woman supporting Bernie Sanders. Sources at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta tell us the actor struck up a convo with the woman and her boyfriend at around 3:30 AM. The talk turned political and Wendell -- a big Hillary Clinton supporter -- got upset when the woman declared her support for Bernie. We're told Wendell -- who played Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the HBO drama, 'Confirmation' -- became enraged, pushed the boyfriend and then went after his girlfriend ... grabbing her hair and smacking her in the head." -- CW

Liz Kruetz of ABC News: "During a campaign event in Fort Mitchell, [Kentucky, Sunday, Hillary Clinton] was more blunt than ever about what her husband's role could be in a future Clinton administration -- saying she plans to to put the former president 'in charge of economic revitalization.' 'My husband, who I'm going to put in charge of revitalizing the economy, cause you know he knows how to do it,' Clinton told the crowd at an outdoor organizing rally. 'And especially in places like coal country and inner cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out.'" CW

Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "The head of the Republican National Committee denounced efforts to draft an independent candidate to run against Donald Trump as a 'suicide mission' that could 'wreck' the United States for generations. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus did not mince words as he urged party figures laying the groundwork for a third-party bid to suspend their operation." -- CW

Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "The head of the Republican National Committee played down criticism of Donald Trump's character after new reports chronicled his troubling behavior toward dozens of women and his past habit of impersonating a publicist to boast about his private life. A visibly uncomfortable Reince Priebus defended Trump in three Sunday talk show interviews, arguing that questions about Trump's integrity do not matter to supporters of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and refusing to say whether they should." -- CW

Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed: "Donald Trump said Sunday that he believes refugees will launch a terrorist attack against the United States comparable in size to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.... Trump said refugees coming into the U.S. had cellphones with ISIS flags on them, and questioned how refugees could afford cell phones, suggesting ISIS paid the monthly fees." -- CW

Emily Schultheis of CBS News: "Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates has worked with eight presidents, Republican and Democrat -- and the biggest difference between them and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is that they all were 'willing to listen,' he said in an interview airing Sunday.... 'I guess one of the things that makes it challenging for me is that he seems to think that he has all the answers and that he doesn't need advice from staff or anybody else,' he said." With video. -- CW

Veepstakes! Ben Terris of the Washington Post: "The most favorably regarded contenders [for Trump's running mate, Ben Carson told a reporter,] after himself..., were John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie. 'Those are all people on our list,' he said.... That the Trump campaign might want its potential VP picks held close to the vest didn't seem to occur to Carson. He's not the type to keep his candid thoughts to himself." -- CW

Poor Drumpf! Annie Laurie of Balloon Juice: Donald Trump can't self-fund his general election campaign because he doesn't have the money. The Wall Street Journal reports, "When his campaign began last summer, a financial disclosure Mr. Trump filed said he had between about $78 million and $232 million in cash and relatively liquid assets such as stocks and bonds. That would go fast if Mr. Trump spent an amount close to the $721 million President Barack Obama spent in 2012 up to Election Day.... Mr. Trump's businesses don't produce that much in a year, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. His 2016 pretax income, according to the analysis, is likely to be around $160 million...." Laurie observes, "While $160 million (more or less) would be a more-than-satisfactory income to you or me..., it's nowhere near enough to qualify Trump for 'Really Rich Person' status." -- CW

Michael Crowley of Politico on "How a 2013 beauty pageant explains Trump's love for Russia and obsession with Vladimir Putin.... Trump has said his understanding of Russia is based in part on the 2013 Miss Universe event in Moscow..., for what he would call 'the world's biggest and most iconic beauty contest.' 'I know Russia well,' Trump told Fox News on May 6. 'I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, which was a big, big incredible event.' Asked whether he had met with Putin there, Trump declined to say, though he added: 'I got to meet a lot of people.'" -- CW

Trump's Family Values. 1. Paul Krugman: "The state of child care in America is cruel and shameful -- and even more shameful because we could make things much better without radical change or huge spending. And one candidate [that would be Clinton] has a reasonable, feasible plan to do something about this shame, while the other [that's Drumpf] couldn't care less." -- CW ...

... 2. Benjamin Wallace-Wells in the New Yorker: "... during George W. Bush's Administration..., better-educated people (often men) lectured less-educated ones (usually women) about the importance of abstinence and marriage. Against that backdrop, there must be something refreshing in Trump's message that the problems of American communities are located not within them but in China, and that they can be solved by appointing a new ambassador." -- CW

Alan Rappeport & Patrick Healy of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump plans to attack the character, honesty and authenticity of Hillary and Bill Clinton in the months ahead, in hopes of increasing their unpopularity among voters and deflecting attention from his vulnerabilities. Here are some of his lines of attack against the Clintons, which he described in a recent interview with The New York Times." -- CW

Saturday
May142016

The Commentariat -- May 15, 2016

Matthew Nussbaum of Politico: "Elon Musks SpaceX had to sue before it got access to the Pentagon -- but now, as it promises to deliver cargo into space at less than half the cost of the military's favored contractor, it has pulled back the curtain on tens of billions in potentially unnecessary military spending. The entrenched contractor, a joint operation of Boeing and Lockheed Martin called the United Launch Alliance, has conducted 106 space launches all but flawlessly, but the cost for each is more than $350 million, according to the Government Accountability Office. SpaceX promises launches for less than $100 million.... Meanwhile, ULA is under investigation by the Pentagon for possible corrupt bidding practices and is preparing to lay off 25 percent of its workforce." -- CW

Paul Kane of the Washington Post: "Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) on Saturday defended his use of a derogatory term toward Japanese in a cable-news appearance, saying that he was trying to critique the 'uninformed' views that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump espouses. King, who supports Trump nominally but is refusing to campaign for him, said that his use of the word 'Japs' was meant to criticize the presidential candidate's policy positions as out of line with the 'nuance' required to be the leader of the free world and more in line with a working-class man at the end of a bar espousing his worldview. 'It was basically sarcasm, satire,' King said in a telephone interview Saturday. 'Is this what [Trump] seriously thinks, or is this the guy at the end of the bar?'... King characterized Trump's views like this: 'Oh, screw them, bomb them, kill them, pull out, bring them home. You know, why pay for the Japs, why pay for the Koreans?'" -- CW

American "Justice," Ctd. Dahlia Lithwick: "On Aug. 19, 2015, 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell was found dead in his cell at Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Virginia.... Multiple official investigations later -- and with the videotape of his last days in prison conveniently erased forever -- the official line appears to be that 'the system' was to blame.... Mitchell's story is both horrifying and somehow unremarkable. It exposes this country's grotesque tendency to warehouse the severely mentally ill in jails -- 10 times more of them are in jails and prisons than are in state psychiatric hospitals. But it also proves the horrendous abuse and neglect these people will suffer there." -- CW

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Tom Boggioni of the Raw Story: "Surprising as it may seem for such a 'hot take' or scoop or whatever you might call it, MSNBC's Mark Halperin, who is all over your TV as a 'senior political analyst,' waited until the Friday night to make the most stunning -- and dumb -- prediction of the 2016 election season." The prediction? That Hillary Clinton will chose "a prominent Republican woman" as her running mate. -- CW

Presidential Race

Jessie Hellmann of the Hill: "Tensions were high at the Democratic convention in Nevada Saturday, with Bernie Sanders supporters demanding delegate recounts, booing Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and causing other disruptions, according to local media reports. Sanders supporters were angry over a voice vote that adopted a set of temporary convention rules as the permanent rules, according to the Las Vegas Sun. And supporters also reacted angrily to the count of delegates attending the convention, which put Hillary Clinton at an advantage. Final numbers announced later in the day showed 1,695 Clinton supporters in attendance to Sanders's 1,662." -- CW

Evelyn Rupert of the Hill: "Hillary Clinton stretched her delegate lead over Bernie Sanders by two at Nevada's rowdy Democratic convention Saturday.... Clinton now has 20 Nevada delegates to Sanders's 15 when their new delegates are combined with those awarded after the caucuses. But there was immediate backlash as the results were announced, with many Sanders supporters calling foul over the reported exclusion of Sanders supporters from the process." -- CW

Los Angeles Times Editors: "... Clinton, for all her faults -- and they range from a penchant for secrecy to a willingness to modify her positions to suit the popular mood to a less-restrained view of the use of military force than we are entirely comfortable with -- is vastly better prepared than Sanders for the presidency. She has The Times' endorsement in the June 7 California Democratic primary." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

** Michael Cohen of the Boston Globe: "... in the thickets of Trump's statements..., there are the occasional views that should terrify every American -- and which speak openly to the threat that Trump represents to Americans' political freedoms. He's basically giving us a preview of how he will abuse his power as president.... What he's hinting at [in his attacks on Washington Post publisher Jeff Bezos] is that he would use the anti-trust division of the Justice Department to go after a newspaper publisher who writes stories that he doesn't like.This is a direct threat. And even if Trump has no intention of following through, he is clearly trying to intimidate Bezos and in turn The Washington Post from running negative stories about him. Indeed, Trump is trying to get Bezos to use his position as owner of the paper to influence the Post's coverage."

WCVB Boston: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the keynote speaker at Bridgewater State University's commencement Saturday.... After her address, Warren [said]..., 'I think that Donald Trump is a truly dangerous man.... There is some risk that he could be president of the United States." -- CW

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "The casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson told Donald J. Trump in a private meeting last week that he was willing to contribute more to help elect him than he has to any previous campaign, a sum that could exceed $100 million, according to two Republicans with direct knowledge of Mr. Adelson's commitment." -- CW

"The Mogul & the Babe." Maureen Dowd interviews Donald Trump. He is as gracious, humble & honest as ever. (And no, the headline does not refer to Dowd.)

Kyle Cheney of Politico: "Republican activists chose party unity over 'never Trump' resistance Saturday, with party leaders in one state after another pressuring their members [to] fall in line behind the presumptive nominee -- and even punishing those who refused.... In Nebraska, this meant overwhelming passage of a resolution that indirectly scolded conservative Sen. Ben Sasse for leading the #NeverTrump movement and scuttling a countermeasure to condemn 'degrading remarks toward women, minorities and other individuals' by presidential candidates. In Maryland, it meant the ouster of a veteran Republican committeeman -- Louis Pope -- by Citizens United chief David Bossie, a conservative activist who's close to Trump...." -- CW

Kyle Balluck of the Hill: "Donald Trump early Sunday blasted a report in The New York Times [linked here yesterday] about how he has treated women in private.... [Trump] called it a 'lame hit piece' on Twitter, adding that he provided 'many names' of women he helped that were not used in the article." -- CW

Nick Gass of Politico: Donald Trump "said he has spoken with Rudy Giuliani about heading a commission looking at immigration problems in the U.S." CW: Excellent. I feel reassured now. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

What American toddlers already have learned from Donald Trump:

Philip Rucker & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "A band of exasperated Republicans -- including 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a handful of veteran consultants and members of the conservative intelligentsia -- is actively plotting to draft an independent presidential candidate who could keep Donald Trump from the White House. These GOP figures are commissioning private polling, lining up major funding sources and courting potential contenders.... The effort has been sporadic all spring but has intensified significantly in the 10 days since Trump effectively locked up the Republican nomination."

Dana Milbank eats his words. Literally, as they say. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Jeff Greenfield in Politico Magazine: "Whether Trump or Clinton is elected, the new veep will be a weakling, eclipsed either by a massive ego or a super-powerful First Husband." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Alan Blinder of the New York Times: Charlotte, North Carolina, is not so fond of its former & once-popular mayor, Pat McCrory, now that he has become governor & a champion of gender discrimination. -- CW

News Ledes

New York Times: "Julius La Rosa, the celebrated 1950s singer who reinvented himself as a television, stage and nightclub performer after his young career was thrown into turmoil by a bizarre and humiliating on-the-air firing by Arthur Godfrey before a national audience, died on Thursday at his home in Crivitz, Wis. He was 86."

Washington Post: "Madeleine LeBeau, a French actress who fled Nazi-occupied Europe for Hollywood, where she made the best of a small role as the scorned girlfriend of Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine in 'Casablanca,' died May 1 in Estepona, Spain. She was widely reported to be 92." -- CW

Friday
May132016

The Commentariat -- May 14, 2016

Afternoon Update (Some things I didn't get to the morning!):

Los Angeles Times Editors: "... Clinton, for all her faults -- and they range from a penchant for secrecy to a willingness to modify her positions to suit the popular mood to a less-restrained view of the use of military force than we are entirely comfortable with -- is vastly better prepared than Sanders for the presidency. She has The Times' endorsement in the June 7 California Democratic primary." -- CW

Dana Milbank eats his words. Literally, as they say.

Nick Gass of Politico: Donald Trump "said he has spoken with Rudy Giuliani about heading a commission looking at immigration problems in the U.S." CW: Excellent. I feel reassured now.

*****

Kathleen Hennessey & Bradley Klapper of the AP: "Democrats may argue over whether places like Denmark and Norway are model societies. President Barack Obama is sure. Apparently well beyond concerns about being branded a socialist, Obama on Friday celebrated the five Nordic nations as examples of reliability, equality, generosity, responsibility, even personal happiness. As he welcomed the Nordic leaders to the White House, he owned up to thinking perhaps the small havens of social liberalism should take the reins every now and then":

This is on the official White House Website, a far cry from the days when President Obama was unwilling to ascribe Republican obstructionism to, um, Republicans:

Matters of Life and Death:

... Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The Obama administration finalized a new rule Friday mandating that health insurers provide transgender patients with coverage for services and access to facilities even if those services were not traditionally covered or required by their expressed gender, as well as separate guidance calling on public schools to let transgender students access the bathrooms and facilities of their choice. The two moves, both of which have been in the works for more than a year, reflect the Obama administration's push to affirm transgender rights as a central civil-rights question for the current era. And they sparked an immediate backlash from conservatives on the state and federal level, who described the new measures as government overreach." CW ...

... Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Friday that it has imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections, a step that closes off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions. More than 20 American and European drug companies have already adopted such restrictions, citing either moral or business reasons. Nonetheless, the decision from one of the world's leading pharmaceutical manufacturers is seen as a milestone." -- CW

... And Taxes. Rachel Bade of Politico: "House Republicans will start considering whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over accusations that he failed to comply with a subpoena and lied to Congress.... The House Judiciary Committee on Friday announced plans for two hearings over the next several weeks to examine the 'misconduct' of Koskinen. Republicans on the House Oversight Committee say the commissioner misled Congress about the status of sensitive emails regarding the IRS tea party scandal. Those documents were deleted during their probe of the scandal." CW: I don't think this has anything whatsoever to do with campaign season. Because Republicans are always sensible & everybody loves the IRS.

Presidential Race

Not Helpful. Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Bill Clinton on Friday was forced -- once again -- to defend the 1994 crime bill he signed into law that has stoked the ire of protesters and dogged him and Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. The former president, out stumping for his wife in Paterson, New Jersey, launched into a combative back-and-forth with an audience member, who pointedly asked Clinton, "Why did you put more people in prison?'" -- CW

Michael Barbaro & Megan Twohey of the New York Times: "The New York Times interviewed dozens of women who had worked with or for Mr. Trump over the past four decades.... Their accounts -- many relayed here in their own words -- reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections." -- CW

Drumpf's Excellent Oppo Research Team. Olivia Nuzzi of the Daily Beast: "Roger Stone and his co-author Robert Morrow, along with Edward Klein, have produced books that amount to a treasure trove of opposition research for Trump. In hundreds and hundreds of pages they have revealed dark, personal secrets and transcripts of private conversations [Hillary] Clinton has had in the intimacy of her own home -- with family and friends and even with Steven Spielberg. Is anything they've written factual? Doesn't matter, really, when you've already accused Ted Cruz's dad of playing hacky sack with Lee Harvey Oswald and imagined a parade of Muslims celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001." CW: Read on.

Callum Borchers of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump on Friday denied that the voice of 'John Miller' on a 25-year-old recording obtained by The Washington Post is, in fact, his own. Appearing on NBC's 'Today' show, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee disputed a Post report that he posed as his own spokesman under a fake name during a 1991 telephone interview with a reporter -- something he did habitually for years, often going as 'John Barron' as well.... During testimony in a [1990] lawsuit..., the real estate mogul was asked if he had ever used the name 'John Barron.' 'I believe on occasion I used that name,' Trump replied.... The liberal super PAC American Bridge posted a partial transcript of Trump's testimony Friday afternoon." A copy of the partial transcript is included in the story. -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

When was this, 25 years ago? Wow, you mean you're going so low as to talk about something that took place 25 years ago about whether or not I made a phone call I guess you'd say under a presumed name ... let's get on to more current subjects. -- Donald Trump, on the "Today" show, Friday

... Laura Clawson of Daily Kos: "Why are you asking me about stuff from 25 years ago, says the man who's made clear that one of his major lines of attack against Hillary Clinton will be over stuff her husband did in the 1990s. Her husband was the one who cheated, but hey, she was, says Trump, a 'nasty, mean enabler.' But while Clinton's response to her husband's actions is fair game as a campaign centerpiece, reporters asking Trump about his tawdry habit of pretending to be his own publicist is 'so low.'" -- CW ...

... Josh Marshall of TPM: "Muslim-smashin', Mexican-bashin' tough guy Donald Trump seems to have been caught red-handed denying that he impersonated a non-existent spokesman to tell reporters how awesome he is.... Trump denied this notwithstanding the fact that he admitted to doing this in a legal deposition years ago. The story was bubbling all day. But when The Washington Post (attack organ run by Trump Arch-Nemesis Jeff Bezos) confronted him with the deception on the phone, he first went silent on the reporters and then hung up. When the reporters called back they were told Trump wasn't available." -- CW

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump said Friday that he doesn't believe voters have a right to see his tax returns, and insisted it's 'none of your business' when pressed on what tax rate he himself pays -- a question that tripped up Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Mr. Trump made the comments in an interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America,' as he continued to try to answer questions about his change in explanations over the last year about why he won't release the taxes." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Gail Collins: "There's a great way for Donald Trump to grab the high road in this presidential race. All he has to do is announce he's going to pay for the campaign himself.... If Donald Trump announced he was going to keep special interests out of his campaign by paying for the whole damn thing himself, we would be so impressed that the tax return issue would completely disappear." -- CW ...

... Not Going to Happen. Julie Bykowicz of the AP: "The billionaire presidential candidate who prides himself on paying his own way and bashed his competition for relying on political donors now wants their money -- and lots of it. Donald Trump ... recently hired a national finance chairman, scheduled his first fundraiser and is on the cusp of signing a deal with the Republican Party that would enable him to solicit donations of more than $300,000 apiece from supporters. His money-raising begins right away." -- CW ...

... Ari Melber of NBC News: "... the new money Trump raises ... can also go directly into Trump's pocket, reimbursing him for his personal spending in the primaries.... That is because Trump almost never directly donates funds to his campaign. He has only spent about $317,000 of his own money outright. The rest of his personal spending is structured as a loan to the campaign, which now owes Trump $35.9 million.... After this article was published Friday, Trump said... 'I have absolutely no intention of paying myself back for the nearly $50 million dollars I have loaned to the campaign.'" CW: If you believe that, I've got a bridge to Queens I'll sell you for less than $50 million dollars.

CW: Steve M. agrees with me: Trump's flip-flops, or whatever they are, represent a strategy, not a flaw. And they work. "[Thurs]day we had this headline from CNN: 'Trump: Muslim Ban "Just a Suggestion."' At the same time, Trump was telling Fox's Greta Van Susteren that the Muslim ban isn't a suggestion -- he intends to impose it, if only temporarily. But lots of people heard what they wanted to hear -- fans still expect the ban, while centrist journalists and GOP Establishment figures got to say that that was all a lot of overheated rhetoric we shouldn't think about anymore." -- CW

Marie's Guide to Making Billions (out in paperback soon) -- Buy Trump for what he's worth & sell him for what he says he's worth.

There's that guy who'll walk into the bar and say anything to get laid. That's Donald Trump right now to a T. But it's all of us who are going to get fucked. Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, Thursday ...

... Steve M.: "Judging from his latest column at CNN.com, [David] Gergen's almost ready for some hot Trump action.... He's definitely going to go to bed with Trump, as will much of the rest of the mainstream punditocracy." -- CW ...

... Gene Robinson: We are witnessing "a shameful parade of quislings. The most galling surrender may have been that of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who says he will support the nominee even though Trump cruelly ridiculed him for being shot down and captured during the Vietnam War. McCain's military service was a profile in courage; what he's doing now is not." -- CW

CW: Sheldon Adelson has an op-ed in the WashPo endorsing Donald Trump. I accidentally forgot to link it, & I'm sure I won't remember.

Beyond the Beltway

Megan Cassidy of the Arizona Republic: "A federal judge ruled& that ... Maricopa County[, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio] and three of his top aides violated a federal court order meant to curtail racial profiling in his agency, according to a ruling issued Friday. The civil contempt-of-court ruling from U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ... held Arpaio in contempt on three counts.... Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan was found in contempt on two counts, and retired Chief Brian Sands and Lt. Joe Sousa each were found in contempt of one." -- CW

Wesley Lowery, et al., of the Washington Post: "George Zimmerman wanted to sell the gun he says he used to kill Trayvon Martin. He finally found a website where he could do it, and the gun has gotten a lot of bids. Two were for $65 million.​ It seems likely that the bidding on UnitedGunGroup.com has been taken over by bogus buyers. ​The first $65 million bid was made by 'Racist McShootFace,' according to the Associated Press. It has since been taken down. Zimmerman ... listed the Kel-Tec PF-9 on UnitedGunGroup.com on Thursday after another website, GunBroker.com, pulled out, saying it wanted 'no part' in the sale of a firearm whose use in the fatal 2012 shooting sparked a nationwide debate over race relations and 'stand your ground' laws.... Todd Underwood, owner of UnitedGunGroup.com, confirmed that the gun was listed on his site, which Underwood called a 'pro-Second Amendment community' that was created this year after Facebook banned private gun sales." -- CW

Way Beyond

Jonathan Gilbert of the New York Times: "A judge in Argentina on Friday indicted former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other officials on charges of manipulating the nation's Central Bank during the final months of her administration. Mrs. Kirchner and the officials are accused of entering into contracts to sell the Central Bank's dollars at below-market rates during her presidency in order to shore up the Argentine peso." -- CW

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