The Ledes

Sunday, April 19, 2015.

New York Times: "The Islamic State released a video on Sunday that appears to show fighters from affiliates in southern and eastern Libya executing dozens of Ethiopian Christians, some by beheading and others by shooting."

Guardian: "A major rescue operation is under way in the Mediterranean after as many as 700 migrants are feared to have drowned just outside Libyan waters, in what could prove to be the worst disaster yet involving migrants being smuggled to Europe."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President described the historic understanding the United States – with our allies and partners – reached with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and will make our country, our allies, and our world safer":

The Ledes

Saturday, April 18, 2015.

Washington Post: Thousands of families fleeing Iraq’s western city of Ramadi choked checkpoints leading to Baghdad on Friday, after an Islamic State advance spread panic and left security forces clinging to control."

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
April 17

11:50 am ET: President Obama & Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy hold a press conference

1:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the Democratic Coalition PAC retreat (audio only)

3:50 pm ET: President & Mrs. Obama host a poetry reading by U.S. Poet Laureate Elizabeth Alexander

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Guardian: "Allegations that a 17-year-old was forced to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, which prompted a crisis at Buckingham Palace earlier this year, have been removed from a federal court case by a judge in the US. Judge Kenneth Marra ordered Virginia Roberts’s accusations about Andrew, the Duke of York, to be struck from the record and denied her attempt to join a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the prince and a convicted sex offender. 'At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary,' Marra wrote in his order, issued at the US district court in southern Florida on Tuesday morning.... Andrew and Buckingham Palace vehemently deny Roberts’s allegations."

Washington Monthly: "Today [April 7] marks the centennial of Billie Holliday’s birth."

Wild Things Interrupt President Obama's reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" at the White House's Easter Egg Roll:

... Don't Worry, Bee Happy. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The pint-sized guests Monday might not have listened to him, but the president’s National Pollinator Initiative will forge ahead. Last June Obama launched an inter-agency task force charged with developing a federal strategy to protect pollinators, which help sustain crops ranging from almonds to blueberries and broccoli, and it should be unveiling a detailed plan in a matter of months."

The Coolest First Lady in the History of the Nation:


Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post: "For her forthcoming book, “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House,” Kate Andersen Brower managed to elicit stories from domestic staff who witnessed up close the loneliness of President Nixon as he faced impeachment, the weariness of Hillary Clinton as her husband’s sex scandal exploded and other surprisingly intimate moments involving the first families. Most of these stories — from Nancy Reagan’s tirade over three broken tchotchkes to the tearful hug Jackie and Bobby Kennedy shared with a favorite doorman in an elevator — are attributed to staffers by name, not wrapped in the cloud of anonymous sourcing that usually cloaks reporting about the inner workings of the White House." ...

Here's What $75mm Buys:

... Orange County Register: "President Richard Nixon's Western White House, an oceanfront San Clemente estate owned by retired Allergan CEO Gavin S. Herbert, is for sale at $75 million. Herbert, 83, is selling the 5.45-acre estate after owning the property for 35 years." Includes slideshow.

New York: "Here's a spoiler for people who haven't finished House of Cards season three yet: Frank Underwood doesn't die, because Netflix [April 2] announced that it had renewed Cards for a fourth season."

Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday afternoon, just about lunch time, a 'flying saucer' was undergoing a spin test in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The saucer is technically a 15-foot wide, 7,000-pound aerodynamic test vehicle. It is designed to help engineers try out new technologies for landing spacecraft, and someday people, on Mars."

Guardian: "Comedy Central is standing by its new Daily Show host Trevor Noah, after the 31-year-old South African comedian set to replace Jon Stewart was criticized for a series of controversial jokes he tweeted before his appointment." ...

... Jessica Winter of Salon: "Not since John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate have the vetting capacities of a powerful political force been cast into such doubt." Besides being a misogynist pig & an anti-Semite, Noah isn't even funny."

Andrew Sullivan says he quit his blog because blogging is difficult, time-consuming & dehumanizing. CW a/k/a the Blog Nazi: No kidding.

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Trevor Noah's ascent on The Daily Show has been steep — hired on as senior international correspondent four months ago, he'll take over the anchor's desk from Jon Stewart after just three appearances on the show, Comedy Central announced Monday."

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

Contact the Constant Weader

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

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-- Constant Weader

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

Monday
Mar232015

The Commentariat -- March 24, 2015

Julian Borger & Mairav Zonszein of the Guardian: "The US has accused Israel of spying on international negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme and using the intelligence gathered to persuade Congress to undermine the talks, according to a report on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal cited senior administration officials as saying the Israeli espionage operation began soon after the US opened up a secret channel of communications with Tehran in 2012, aimed at resolving the decade-long stand-off over Iran's nuclear aspirations." ...

... According to the WSJ report, "The espionage didn't upset the White House as much as Israel's sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran's nuclear program, current and former officials said."

I know the things I said a few days ago hurt some citizens in Israel, the Israeli Arab citizens. This was not my intention and I am sorry. -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Monday

His expression of regret is nothing more than an empty gesture intended to enable his and his government's continued racist governance. -- Joint List, Israel's Arab parties coalition, via a spokesperson

Jodi Rudoren & Julie Davis of the New York Times: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel apologized on Monday for making what were widely condemned as racist comments last week in saying that Arab citizens were voting in 'droves.' But even as he spoke with a group of Israeli Arabs gathered at his Jerusalem residence, the White House issued a new signal that it remained furious with Mr. Netanyahu for campaign comments that also appeared to close the door on a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict." ...

... ** Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico: "Blasting 'diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship,' former Secretary of State James Baker [Bush I ]laid in hard to the Israeli prime minister on Monday evening, criticizing him for an insufficient commitment to peace and an absolutist opposition to the Iran nuclear talks.... Baker ... is now advising Jeb Bush on his presidential campaign." ...

... CW: Will some enterprising reporter now asks Jebbie if he agrees with his advisor's opinion of Netanyahu?

Kathleen Miller of Bloomberg Politics: "U.S. attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch probably won't get a Senate confirmation vote until at least mid-April, five months after she was nominated, because the chamber plans to spend this week debating its budget proposal."

Old Senators Just Say No. Burgess Everett of Politico: "A high-wattage trio of junior senators -- Democrats Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand plus GOP presidential contender Rand Paul -- is mounting an ambitious effort to have the federal government bless the use of marijuana in the 24 jurisdictions (23 states and the District of Columbia) that have voted to legalize the drug for medical purposes. Their legislation would also allow banks to handle transactions involving marijuana and force the federal government to recognize that marijuana has a medical use, rather than lumping it in with heroin and LSD.... But the Senate Judiciary Committee is emerging as a serious buzz kill for the pro-reform set. The powerful panel is stacked with some of the most senior lawmakers in Congress, many of whom came to power during a tough-on-crime era of the drug wars...."

Barney Frank talks to Marty Moss-Coane Radio Times. Thanks to contributor Whyte O. for the the link:

Presidential Race

Disturbed.Nick Corasaniti & Patrick Healy of the New York Times: "Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced on Monday morning that he would run for president in 2016, becoming the first Republican candidate to declare himself officially in the race."

"I Can't Breathe, Cruz Version." Kendall Breitman of Politico: Ted Cruz "blitzes" the morning shows today, says, "I'll tell you, the energy and the exhilaration there yesterday and we're seeing on the trail takes your breath away."

Here's the transcript of Ted's Excellent Speech, complete with (APPLAUSE) & (LAUGHTER) indicators. He seemed to expend a lot of effort trying to get the kids to imagine Imaginary President Cruz. ...

... New York Times Editors: "Of course, if you know Mr. Cruz, or are familiar with how government is supposed to work, or with reality in general, you'll find some of his imaginaries problematic, like abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, sealing the border, or 'repealing every word of Obamacare.'... Mr. Cruz's speech was an exercise in crowd-pleasing dissonance; the contradictions slip by if you're not paying attention. America is great but needs to be made great again. Privacy is sacrosanct, and government should not get between you and your doctor, unless you're a woman who wants to avoid or end a pregnancy.... His federalist views are incoherent: he wants states to be free to experiment with marijuana legalization, but attacked Mr. Obama for not cracking down on states that do so.... Mr. Cruz, whose oratory captures so many Republican paradoxes and idiocies, especially on immigration and health care, has set a solid baseline for the messy job ahead."

Ed Kilgore: "All this imagining gets very labored and tedious -- particularly since Cruz takes a detour between his biographical and ideological sections into the late eighteenth century and the Holy Founders charged by God with forever limiting government (a staple of Con-Con revisionist history). But in a way it's appropriate, too, since Cruz is the self-designated champion for those who really don't like America as it is and prefer an imagined version where the Calvin Coolidge administration is the wave of the future."

This Cruz speech is the weirdest cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" ever.

— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) March 23, 2015

"President Cruz" Will Always Be Imaginary. Nate Cohn of the New York Times: "The most interesting question about Mr. Cruz’s candidacy is whether he has a very small chance to win or no chance at all.... Mr. Cruz is not an outsider, grass-roots version of President Obama in 2008. He is unacceptable to many conservative officials, operatives, interest group leaders and pundits. If they don't take him seriously, voters won't either. The elites would rally to defeat such a candidate if he ever seemed poised to win."

Hillary Clinton, who met with President Obama Monday, remarks via Twitter on Ted's imaginary repeal of the ACA:

#ACA@5: 16m covered. Young ppl. Preexisting conditions. Women get better coverage. Repeal those things? Embrace them! pic.twitter.com/OI1m2VxD4W

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 23, 2015

Manu Raju of Politico: John "Cornyn [R-Texas], the Senate majority whip, said in an interview Monday that he would stay neutral in the Republican primary, declining to endorse Cruz just hours after he became the first candidate to officially declare his presidential run.... 'You know, we've got a lot of Texans who are running for president, so I'm going to watch from the sidelines,' Cornyn said when asked if he would back Cruz. (Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is considering a run as well.) Cornyn denied his position was retribution for Cruz's refusal to back him during his Senate primary last year."

Kay Steiger of Think Progress: "Ted Cruz just laid out the most anti-woman agenda yet."

Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post: "Sen. Ted Cruz says he wants to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service. This is a phenomenally bad idea, one so obviously wrongheaded it's hard to believe he really means it.... Someone has to collect the money that keeps our government up and running.... The IRS is a cash-flow-positive agency, collecting an estimated $255 for every $1 appropriated to it.... Yet the view that the IRS's budget should be minimized, and perhaps zeroed out entirely, is peculiarly popular on the right.... As Cruz likes to point out, we 'have more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible.'... This is Congress's fault, for it is Congress that writes the Internal Revenue Code and clutters it with myriad carve-outs, loopholes, preferences, deductions and complicated categories...."

Danny Vinik of the New Republic: "... above all, one particular position should disqualify Cruz -- or anyone else who holds it -- from the presidency: using the debt ceiling as a hostage device.... Beyond his policy positions, Cruz has demonstrated himself to be particularly un-presidential.... Throughout his time in the Senate, Cruz has shown a distinct lack of interest in policymaking or governing. Instead, he has calculated every move to prepare for a 2016 run. [He's been a senator only since 2013.] Cruz's role in the Republican primary will likely benefit Democrats. He'll pull the rest of the party to the right on immigration, taxes and health care.... The Senator who would hold the government hostage has become the candidate doing the same to his party."

Dave Weigel: "Announcing his presidential bid at Liberty University is giving Ted Cruz something that some candidates dream of: A massive crowd that has to be there. The Texas senator is speaking at the Christian university's convocation, a mandatory event for the school's students, held in the made-for-TV Vines center. Not everyone enrolled at Liberty University ... is thrilled by this.... Young Americans for Liberty ... took the Cruz visit as an opportunity to start promoting [Rand Paul] and signing up their peers." ...

... A. J. Feather of ABC News: "Several students wearing 'Stand With Rand' shirts made their way into seats directly behind Cruz on stage this morning. The students' shirts were blurry yet visible in many of the shots during Cruz's speech." ...

Those red shirts to the right of the picture are Rand Paul shirts. In much of the televised speech, they surrounded Cruz.

Steve M.: "Ted Cruz announced today that he's a candidate for president -- and because (according to a campaign spokesperson) he spoke without reading from a prepared text, 'Teleprompter' is now trending on Twitter."

Malice Is of the Essence of the Scheme. Jonathan Chait: "In his announcement speech, Cruz ticked through his plans for America: repealing Obamacare, a flat tax, securing the border, banning abortion, preserving traditional marriage, opposing Common Core, and unyielding support for Israel and opposition to terrorism.... The substance is unremarkable standard-issue Republicanism.... Because he agrees with the policy goals of figures like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, all he can do to distinguish himself from them is stoke the suspicions of the base that those goals have been undermined from within... . He is the one Republican too brave and pure to submit to the Obama agenda. If his tactics fall short, it merely serves to dramatize his colleague's fecklessness.... This is why so many Republicans despise Cruz, and it will make it difficult for him to win the nomination. But the loathing between Cruz and his party is not some failing of etiquette. It is his entire plan."

Trump Goes Birther on Cruz. David Knowles of Bloomberg Politics: "In an interview with MyFoxNY, [Donald] Trump said that Cruz's birthplace, Canada, could be a problem for the Texan's presidential bid. 'Well he's got, you know, a hurdle that nobody else seems to have at this moment," said Trump, who was born in Queens [CW: to a Scottish mother]. 'It's a hurdle and somebody could certainly look at it very seriously. He was born in Canada ... if you know ... and when we all studied our history lessons ... you're supposed to be born in this country, so I just don't know how the courts would rule on it. But it's an additional hurdle that he has that no one else seems to have.'" ...

... CBS News: "The Constitution says that only 'natural-born citizens' can be president, but it does not clearly define the term. Most legal scholars argue that a natural-born citizen is one who does not have to be naturalized.... Still, it's a legal question that has never been answered because the Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue.... Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona..., was born in Panama, while his father was serving in the U.S. Navy. But he was born on a U.S. military base, and both of his parents were U.S. citizens. That didn't stop the lawsuits -- there were, the Washington Post noted at the time, three cases against McCain's candidacy based on questions about his status as a natural-born citizen. In order to settle the matter..., Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, who were both senators at the time, co-sponsored a resolution which stated, 'John Sidney McCain, III, is a "natural born Citizen" under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States.'"

Ted Practices Kissing Wife. Michael Falcone of ABC News: On Sunday, "An Associated Press photographer captured a series of shots of a would-be First Family in training. They show Cruz ... during a walk-through at Virginia's Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he will make his White House bid official Monday morning. In some of the photos, Cruz walks hand-in-hand with his wife, Heidi, and the couple's two daughters -- apparently practicing everything from their wave to a kiss." ...

... The kiss, BTW, violates Liberty U.'s code of conduct, & the kiss was "a four-reprimand offense." Since the Cruzes kissed twice, once in rehearsal & once after Ted's Excellent Speech, I guess that would be eight reprimands.

Does Not, Never Did, Play Well with Others. As a reminder, Ted has always been "abrasive, arrogant & creepy" (Princeton) & "arrogant. pretentious, & nakedly ambitious" (Harvard Law).

A CW Warning to All Readers Inclined to Donate to Ted's Campaign: according to his Website, Ted sometimes self-identifies as nigerian-prince.com. (I thought Ted was born in Calgary, Canada, not Nigeria. Something for the Donald to investigate.) So that credit card donation you make (and the number on the card) might be headed for Nigeria. In fact, Ted's crack tech team has since removed his Nigerian prince alter-ego. Also, had I known those e-mails telling me about my multi-mlllion-dollar Nigerian bank account were coming from Ted, I would have taken them less seriously. ...

... Mike Masnick of Tech Dirt: "A few hours after this was first noticed, the Cruz campaign appears to have removed nigerian-prince.com from its certificate, but it still raises some questions about just who he has hired to build his websites. I guess that's what happens when even the technologists in your own party openly mock Ted Cruz's ignorance when it comes to technology issues like net neutrality." ...

... Apparently the Nigerian prince ID was CloudFlare's doing. ...

... FINALLY, if you're in the mood to support Ted, you might want to go to tedcruz.com . It doesn't say much: just "Support President Obama. Immigration Reform Now!"

Marco Gets Everything Wrong

... [the White House] will comment on the elections of an ally [Israel], calling the rhetoric of the election divisive, but when Iran has a fraudulent election and kills people that protest against it, we can't comment. -- Marco Rubio, Senate speech, March 19

Rubio appears to have created a cartoon version of the White House reaction to the Green Revolution. While the administration did cite a need to respect Iran's sovereignty, the president did more than simply decline to comment. He deplored the violence and eventually condemned the regime's reaction to the protests. -- Glenn Kessler, Washington Post

I wish people would quit referring to Marco as "smart," because he isn't. -- Constant Weader

Dan Merica of CNN: "When [Hillary Clinton] was asked to headline an event with hundreds of political reporters, editors and executives, she recounted thinking, 'What could possibly go wrong?' 'I am all about new beginnings,' Clinton said at the Toner Prize event in Washington. 'A new grandchild, another new hair style, a new email account, why not a new relationship with the press? So here goes, no more secrecy, no more zone of privacy. After all, what good did that do me?'"

Charles Pierce thinks libruls should quit begging Elizabeth Warren to run for president. CW: I'm with him till he wraps it up with a conspiracy-theory-lite. I do think that whoever wins the nomination should beg Warren to share the ticket.

News Ledes

Burlington Free Press: "Robert Durst, the real estate millionaire who has been charged with murder and weapons offenses following an HBO documentary, has been linked to the 1971 disappearance of a Middlebury College female student, town police say. 'We are aware of the connection between Robert Durst and the disappearance of Lynne Schulze,' Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley said in a statement."

Washington Post: "An Airbus plane flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf has crashed in southern France in a rugged mountain region. French President François Hollande said he did not expect survivors among the 148 people on board the flight operated by Germanwings, the budget airline run by Lufthansa. Le Monde reported that 142 passengers were aboard the A320, along with six crew members." ...

     ... The Guardian has live updates here. ...

     ... An UPDATED New York Times story is here.

New York Times: "Just over six weeks before seeking a second term in May's general election, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain has ruled out serving a third, in a declaration that provoked surprise as well as criticism and put his Conservative Party on the defensive."

Sunday
Mar222015

The Commentariat -- March 23, 2015

Doc Fix. Sarah Ferris of the Hill: "The House is inching closer to a major deal on Medicare payments that could help cement a legacy for Speaker John Boehner. Boehner has spent two months quietly working with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to finally solve a Medicare payment problem that has eluded congressional leaders for more than 20 years. The House leaders are expected to unveil their $200 billion Medicare deal early next week. Facing little opposition so far, the proposal is bringing Boehner closer than ever to tackling his long-time goal of entitlement reform."

Surprise! "Jobs-killing" ObamaCare is actually an "unprecedented" jobs-creator. Alex Wayne of Bloomberg Business: "More than 90 new health-care companies employing as many as 6,200 people have been created in the U.S. since Obamacare became law, a level of entrepreneurial activity that participants say may be unprecedented for the industry."

E. J. Dionne: "It would be wonderful if conservatives really wanted to deal constructively with the predicament [of income inequality] they so passionately describe. But thanks to the House and Senate GOP budgets, we now know that conservatives and Republicans (1) aren't serious about the plight of working-class and lower-income Americans and (2) would actually make their situations much worse. Their spending plans fail even on conservative terms: They are not fiscally responsible.... I'd respect these folks a lot more if they said what they clearly believe: They think more inequality would be good for us. It almost makes you nostalgic for the candor of the Mitt Romney who spoke about the '47 percent' and the Paul Ryan who once divided us between 'makers' and 'takers.'"

Igor Volsky of Think Progress: "Republicans continue to excuse Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's anti-Arab remarks and open repudiation of the two-state solution, despite decades of bipartisan agreement that an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel is the only way to resolve the Israel/Palestinian conflict." ...

... Josh Feldman of Mediaite: "John McCain slammed President Obama on Israel on CNN's State of the Union this morning, telling the president to 'get over your temper tantrum' with Benjamin Netanyahu because 'the least of your problems is what Bibi Netanyahu said during an election campaign.'" ...

... CW: What to do when John McCain lectures you about having a temper tantrum? Laugh your head off. ...

Jesse Byrnes of the Hill: "'I really do not need a lessons from people like Steve King on what it is to be Jewish or a Democrat,' [Rep. Steve] Israel [D-N.Y.] said on CNN's 'State of the Union.'... 'Steve King, who said America is a Christian nation, should not be lecturing Jews about how we should be Jewish,' Israel said.... King said during an interview Friday..., "... I don't understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their president.'" (See also yesterday's Commentariat.)

Devlin Barrett of the Wall Street Journal (published in Market Watch: "Federal investigators are preparing to file criminal charges against Sen. Robert Menendez [D-N.J.] as early as this week, following a legal battle over how much the Constitution shields lawmakers and their aides, according to people familiar with the investigation."

Michael Shear & Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times: "When President Obama meets this week with Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan's new president, he will finally be sitting across from an Afghan leader who is not brooding, agitated, suspicious or openly belligerent toward his American allies."

Ben Brody of Bloomberg Politics: "If the government rejects a Confederate flag license plate, does that violate the First Amendment? What about one taking a strong stand on abortion, or something even more controversial? Those are questions that Supreme Court justices will take up on Monday when they hear argument in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, a case originating in Texas that will test whether it is the government or drivers who are 'speaking' on specialty license plates -- and what either might be allowed to say.... Texas -- which does celebrate an annual Confederate Heroes Day -- asserted in a case brief that it 'is fully within its rights to exclude swastikas, sacrilege, and overt racism from state-issued license plates 14 that bear the State's name and imprimatur.'" ...

... CW: Seems to me that any racist boob has a First Amendment right to fly the Stars & Bars, but s/he shouldn't be able to force a government entity to tacitly sanction it by printing it up on official items. We'll see what the Supremes say. In addition, one wonders if a state has the constitutional right to emblazon officials items with the flags of "foreign" countries. ...

... Robert Barnes of the Washington Post has more on the suit. Adam Liptak of the New York Times on Texas's decision to disallow the plates.

Paul Krugman: "Unfortunately, economic discourse in Britain is dominated by a misleading fixation on budget deficits. Worse, this bogus narrative has infected supposedly objective reporting; media organizations routinely present as fact propositions that are contentious if not just plain wrong.... Simon Wren-Lewis of Oxford University has dubbed this narrative 'mediamacro.'... An election [-- coming up in six weeks --] that should be about real problems will, all too likely, be dominated by mediamacro fantasies."

Coffee, Black, Please. Margaret Hartmann of New York: "As of today, Starbucks employees will no longer be writing '#RaceTogether' on cups, so it looks like you've missed your opportunity to end racism by harassing your local barista." Apparently they have some other great ideas to end racism in the U.S. Maybe you can come up with some suggestions. Maybe baristas could wear T-shirts that read, "You might be a racist if you ____(various)____. For example: ... "want a Confederate license plate so much you took it to the Supreme Court."

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Today, the New York Times published an article about Hillary Clinton's e-mails which in all likelihood is based solely on Republican sources. And a Fox "News" host called them out on it. (Via Evan McMurry of Mediaite) ...

The emails have not been made public, and The New York Times was not permitted to review them. But four senior government officials offered descriptions of some of the key messages, on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize their access to secret information. -- Michael Schmidt, New York Times

Can't the NY Times do better than this? No named sources and they didn't see the emails themselves and we are suppose to accept this as the facts?... This is what is wrong with journalism -- American people are fed what amounts to as gossip and the NYT is happy to feed it. And other journalists as they read this? Do they call the NYT out? nope, because for the most part this is so common no one sees it as a problem and / or they do it themselves. Anonymous sources should be used rarely, not routinely.... -- Greta Van Susteren of Fox "News"

Presidential Race

Boston Globe Editors: "Democrats wouldbe making a big mistake if they let Hillary Clinton coast to the presidential nomination without real opposition, and, as a national leader, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren can make sure that doesn't happen. While Warren has repeatedly vowed that she won't run for president herself, she ought to reconsider. And if Warren sticks to her refusal, she should make it her responsibility to help recruit candidates to provide voters with a vigorous debate on her signature cause, reducing income inequality, over the next year." ...

... John Wagner of the Washington Post: "As [former Maryland Gov. Martin] O'Malley positions himself to challenge Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he is competing for support not only with the former first lady and secretary of state but with [Elizabeth] Warren, a onetime Harvard law professor whose devotees haven't given up on a White House bid despite her repeated pledges that she is not running. For O'Malley, the advantage of wooing Warren supporters was clear as he spoke to big and small crowds on his first visit to Iowa this year: They are among the most energized Democrats, and they are hungry for an alternative to the more centrist Clinton. What was less clear is whether O'Malley, who barely registers in most polls, will become their natural fallback if Warren stays out."

Anne Applebaum in Slate: "There were a number of odd things about the Hillary Clinton email debate, but to me this was the oddest: the widespread conviction that the secretary of state's communications personal or otherwise -- would have been 'safe' in the hands of the State Department." Besides the spectacular leaks by Chelsea Manning & Ed Snowden, "Last week, even while Clinton was defending her decision to delete her email, the State Department was quietly shutting down its servers in an attempt to clean them, once and for all, of the Russian malware that has plagued the whole system for months."

Katie Zezima & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "Hours ahead of an expected Monday morning announcement at Liberty University, Ted Cruz told supporters just after midnight that he was launching a White House bid. 'I'm running for president, and I hope to earn your support!' he tweeted." ...

... Hey, you can watch Ted's Biggest Moment live! I'll pass. (Somebody was singing God music as I linked this.) ...

... Fred Barbash of the Washington Post lays out a number of reasons why Liberty "University" is the perfect venue for Cruz's announcement & March 23 the perfect day to do it. ...

... CW: An excellent piece, Fred, but Twitter -- the repository of millions of brief, trivial banalities -- is a good place, too. ...

... Charles Pierce is pretty pumped about Cruz's big announcement: "Ted Cruz is an extremist fanatic. He represents politics and a vision of government that was out of date in 1860. He is connected, rhetorically for the most part, to the darkest manifestations of the American political Id. And he combines that with a kind of unendurable self-righteousness that has alienated even the other extremist fanatics in the conservative leadership elite. From an early age, Cruz has been taught that he is the hidden golden child of a fundamentalist America redemption.... The 2016 election has begun. The bar is set where you need a metal detector to find it." ...

(CW Note: I see where Fox "News"'s Chris Wallace "grilled" CIA Director John Brennan on why the Obama administration refused to call ISIS "Islamic extremists." So why is it left to Charles Pierce & Akhilleus to call Ted Cruz [or Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee, etc.] an "extremist fanatic"? Or, if you like, "extremist Christian fanatic.") ...

I just came back from New Hampshire where there's snow and ice everywhere. -- Ted Cruz, citing conclusive proof that climate change is not happening ...

... David Cohen of Politico: "California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday called Sen. Ted Cruz not qualified to be president, citing what he called his ignorance on climate change. Brown, a Democrat, was appearing on NBC's 'Meet the Press' to discuss California's severe drought. His appearance coincided with news that Cruz, a Texas Republican, will announce his candidacy for president Monday at Liberty University in Virginia. 'That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data. It's shocking and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office,' Brown said after host Chuck Todd had played him a clip of a Cruz interview." CW: But, Jerry, it's snowing in New Hampshire! ...

... Andy Borowitz: "A disturbed Canadian man wants to try to get into the White House, according to reports. The man, who was born in Calgary before drifting to Texas, has been spotted in Washington, D.C. in recent years exhibiting erratic behavior, sources said.... Despite a record of ... bizarre episodes and unhinged utterances, observers expressed little concern about his plans to get into the White House, calling them 'delusional.'" CW: When I searched for an image of Cruz looking "disturbed," I had a lot of choice.

Charles Blow: Louisiana Gov. Bobby "Jindal has gone from being one of the most popular governors in the country to one of the least popular.... And in a desperate attempt at relevancy -- and press -- he has lately been sliding further into Islamic hysteria."

Senate Race

Marc Caputo of Politico: "Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy formally announced his campaign for Senate on Monday, saying he's ready to fight for the highly competitive seat regardless of whether or not Marco Rubio runs for reelection.... The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid have both signaled they support Murphy."

Beyond the Beltway

Igor Volsky of Think Progress: "A judge in Wisconsin struck down on Friday a state law that requires doctors performing abortions to secure admission privileges to nearby hospitals, temporarily blocking it. U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled that the measure, signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker (R) in July of 2013, violated the 14th amendment. 'The marginal benefit to women's health of requiring hospital admitting privileges, if any, is substantially outweighed by the burden this requirement will have on women's health outcomes due to restricted access to abortions in Wisconsin,' Conley wrote.... A spokesperson for Walker promised to appeal the decision."

News Ledes

Politico: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secured the requisite majority of parliamentary members to form a government.... Israeli President Reuven Rivlin continues to meet with factions Monday, with an announcement tasking Netanyahu to form his government expected later in the day. Representatives from Kulanu -- a crucial centrist swing party -- met with Rivlin to recommend that the Likud party's Netanyahu be tasked with forming a new government, giving the current prime minister the absolute majority of 61 votes in his favor."

Guardian: "The governor of a southern Japanese island, home to tens of thousands of American troops, has triggered a potentially bitter confrontation with Tokyo and Washington after he ordered a halt to the construction of a controversial US marine base. Takeshi Onaga, who was elected governor of Okinawa last December on the back of vowing to block construction of the base, instructed Japan's defence ministry to suspend work at the site after local officials found builders had damaged coral reefs when they laid concrete blocks to help conduct underwater boring surveys."

New York Times: "The evacuation of 125 United States Special Operations advisers from Yemen in the past two days is the latest blow to the Obama administration's counterterrorism campaign, which is already struggling with significant setbacks in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in the volatile region, American officials said Sunday."

Guardian: "Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, who led the city-state for more than three decades, has died aged 91. Lee's son and current prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, announced the news in the early hours of Monday morning local time, prompting a flurry of tributes from world leaders."

Saturday
Mar212015

The Commentariat -- March 22, 2015

Sam Stein of the Huffington Post: "President Barack Obama is operating under the assumption that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not support the creation of a Palestinian state, despite the Israeli leader's post-election efforts to recast himself as amenable to a two-state solution":

... Video & a transcript of the full interview is here.

Dickensian Dreams. Andrew O'Hehir of Salon: "The GOP's House and Senate majorities have unveiled their budget proposals, a fantastical and mendacious set of documents worthy of Mr. Bumble, the comic villain and font of incoherent conventional wisdom in Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' Most people will ignore these proposals, for the sensible reason that they will not be enacted. But behind the patriotic-imperial posturing and foreign-policy bluster that have grabbed headlines lately, these imaginary budgets provide a glimpse of the rapacious utopia envisioned by the Koch brothers and their Tea Party-infused ideological mouthpieces, including Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker foremost among them." ...

... Bill Curry in Salon on the House & Senate's "budgets": "After all these years of bombardment by Republican 'tax and spend' rhetoric [Democrats] still don't know how to counterattack. The answer isn't sound bites or catchphrases but concreteness and specificity.... Getting Hillary Clinton to address an issue is like trying to get Miss Havisham ["Great Expectations"] to open a curtain and let in the sun. Presented with the gift of her seclusion, any would-be opponents can't even get in the race. In Congress, overly scripted Democrats hurl stale talking points at a budget they could tear to shreds with logic, evidence, specificity and just a tiny bit of boldness.... The Republican budget is a fiscal, economic and moral monstrosity. If Democrats can't unmask it they don't deserve the support of the millions who still rely on them to act as their tribunes."...

Cannibalism! The Orange Man Dines on Red Meat. Scott Wong & Cristina Marcos of the Hill: "Conservatives are seething after an outside group aligned with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) spent hundreds of thousands of dollars targeting a trio of Republican lawmakers over threats to shut down the Department of Homeland Security. Tea Party Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) equated the attack ads to GOP 'cannibalism,' while his conservative colleague Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) called them a 'stupid' tactic that would backfire. American Action Network, a nonprofit whose board includes former Boehner chief of staff Barry Jackson, launched the $300,000 ad campaign earlier this month with TV spots depicting terrorists and accusing GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), Tim Huelskamp (Kansas) and Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) of putting 'our security at risk.' The campaign also included national ads on conservative talk radio, including shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and on digital ads in the district of nine other House Republicans." ...

Here is what I don't understand, I don't understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their President. -- Rep. Steve King (RTP-Iowa)

A congressional representative of a party which fetishizes the flag is saying that some citizens are being traitors by following their president' instead of supporting the leader of a foreign country. Indeed, he's really saying that Republicans support this foreign country over their own president. Now that's exceptional. -- Digby

Lydia DePillis of the Washington Post: A class-action lawsuit could change the U.S.'s exploitative au pair program.

Sean McElwee of Salon gathers up studies that identify "racial resentment" as a deciding factor in public policy; there is plenty of statistical evidence that white people who resent "blah" people oppose social safety net programs.

CW: Don't know how I keep missing Frank Rich, but his comments on this & that were delightful, as usual (March 19): "But first Aaron Schock must apologize to Julian Fellowes and the production team at Downton Abbey. That notorious Capitol Hill office -- created by an Illinois decorating firm appropriately named Euro Trash -- didn't remotely evoke Edwardian England. With its blood-red walls and busts of Republican presidents, it was nothing if not a Warren Harding -- era bordello out of Boardwalk Empire."

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. "High Broderism." Scott Lemieux had in mind to teach a lesson on "how to be a hack." Luckily, he had just the model: "[Saturday], the editorial board of the Washington Post honors the memory of David Broder with a pitch-perfect parody of Both Sides Doitism. The thesis: the Republicans holding the nomination of Loretta Lynch hostage to try to leverage Democrats into accepting restrictions on abortion in an anti-sex trafficking bill shows that Democrats are the obstructionist party now." Lemieux goes on to dissect & discredit the paper's tricky language & "reasoning": "As always, the central premise is that Democrats can't possibly have any principled reason for defending hysterical women and their silly reproductive rights.... Yes, if you really care about women who have been coerced into sex work, one way of demonstrating that is being indifferent about restrictions intended to make it more difficult for them to end unwanted pregnancies that have a high likelihood of being the result of sex they did not consent to."

Presidential Race

Theodore Schleifer of the Houston Chronicle: "Sen. Ted Cruz plans to announce Monday that he will run for president of the United States, according to his senior advisers, accelerating his already rapid three-year rise from a tea party insurgent in Texas into a divisive political force in Washington. Cruz, scheduled to speak Monday at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Virginia, will not form an exploratory committee but rather launch a presidential bid outright...." ...

... CW: Cruz's choice of venue for his announcement is all you need to know about the type of campaign he will run.

Jeb Bush Has a "Vast" Plan to Fix Florida Presidential Elections Again. Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "The political apparatus surrounding former Gov. Jeb Bush, determined to avoid embarrassment in a state that has vexed his party and family in national elections, is plotting a vast operation aimed at turning Florida into a bulwark for his presidential campaign, according to dozens of interviews. The plan, code-named 'Homeland Security,' seeks to try to neutralize two potentially grave but homegrown threats to Mr. Bush's long-anticipated run for president: the likely challenge from a charismatic young Republican senator from Miami, Marco Rubio, who is expected to seek the Republican nomination himself, and a demographic drift within Florida that could doom Mr. Bush there in a fall campaign against a Democrat."...

... Karen Tumulty & Mary Jordan of the Washington Post write a generous profile of Columba Bush, Jeb's wife.

Marco Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee & bills his knowledge of foreign policy as a raison de vote for him for president, didn't know -- until John Kerry told him -- that Iran & the U.S. are both fighting ISIS. (Of course, Marco may not know it yet, as listening & understanding are way hard for him.) Now it falls on Jonathan Chait to explain to Marco that "Obama Isn't Nicer to Iran Than to Israel." ...

... CW: I wonder if, like Mitt Romney, Marco thinks "Syria is ... Iran's path to the sea." It wouldn't surprise me, because in Right Wing World, gut feelings best geography & feelings top facts every time, as Marco demonstrated on the Senate floor this past week. ...

... Steve M. thinks he's figured out the reason Rubio isn't topping the GOP presidential polls: "He's got nothing."

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading aspirant for the Republican nomination for president, made his state the 25th 'right-to-work' state in the nation on March 9.... He may soon get another crack at a worker-unfriendly law: Legislators have introduced a bill to abolish employees' legal right to at least one day off per week.... Walker hasn't said he would sign the bill, but he hasn't spoken out against it either.... Since Walker took office, Wisconsin's economic performance has ranked a dismal 35th in Bloomberg's economic index of states.... [The state] fell to 38th in the nation in job growth for the year ended Sept. 30, 2014.... Under Walker, Wisconsinites seem to be facing a double-whammy -- lousy performance at the state level, and a continuing assault on their household income."

Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "As many as 20 Republicans are taking a serious look at running for the White House in 2016. A handful of candidates have moved aggressively into the field, and others are expected to ramp up in the coming weeks, with several announcements expected in April." ...

... CW: Oh, it's a deep, deep "bench" of super-qualified candidates, like snakeoil pitchman Mike Huckabee & long-time-ago Sen. Rick Santorum, a man incapable of standing up to a voter who claimed President Obama tried to nuke Charleston, South Carolina. ...

... MEANWHILE, over on the other side, there is Lonesome O'Malley. John Wagner of the Washington Post: "Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley stepped up his critique of Wall Street excesses [in Davenport, Iowa,] Friday as he began his first swing through Iowa this year with a populist speech to an enthusiastic crowd of close to 300 people attending a Democratic dinner."

Beyond the Beltway

Prince of Wales, Liberal Icon, Goes to Mitch McConnell's Hometown to Attack Everything Mitch Stands for. James Bruggers & Jere Downs of the Louisville Courier-Journal: "Prince Charles breezed through Louisville on Friday and called for urgent restructuring of local and global economies to save humanity from itself. During a speech before a full house of several hundred people at the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Prince of Wales said that 'if we wish to maintain our civilization, we must look after the Earth (and) and keep it in harmony.'... [Charles] cited climate change, soil depletion and exploitation of the oceans and other natural resources as a serious threat.... 'You know we have come a long way when the future king of England comes to America to call for a revolution,' said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council...." ...

... CW: Oddly enough, the story doesn't mention Mitch. But you can bet Charles purposely saved that speech for Mitch's home turf (such as it is). Thanks to Unwashed for reminding us of this:

Yeehaw! (Why isn't that a Nevada flag Cliven is waving, or maybe a Bundy Nation flag?)The Bundy Family Nullification Party. Jon Ralston: "Mark your calendars for March 31, when an Assembly committee will hear a bill sponsored by Cliven Bundy's biggest supporter, [Michael] Fiore, and 14 other members of the GOP Ass. Caucus to essentially prohibit the federal government from owning land in Nevada (where it owns 85 percent) unless the state says so.(Yes, it's as crazy as it sounds.) The measure ... is a direct outgrowth of Bundy's refusal to pay grazing fees for decades and the confrontation almost exactly a year ago that drew militia members and others, including Fiore, to the ranch near Las Vegas and became a cause celebre for FOX News until Bundy began his disquisition on the history 'of the Negro.' Now the gang is getting back together for the hearing and planning to swarm Carson City. Ammon Bundy, who has defended his father, sent out an alert Friday, asking folks to come to the capital for the hearing. What could go wrong?"

KXAN (Austin, Texas) News: "An Austin lawyer is claiming responsibility for several stickers placed on East Austin businesses that claimed they were 'exclusively for white people.' Adam Reposa posted the video on YouTube and made a statement on Facebook saying he was trying promote the issue of gentrification in East Austin."

News Lede

ABC News: "The military is warning about 100 service members about an online threat by a group purportedly affiliated with ISIS that has posted their alleged personal details and called on sympathizers to take violent action against them. U.S. officials say the military services are notifying the families of the individuals named on the list. On Saturday, a previously unknown group identifying itself as the 'Islamic State Hacking Division' posted on a website the names, photos and home addresses of 100 American service members it said were involved in the U.S. airstrike campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria."

Saturday
Mar212015

The Commentariat -- March 21, 2015

We Are So Over Bibi. Julie Davis of the New York Times: "The White House is stepping up its antagonism toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite his victory in this week's elections, signaling that it is in no rush to repair a historic rift between the United States and Israel. The sharpened tone indicates that the Obama administration may be re-evaluating its relationship with its closest ally in the Middle East, having lost patience with Mr. Netanyahu in the closing days of an election campaign in which he spotlighted deep disagreements with President Obama over a Palestinian state and a nuclear deal with Iran." ...

... Josh Marshall of TPM: "Even if Netanyahu is 'winning' in his battle with the White House, he is actually losing, because his country's interest is to maintain as cordial and as close relations with the United States as possible - in a way that transcends partisan divisions within the US.... US policy should change. Not on security, which should remain just as robust, but on the policy of blocking all external diplomatic pressure on the reasoning that leaving the Israelis free to settle things with the Palestinians between themselves is only way to reach a settlement." ...

... Dana Milbank: "Without a Palestinian state, Israel can be either a Jewish state or a democracy but not both. If it annexes the Palestinian territories and remains democratic, it will be split roughly evenly between Jews and Arabs; if it annexes the territories and suppresses the rights of Arabs, it ceases to be democratic." Milbank takes this personally. It's a very good column. ...

... Ed Kilgore: "It's pretty ironic: just as Bibi Netanyahu seems ready to get over the recent unpleasantness with the Obama administration and get back to the status quo ante of unfriendly cooperation, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives is packing for a trip to Israel that is inevitably being called a 'victory tour.'... [John Boehner] may claim he's just another Catholic tourist going to the Holy Land for Holy Week. But I suspect it's Netanyahu's resurrection rather than Jesus Christ's we'll eventually hear him talking about."

White House: "In this week's address, the President called on Republicans in Congress to stop playing politics with law enforcement and national security and confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States":

President Obama talks to the Huffington Post's Sam Stein about Loretta Lynch's stalled confirmation:

... Trymaine Lee of MSNBC: Eric Holder finds the delay in Lynch's confirmation to be "almost inconceivable" & "a little strange."

Coral Davenport of the New York Times: "The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the nation's first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique for oil and gas drilling that has led to a dramatic increase in American energy production but has also raised concerns about health and safety risks." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Joby Warrick has the Washington Post's report.

Tim Egan: Republican leaders like John Boehner, Scott Walker & Joni Ernst who come from lower working-class families "are working to keep the downtrodden down. They are traitors to their class, with all the strutting moral superiority that comes with the conversion."

Gail Collins: "... there's a movement afoot to kick Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and replace him with a woman. Finally, we've got a current event that's not depressing.... A website called 'Women on 20s' has posted biographies of 15 notable women in American history and invited visitors to vote for a female face to put in Jackson's place. The goal is to get the job done by the anniversary of women's suffrage in 2020."

AP: "The Justice Department is investigating the congressional expenses and business dealings of Rep. Aaron Schock, and FBI agents have begun issuing subpoenas to potential witnesses, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Friday." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

CW: I know I've let you down by not publishing "Your Louie Gohmert Weekly Reader" lately, so here's a bonus edition, where Louie says lots of crazy things:

... Travis Gettys of the Raw Story: "Louie Gohmert can't wait any longer: 'It's time to bomb Iran.'... Gohmert pushed bogus claims that Obama had 'threatened to shoot down Israeli planes if they had gone to take out Iran's nuclear capability,' and he also falsely claimed the president had told Nigeria the U.S. would not aid in the fight against Boko Haram until the country legalized same-sex marriage." With audio, because you probably can't believe Gohmert said anything this silly.

Presidential Race

David Koch home, Palm Beach.

... Matea Gold of the Washington Post: "One of the next stops on the 2016 trail: David Koch's 30,050-square-foot Palm Beach mansion. A group of White House hopefuls, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, are scheduled to make a pilgrimage to the oceanfront estate of the billionaire industrialist on Sunday afternoon."

More About E-Mails. Ben Kamisar of the Hill: "The Justice Department is defending former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from a motion to subpoena her private emails under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 'Such action is unnecessary and inappropriate under FOIA,' DOJ officials wrote in a legal briefing filed Thursday. Officials were responding to a case launched by Larry Klayman, the founder of the conservative watchdog group Freedom Watch.... The agency says that the Freedom of Information Act 'creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it does not possess and control.'" ...

... Here's the Politico story by Josh Gerstein. ...

... MEANWHILE, Trey Gowdy wants the whole server. Lauren French of Politico: "The chairman of the House Committee on Benghazi is formally requesting Hillary Clinton turn over her private email server to a third party for a 'neutral' investigation of its contents."

Beyond the Beltway

Francis Clines of the New York Times: "West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin [D], usually a reliable supporter of the National Rifle Association, vetoed a bill to scrap the current law that citizens have to get a permit and take gun safety lessons in order to legally carry a concealed weapon in the state.... Retention of the permit requirement was supported by more than 80 percent of respondents in a state poll. But statehouse legislators across the country have demonstrated more respect for gun lobbyists than for public opinion -- just as the national Congress did in refusing to enact safety precautions opposed by the N.R.A...."

News Ledes

Times-Picayune: "Richard White, the Kenner man accused of the Friday night (March 20) machete attack on a security checkpoint at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, died Saturday at 4:02 p.m., the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office announced. White, 63, was shot three times by JPSO Lt. Heather Sylve, stopping him as he chased TSA agent Carroll Richel with a machete near the Concourse B checkpoint." ...

... AP: "Authorities say the machete-wielding man who was shot at New Orleans' international airport after trying to attack passengers and security agents was carrying explosives at the time. Sheriff Newell Normand said suspect Richard White, who was shot three times by a security agent late Friday after approaching a security checkpoint spraying insecticide and brandishing a machete, was also carrying a bag loaded with six Molotov cocktails -- six Mason jars with cloth wicks soaked in gasoline."