Tuesday –> Donald Trump’s campaign remains strong; last night he won nomination contests in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii, despite a wave of attack ads and backlash in the wake of last week’s solid Super Tuesday showing. But the big surprise of the evening was a Michigan win for Bernie Sanders, who was predicted to lose the state, in some cases by double digits. Instead, he won, with 49.9 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton won Mississippi, and Ted Cruz won Idaho; the overall delegate math remains mostly unchanged.
Warmer –> Timothy Cama reports for The Hill, “The contiguous United States had the warmest winter in 122 years of record keeping, federal officials said. The period from December to February, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines as winter for record-keeping purposes, averaged 36.8 degrees Fahrenheit on the lower 48’s surfaces.”
Biden in Israel –> The latest wave of stabbings in Israel came as Joe Biden arrived in the country hoping to renew peace talks in the region. One of the victims was an American graduate student from Vanderbilt who attended West Point and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Daniel Estrin reports for the AP that Biden, “criticized Palestinians for a ‘failure to condemn'” the attacks “after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ political party posted a statement online praising the stabber.”
Louisiana at risk –> Louisiana is in dire straits following a tax-cutting agenda backed by outgoing governor Bobby Jindal. Ben Adler writes for Grist, “When government budgets collapse, environmental protection takes a big hit. This is particularly worrying in Louisiana. The state is filled with severely climate-threatened low-lying regions such as the Bayou and New Orleans, and its coastline is disappearing under the rising sea, so it should be investing heavily in climate adaptation. The state’s poverty also intensifies its aching need for improved mass transit. Huge spending cuts at the federal or state level, never mind both, are putting the state’s populace at greater risk.”
What would Scalia do? –> At the Chicago Tribune, retired FCC chair Newton Minow and former federal judge and congressman Abner Mikva argue that the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s legal philosophy would mandate that Obama nominate a replacement to the Supreme Court. Scalia “believed when words have plain meaning, there was no room for interpretation. He knew well that the process of nominating, approving or disapproving, and appointing Supreme Court justices is set out in plain language in the second paragraph of Article II of the Constitution: The president ‘shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint… judges of the Supreme Court…’ Nowhere in the Constitution are the words: ‘except in presidential election years.'”
Not so simple –> At North Carolina State University’s school newspaper, student Logan Graham tells a wannabe voter’s sad tale. He spent “$12 and six hours trying to get an ID. If I include the cost of time wasted set at North Carolina’s minimum wage of $7.25, my attempt to gain an ID has cost $55.50 so far. The stipulation, then, that a voter ID is free and simple to obtain, is completely inaccurate when we put the process into action.” Graham sees this as a problem for out-of-state college students, but the real concern is lower-income, urban voters who may have never needed an ID until the state passed its voter ID law.
Another angle on the Apple fight –> Jenna McLaughlin at The Intercept: “The court fight between Apple and the FBI prompted a slew of letters and legal briefs last week from outside parties, including many tech companies and privacy groups. But a particularly powerful letter came from a collection of racial justice activists, including Black Lives Matter. The letter focused on potential civil rights abuses, should the FBI gain the power to conscript a technology company into undermining its own users’ security.”
The price of dysfunction –> At The Washington Post, expert insiders Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein dissect how partisan media, the permanent campaign and right-wing radicalization have led us to this year’s bizarre election: “The spectacle of a political system with politicians unable to work together — thanks to McConnell and his House counterparts — contributed to a populist, anti-establishment wave, a contempt for the status quo that hit both parties but with far more resonance among Republicans… Donald Trump, America’s equivalent of European right-wing populists and possibly the most miscast presidential front-runner for a major party in American history, makes a mockery of the Republican establishment agenda and presages the GOP’s possible break-up.”
The world according to John Wayne –> At Vox, David Roberts explains the white, working class nostalgia vote, looking to return America to a time when it was, they think, better.
RIP George Martin –> The brilliant, classically-trained producer and arranger signed the Beatles to their first record contract and was the guiding hand who helped them reach the heights of musical creativity.
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