Wisconsin decides –> “The frontrunners fell on both sides in Wisconsin’s presidential primary Tuesday, injecting new intrigue, chaos and drama into an epic campaign,” Craig Gilbert writes at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Each had a double-digit win, and Bernie Sanders’ was his sixth in a row. For his part, Ted Cruz succeeded in making the possibility of an open Republican convention more likely. The next big state to vote is New York on April 19.
Cruz’s success is in part testament to the influence of Wisconsin talk radio hosts, reports Kevin Bohn for CNN. But the #NeverTrump movement still has a long way to go if they want Trump cast out at the convention — and even then, notes Mother Jones’ David Corn, they’d be stuck with Ted Cruz, who is likely to prove an equally or more disastrous candidate in the general election.
First to fall –> Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, became the first politician to be ousted as a result of the Panama Papers. Gunnlaugsson allegedly held massive investments in Iceland’s floundering banks through a shell company, while simultaneously cutting government deals to save those banks. At our website, there’s a primer on the worldwide Panama Papers investigation, with links to sites and articles that explain and analyze the continuing scandal.
Enough to cook us all –> A new report by CoalSwarm, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace finds 1,500 coal power plants are slated to be built worldwide, many in the developing world. “That’s a staggering number,” writes Vox climate wonk Brad Plumer. “If even a fraction of these plants get built and operate for their full lifetime, we’ll likely bust through the 2°C global warming threshold that world leaders have promised to stay below. Even 3°C could be tough to avoid. But there is a major asterisk here: It’s far from certain all these plants will actually get finished.”
Meanwhile, here at home, the climate denial machine rolls on. David Hasemyer reports for InsideClimate News: “The Smithsonian Institution’s new transparency policy hasn’t kept prominent climate contrarian Wei-Hock ‘Willie’ Soon from reeling in $65,000 in ‘dark money’ to fund a secret research project. The grant came just days after the Smithsonian, the U.S. government’s giant research and museum organization, enacted a policy on Feb. 14 requiring researchers to disclose the sources of their funding.” Soon’s grant came from Donor’s Trust, a group set up by the Koch network to funnel special-interest money to conservative causes.
The geography of Trump –> At The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, Brian Arbour and Jeremy M. Teigen offer a map of “unhyphenated Americans” — “whites who define their ancestry to be ‘American’ rather than a specific European heritage.” This identity correlates strongly with support for Trump.
“Privatized mercenary force” –> Trump’s set one up, according to Ken Vogel and Brianna Gurcillo at Politico. They chronicle “the aggressive tactics Trump’s security has been using to tamp down even peaceful protests,” and their investigation reveals that “Trump has assembled a privately funded security and intelligence force with a far wider reach than other campaigns’ private security operations: tracking and rooting out protesters, patrolling campaign events and supplementing the Secret Service protection of the billionaire real estate showman during his nontraditional campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.”
ALSO, Mike Mcintyre at The New York Times offers an extensive investigation into one of Trump’s many real estate deals — and lawsuits: “For Donald J. Trump, it is a long-held legal strategy, if not a point of pride, to avoid knuckling under to plaintiffs in court… But Mr. Trump made an exception when buyers of units in Trump SoHo, a 46-story luxury condominium-hotel in Lower Manhattan, asserted that they had been defrauded by inflated claims made by Mr. Trump, his children and others of brisk sales in the struggling project. He and his co-defendants settled the case in November 2011, agreeing to refund 90 percent of $3.16 million in deposits, while admitting no wrongdoing.”
Culture-warring southern pols keeping busy –> The Associated Press: “Mississippi’s governor signed a law on Tuesday that allows public and private businesses to refuse service to gay couples based on the employers’ religious beliefs.” And also this: “Having already made a .50-caliber sniper gun the official state rifle, Tennessee lawmakers on Monday gave final approval to making the Holy Bible the state’s official book.” Meanwhile, from Time magazine: “Alabama lawmakers will try to impeach Republican Gov. Robert Bentley over accusations that he had an affair with a former employee.”
April is the cruelest month –> Michael S. Rosenwald at The Washington Post: “Mass-murder researchers and terrorism experts do not like turning their calendars to April. For them, it marks the beginning of what one calls ‘the killing season.'” The Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine shooting, the Virginia Tech shooting, the Waco seige, the Boston Marathon bombing, and a mass stabbing in Pennsylvania; all took place during the fourth month. Rosenwald writes: “One of the factors that makes April particularly significant to threat assessment professionals, researchers and others is the desire of killers to pay homage to Columbine, other violent anniversaries and even Hitler’s birthday (April 20) by acting on the same date.”
Going against the original intent –> George Mason University recently renamed its law school in honor of the late, conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, after receiving $20 million from an anonymous donor and $10 million from the Kochs. But in recent days, they’ve had to tinker a bit with the school’s new title. The Wall Street Journal’s Jacob Gershman explains: “The first five words of the ‘School of Law’ version form an acronym that has a phonetic resemblance to a vulgarity, a source of amusement for some bloggers and tweeters and a source of non-amusement for George Mason’s administration.”
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