Running mate –> Seeking to prop up his flagging, mathematically impossible (without a contested convention) campaign for the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz threw a Hail Mary and announced former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as his choice for vice president. It’s a move Ronald Reagan famously tried during his unsuccessful 1976 campaign when he sought to wrest the nomination from incumbent President Gerald Ford. Interestingly, as the Center for Responsive Politics’ Robert Maguire pointed out on Twitter, one of Carly Fiorina’s top campaign donors was Ted Cruz’s super PAC, Keep the Promise.
Contradictions galore –> Donald Trump delivered his much-ballyhooed foreign policy speech in Washington yesterday. Max J. Rosenthal compiled for Mother Jones a list of ways in which the speech made “no damn sense.” He writes, “The address was a baffling combination of establishment GOP foreign policy talking points, attacks pulled from Trump’s rallies and media appearances, red-meat jabs at President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and even an ‘America First’ slogan once used by 1940s Nazi sympathizers to try and keep the United States out of World War II.”
And, at ThinkProgress, Anna Perina and Tim Hegedus take a look at Trump’s nihilistic views on nuclear weapons.
“The Kremlin’s Candidate” –> That’s the headline of an article by Michael Crowley at Politico Magazine noting that Donald Trump’s seeming admiration for Vladimir Putin has not been missed by the Russian government. Its American television outlet RT, he writes, seems to be pushing the billionaire on its audience: “A network that up until now has found little to celebrate about America has finally settled on a candidate it can believe in. Vladimir Putin’s TV channel isn’t just covering the 2016 campaign: Increasingly, it’s choosing sides.”
Sanders scales back –> Yamiche Alcindor at The New York Times: “Battered by four defeats in Tuesday night’s primaries, Bernie Sanders is planning to lay off hundreds of campaign staffers across the country and focus much of his remaining effort on winning the June 7 California primary. The Vermont senator revealed the changes a day after Hillary Clinton’s victories widened her delegate lead and left her all but certain to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Despite the changes, Mr. Sanders said he would remain in the race through the party’s summer convention and stressed that he hoped to bring staff members back on board if his political fortunes improved.”
Anniversary –> On the day Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gave a speech noting the one-year anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death in police custody — sparking riots and mass protests in the city — police across town chased down and shot a 14-year-old boy who was carrying a BB gun. Tim Prudente, Kevin Rector and Justin Fenton report for the Baltimore Sun that the boy is expected to recover.
And, in an article at The Atlantic analyzing Baltimore’s mayoral primary Tuesday, Clare Foran wrote, “The past 12 months have put Baltimore at the center of a tense national conversation over police accountability and the consequences of deeply rooted racial disparity… In the wake of Gray’s fatal encounter with the police, subsequent tumultuous protests, a mistrial for one of the officers charged in connection with Gray’s death, and a crime spike, Baltimore, for better or worse, has become a poster child for government failure.”
Guilty –> Matt Zapotosky for The Washington Post: “A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former House speaker J. Dennis Hastert to one year and three months in federal prison — a term above what prosecutors had recommended and one that clearly took into account the sexual abuse allegations that generated the criminal case against the Illinois Republican… [District Judge Thomas] Durkin on multiple occasions called Hastert a ‘serial child molester,’ though he noted he could not sentence him as such.”
A little progress on climate awareness –> The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication finds that the number of conservatives who believe climate change is real doubled in the last two years, though it still remains at less than half. Unfortunately, “Only about one in six (16%) voters understand that 90% or more of climate scientists are convinced. Liberal Democrats (38%) are nearly 10 times more likely than Republicans (4%) to understand that the scientific consensus is 90% or higher, but nonetheless a majority of liberal Democrats do not yet understand this either.”
Cash in hand –> At FiveThirtyEight, Andrew Flowers takes a long deep look at what might happen if the government “just gave people money” — an idea that is increasingly gaining traction as globilization and automation give a growing population less to do. Flowers writes, “… Interest in basic income is spreading across the world. Finland and the Netherlands are developing plans to study the idea. Canada will likely see an experiment in Ontario, if not on a national level. In France, several members of Parliament have supported running an experiment, and the finance minister is open to it. And in January, Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator announced that the San Francisco-based startup fund was organizing a basic income study in the US.”
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