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Morning Reads: Indiana Heads to the Polls; US Resettles First Climate Refugees

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Indiana Heads to the Polls

Ted Cruz greets people during a campaign rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on May 2, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Indiana primaries –> Hoosiers head to the polls today. This may be the last stand for Ted Cruz. NPR’s Jessica Taylor offers four things to watch for.

Sign of the times: first US climate refugees –> Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson at The New York Times: “In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems. One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change… ‘We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture,’ lamented Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, the tribe to which most Isle de Jean Charles residents belong. ‘It’s all going to be history.'”

Barred from school –> “The Associated Press has found that in at least 35 districts in 14 states, hundreds of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been discouraged from enrolling in schools or pressured into what advocates and attorneys argue are separate but unequal alternative programs — essentially an academic dead end, and one that can violate federal law.”

Confused Republicans –> David Jolly, a Republican congressman running for Marco Rubio’s US Senate seat in Florida — and whose forward-thinking views on campaign finance we highlighted last week — says he isn’t sure who he would vote for, Trump or Hillary Clinton. “If you’re asking me in April my position on Donald Trump in November, I don’t know what Donald Trump is going to be standing for in November,” Jolly said. “And so I’m certainly not going to take a position five or six months out.” (Jolly was thrown aggressively under the bus by the National Republican Congressional Committee last week after telling 60 Minutes that he was told by the party to raise $18,000 from donors every day.)

Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman, dean of moderate Republicans and co-chair of the bipartisan policy group No Labels, decided it would be a good idea to endorse Trump. To which Ed Kilgore of New York magazine responded, “Whatever you think of No Labels — be it brave transpartisans, elite austerians, or naïve magical thinkers — it’s hard to imagine Donald Trump fitting into their plans.”

Ban on fracking bans –> The Colorado Supreme Court yesterday overturned bans on fracking put in place by two cities, Longmont and Fort Collins. Amid concerns about climate change, water pollution and earthquakes, many towns have sought to ban fracking outright. But the Colorado high court found that state law preempts local initiatives. Nevertheless, CBS Denver reports, “The courts may not have the final say… Fracking critics hope to get at least five measures on the November ballot to amend the state Constitution to restrict the industry or allow local governments to do so.”

Climate scientists correct the record –> Xian Chiang-Waren at Grist: “A handful of respected scientists are stepping out of the lab and volunteering to fact-check climate science reporting through a relatively new project called Climate Feedback. Think of it as the Politifact or Washington Post Factchecker of climate journalism. Unlike these sites, Climate Feedback allows scientists to offer in-situ feedback to journalists and editors using an open-source web tool.” Great idea.

Troubleshooting primaries and caucuses –> Bernie Sanders is championing open primaries, which would allow independents and voters not affiliated with one of the two major parties to participate in picking a presidential nominee. Open primaries would have helped Sanders, particularly in states like New York. But Jeff Stein argues at Vox that Sanders should set his sights on another form of nominating contest that is even less democratic: the caucus. “Not only are some of them also closed to independents, but they also require voters to devote a substantial portion of their day — sometimes as much as several hours — to participate,” Stein writes. (Sanders, of course, has done quite well in states that hold caucuses — Stein sees this as a reason why abolishing the caucus might not top the candidate’s list of priorities.)

Bad for business –> This election is shaping up to be super-expensive — but it may not be quite as pricey as previously predicted, in part because the Koch brothers, unenthused by Trump, may choose to sit this one out. For now, spending is breaking records, yet those figures “may decline in the general election, with Donald Trump the most likely Republican nominee,” Paul Blumenthal writes at The Huffington Post. “Most of the party’s biggest donors either previously funded super PACs for candidates other than Trump, or are contributing to anti-Trump super PACs like Our Principles PAC. Trump has publicly disavowed super PACs that have formed to support him and has attacked the party’s elite donor class.”

What could possibly go wrong? –> Associated Press: “Georgia’s governor must make a decision about legislation allowing concealed handguns on college campuses in the state. Tuesday marks the deadline for Gov. Nathan Deal to either sign or veto the measure. He told reporters Monday that he won’t simply allow it to become effective without his signature, which is permitted under Georgia law. Deal, a Republican in his final term, wanted lawmakers to pass follow-up legislation limiting access to on-campus day care centers and other spaces. But the GOP-controlled legislature didn’t respond, saying the original bill was carefully considered.” Deal got himself in hot water a few weeks ago for vetoing his state legislature’s attempt at a North Carolina-style anti-LGBT bill. As he said yesterday, “This has not been an easy year to be governor of this state.”

Mr. Class and Charm –> Carly Fiorina fell through the stage while introducing Ted Cruz at a campaign event in Indiana. The candidate is caught on video glancing at the space where his running mate had once stood, noticing she has disappeared and turning back to shaking hands. Jezebel’s Joanna Rothkopf writes: “From this clip we can glean a lot about Cruz’s stance on women: he will not help one even if she falls off a platform in front of his face.”

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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