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Morning Reads: Paul Ryan Says He’s Not Running For President, Asks to Be Left Alone

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

Morning Reads: Ryan Says He's Not Running

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a news conference at the Republican Party headquarters on Capitol Hill, April 12, 2016. With the prospect of a brokered political convention in Cleveland this summer, Ryan emphasized that he will not seek the nomination if a clear winner cannot be found. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Setting the record straight –> House Speaker Paul Ryan wants you to know: He’s not running for president. So he requests that you please stop saying he is. “Count me out: I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party to be the president, you should actually run for it,” he said yesterday. “I chose not to do this, therefore I should not be considered, period, end of story.”

But, at Business Insider, Josh Barro speculates that Paul Ryan was self-promoting in a way that sure looked a lot like a presidential campaign — because he’ll soon need new-president levels of support: “All this positioning has never been about 2016. It’s about 2017… By early next year, Ryan could be the only prominent establishment Republican whose reputation has not been destroyed through loss to Trump, supplication to Trump, defeat in a Senate race because Donald Trump is losing a landslide at the top of the ticket, or some other similarly horrible fate.”

NC governor rearranges the deckchairs –> North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, among other things, bars towns and cities from enacting laws that protect LGBT people from being fired from a job or barred from a public establishment. It has faced widespread condemnation both inside and outside the state; Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert there, and PayPal scrapped plans to open a new facility employing 400. Governor Pat McCrory, attempting to manage the outrage, announced an executive order tweaking the law and, among other things, barring discrimination against LGBT state employees. But, as Vox’s Geman Lopez writes, his tweaks “basically changed nothing.” The ACLU described them as “a band-aid on a brain hemorrhage.”

History likes irony –> Your remember Gordon Gekko — the cigar-smoking, suspender-wearing, cultural symbol of greed played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film Wall Street. The corporate raider on whom Gekko was partially based is endorsing Bernie Sanders. In an op-ed for The Guardian, Asher Edelman writes, “No candidate other than Bernie Sanders is capable of taking the steps necessary to protect the American people from a repeat of the recent debacle that plunged the nation into a recession from which we have not recovered.”

The system is rigged –> That’s Donald Trump’s perspective on the GOP’s rules for winning the presidental nomination. Though he remains the frontrunner, he is losing ground to Ted Cruz, and even losing delegates in states he already won. Jeremy Peters and Jonathan Martin at The New York Times suggest Trump’s own disorganization is the real culprit: “By blaming the process rather than his own inadequacies as a manager, Mr. Trump is trying to shift focus after Senator Ted Cruz of Texas outmaneuvered him in delegate contests in states like Colorado, North Dakota and Iowa, losses that could end up denying Mr. Trump the nomination.”

Surprise! –> The New York Observer, owned by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and whose top editor Ken Kurson helped write Trump’s March 21 AIPAC speech, is endorsing… Donald Trump! Political analyst Jeff Greenfield tweeted, “This endorsement of Trump… reads like the Pyongyang Times backing Kim Jong Un.”

Another black day for coal –> Peabody Coal is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Tiffany Kary and Tim Loh at Bloomberg: “Founded in 1883 by 24-year-old Francis S. Peabody with $100, a wagon and two mules, the miner is now the largest private-sector coal company in the world, with customers in 25 countries and about 8,000 employees, according to its website. It joins at least four other coal companies that have sought bankruptcy as the industry endures its worst downturn in decades.”

To infinity and beyond –> Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner have a plan: teeny-tiny spaceships. At Gizmodo, Maddie Stone writes, “The first step of the program involves building light-propelled ‘nanocrafts’ that can travel at relativistic speeds—up to 20 percent the speed of light. At such high velocities, the robotic spacecraft would pass Pluto in three days and reach our nearest neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri, just over 20 years after launch.”

Run, Inky, run! –> Eleanor Ainge Roy reports for The Guardian that Inky, an octopus in New Zealand’s National Aquarium, has managed a daring escape. “Staff believe that in the middle of the night, while the aquarium was deserted, Inky clambered to the top of his cage, down the side of the tank and travelled across the floor of the aquarium… then, sensing freedom was at hand, into a drainpipe that [leads] directly to the sea.”

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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