Thursday, March 17, 2016

Good morning everyone! Happy Thursday to you!

Joining today's show are Mark Halperin, Chris Jansing, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Joan Biskupic, Jonathan Turley, Steve Schmidt, Chuck Todd, Denis McDonough, Nancy Gibbs, Kasie Hunt, Jeff Greenfield, Alex Burns, Sara Eisen and more...About SXSW, I was there in 1994, or what they called today the pivotal year at that festival and i not only saw Johnny Cash, I also saw David Lowery (maybe as Cracker but it was outside by the hotel and man was it humid out there...I literally showered and was a sweaty mess three minutes after standing outside) play live that year. Lisa Loeb and I forget who else. I saw like 40 acts i bet that year. I actually have hat program with all the names of the bands and artists i saw that year circled in pen. I saw last week that Joe's band is playing there this year. Regardless of that segment, let's talk Trump: I consult myself on foreign policy. Donald Trump finally shared the name of someone he consults on foreign policy: himself. 
Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things."
"I know what I’m doing and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are," Trump said. “But my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff."
The New York real estate mogul has kept mum on his foreign policy team, despite promising in early February to release a list of his advisers in “about two weeks."
Trump was also asked on Wednesday morning if his foreign policy was “neoisolationist,” to which he responded “I wouldn’t say that at all.”
Trump vs. GOP: The Moment of Reckoning Has Arrived. Republicans can no longer avoid taking sides as they battle the tycoon for the soul of their party.
Hours before Donald Trump took a commanding lead in the GOP presidential delegate count by winning the Republican primaries in Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina—and placed second in Ohio behind home state favorite Gov. John Kasich—I asked Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney's chief strategist in 2012 and now a leading Republican critic of Trump, how the GOP front-runner can be stopped at this point and how far anti-Trump GOPers are willing to go to block the celebrity mogul. His succinct reply: "Hell if I know."
With Trump's victories on Tuesday night, the xenophobic tycoon poses an ever more pressing and profound test to the Republican Party. He still has not grabbed the nomination. But among the remaining candidates, he's in the best position to snatch it—or to come damn close by claiming a strong plurality of the delegates. This means that a moment of truth is nearing when every Republican—including every elected official, every candidate, and every voter—will be forced to confront a simple and basic question: Are you with Trump or against him?
In the weeks and months ahead, this question will dominate American politics. At-risk incumbent Republican senators will be compelled to provide a clear answer—and how they reply could determine whether their party maintains control of the upper chamber. From dog-catcher wannabes on up, every Republican office-seeker will have to say whether he or she is standing with the wall-building, Muslim-banning, woman-deriding, Mexican-bashing, violence-encouraging Trump or not. Forget about immigration reform, what to do about ISIS, tax cuts, the debt ceiling, or Obamacare. This will become the fundamental fault line in the party, as Rs—be they conservatives or RINOs—end up on different sides of this irreconcilable issue.
This is a dilemma entirely of the Republicans' own making. For years, many within the GOP have encouraged and exploited a politics of hate that created the toxic environment in which Trump has thrived. And until this primary season, the Republican establishment has been able to pocket the votes of anger and resentment without having to come to terms with the rage it was brewing and banking on. Take Trump out of the equation, and the 2016 GOP nomination contest was still ugly, with leading candidates seeking to gain support by appealing to the extremism within the party's base. Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign after being trounced by Trump in his home state of Florida, was for a while the Republican establishment's alternative to Trump, but on the campaign trail he pounded Hillary Clinton for Benghazi—with an attack that was false. He didn't merely disagree with President Barack Obama's policies; he declared (robotically) that Obama had purposefully plotted to ruin the United States. And he repeatedly claimed Obama was trying to take away Americans' guns; as a campaign stunt, he purchased a gun on Christmas Eve and said this was necessary so he could protect his family from ISIS. With all this rhetoric, he was trying to win the support of Republicans who had been led to believe that Obama was some some sort of secret Kenya-born socialist Muslim with a covert scheme to destroy the USA.
Ted Cruz, too, has embraced extremism. Just take a gander at his No. 1 campaign surrogate—his father, Rafael Cruz, a Bible-thumping fundamentalist pastor who routinely decries Obama as an enemy of God and calls for conservative Christians to gain control of every aspect of society. It doesn't get much more divisive than that. Or maybe it does: Ted Cruz himself has hobnobbed with a pastor who has called for gays and lesbians to be executed. Ben Carson, who for a brief time led the GOP polls, endorsed the commies-under-every-bed conspiracy theories of a paranoid nutjob who believed liberals were bent on clandestinely annihilating the nation. Chris Christie legitimized tough-guy talk by vowing to kick Obama's "rear end out of the White House" and to "beat [Hillary Clinton's] rear end" on the debate stage.
There has been plenty of crass, crude, and violent rhetoric and hate-driven extremism in the GOP race that did not originate with Trump. Who started the Republican debate on penis size? Rubio, with his crack about Trump's small hands. It's just that Trump, a showman bully, has done a better job at corralling all the dark matter of the GOP and turning it into votes. (See Kasich's recent motto: "Fight the Darkness.") Republicans surprised by Trump's rise within their ranks as the candidate of fear and loathing have not been paying attention.
The GOP long ago unleashed the dogs of hate. Now Trump, a la Montgomery Burns, controls the pack. And Republicans—or some GOPers—are wondering how to stop all this madness. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) recently vowed to start a new political party if Trump is the GOP nominee. Stuart Stevens says he would support such a move. "I think it's an individual moral choice," he notes. "But for me, Trump is bigot, and I can't support [him]." Yet organizing a new party would be an arduous task. Most states, thanks to the joint plotting of Democrats and Republicans, make it tough to get a third-party line on the ballot. It tends to be easier to win a spot on a ballot for an independent candidate. But many of the state filing deadlines for an independent presidential candidate occur before the GOP convention in mid-July. That is, anti-Trump Rs cannot wait for the convention and Trump's actual nomination to begin a third-way mission, a project that will require a great deal of money and a tremendous amount of organizing. In any event, an effort of Republicans and conservatives to mount an alternative candidate to Trump, should he snag the GOP nomination, would be difficult to pull off.
Still, the test for the GOP remains. If the Trump Express does not derail, Republicans, long before the convention convenes, will have to proclaim whether they are on or off the train. And if they are off, what are they willing to do? Rubio accused Trump of being a "con artist." How can he support any scenario in which a supposed flimflam man can gain control of the US nuclear arsenal? Romney has spoken out against Trump (though he warmly welcomed his endorsement in 2012 after Trump had gone full birther). He would not endorse a non-Trump candidate—he did campaign with Kasich in Ohio—but he urged Republicans to vote against Trump. Will he call for a new party or an alternative conservative? Though elements of the Republican establishment have mobilized against Trump (see this ad highlighting Trump's misogyny), their campaign has so far not been well organized, well financed, or well conceived. Leading conservative activists have scheduled a meeting for later this week to concoct a plan to run a conservative challenger to Trump in the fall. Yet many of the GOP's bigwigs have not been forced to declare their allegiance to either side. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, we're looking at you. (During his victory speech before a blinged-out crowd of wealthy swells on Tuesday night, Trump noted he had recently chatted with Ryan and McConnell and called on the party to unite under the Trump banner.)
With Trump's triumphs on Tuesday night, the 2016 campaign slouches toward one simple notion: a national referendum on Trump. Once upon a time, Republicans hoped this election would focus on baggage-heavy Hillary Clinton. Her Tuesday night wins in Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina keep her on the path toward the Democratic nomination, and there remains much about her and her past to fuel a passionate nationwide debate. But as of now, the November election is shaping up to be an up-or-down vote on Trump. Before that choice is presented to the general public, Republicans must grapple with Trump. Virtually nothing any Republican says will matter until he or she has announced a stand on Trump. And whether or not the anti-Trumpers create a third party or rally behind a credible independent candidate, there likely is no way for the GOP to avoid a deep fissure. Some GOPers will join Chris Christie on the Trump ride; others will recoil in horror. The Trump Question cannot be ducked—and the Republican Party may not survive this reckoning.
Clinton vs. Trump: Get Ready for the Nastiest General Election in Memory. As he looks towards the almost certain presidential battle this fall between billionaire businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, political analyst William Galston says he’s reminded of an old political maxim: “Never wrestle with a pig because you’ll just get muddied -- and the pig will love it.”
Galston, a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, and other political experts agreed on Wednesday that the nation is likely to be treated to one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns on record. “I think this will be an historically dirty campaign, and we’ve had some bad ones,” said veteran pollster John Zogby. “This will be historically and classically bad, because Trump has no filter whatsoever. He is constantly on the offense even when he’s on the defense.”
The blustery, outrageously insulting Trump destroyed GOP opponents throughout the 2016 campaign season with relentless attacks: Think “low energy” Jeb Bush or “lying Ted Cruz” or “little” Marco Rubio or physically unappealing Carly Fiorina with “that face.”
The general election campaign this fall may be like nothing Americans have seen since the 1964 clash between Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson and conservative Republican challenger Barry Goldwater. That’s when the Democrats aired a controversial TV ad implying that Goldwater would unleash nuclear war if he were president. You would have to go back to 1884 to find an even dirtier campaign. Voters were treated to a slugfest between Democratic nominee Grover Cleveland and Republican James Blaine – one that was rife with charges of graft and corruption and Cleveland’s illegitimate child.
Even before he came close to locking up the GOP nomination Tuesday night with victories in Florida, North Carolina and Illinois, Trump began blasting Clinton as likely jailbait because of her mishandling of sensitive government email during her tenure at the State Department. He also denounced her as a hypocrite for calling him a sexist in light of her husband’s White House sex scandal involving a young intern, Monica Lewinsky. Trump also startled many last December by declaring it was “disgusting” that Hillary Clinton took a bathroom break during a Democratic presidential debate.
“He can brook no criticism, and all he knows how to do is counterpunch,” Zogby explained Wednesday. “And it’s no-holds barred. So this will be Monica’s blue dress, this will be [Bill Clinton’s]  bimbo eruptions, this will be the Clintons’ White Water [business deals in Arkansas] and we haven’t even gotten to Benghazi yet.”
Trump insists he’s spoiling for a direct fight with Clinton who currently far exceeds Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the delegate count for the Democratic nomination. “I haven’t even focused on Hillary Clinton,” Trump has said repeatedly, including during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America March 1. “I can tell you the one person that Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to run against is me.”
Clinton, of course, is no shrinking violet and she has plenty of material about Trump to work with—if she chooses. That could range from the extramarital affairs of the thrice-married Trump to allegations of high-pressure sales tactics at the now moribund Trump University to the seemingly endless stream of insults against Hispanics, Muslims, women and even disabled people. She boasted recently of having a “thick skin” after 25 years of weathering conservative attacks against her and her husband, and she said that she was eager to begin drawing sharp contrasts between herself and Trump on policy, government experience and temperament.
“When we hear a candidate for president call for the rounding up of 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States…when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong--it makes him wrong,” Clinton said Tuesday night during her victory speech in West Palm Beach, Florida.
What’s more, most recent polls suggest that Clinton would beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup this fall, if they become their parties’ nominees. A recent CNN/ORC poll, for instance, shows Clinton easily topping Trump in a matchup, 52 percent to 44 percent, while Sanders, the Vermont democratic socialist senator, would beat Trump as well, 55 percent to 43 percent.
“I think she is every bit as tough as Trump is,” said former House member Martin O. Frost of Texas, a lawyer and one-time Democratic leader who has been involved in presidential campaigns dating back to the late 1960s. “And anybody who doesn’t understand that hasn’t been paying attention. It’s just a question of how mean and ugly he makes this race.”
“You are talking about two universally known figures here,” David Axelrod, a Democratic strategist and former Obama campaign advisers, told The New York Times yesterday. “The strong feeling that each generates is unusual.”
Clinton has dismissed Trump as a bully and  public policy ignoramus  who is more comfortable riling his supporters and targeting protesters with threats of violence than engaging in thoughtful debate over the economy, immigration, health care and national security.
Tough talk by Clinton is one thing, but going head to head with the blustery billionaire is something quite different.
As he demonstrated in demolishing the short-lived campaign of Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Trump has no compunction about belittling or attacking a woman on the campaign trail or in a nationally televised debate. Whether that tactic would work against Clinton remains to be seen. She won her first term as senator in 2000 after her GOP rival, Rick Lazio, became too aggressive during a televised debate. Getting down in the gutter with Trump would be a major mistake for her, some experts warn, and Clinton would be well advised to leave most of the dirty work to her surrogates or vice presidential nominee.
Zogby recalled what happened to Rubio, the Florida senator who recently gambled by exchanging barbed, personal insults with Trump in a nationally televised GOP debate from Detroit and during subsequent campaign appearances. Trump gained the upper hand in those exchanges before driving Rubio out of the race with a solid victory in Florida Tuesday.
What’s more, Trump is practiced in delivering withering assessments of Clinton’s career as First Lady, a New York senator and finally Secretary of State. He insists that she failed miserably in pressing for national health care reforms during her husband’s administration, and that she erred as a senator in supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Just as Sanders is doing, Trump has criticized Clinton for having supported NAFTA and other international trade deals that cost millions of US jobs. And Trump contends that Clinton was wrong to help convince President Obama to support military action in Libya.
All of these moves were “disasters,” Trump insists, and Clinton will go down in history as the “worst” Secretary of State.
But Frost argues that Trump would enter the race with huge negatives, especially among minority groups and illegal immigrants he has targeted as criminals and rapists. While he has generated enormous Republican enthusiasm for his pledge to “Make America Great Again,” knock the “crap” out of terrorists, and negotiate “great” trade deals with our allies, polls suggest that Trump is even more unpopular with the American public overall than Clinton, who many distrust or dislike.
What’s more, Trump would probably get limited mileage out of attacking her on her email woes – especially if the FBI concludes in the coming months that she did nothing illegal -- or mocking the record of Bill Clinton. Trump has done best when he divides his enemies and taps into the anger of many of the “forgotten” Republicans, conservative Democrats and independents, who are fed up with the status quo and are energized by Trump’s political “outsider” message.
“There are some interesting issues here, some of which don’t work as well for Trump in the general election as they did in the primary,” Frost said. “But the anger issue – stoking the resentment of blue collar, non-educated whites who say they are somehow being screwed by the system – if that’s the kind of campaign he runs; it will be mean and ugly.”
And as Galston, a Brookings Institution political policy expert, noted, “I think his key electability weakness is the very long list of voters he’s insulted and attempted to marginalize.”
John Kasich is the establishment’s last best hope against Trump. Donald Trump’s march to the nomination is up against a roadblock in Ohio: Kasichmentum.
Gov. John Kasich, who barely registered in national polls for most of the primary, just beat Trump in his home state of Ohio, a winner-take-all state worth 66 delegates.
It still puts Kasich behind Ted Cruz in the delegate count, which doesn’t make for an easy path to victory. But winning the nomination at this point is not Kasich’s primary goal. Rather, he is positioning himself to strip as many delegates away from Trump as possible – and he’s gambling that if he plays his cards right, he might be the person to prevail in the ensuing chaos.
The Republican establishment is hoping Trump will arrive at the convention with only a plurality of delegates, rather than the majority needed to win the nomination outright. That could potentially let them block him through a contested convention. But to have a decent chance, they need someone to beat Trump in at least one big state on Tuesday. Now that Marco Rubio was blown out in Florida, that leaves Kasich as the establishment’s last best hope.
Kasich has positioned himself as the anti-Trump
Throughout the primary season, Kasich has deliberately campaigned as the only "nice guy" in the field, declining to take swipes at his opponents for incremental political gains.
He has sought to make his pragmatism a point of contrast between himself and Trump, particularly after bouts of violence broke out at Trump rallies over the weekend, incited by Trump’s rhetoric.
"Ohio is going to send a message that we don't accept those kinds of tactics," he said at a rally this weekend. "That's why I'm going to win in this state, that's why it'll be a whole new ballgame."
But even earlier in the campaign, when Kasich was seeking to make himself competitive in New Hampshire, he softened what were often described as "brusque" or "cranky" edges. On the trail, he referred to himself as "the prince of light and hope" – an obvious allusion to Trump’s insults and rage.
To be fair, though numerous reports rebut his "nice guy" persona, Kasich has seemed to display more of a concern for the poor and disadvantaged, even before he decided to run for president.
In 2013, he became one of the few Republicans to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and vetoed Republican legislators’ efforts to undo that expansion. (That action alone has fueled many of the claims that Kasich is a "moderate.") He has also been known to increase spending on anti-poverty welfare programs, a fact that has not won him many friends among Republican politicians.
And those efforts, combined with an optimistic tone on the trail, seem to be paying off for Kasich in states that have large proportions of voters looking for a more pragmatic Trump alternative.
In New Hampshire, for example, exit polling shows that voters looking for a clear Trump alternative turned to Kasich. Voters who said they were "dissatisfied" (rather than "angry") with Washington overwhelmingly voted for Kasich. Republicans with a college degree picked Kasich, while Trump drew a groundswell of support from voters with only a high school education. And Kasich was the top choice of Republicans saying they’d like to elect a president with previous experience in government, even beating out Marco Rubio in New Hampshire.
Kasich is an orthodox Republican who knows how to work across the aisle
In contrast to the frontrunners – who have adopted extreme, arguably unachievable positions such as deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants – Kasich has been wrongly cast as a moderate.
Kasich is no moderate. More precisely, he is an orthodox Republican on fiscal and social issues, with an occasional independent streak.
The Ohio Republican got his start in politics with an election to the state Senate in 1976. Kasich, who ousted a sitting Democrat, was only 26 at the time and became the youngest state senator in Ohio’s history.
He went on to serve in the House from 1983 to 2001, developing his reputation as a devout fiscal conservative. He targeted programs for cuts across the board, including programs supported by both Democrats and fellow Republicans. He teamed up with an unlikely ally, Ralph Nader, to cut down on corporate tax loopholes, and elsewhere took repeated aim at wasteful defense spending.
During his career in the House, Kasich is perhaps best known for chairing the Budget Committee in the latter half of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Under his leadership, Congress balanced the federal budget for the first time in nearly 30 years, partly by means-testing Medicare. He also shepherded passage of the oft-maligned welfare reform bill of 1996, which made welfare benefits more temporary.
Kasich also talks about his time in the House to demonstrate his willingness to cross the aisle. Though that was occasionally true – he famously voted in favor of the 1994 assault weapons ban, a fact he’s not likely to publicize now – he mostly stuck to his fiscally conservative agenda.
As governor of Ohio, a position he gained in 2010, Kasich has furthered this record as an unmistakable conservative. One of his first acts in public office was an attempt to restrict the power of public employee unions, similar to the type of reform that his northern neighbor, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, achieved.
He signed a law that prohibited all public employees from striking and restricted their ability to negotiate health care and pension benefits. But the law received swift backlash. In 2011, a repeal measure was placed on the Ohio ballot, and the law was struck down by a 61 to 39 percent margin. Following that defeat, Kasich dropped further efforts to curb collective bargaining.
But he has forged ahead on other issues. He has opposed regulating coal in his state, a major industry there, despite being one of the few Republicans in his party to acknowledge human involvement in climate change.
He opposed any efforts to legalize recreational or medical marijuana in his state, though when asked whether he would enforce federal drug laws against states who have legalized the substance, he wavered.
And on the issue of abortion, Kasich’s loyalties are unequivocal: He signed no fewer than 16 new anti-abortion provisions into Ohio law, including one barring abortion providers from seeking admitting privileges with public hospitals. (Abortion providers are required to have such admitting privileges at a hospital to remain open.) He also stripped about $1.4 million in funding from Planned Parenthood, sending chunks of the money instead to crisis pregnancy centers, which do not provide abortion referrals.
Overall, he maintains a favorable rating in the high 70s among Ohio Republicans, a sign he’s kept his party pleased. The fact that Trump has nevertheless made Ohio a competitive primary state, against a hugely popular sitting governor, is a real testament to how much Trump has upended the race.
Kasich can’t win the nomination, but that’s not the point
Over the past few weeks, Kasich remained laser-focused on winning Ohio, barnstorming up and down the state with a fiercely optimistic and anti-Trump message.
His campaign organization, in coordination with the state Republican Party, has laid out a formidable ground game that his team is betting will win him the state.
From here, they’re hoping his win will propel him to the sort of name recognition needed to win Northeastern states, where the primary calendar will soon turn.
But the delegate math is daunting. Ohio, one of the first winner-take-all states, carries 66 delegates. That more than doubles Kasich’s present total, at 63. Still, his current standing makes it essentially impossible for him to reach the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright, even if he does begin racking up wins in more states as the race progresses. (That proposition in itself is daunting, given Trump’s successes in states like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.)
Trump, who currently holds 464 delegates, is much closer to reaching the magic number – which was why Kasich wanted to snatch Ohio away from him.
Kasich is no longer pretending that the reality is any different, openly acknowledging that his strategy involves forcing a contested convention.
"No one is going to have the numbers," he said on ABC last week.
Commentators have therefore included Kasich in a larger stop-Trump strategy, framing the stakes in Ohio as more of a blow to Trump than a personal victory for the Ohio governor.
Mitt Romney, who has implored the Republican Party to do what it can to stop Trump, recorded robocalls supporting Kasich in Ohio and Rubio in Florida.
Even Rubio’s campaign, in a last-ditch stop Trump effort, urged voters in Ohio to pick Kasich over him in that contest.
But Kasich, ever the optimist, has his own ideas. His campaign rejected Rubio’s support and did not instruct Kasich voters in Florida to flock to Rubio, as some Republicans might have hoped.
In refusing to cooperate in a coordinated Trump takedown strategy, Kasich may be inadvertently helping the frontrunner by continuing to split votes.

But in his estimation, the move was necessary to force Rubio out of the race, leaving him as the last establishment Republican standing. It worked.
North Korean propaganda? U.S. student confesses in performance worthy of an Oscar

TomoNews US
President Obama chooses Merrick Garland for US Supreme Court as ‘consensus’ candidate
TomoNews US
5 facts about Merrick Garland, Supreme Court nominee. The eyes of the Beltway focused on Merrick Garland on Wednesday after President Obama nominated Garland, the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as late Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor.
“I’ve selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, evenhandedness and excellence,” Obama said during an announcement in the White House Rose Garden.
For those getting up to speed on Garland’s reputation, past and implications for the makeup of the Supreme Court, here are five facts about him.
Was confirmed by seven sitting GOP senators in 1997
In 1997, Chief Judge Garland was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, 76-23, with the majority support of both major parties. This included the support of seven current GOP senators: Dan Coats (Indiana), Thad Cochran (Mississippi), Susan Collins (Maine), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhofe (Oklahoma), John McCain (Arizona) and Pat Roberts (Kansas).
For 19 years, Garland has served on that court, which is considered among the most important appellate courts in the United States. He has been chief judge of the D.C. Circuit for more than three years.
Would be the oldest justice to get confirmed in 40 years
Garland was born in Illinois on Nov. 13, 1952. At 63, his confirmation would make him the oldest justice to join the Supreme Court in 44 years. Justice Lewis Powell was 64 when he joined the court in 1972. Powell retired in 1987 and died in 1998 at the age of 90.
Judge Merrick Garland, center, after President Obama announced his nomination to the Supreme Court in the White House Rose Garden, March 16, 2016. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Would make five of nine sitting justices Harvard Law grads
If he is appointed, Garland would give the court five graduates of Harvard Law School: John G. Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended Harvard Law but transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated. Three justices are Yale Law School alums: Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Would make the court 5 Catholics, 4 Jews
When it comes to religion, Garland’s appointment would give the court four Jewish justices: The others are Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan. The five remaining justices are Catholic: Thomas, Sotomayor, Alito, Kennedy and Roberts.
Would make three former prosecutors on the court
Garland, a former deputy assistant U.S. attorney general during President Clinton’s first term, would be the third sitting justice with prosecutorial experience — joining Sotomayor and Alito. Garland supervised the Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber cases. When he was a potential nominee in 2010, SCOTUSBlog, a popular law blog written by lawyers and law students, reviewed his then 13 years as a D.C. circuit judge in criminal cases. “Judge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendants’ appeals of their convictions,” the blog reported.
Sen. Bernie Sanders says he still sees a path to the Democratic presidential nomination, even after Hillary Clinton won at least four more nominating contests on Tuesday. Sanders is pinning his hopes on contests coming up in the West.
“With more than half the delegates yet to be chosen and a calendar that favors us in the weeks and months to come, we remain confident that our campaign is on a path to win the nomination,” he said in a statement.
Sanders believes his campaign, fueled by passionate supporters donating online, can continue until final contests in June. He will hold events this week in Arizona, Idaho and Utah, where voters will go to the polls on Tuesday and where Sanders expects to do well. His campaign also sees opportunities in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state, which hold caucuses the following Saturday, on March 26.
But the Vermont independent’s path forward looks less likely, mathematically, after Clinton's victories Tuesday in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio marked an apparent turning point in the campaign. On Wednesday, the primary in Missouri remained too close to call, with Clinton up by just 1,531 votes out of 619,673 cast.
Clinton now has 1,139 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 825. When counting superdelegates, who are free to support the candidate of their choice, the former secretary of State is only 777 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to clinch the nomination. Sanders is 1,532 delegates short.
The Sanders campaign believes superdelegates will follow the will of voters if he wins future contests. In terms of pledged delegates, this is the "high water mark" for Clinton's campaign and Sanders will soon begin to erode that advantage, Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said Wednesday.
"There are going to be some important showdowns over the next few weeks," Weaver said in a conference call with reporters.
However, Sanders would need to win 58% of remaining pledged delegates — or 66% of all remaining delegates, including superdelegates — to tie Clinton, said David Wasserman, who analyzes delegate counts for the Cook Political Report.
"It ain't happening," Wasserman wrote in an email. "The Democratic race is pretty much over. The pressure to leave the race will intensify, but as long as he's still 'mathematically' in contention, don't expect him to respond to it."
Clinton hasn't called on Sanders to leave the race, but her victory speech Tuesday night focused on defeating Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in the general election.
“We are moving closer to securing the Democratic Party nomination and winning this election in November,” she said.
After Sanders scored an upset victory in Michigan's primary on March 8, expectations were high that he would perform well in the three Midwestern industrial states — Illinois, Missouri and Ohio — that held contests on Tuesday. In advance of those primaries, Sanders hammered Clinton for supporting trade deals that he said had moved jobs overseas.
But exit polls in Ohio showed Clinton won among voters who believe trade with other countries would cost U.S. jobs, as well as voters who believe it would create jobs. She also won among those most concerned about the economy and jobs.
In Florida, she won by a large margin among Latinos, who are key to winning the nomination.
When she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Clinton didn’t suspend her campaign until June, after Barack Obama had secured enough delegates to become the nominee. But Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook noted in an open memo Wednesday that Clinton’s lead over Sanders in pledged delegates is nearly twice as large as any lead Obama enjoyed in 2008.
Mook conceded that Sanders likely will win the next five caucuses and do well in Arizona, where he said Sanders has invested more than $1.5 million in ads.
“But our pledged delegate lead is so significant that even a string of victories by Sen. Sanders over the next few weeks would have little impact on Sec. Clinton’s position in the race,” he wrote.

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Sunset Daily News
17 March 2016
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Don Lichterman: Good morning!
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thumbnail donlichterman­.blogspot­.com -  And then there were 3...We'll bring you all of ‪#‎SuperTuesday‬'s results. Joining the show today is Donald J. Trump along with David Plouffe, and Carly Fiorina! Joe and Mika report and discuss la...
Don Lichterman: Progressive Breakfast: The Campaigns Remain Contested
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thumbnail donlichterman­.blogspot­.com - MORNING MESSAGE Clinton’s base – older Democratic voters – is voting for continuity. They favor continuing Obama’s policies, not changing them. They favor experience and electability over honesty a...
Don Lichterman: Brand New Movies and Movie Sets released at SHE (Sunset Home Visual Entertainment) This week!
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thumbnail donlichterman­.blogspot­.com - - All About The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 - Wag The Dog (New Line Platinum Series) - Lil' Bush - Resident of United States - Season One - Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads - Michael Ph...
Obama to Nominate Merrick Garland to Supreme Court
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Democracy Now!
thumbnail www­.nytimes­.com - WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday will nominate Merrick B. Garland as the nation’s 113th justice, according to top Senate Democratic officials, choosing a centrist appeals court judge widel...
How one of the most obese countries on earth took on the soda giants
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The Guardian
thumbnail www­.theguardian­.com - Mexicans love their soda. Construction workers go to their jobs in the early morning clutching giant two-litre or even three-litre bottles. Babies in strollers suck on bottles filled with orange so...