The world took a deep sigh, layered the Belgian flag over its Facebook profile, and went back to ordering throw pillows on Amazon. President Obama was caught doing the wave alongside Raul Castro during an exhibition baseball game in Cuba, recalling Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev’s awkward kiss cam incident during that ABA match in Leningrad. And former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford died days after Gawker, the website that ended his career, was dealt a crippling blow in court. That kind of poetry is proof that there is a God who doesn’t exist. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016:
MEDIA BUNGLES BELGIUM COVERAGE - Jack Mirkinson: "A particularly nauseating example of the media’s approach to such matters could be seen in a pair of interviews that NBC’s 'Today' did with presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In particular, both interviews contained such irresponsible and morally bankrupt conversations about torture that you wanted to throw something at the television. Trump was, of course, despicable, offering not even a single word of condolence to the victims of the attack. But what was worse was the questions Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie put to him. Challenging they were not. All of the 'Today' show’s queries were framed so as to get Trump to illuminate just how far he would go in his efforts to combat such attacks, rather than grilling him whether that approach was either right or proper … The show also spoke to Hillary Clinton by phone later in the morning. Clinton had declined to come on, but Trump’s willingness to phone in must have made her reconsider. Lauer and Guthrie were no better in their approach to her. Every single question came from a hawkish angle." [Salon]
TED CRUZ CAN DO THIS WHOLE VIGILANTE JUSTICE THING, TOO! What about some kind of anti-Muslim neighborhood watch, where America's most bored and insufferable church ladies tap on people's windows and make passive aggressive comments about their religion? Nolan McCaskill and Eliza Collins: "Ted Cruz on Tuesday called for a freeze on any new refugees from areas affected by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as new powers for law enforcement to patrol 'Muslim neighborhoods.' 'We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant Al Qaeda or ISIS presence,' the Texas senator said in a statement. 'We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.' Cruz campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart provided more details in an email to POLITICO. 'We know what is happening with these isolated Muslim neighborhoods in Europe. If we want to prevent it from happening here, it is going to require an empowered, visible law enforcement presence that will both identify problem spots and partner with non-radical Americans who want to protect their homes,' she wrote." [Politico]
PRESIDENT CHECKS OUT SOME BASEBALL - Jordyn Phelps: "President Obama explained his decision to attend a Major League Baseball exhibition game in Cuba today between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team, following this morning's terrorist attacks in Belgium. 'The whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people's ordinary lives,' President Obama said in an interview with ESPN during the game, noting that 'it's always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack anywhere in the world.' The president added that one of his 'proudest moments as president' was when Boston united in the wake of the attack on the city's marathon, complimenting Red Sox David Ortiz's in particular for declaring that Boston would not be intimidated. 'When Ortiz went out and said probably the only time that America didn't have a problem with somebody, a person on live TV, was when he talked about Boston, how strong it was and that it was not going to be intimidated,' Obama said." [ABCNews.com]
Haircuts: Daniel Marans (h/t Nick Baumann), Ashley Alman (h/t Ashley Alman)
DELANEY DOWNER - There's something in the water, Alison Young and
Mark Nichols reported in an amazing story this week: "While a harsh national spotlight focuses on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation has identified almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years. The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares. The USA TODAY NETWORK investigation also found at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require." [USATODAY]
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GOVERNMENT FAILURE AMUSE BOUCHE: SCOTUS HAS 4-4 SPLIT - This is how the world ends, not with a bang but with the upholding of a lower court's ruling without setting precedent. Greg Stohr: "A shorthanded U.S. Supreme Court divided evenly in a case for the first time since the Feb. 13 death of Justice Antonin Scalia, deadlocking in a Missouri dispute involving discrimination under a federal equal-credit law. As is the court’s custom, the justices didn’t reveal which of the eight justices were on which side of the case or provide any reasoning. A 4-4 split upholds the lower court ruling without setting a nationwide precedent. The deadlock is a victory for Community Bank of Raymore, ending a lawsuit by two women who guaranteed loans made to a development company owned by their husbands. When the loans fell into default, the bank demanded payment from the women in addition to the company." [Bloomberg]
AIPAC BASICALLY APOLOGISES FOR EVERYTHING IT HAS BECOME - Molly O'Toole: "Less than a day after Donald Trump drew enthusiastic applause and standing ovations from the crowd at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the group’s leadership took to the same stage Tuesday morning to deliver a strong rebuke of his disparaging remarks on the man he hopes to follow into the White House. 'We say, unequivocally, that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense to those that are levied against the president of the United States of America from our stage,' AIPAC President Lillian Pinkus said. 'While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the president of the United States and our president, Barack Obama. We are disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with nor condone.'" [FP]
Rihanna's "Work," but about earned media: "Through the end of February, Trump spent $33 million while winning 19 contests and racking up 680 delegates, the most of any candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. After adjusting for inflation, Trump’s total spending is lower than every other major party front-runner since leading candidates refused public financing during the primary elections in 2000." [HuffPost]
Donald Trump is not terribly enthused about D.C. statehood.
LEWANDOWSKI MULLING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST BUZZFEED - First they came for Gawker and I said nothing because omg ew Hulk Hogan sex tape. Then they came for BuzzFeed....Gabriel Sherman: "Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is considering suing BuzzFeed over an article alleging that he made unwanted sexual advances toward female journalists covering the candidate -- perhaps doing so under the influence of alcohol. ;That’s a question for the attorneys,' Lewandowski told me. 'I’m not a public person. I told [BuzzFeed reporter] McKay Coppins that his story was inaccurate. I told him not to publish. And he chose to run the story anyway.' Coppins, whose story is co-bylined with BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray, reported that Lewandowski made 'sexual comments about female journalists" and that he called “women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances.' 'It’s all conjecture,' Lewandowski said. 'Oh, an anonymous source said I did X? Does that mean I can tweet out 'Mr. Y has had inappropriate relationships with little boys'? Where is the line?' BuzzFeed declined to comment on Lewandowski's remarks." [NY Mag]
Gawker Media's Nick Denton writes about the Hulk Hogan verdict.
'I AM THE BEST' -- A POEM BY DONALD TRUMP - Nick Baumann made this work of art using the frontrunner's actual words
I have proven to be far more correct about terrorism than anybody. It’s not even close.
My primary consultant is myself.
I am the least racist person you will ever meet.
Nobody reads the Bible more than me.
I am very modest. I am the most humble celebrity.
I’m treated very unfairly.
I am the only one who can make America truly great again.
I am the worst thing that ever happened to the establishment.
I am the best to win the general election.
ROB FORD DIES - He certainly lived. David Rider and Jennifer Pagliaro: "Rob Ford, the Toronto city councillor who became the world’s most famous mayor during a wild, scandal-filled term, is dead at age 46. The married father of two young children died after 18 months of treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer first diagnosed in the midst of his 2014 bid to be re-elected mayor. Ford would have turned 47 on May 28. A brief statement from the Ford family announcing the death Tuesday described the former mayor as a 'dedicated man of the people' who 'spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto.' 'The family will not be making any statements to the media or taking any questions,' the statement said. Politicians were quick to respond to the news. 'I have known Rob Ford for many years. He was a man who spoke his mind and who ran for office because of the deeply felt convictions that he had,' Mayor John Tory said in a release." [The Star]
Check Out Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis timely Candidate Confessional featuring an interview with a guy Rob Ford defeated.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is an exploding star.
PALIN DEVELOPING NEW WAY TO JUDGE PEOPLE FOR MONEY - Tierney McAffee: Move over, Judge Judy. There could be a new TV courtroom judge coming to town – and it's none other than former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The onetime vice presidential candidate has been tapped to preside over a planned reality court show that would premiere next year, if it gets picked up by stations. She signed a deal in February with Montana-based production company Warm Springs, a source close to the process tells PEOPLE. 'It's a production deal,' the source explains. 'What happens next is she'll meet with stations, make a pilot and sell it.' Warm Springs first approached Palin with the idea in 2015 and has since put together a team that includes the TV executive who found Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown." [People]
- Channel all your frustration over the state of our world with this video of a hydraulic press crushing a hockey puck.
- A great sendup of 1980s cartoons intros.
- Why do we have butt hair?
@BrendanBuck: I’m slightly offended that you think I’d be okay with a committee hearing room venue if he was announcing (he’s not).
@MEPfuller: Talked with four members today who have endorsed Trump and only one yelled at me, so I feel good about my contribution to The Discourse.
@elisefoley: Politics: “The facts aren’t all out yet, but this [insert horrible event] reinforces everything I think and you should vote for me.”
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