POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Washington Abuzz Over Paul Ryan's Veep Pick

A Russian fighter jet buzzed a Navy destroyer, a move known to international relation theorists as "o hai." Several members of Congress want a “National Day of Reason,” though we're pretty sure the parliamentary term is adjournment sine die. And Ted Cruz once argued against sexual gratification as a right. Considering Cruz procreates by fertilizing a clutch of eggs in his mouth, such detachment from human sexuality isn’t surprising. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, April 12th, 2016:

CHILDREN TERRIFIED OF DONALD TRUMP - And not just different-foods-touching terrified. Actually terrified. Christina Wilkie: "According to a new report by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center titled 'The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools,' the race is stoking fears and racial tensions in America’s classrooms. 'My students are terrified of Donald Trump. They think that if he’s elected, all black people will get sent back to Africa,' one middle school teacher told the SPLC. The teacher was one of more than 2,000 educators who opted to take a survey conducted through the SPLC’s 'Teaching Tolerance' program. 'I have had Muslim students called terrorists,” said another teacher who submitted comments to the survey. 'There is a boy from Mexico, who is a citizen, who is terrified that the country will deport him if Trump wins,” wrote a third teacher. 'He is also scared that kids and grown-ups can and will hurt him.' Overall, more than two-thirds of the teachers who took the survey reported that their students -- mainly Muslims, immigrants and children of immigrants -- were worried about what could happen to them and their families after the November election." [HuffPost]

TRUMP UNLIKELY TO WIN ON SECOND BALLOT - Ed O'Keefe: "Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is close to ensuring that Donald Trump cannot win the GOP nomination on a second ballot at the party’s July convention in Cleveland, scooping up scores of delegates who have pledged to vote for him instead of the front-runner if given the chance. The push by Cruz means that it is more essential than ever for Trump to clinch the nomination by winning a majority of delegates to avoid a contested and drawn-out convention fight, which Trump seems almost certain to lose. The GOP race now rests on two cliffhangers: Can Trump lock up the nomination before Cleveland? And if not, can Cruz cobble together enough delegates to win a second convention vote if Trump fails in the first? … Cruz’s chances rest on exploiting a wrinkle in the GOP rule book: that delegates assigned to vote for Trump at the convention do not actually have to be Trump supporters. Cruz is particularly focused on getting loyalists elected to delegate positions even in states that the senator from Texas lost." [WaPo]

Bernie comes out against our corporate parent: "Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) boosted the cause of striking Verizon workers on Wednesday, joining them on a picket line in New York City and blasting the telecom giant in a sidewalk speech. Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers on the East Coast went on strike early Wednesday morning after 10 months of negotiations with the company failed to produce a new contract. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions represent the workers." [HuffPost's Dave Jamieson]

DELANEY DOWNER - From the food stamps mailbag, a writer reports on the John Kasich / Bill Clinton "work requirement": "I have been receiving SNAP since October 2009, a few months later I was homeless for a year and a half. Due to the 20/hour a week restriction; my benefits are cut off due to me working as a temp manual laborer who only gets 12-18 hours per week (which does not meet the requirements)." Hang in there!

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LOL REGULAR ORDER - Remember all those "It's been X days since the Democrats passed a budget?" tweets in your Republican Twitter feed? Jake Sherman and Burgess Everett: "[H]ere we are, on April 13, with Republicans holding both chambers of Congress, and there isn't a budget in sight… In fact, they won't just miss the mid-April deadline by a day or two. There's a better-than-even chance that the House and Senate will never pass a budget together, and there’s an even better chance that neither chamber will pass a budget before the election...The reality lays bare a few critical dynamics. Republicans have undermined one of their core arguments for governing. On key fiscal matters, they have not been able to normalize legislating and hopes for regular order have been dashed. And that Congress can completely forgo a budget without consequence shows that the non-binding process means little and proves to be just an annoyance for the party in power." [Politico]

NOW YOU TELL US - "It’s a hoax. The assumptions that are made are totally unrealistic, there’s no policies behind them to follow up. So I’m in favor of is a total redo of the entire budget process, because it’s such a joke as it is right now," fumed Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. "It is meaningless relative to our fiscal discipline." [Politico]

RYAN STILL WANTS A BUDGET - Matt Fuller: "If you were looking for proof that Speaker Paul Ryan can sometimes back down from a promise, look no further than the budget. With GOP leadership now finally acknowledging that they don’t have the votes to move a spending blueprint through the House, the Wisconsin Republican appears to be backing off an earlier pledge that his chamber wouldn’t pass appropriations bills unless it could agree to an overall budget number. During a weekly press conference with Republican leaders, Ryan said it was still his goal to find agreement on a budget, but that leaders were discussing some backup plans. 'We’re keeping all options open,' he said. 'We’re not foreclosing any options.' When Ryan was pressed on whether it was standard legislative procedure to move appropriations bills without a budget or a so-called deeming resolution — a piece of legislation that simply outlines the top-line spending numbers for individual appropriations bills — he reiterated that Republicans weren’t ruling anything out." [HuffPost]

CONFIDONETIAL? - Julian Hattem: "The Obama administration is considering a proposal to kill off the lowest tier of classification amid escalating scrutiny on top government officials’ ability to safeguard sensitive information. In a memo circulated to intelligence agency leaders last month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked for feedback about getting rid of the 'confidential' level of classification. 'Please comment on whether the CONFIDENTIAL classification level can be eliminated from your agencies’ guides and the negative impacts this might have on mission success,' Clapper wrote to the heads of the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and three other federal intelligence offices in his three-page memo...It also could have beneficial effects for Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose private email server contained thousands of messages now considered classified. The vast majority of the roughly 2,000 documents on Clinton’s machine are considered confidential." [The Hill]

In other national security news, Russia prompted a lot of "Top Gun" jokes on Twitter.

O HAI DODD-FRANK - Lisa Lambert: "Five out of eight of the biggest U.S. banks do not have credible plans for winding down operations during a crisis without the help of public money, federal regulators said on Wednesday, saying the institutions could face stricter oversight if they do not fix their plans. The 'living wills' that the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation jointly agreed were not credible came from Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, J.P. Morgan Chase, State Street, Wells Fargo. The requirement for a living will was part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation passed in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when the U.S. government spent billions of dollars on bailouts to keep big banks from failing and wrecking the U.S. economy." [Reuters]

DON'T READ THIS STORY IF YOU WANT TO EAT DINNER - OK, read on, you sick, sick masochist. David Corn: "In 2004, companies that owned Austin stores selling sex toys and a retail distributor of such products challenged a Texas law outlawing the sale and promotion of supposedly obscene devices...In 2007, Cruz's legal team, working on behalf of then-Attorney General Greg Abbott (who now is the governor), filed a 76-page brief calling on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to uphold the lower court's decision and permit the law to stand…In perhaps the most noticeable line of the brief, Cruz's office declared, 'There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one's genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.' That is, the pursuit of such happiness had no constitutional standing. And the brief argued there was no 'right to promote dildos, vibrators, and other obscene devices.' The plaintiffs, it noted, were 'free to engage in unfettered noncommercial speech touting the uses of obscene devices,'
but not speech designed to generate the sale of these items." [Mother Jones]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's an elephant mother and baby.

COMFORT FOOD

- Who needs a buzzsaw when you can cut a Maglite in halfwith water?

- Taiwanese animators look back at Kobe Bryant's career.

TWITTERAMA

publication: Ted Cruz thinks people don't have a right to "stimulate their genitals." I was his college roommate. This would be a new belief of his.

@ggreeneva:
I DON’T WANT
AANNNYBODY ELSE
WHEN I THINK ABOOOUUUT TED
I … ::falls mute::

@alneuhauser: Any other reporter's heart stop whenever you get an email with the subject line, "Your story on X?"

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