Wednesday Reads: Take my wife, please…

 In the latest showdown between the two jokers vying for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz revive an old Henny Youngman bit….with a bit of a twist.  Actually, I should say tweet because this skit played out on the Twitter.

Y’all have to remember Henny Youngman was known as The King of the One-liners. And the famous of Youngman’s jokes, the punchline was, “Take my wife, please. ”

Well…keep that in mind as you check this out:

GOP Primary Contest Continues to Resemble Third-Grade Playground | Mother Jones

Liz Mair was anti-Trump before being anti-Trump was cool. After being let go from the Scott Walker campaign last March, she spent months during the summer and fall trying to get conservatives to take the threat of Trump seriously. In December she started up a super PAC dedicated to defeating him. But Mair also has a sense of humor—something that’s gotten her in trouble before. Her super PAC was called Make America Awesome.

Anyway, Mair decided to run a Facebook ad in Utah that featured Trump’s wife, Melania, from a nude photoshoot she did many years ago:

Of course this did not go over well and Trump reacted in the usual…Trumpy-douche fashion….

GOP Primary Contest Continues to Resemble Third Grade Playground Mother Jones

Sigh.

imageLadies and gentlemen, this is your Republican presidential primary. Slut shaming, schoolyard threats, and puerile taunts all carried out in full public view on Twitter. Are you feeling sorry for the demise of the smoke-filled room yet?

Well, that is what they call entertainment today…right?

Reality TV?

Later on however…..

Trump tweets threat about Cruz’s wife – POLITICO

Liz Mair, who co-founded the anti-Trump super PAC, took to Twitter to set Trump straight about the ad’s provenance.

Trump tweets threat about Cruz s wife POLITICO

Heidi Cruz took an upaid absence as an managing director with Goldman Sachs last year after her husband began his presidential campaign. Cruz met her husband while working on the George W. Bush campaign in 2000, marrying in 2001.

imageWhile it is unclear what Trump could be referring to with respect to Cruz’s wife, BuzzFeed News reported last March on a heavily redacted 2005 police report where Heidi Cruz was spotted sitting on the ground near a Texas highway outside of Austin. According to the report itself, Heidi Cruz displayed no “signs of intoxication.”

“About a decade ago, when Mrs. Cruz returned from D.C. to Texas and faced a significant professional transition, she experienced a brief bout of depression,” Jason Miller, an adviser to Cruz, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News at the time, in response to inquiries. “Like millions of Americans, she came through that struggle with prayer, Christian counseling, and the love and support of her husband and family.”

imageMore on this crap here: Donald Trump Threatens to ‘Spill the Beans’ on Cruz’s Wife After Racy Photo of Melania Trump Used in Ad – ABC News

Ted Cruz: Donald Trump’s attack on my wife shows his character – POLITICO

Now for the results of yesterday’s primaries/caucuses:

Trump, Clinton win in Arizona; Sanders takes Utah, Idaho – NY Daily News

imageClinton edges closer to nomination with Arizona win

Ted Cruz Wins Utah Republican Caucus

Bernie Sanders wins Utah Democratic caucuses

Clinton and Trump Win Arizona; Cruz Picks Up Utah; Sanders Takes 2 – The New York Times

Jeb Bush endorses Ted Cruz – POLITICO

Club For Growth Decides to Back Ted Cruz – WSJ

 

imageThe Trump v Clinton movie is coming. The primaries are just a subplot | Jeb Lund | Opinion | The Guardian

Trump and Clinton Clash After Brussels Attacks – Bloomberg Politics

Cruz: ‘Empower Law Enforcement To Patrol And Secure Muslim Neighborhoods’ : NPR – I can’t even comment on that one.

Ted Cruz: Police need to ‘patrol’ Muslim neighborhoods – CNNPolitics.com

Shakesville: Ted Cruz Urges “Patrol and Secure” of Muslim Communities

imageTrump says Muslims not doing enough to prevent attacks | Reuters

GOP Senate Candidate Blames Brussels Attack On Hillary Clinton

 

Oh gawd, help me…Trump Says He Will Delegate Supreme Court Appointments To The Heritage Foundation | ThinkProgress

 

There have been new developments overnight in the Brussels IS terrorist attacks.

Suspected Brussels attacker still on the run, brothers ID’d – NY Daily News

imageBrussels attacks: 2 suicide bombers identified – Business Insider

2 Brothers Identified as Brussels Attackers; 3rd Suspect Is Sought – The New York Times

Pictures of brothers and suspect still at large can be found here: Brussels Attacks: Suicide Bombers Were Brothers – NBC News

The latest news can be found here: World News liveblog | Reuters.com

imageThere are still some Americans missing according to a Reuters report.

More on Brussels….

Why was Brussels attacked? – AJE News

Cities lit up in tribute to Brussels victims – in pictures | World news | The Guardian

#BrusselsAttacks: Grief, Islam and double standards – AJE News

Solidarity, debate over Islam’s future in the West and anger at politicisation dominate social media after bombings.

imageChalk tributes on Belgium’s pavements – BBC News

Also, some stories on Obama’s  recent trip to Cuba , and his current visit to Argentina.

Remarks by President Obama to the People of Cuba | whitehouse.gov

Mr. Obama’s Honest Message in Cuba – The New York Times

‘Historic’ game in Cuba ignores the pain so many people endured

Another loss. That’s what this already feels like to so much of Miami — before the “historic” baseball game has even been played. As if the Cubans who fled to this country haven’t already felt enough of those losses over the decades. Lost childhoods. Lost roots. Lost families. Lost land. Lost freedoms. Lost lives in the ocean that divides Cuba and America like the million miles of distance between desperation and hope.

imageCuban Dissidents Praise ‘Closeness and Trust’ After Meeting With Obama – The New York Times

A Cuban family in Havana is enthralled and heartened by Obama’s words | Tampa Bay Times

Obama meets Argentine leader amid regional political shift | Reuters– There is a picture of the Obamas, their daughters and Michelle’s mom coming off Airforce One at that link…I love that.
I will include a few odds and ends here, all various items for you to scan through.

imageBaby formula extortionist gets eight years for poison threat | World news | The Guardian

An Auckland businessman who threatened to poison baby formula bound for China in a bid to blackmail New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar dairy industry has been jailed for more than eight years.

Jeremy Kerr, 60, pleaded guilty to two counts of blackmail after sending threatening letters containing a pesticide called 1080 to dairy giant Fonterra and the New Zealand Farmers Federation in 2014.

imageIn the letters he threatened to lace baby formula destined for various markets – with China the only country specifically named – unless New Zealand stopped using 1080.

The threat to supplies bound for China, a major importer of New Zealand baby formula, was not initially disclosed publicly by New Zealand authorities, who tightened access to it in domestic shops.

They also launched a massive investigation into the threat to New Zealand’s dairy sector, the country’s biggest export earner.

imageWow….more at link…

‘Fitbit for your period’: the rise of fertility tracking | Moira Weigel | Technology | The Guardian

I don’t know about that…but Bebe is having surgery a week from today, doctor thinks she has Endometriosis …and is doing a D&C and Laparoscopy on her to take care of it before she starts treatment.

Florida teen with fake gun shot dead by cops after standoff – NY Daily News

imageGeorgia teen arrested after allegedly threatening Trump online | www.ajc.com

Florida girl, 12, charged with battery after pinching butt – NY Daily News

Ash tree set for extinction in Europe – BBC News

Sydney schoolgirl ‘wired cash to IS’ – BBC News

Remember the story about the woman in China who died of starvation when she was trapped in her office elevator? Shades of that tint this story from Atlanta…

imageTrapped worker dies in Atlanta hotel freezer | Tampa Bay Times

A kitchen worker died after she was apparently trapped inside of a walk-in freezer for about 13 hours at a downtown Atlanta hotel, police said Tuesday.

A search for the woman began when she didn’t return home after her shift at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, one of the city’s most recognizable skyscrapers with its cylindrical shape. Investigators reviewed hotel surveillance video, and they think she may have entered the freezer about 8 p.m. Monday. She was found shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, Atlanta police Lt. Charles Hampton said.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the woman as Carolyn Robinson, 61, of East Point.

imageThere was evidence the woman tried to get out of the freezer, but Hampton didn’t elaborate on what led investigators to believe that.

“It appears that there was some type of mechanism to allow anyone who was inside to be able to exit,” Hampton said. He wasn’t sure if it was working properly.

“Right now there does not appear to be any foul play,” Hampton said.

How tragic….

I know it is a sad way to end a thread…but I think it makes a point to say…life is short, you never know what is going to happen.

Deep Breath….
Which brings us to the end of the post, so what’s happening in your neck of the woods?


Tuesday Reads

Matisse-Woman-Reading-with-Tea1

Good Morning!!

A series of terrorist bombings took place in Brussels, Belgium early this morning just days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the last surviving member of the group that perpetrated the attacks in Paris last November. This is a breaking story.

NPR: Terrorist Bombings Strike Brussels: What We Know.

At least 26 people are dead and more than 100 wounded, after explosions struck Brussels during the Tuesday morning rush hour, Belgian officials say. Two blasts hit the international airport; another struck a metro station. Belgium has issued a Level 4 alert, denoting “serious and imminent attack.”

“What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said at a midday news conference Tuesday. He added that there were many dead and many injured.

Citing Minister of Social Affairs and Health Maggie De Block, Belgian media say 11 people died in the airport attack. Transit and other officials say 15 people died at the metro station. Those same sources say there were 81 injured at the airport and 55 hurt in an attack on a train near the Maelbeek station.

French President Francois Hollande says, “terrorists struck Brussels, but it was Europe that was targeted — and all the world that is concerned.”

Obviously, the number of dead and injured could go up as authorities learn more. See live tweets with photos at the link.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 13 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport was hit by two explosions whilst a Metro station was also targeted. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – MARCH 22: Passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 13 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport was hit by two explosions whilst a Metro station was also targeted. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

Slate is posting updates on a live blog.

Three explosions rocked Brussels on Tuesday morning, killing more than two dozen people and injuring an untold number of others, according to local authorities and reports from the ground. While the cause of the blasts—two at the city’s airport and then one in its subway system about an hour later—remain unknown, officials are treating them as acts of terrorism. The carnage comes only days after Belgium police arrested Salah Abdeslam, the man believed to be the sole remaining survivor of the 10 men who carried out the terrorist attacks in Paris this past November that killed 130 people.

The latest update says “several of the apparent attackers may still at large.”

Metro train after Brussels attack

Metro train after Brussels attack

CNN reports: Brussels eyewitness: ‘A lot of people were on the floor.’

Jef Versele, from the Belgian city of Ghent, was making his way to check-in for a flight to Rome at Brussels Airport Tuesday morning when he heard a loud noise emanating from several floors below him.

“At first I was not aware that it was a bomb,” he told CNN. “I had the idea that an accident had happened in a food court or something like that.”

The explosion set off a panic, with people screaming and running through the terminal, before it was followed by a second explosion, “which was in my eyes much more powerful than the first one.”

The second blast, which blew out windows at the airport and brought ceiling panels down, left people collapsed on the floor and triggered even greater panic.

“It was quite a mess,” he told CNN.

He said although he was two floors above the source of the explosions — at least one of which was a suicide bombing, according to Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw — many people around him were injured by the blast. He said there about 50 to 60 injured on his level of the airport, while the scenes on the lower levels were worse.

“A lot of people were on the floor. They were injured,” Versele said. “I think I was lucky, I was very lucky. I think I have a guardian angel somewhere.”

More eyewitness accounts at the link. Brussels is now on lockdown, according to the Boston Globe, which is also posting live updates.

U.S. President Barack Obama tours Old Havana with his family at the start of a three-day visit to Cuba, in Havana March 20, 2016. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama tours Old Havana with his family at the start of a three-day visit to Cuba, in Havana March 20, 2016. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Obama is still in Cuba with his family, but he has been briefed on the attacks in Brussels. The Washington Post: Obama to address the Cuban nation in historic Havana visit.

President Obama will address the Cuban people directly Tuesday, delivering a speech that will be televised live on state television.

The address in Havana’s newly renovated Gran Teatro, before an audience of invited guests of the U.S. and Cuban government, is the keystone event in Obama’s two-and-a-half-day visit to the island. His top advisers said it represented his best chance to outline his vision of the future to ordinary citizens here, and to Cuban Americans at home.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters Monday the speech was “important because it’s the one chance to step back and to speak to the Cuban people, and all of the Cuban people,” including “Cubans in the United States.”

One of Obama’s overarching goals in fostering a diplomatic thaw with America’s longtime adversary, Rhodes said, was “reconciliation of the Cuban American community to Cubans here on the island.”

Still, even the speech’s setting spoke to the ongoing challenge the United States faces when it comes to engaging in a public dialogue in Cuba. American officials had originally hoped to do the address in an open-air setting, which would have allowed more ordinary citizens to attend. Instead, the national theater accommodates roughly 1,000 people, and the two governments evenly divided the tickets.

And even as the president seeks to highlight how his approach to Latin America has paid dividends, a series of blasts at Brussels’s airport and a metro station Tuesday served as a powerful reminder that terrorism overseas continues to threaten global stability. The apparently coordinated strikes have killed at least 26 people.

Back in the USA, Arizona is holding a presidential primary today and there will be caucuses in Idaho and Utah. (In Idaho, the Republicans have already voted.) On the Democratic side, Arizona, with 75 delegates, is the biggest prize.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni MARIO ANZUONI / Reuters

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni MARIO ANZUONI / Reuters

NBC News: Clinton, Sanders in Primary Showdown for Arizona’s Latino Vote.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Guadalupe Arreola can’t vote in the Arizona primary Tuesday because she is undocumented, so she has spent the last few weeks encouraging Latinos who can to vote for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. On Sunday, she hosted a phone bank at her house. More than 50 people showed up.

“There are people who still don’t know Bernie Sanders, and I want to raise awareness of who he is,” said Arreola, whose daughter Erika Andiola is Sanders’ Latino media spokeswoman.

Martin Hernandez said he likes Clinton’s stance on a number of issues important to Latinos, including healthcare and immigration. An organizing director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99, hesaid he especially likes that that she seems to understands the needs of Latino workers.

“I want somebody in the presidency who is going to help workers, especially those in our immigrant community,” he said. “They are the ones who face the most abuse. Many of them are underpaid and their rights are violated by their employers.”

Arreola and Hernandez represent the split that exists among Latino Democrats in Arizona on whether Sanders or Clinton should be the Democratic nominee for president. Both candidates have the backing of prominent Latino leaders, some of whom have appeared in television and radio ads being broadcasted across the state.

I’m not sure if NBC is just trying to make the primary look close or not. According to the Real Clear Politics average, Clinton is leading Sanders in Arizona 53-23, but FiveThirtyEight says there hasn’t been enough polling for them to project a winner. From everything I’ve heard, I think Hillary will win Arizona, and Sanders could win the Iowa and Utah caucuses.

Horrifying photo of Donald Trump at a rally in Salt Lake City.

Horrifying photo of Donald Trump at a rally in Salt Lake City.

However, there’s a wild card in Utah, according to Al Giordano (from privately distributed newsletter). He says that more and more Mormon women are voting Democratic, and it’s possible they could caucus for Clinton. Mormons absolutely hateand fear Donald Trump, so Giordano argues that it’s even possible that Utah could turn blue in November if Trump is the GOP nominee.

From McKay Coppins (who is a Mormon) at Buzzfeed: Mormon Voters Really Don’t Like Donald Trump — Here’s Why.

So far in 2016, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have proven to be one of the most stubbornly anti-Trump constituencies in the Republican Party — a dynamic that will likely manifest itself in Utah’s presidential caucuses next week.

National polling data focused on Mormon voters is hard to come by, but the election results speak for themselves. Even as Trump has steamrollered his way through the GOP primaries, he has repeatedly been trounced in places with large LDS populations.

In Wyoming, the third-most-heavily Mormon state in the country, Trump was able to muster just 70 votes in the low-turnout Republican caucuses there — losing to Ted Cruz by a whopping 59 points.

In Idaho, the country’s second most Mormon state, Trump lost the primary by 18 points.

And in the Mormon mecca of Utah, the most recent primary poll has Trump in third place — more than 40 points behind Cruz and 18 points behind Kasich.

The pattern holds at the county level as well. As New York Times data journalist Nate Cohn illustrated, the larger the proportion of Mormons in a given county, the worse Trump has generally performed in the primary contest there.

Much more at the link.

Mitt Romney will caucus for Ted Cruz in Utah.

Mitt Romney will caucus for Ted Cruz in Utah.

Philip Bump at The Washington Post: Why Utah hates Donald Trump (Hint: it’s not just about Mormonism).

Donald Trump is getting crushed in Utah.

First, the state’s adopted son, Mitt Romney, went gunning for Trump for weeks on end, and eventually revealed that he was backing Ted Cruz in the upcoming caucuses. Utah is adjacent to Idaho and Wyoming, where Trump has seen two of his biggest losses so far, both to Cruz. In a poll from Y2 Analytics released over the weekend, Trump comes in third, 42 points behind Cruz. (If Cruz wins more than half of the votes in the state, he gets all of the state’s 40 delegates.)

What’s even more remarkable, though, is that another poll suggested that Trump would lose to either Democrat in Utah in the general election. Utah is, of course, one of the reddest states — if not the reddest state — in the country. “Any matchup in which Democrats are competitive in the state of Utah is shocking,” Brigham Young University’s Christopher Karpowitz said to the Deseret News about that result.

Why? Mormon voters, of course; but polling (see lots of graphics at the link) show that people of any religion who are regular church-goers are more likely to be anti-Trump.

What may be prompting the stiff resistance to Trump, then, isn’t just that Utah is home to a lot of Mormons — it’s that those Mormons are more religious and that religious voters are more likely to view Trump with hostility.

The good news for Trump is that most of the states with the largest groups of regular churchgoers have already voted. Most are in the Bible Belt, as you might expect — a region where Trump did very well. Political beliefs are more complicated than they might appear at first glance. Sort of like religious ones.

It’s an interesting wild card, and something to keep an eye on. I’d certainly expect Jewish voters to be frightened by Trump’s strong-man campaign.

So . . . lots of things happening around the world today. What stories are you following? Dakinikat will post a live blog this evening for us to discuss primary and caucus results.