Over at The New York Times, Timothy Egan notices a strange similarity between Paul Ryan's rhetoric on poverty, and that of the English authorities during the 19th century potato famine in Ireland:
A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a "culture of dependency"? Certainly England's man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. "Dependence on charity," he declared, "is not to be made an agreeable mode of life."
And there I ran into Paul Ryan. His great-great-grandfather had fled to America. But the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated "culture of dependency" is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England's excuse for lethal negligence.
There is no comparison, of course, between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs.
But you can't help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy. [The New York Times]
I don't think anyone really thinks dependence on charity or a culture of dependency ought to be a long-term condition. Self-reliance is an indisputable virtue. But for the truly helpless, there can be no pathway back to self-reliance if one starves to death. Famine is not honorable or virtuous. Nor is it civilized to live in a country where the poor starve to death.
Paul Ryan would do better to set out an agenda of job creation than lecture the poor on the virtues of self-improvement. There are lots and lots of people who want jobs, who want to work and want the dignity of self-reliance — so many that there are 2.9 job seekers for every job opening. People can't lift themselves out of poverty and off welfare if the economy isn't creating an abundance of jobs. Job creation comes first. John Aziz
Donald Trump expects to have a vice presidential pick ready to reveal in July, before the Republican National Convention, and he announced Wednesday that Dr. Ben Carson will be helping him to reach a decision on that running mate, The New York Times reports.
Trump also said he is leaning toward picking "a political person" for his VP since "I have business very much covered." Trump plans to use a committee to decide on his vice presidential pick, and that's where Ben Carson comes in: "I think on the committee I'll have Dr. Ben Carson and some other folks," Trump said. The other folks have yet to be announced.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will announce at a Wednesday evening press conference in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, that he is suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, The Associated Press reports. Kasich was initially scheduled to do a press conference at the Dulles airport in Virginia, but announced Wednesday morning that he would not be leaving Ohio after all. If the governor does drop out, that would leave Donald Trump as the only remaining Republican presidential candidate. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) dropped out of the race Tuesday night after Trump's win in Indiana all but ensured the mogul would win the nomination. Becca Stanek
In a video about as nerdy as the "May the 4th be with you" joke, John Kasich celebrated Star Wars Day on Tuesday by depicting himself as "the only hope" for the Empire…er, America.
Written in the classic scrolling yellow font of the Star Wars films, the trailer describes a dystopian future in which Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump in "the largest landslide since Reagan" and is busy preparing to name her Supreme Court nominee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
"Only one candidate can defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall," the trailer warns at the end (you'll never guess who). Watch below. Jeva Lange
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) May 4, 2016
Donald Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee, doesn't seem to know exactly how long he'd be in office if he's elected president. In an interview Wednesday morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe, he told all the Trump haters in the GOP that they're going to have to wait "16 years" — exactly eight years over a U.S. president's term limit — before they rejoin the party.
"I don't think it's imperative that the entire party come together," Trump said, brushing off Republicans who refuse to embrace him as their nominee. "I don't want everybody. I don't even want certain people who were extraordinarily nasty. Let them wait eight years. Or let them wait 16 years or whatever."
We're still waiting on Trump's explanation for why those "certain people" would have to wait not the maximum two terms, but four. Becca Stanek
Beyoncé's recently released "visual" album Lemonade dished on her marital drama with husband Jay Z — and now the "Empire State of Mind" rapper has decided to tell his side of the story, sources told US Weekly.
Beyoncé and Jay Z have been married for eight years and allegedly went through a rough patch in 2014, which publicly culminated in leaked video footage showing Beyoncé's sister attacking Jay Z in an elevator while Beyoncé stood by. But on Lemonade, Beyoncé tellingly describes the pain of being cheated on and watching her husband slip away to be with "Becky with the good hair."
"Jay is working on an album telling his side of things," the source told US Weekly.
However, Beyoncé's father and former manager has said that Lemonade is not autobiographical. "People want to make it about her," Matthew Knowles said. "Maybe she dug deep and made it about something we all could relate to." Jeva Lange
Recreational marijuana sales have been legal in Washington State for about two years now, and during that time, the price of weed has plummeted. Down from a post-legalization high of about $25 per gram on the retail market, the same amount of pot now costs less than $10.
The economic explanation for this price drop is simple and predictable: The drug war makes the marijuana business dangerous and expensive because, as The Washington Post summarizes, black market drug sellers "must operate covertly, forgo advertising, pay higher wages to compensate for the risk of arrest, and lack recourse to civil courts for resolving contract disputes."
Once marijuana is legalized, these added costs of doing business disappear, making for a cheaper product and safer industry. Similarly, the Prohibition era of the 1920s and '30s caused the price of liquor to roughly triple before the Twenty-First Amendment, ending Prohibition, was passed in 1933. Bonnie Kristian
Many Republicans are reeling Wednesday with the knowledge that Donald Trump is their presumptive nominee — and at least one major conservative publication is already looking to make the best of a bad situation. RedState urged Congress on Wednesday to confirm President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, as soon as possible in order to avoid a much younger, much more liberal pick when — as they see it — Hillary Clinton inevitably takes office next year:
Republicans must know that there is absolutely no chance that we will win the White House in 2016 now. They must also know that we are likely to lose the Senate as well. So the choices, essentially, are to confirm Garland and have another bite at the apple in a decade, or watch as President Clinton nominates someone who is radically more leftist and 10-15 years younger, and we are in no position to stop it. [RedState]
RedState takes the warning even further, cautioning Congress that, "The fact that Merrick Garland still exists as an option right now is a gift that should not be squandered." Read the whole piece over at RedState. Jeva Lange