The field for the Democratic Presidential primary looks set to grow after the Baltimore Sun reported that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will on Friday sign a lease for a likely campaign headquarters in the city, where he also served as Mayor.
As was the case when his for-now would-be opponent Hillary Clinton signed her campaign HQ lease in Brooklyn, federal regulations stipulate that a declaration must follow within 15 days of such formal “campaign activity.” Mrs Clinton visited Brooklyn on Thursday for the first time since her campaign officially began.
O’Malley, who has been quietly campaigning for some time, courting the progressive wing of the party, is planning an official announcement on May 30 in Baltimore. The Washington Post reports that the location
“…is not without risk, especially given recent demonstrations and unrest linked to the arrest and death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. O’Malley, who spent seven years as Baltimore’s mayor, has faced renewed criticism of his “zero tolerance” policing policies since the death of Gray, who was severely injured while in police custody.
As he visited New Hampshire on Wednesday, O’Malley defended his policies, which were credited for reducing violent crime, and said the country needs to invest more heavily in its cities, which he said policymakers from both parties have neglected for years.”
O’Malley also recently found himself – like Republican hopeful Jeb Bush – on the uncomfortable end of questions over whether or not he would have started a war. But as The Guardian reports, “the war in question is not the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”
The past few news cycles have been dominated by Jeb Bush’s waffling on Megyn Kelly’s question “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion [of Iraq]?”…
…former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is a well-known War of 1812 buff but, emulating Jeb Bush, he refused to take a stand on whether, knowing what we know now, he would support James Madison’s decision to declare war on Great Britain in 1812.
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent writes that O’Malley and the other progressive candidate so far in the race, Sen Bernie Sanders, should ensure frontrunner Hillary Clinton faces some tough questions as the campaign moves forward. Sargent runs down some of the issues for debate “even if Clinton’s ultimate victory seems all but assured.”
As for Hillary Clinton’s campaign itself, the issue of the Clinton Foundation continued to bubble through the news cycle, after ABC News host and former Bill Clinton White House aide George Stephanopolous admitted he should have disclosed donations to the Foundation totaling $75,000 over the past three years. It turned out also that another donor was none other than Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, whose work against the abuse of money in politics became the signature element of his Senate career, announced he was running again for the seat he lost five years ago.
(Russ For Wisconsin)
Alex Roarty at the National Journal explains why Democrats need Feingold to win.
Without Wisconsin, Democrats would need to run the table in less-inviting states such as New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Florida or pick up an unexpected win in more conservative-leaning locales like North Carolina or Indiana. (Meanwhile, the party also has to defend seats against potentially stiff challenges in Colorado and Nevada.) That’s not impossible, but it’s a much more difficult path.
* WORLD * The jury in the Boston marathon bombing trial completed its first full day of deliberations in the penalty phase, and is expected to reconvene on Friday. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted last month of all 30 federal charges against him, including 17 carrying the possibility of the death penalty.
* Full coverage from the Boston Globe is here.
Investigations continue into the causes of the derailment of an Amtrak train near Philadelphia which killed eight people. Video showed the train speeding up immediately prior to the crash, but as CNN reports, the “jury is still out on the big questions”
* Full coverage from Philly.com is here.
An attempted coup in Burundi has apparently failed, with President Pierre Nkurunziza and the military apparently back in control of the capital Bujumbura.
* POLITICS * The House passed a bill giving Congress the right to review, and possibly reject, any international nuclear deal with Iran. The bill, which had already passed the Senate, now heads to President Obama.
The President himself on Thursday used the conclusion of a two-day summit at Camp David to reassure Gulf leaders that the US was committed to protecting them at a time of “extraordinary changes.” Tensions are high in the region, particularly after Iranian gunships fired warning shots towards a Singapore-flagged cargo ship in international waters.
The Senate passed a bill granting the President fast-track trade authorization power, a reversal of Tuesday’s move by the House to stall the legislation.
* BRITISH POLITICS * With murmurings of a second Scottish independence referendum amid the Scottish National Party’s post-election euphoria, Prime Minister David Cameron travels to Scotland on Friday to meet with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, with both sides braced for a confrontation that could likely help determine the direction of the Union in coming years.
Meanwhile, The United Kingdom Independence Party appears in some disarray, with leader Nigel Farage resisting calls to step down, telling BBC Question Time that he has “phenomenal” support within the party.
* MEDIA * In his latest Newsonomics column, Ken Doctor looks at how razor-thin profits are cutting into newspapers’ chances for innovation. He writes:
This paltry performance drives the landscape we see today. With little in net, these companies have little to invest. They’re still paying off debt, issuing dividends, keeping up with pension obligations, and anticipating print ad results that can’t find a bottom. That makes it tough to invest in new products and to travel with the audience as it moves to mobile. And of course it’s bound to mean even more reductions in workforces, including newsrooms, which are already down by more than 20,000 in less than a decade.
The decision by a Fox affiliate to censor its coverage of the big Picasso sale the other night drew what was probably a predictable reaction.
* CULTURE * There’s a really nice little read – no pun intended – by Alex Johnson at Slate on the world’s smallest libraries.
Tiny libraries in converted phone booths, purpose-built kiosks, experimental art installations, quirky handmade boxes—and even one refrigerator—are springing up on street corners around the world at a rapid rate. These miniature lending libraries lead the communal book revolution, bringing reading material to the masses at a level that far exceeds their size.
Finally, the voice of Mr Burns leaving The Simpsons? Surely not.
Harry Shearer voiced several of the show’s best-loved characters.
But. maybe there’s still hope…