Talk Media News

Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

Breaking: Donald Trump suspends campaign amid hair plugs rumor   (check today’s date…)
Quick News

  • US, China: Work together re North Korea
  • Trump makes nice with RNC
  • March jobs today: What to watch
  • GOP rep warns: Voter discrimination looms
  • FCC approves internet subsidies for poor
  • Chris Christie: M&M meltdown
US, China: Work Together re North Korea (BBC, me)
• The U.S. and China will work together to try and prevent further missile tests by North Korea, President Obama said Monday. In recent weeks, North Korea has carried out a hydrogen bomb test and repeatedly test fired missiles. Obama met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in DC on Thursday
• But hours later, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the North appeared to have test fired another missile. The latest test saw what appeared to be a ballistic missile land off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, Yonhap reported (meanwhile, reports say Kim Jong un has ballooned to nearly 300 lbs while the country is possibly headed towards another famine…)
• Obama said he and Xi were seeking to agree “how we can discourage action like nuclear missile tests that escalate tensions and violate international obligations.” China is North Korea’s closest ally and largest trading partner. North Korea’s nuclear test on 6 Jan and a satellite launch on 7 Feb were violations of existing UN sanctions
• Since then, the UN and DC passed further sanctions on Pyongyang. Much of the burden of making sure the sanctions are implemented is falling on China. Washington has long pushed for Beijing to put more pressure on North Korea. Obama also vowed to closely work on the same issue with allies South Korea and Japan after meeting their leaders on Thursday


• President Obama today will chair the opening plenary session and the closing session of the nuclear security summit in Washington DC and then hold a press conference
Trump Makes Nice With RNC (Politico, me)
• Donald Trump on Thursday took his most visible steps to fix the Republican Party – that he broke. With a looming loss in Wisconsin vastly increasing the odds of a contested convention, Trump trekked to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, with whom he has had a lukewarm relationship – this during a dreadful week for Trump
• The RNC was tight-lipped about the meeting – “productive.” They huddled for around 50 minutes, where they discussed a number of logistical issues, including some related to the convention. Trump also met members of his newly established foreign policy team. Trump has often complained about being treated “unfairly” by the RNC (ie not being fawned over)
• In the past two days Trump verbally attacked a reporter who accused his campaign manager of battery, disavowed the GOP loyalty oath, refusing to rule out nuking Europe, and suggested that women should be punished for abortion if those become outlawed – before quickly reversing himself
• Next week’s contest in Wisconsin is shaping up to be tough for Trump, with a poll released Wednesday showing him trailing Ted Cruz by 10 points in the state. A separate poll out Thursday found that just 38% of Republican voters said Trump would be able to get the party to “unite solidly” behind him if he becomes the nominee


• Trump claimed on Fox News on Thursday that his statement that there should be “some form of punishment” for women if they get abortions was because MSNBC took his comments out of context. MSNBC said it was aired in its entirety and absolutely no part was edited out. Trump acknowledged, “It could be that I misspoke.” No. He was thinking through his answer. Watch
March Jobs Today: What to Watch (WSJ, me)
Slower but steady: Economists expect a rise in nonfarm payrolls of 213,000 in March and the unemployment rate to hold at 4.9% (don’t hold me to it). That pace would be slower than February’s 242,000 and 2015’s average of 229,000, but still healthy. Nearly 14 million jobs have been added since the end of the recession
Off the sidelines: In February, the share of Americans participating in the workforce rose to 62.9%, off its near-40-year low of 62.5% reached last fall. More workers coming out of unemployment or entering the workforce for the first time are signs of optimism around job prospects
Wage hike: As more people join the labor force, employers’ incentives to raise wages fall, especially in fields that don’t require specialized or scarce skills. Economists nonetheless expect wages to rise 0.3% in March erasing February’s 0.1% drop. Wages rose year over year in February, up 2.2%
Sector-specific: Domestically-oriented sectors like health care, retail and food service all added jobs in February. Look for whether that trend continues despite only modest growth in consumer spending in recent months
Ups and downs: January and February’s numbers reflect seasonal differences in employment, such as weather’s effect on industries like construction. Even though the employment report adjusts for seasonality, the March report can sometimes bring substantial revisions to January and February figures


• Hillary Clinton lost it on Thursday. “Will you act on your word to reject fossil-fuel money in the future in your campaign?” asks a Greenpeace activist. “I have money from people who work for fossil-fuel companies,” – points finger for emphasis –“I am so sick – I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me. I’m sick of it,” – she moves on – woman wasn’t with Sanders campaign
GOP Rep Warns: Voter Discrimination Looms (Hill, me)
• Rep Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis), former Judiciary Committee chair, wrote in NYT that a 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) threatens to disenfranchise minority voters in November if lawmakers don’t move quickly to update the law. He pointed to the primary debacle in Arizona, where sharp cutbacks in polling stations led to very long waits
• While Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) has said he backs Sensenbrenner’s bill to update the VRA, he also says he won’t bring it to the floor unless it moves first through the Judiciary Committee. (oh boy) Committee chair Rep Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) has said no update is needed, and singled out the retained power of voters to sue if they feel they’ve suffered discrimination (bit late)
• But Sensenbrenner said “the law’s strongest protections have been rendered meaningless.” He noted that by the time the courts act the election would have long passed – and that wouldn’t be an adequate remedy (of course not – once someone has already won, what’s the point? and ryan knows it)
• In its 5-4 ruling, SCOTUS struck down a central part of the VRA requiring regions with a documented history of racial discrimination at the polls to get approval from Washington before changing their voting rules. Before the decision, the pre-clearance mandate applied to nine states, mostly in the South, and certain districts within six others
• Under the new bill, written with Rep John Conyers (D-Mich), states found to have discriminated against voters based on race at least five times in the last 15 years would be subject to federal pre-clearance standards. Those that remedy the problems would be deemed exempt from the extra hurdle, while those guilty of future discrimination would be newly subject to it


• FBI teams are on the ground assisting with the investigation into the terrorist bombings in Belgium last week, WH deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters at a briefing on Thursday
FCC Approves Internet Subsidies For Poor (Hill, me)
• Millions of poor Americans will be eligible for federal subsidies to help pay the cost of internet service after new regs were approved in a whirlwind FCC meeting on Thursday. The FCC voted to expand its 30-year-old Lifeline program, which has offered the monthly $9.25 subsidy for voice-only phone service
• The three Democratic commissioners approved the proposal over opposition from the two Republicans, who have concerns about the program’s budget. Advocates cheered; they see internet access as a necessity for education, finding a job or simply communicating. They point to the 15% of Americans, concentrated in poor and rural communities, who don’t use the internet
• The rules would set up a single national database to allow phone and internet providers to verify whether individuals are eligible by sharing info from other lower-income programs like Social Security, Medicaid and food subsidies. One aim was to remove the burden on companies to figure out if a person is eligible for a subsidy. Some said the structure encouraged abuse
• Lifeline currently has about 13 million subscribers, only a fraction of the 40 million who are eligible. The vote Thursday imposed a budget of $2.25 billion per year. The funds come from fees imposed by the phone companies. Republicans wanted a firm budget and pressed for a lower cap
• The program was slammed during President Obama’s first term due to reported fraud and abuse that stemmed from the expansion to free cell service. There were a number of reforms in 2012. The GAO criticized the FCC last year for not exploring how effective the program was. Companies like Comcast say literacy training and outreach should be offered alongside subsidies


Chris Christie: M&M Meldown (NYT, sportsgrid, me)
• It’s not a surprise that Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ) like M&Ms. He sort of has the look. But after a photograph circulated of Christie pouring a bag of the candies into an empty M&M’s box at an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game in Philadelphia, Twitter went all atwitter. Some applauded. Some were mean. Some were quizzical. And others for some reason were outraged
• Thursday, Christie addressed the bag-to-box question. Appearing on sports radio show “Boomer and Carton,” he said he couldn’t fathom why his candy eating habits had received such scrutiny. “Why would you go bag to box?” asked the host. “Just eat ’em out of the bag!” (nah – box makes more sense. box is solid, not slippery. i’d def vote for christie if he ran on a box ticket)
• “You know why?” Christie answered. “Because it’s easier to hold the box than to hold the bag.” (yes!) But the host then said the governor’s approach was an “interesting maneuver.” “You get the box, you open the box, there’s a bag inside the box,” Christie explained. “Why they do it that way I have no idea, but you open up the bag, you pour the bag into the box, so it’s easier to hold.” (q.e.d.)
• The next question was logical, if not more wisely directed at the company that manufactures M&M’s, Mars Chocolate. Why don’t they just sell the candy in the box? Isn’t the bag superfluous? “Listen, I run New Jersey, not M&M-Mars. I have no idea,” Christie said (but christie has been known to put a little – err – pressure on folks when he wants something. this seems legit)
• Mars, as the host noted, is based in Mount Olive, NJ. “It’s a wonderful corporate citizen,” the governor said. “Shut ’em down!” the host joked. Not likely. As the photo made clear, Christie is a fan of M&M’s, whether in a bag or a box
• Rocking into the weekend with “Rockin’ in The Free World” – Neil Young. Gotta keep on rockin’ in the free world, remind everyone we’re going to keep it

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Victoria Jones – Editor