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.


Quick News

  • Sanders wins West Virginia
  • GOP leaders divided over Trump
  • Obama will visit Hiroshima
  • Facebook conservative bias claim: GOP wants answers
  • Former US Marine sues Iran: Prison abuse
  • Sen Flake trashes “ridiculous” funded research
  • Useless study? Bee-stung penis
  • Minnesota doctor treated Prince
Sanders Wins West Virginia (NYT, AP, me)
• Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) captured the West Virginia primary on Tuesday, forcing Hillary Clinton to continue a costly and distracting two-front battle: to lock down the Democratic nomination and to take on Donald Trump in the general election (gnashing of teeth in the Clinton camp – get out the Raid – can we just spray him away, they ask?)
• Clinton has a nearly insurmountable lead in delegates, which Sanders’s victory, one week after he won in Indiana, did little to narrow. But by staying in the race, as he has vowed to do until the Democratic convention in July, Sanders continues to tug Clinton to the left – it was Medicare on Tuesday
• In Oregon, which votes next week, Sanders appealed to unpledged superdelegates, who can cast votes as they please at the convention, to rally behind him as the stronger opponent to Trump. “If you look over the last month or six weeks, at every national poll, Bernie Sanders defeats Donald Trump by big numbers,” he said (don’t talk in the third person, very unbecoming)
• Clinton’s vulnerability in Ohio and Pennsylvania was highlighted by polls released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University, which showed her running close to Trump in the two states but losing ground because of a wide gender gap. She was 15 points behind Trump among men in Ohio and 19 points behind Trump among men in Pennsylvania – ahead among women in both states
• Among those voting in the West Virginia Democratic primary, about a third said they would support Trump over either Clinton or Sanders in November. An additional 2 in 10 said they wouldn’t vote for either candidate. But 4 in 10 said they consider themselves to be independents or Republicans, according to exit polls (Clinton keeps going after women voters – do better to focus on getting some men)

• A new ad by Correct the Record, a super PAC allied with Hillary Clinton, slams Donald Trump on his past remarks trashing women by using his own words. The (not bad) ad ends with an interviewer (real interview footage) asking Trump: “So you treat women with respect?” Trump: Err, I can’t say that either.” Laughs…


GOP Leaders Divided Over Trump (WaPo, WSJ, me)
• National Republican leaders remained sharply divided Tuesday over the likely coronation of Donald Trump as the party’s standard bearer. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) dug in for a protracted discussion with Trump. “It’s going to take more than a week just to repair and unify this party,” Ryan told WSJ on Tuesday, saying no endorsement of Trump should be expected
• “I think the single most important thing is that Republicans and primary voters unify behind our party’s nominee and then make sure we defeat Secretary Clinton,” Sen John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 GOP Senate leader, told reporters. The sharp Republican divisions were on display as Congress returned for its first full day after a 10-day break
• Republicans seemed of three minds as they faced the voters’ verdict: many supported, albeit reluctantly, the party’s presumptive nominee; a handful enthusiastically backed him; still others firmly rejected his candidacy (encouraging anyway to know members of Congress have three minds)

• Here are all of Donald Trump’s 4 Pinocchio ratings from WaPo’s Fact Checker – in other words, these are flat-out falsities or untruths


• In an effort to bridge the divide, Trump will descend on DC on Thursday for a series of meetings, beginning in the morning with Ryan and then his leadership team, and concluding later across Capitol Hill with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and his top lieutenants
• Exasperated with the Trump phenomenon, Sen Mark Kirk (R-Ill), the most endangered Republican incumbent in the November elections, waved off reporters. “We’re not doing any Trump questions,” Kirk said, (as he scuttled into a meeting)
• Sen Bob Corker (R-Tenn), chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, wouldn’t rule out discussion of becoming Trump’s VP nominee. (i’ll bet – uber-ambitious) “Chill. And let the campaign evolve a little bit, and see where the candidate ends up,” Corker said (Trump said in two interviews he’s narrowed his VP choice down to five or six people)


• Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty in the case against Abu Khatallah, the man charged in the 2012 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to court docs filed Tuesday. If convicted, he faces life in prison (Reuters)

Obama Will Visit Hiroshima (Reuters, NYT, AP, me)

• Barack Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Hiroshima in Japan later this month, but he will not apologize for the U.S.’ dropping of an atomic bomb on the city at the end of World War II, the WH said on Tuesday. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 in part for his commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, Obama will tour the site with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe

• Obama will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” the WH said in a statement. “He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of WWII. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes wrote on Medium

• The visit comes as part of a 21-28 May swing through Asia, which will include a G7 summit in Japan and Obama’s first trip to Vietnam. The decision to go to Hiroshima was hotly debated in the WH. There were concerns that a presidential visit would be heavily criticized in the U.S. if it were seen as an apology (some people will do that anyway. he has to say eff it at this point)

• The bomb dropped on 6 Aug 1945 killed thousands of people instantly and about 140,000 by the end of that year. Another was dropped on Nagasaki on 9 Aug 1945 and Japan surrendered six days later. Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui praised Obama’s plan to visit as a “bold decision based on conscience and rationality.”

• Sunao Tsuboi, 91, a leading antinuclear activist in Hiroshima, who was burned by the bomb blast, also welcomed Obama’s visit, which he said he hoped would “project a broad antinuclear message.” But Obama has made only modest progress towards the goal he laid out in 2009 of securing the world’s loose nuclear materials (his successor is unlikely to pursue it much at all)


• West Point announced Tuesday that it wouldn’t punish 16 black female cadets who posed for a photo last week with raised fists, saying the gesture was intended to show “unity” and “pride” and didn’t violate army regs on partisan political activities in uniform (NYT)

Facebook Conservative Bias Claim: GOP Wants Answers (Reuters, Hill, Guardian, me)
• The chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, asked Facebook chair and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a letter to answer questions about the company’s news curation practices and its trending topics section. The concern was that Facebook may be engaging in deceptive behavior if employees meddled with what trending news was displayed
• The probe comes after Gizmodo reported Monday that a former conservative Facebook employee claimed workers “routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers” while artificially” adding other stories to the trending list (GOP doing this on the basis of one – that’s one – anonymous ex employee – it’s borderline hysteria)
• “The Republican Senate refuses to hold hearings on [SCOTUS nominee] Judge [Merrick] Garland, refuses to fund the president’s request for Zika aid and takes the most days off of any Senate since 1956, but thinks Facebook hearings are a matter of urgent national interest,” Adam Jentleson, a spox for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), said (he’s having fun with it)
• In a statement, Facebook reiterated that the curators were subject to guidelines to guard against political bias. “We have seen allegations that people did not honor the intent of those guidelines,” the spox said. “Although the allegations are anonymous we take them seriously. We are continuing to investigate whether any violations took place.”
• The letter from Sen John Thune (R-SD) asked Facebook to quantify “all news stories removed from or injected into the trending topics section since Jan 2014.” Unclear how Facebook would create such a list. Given free speech law, it’s also unclear if the Senate has any jurisdiction over how Facebook – or any company – promotes certain articles – or if it’s their business
• Jailed Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy filed a lawsuit against President Obama, challenging his placement in solitary confinement and seeking to dismiss the felony charges. Bundy defends his reference to “Negroes,” claiming he looked it up in the dictionary, and slams Obama for “despicable disrespectful mocking” of him at the 2014 WH correspondents dinner (is this a joke?) (Guardian)
Former US Marine Sues Iran: Prison Abuse (AFP, me)
• Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine from Michigan, who was accused by Iran of spying and held for four and a half years, is suing Tehran over the “prolonged and continuous physical abuse” he endured while detained. According to the lawsuit, Hekmati was subjected to a range of physical and psychological abuse while jailed in notorious Evin prison (are we surprised?)
• Hekmati was freed in a prisoner swap in Jan in which he and three other Iranian-Americans, plus another American, were traded after Washington granted clemency to seven Iranians and withdrew several arrest warrants. Hekmati had been visiting relatives in Tehran when he was nabbed. He ultimately was forced to confess to being a CIA spy and sentenced to death
• During his lengthy ordeal, Hekmati was “whipped at the bottom of his feet, struck by an electrical Taser to his kidney area, forced to stay in stress positions for hours at a time, and hit with batons,” the lawsuit states (have heard anecdotally of similar treatments of other prisoners)
• Aside from physical abuse, prison guards threw water on Hekmati’s cell floor to prevent him from sleeping, kept the light on and forced him to take lithium and other “addictive pills,” only to stop these to trigger withdrawals, the lawsuit states. His attorney, Scott Gilbery, called Iran’s treatment “utterly contemptible”
• His legal team argues that Iran’s behavior was outside the scope of immunity provided by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act so Iran can be sued in the U.S. Hekmati, who is unemployed and “suffering the financial effects of being robbed of four and a half years of income,” is seeking unspecific damages (good luck)
Sen Flake Trashes “Ridiculous” Funded Research (WashTimes, me)
• Sen Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) on Tuesday cited a laundry list of “ridiculous” research projects funded by taxpayers in a new survey. At a time of tight budgets and demands for new spending, including money to fight Zika, to repair water pipes in Flint and to combat the growing opioid epidemic, Flake said there’s plenty of money to cut (the money is actually quite small – but it’s fun stuff)
• One astonishing item was a study that concluded Democratic women in Congress were less feminine that Republican women. The research – named names – was part of a $50,000 National Science Foundation grant to the University of California-Los Angeles (ok – who even thought of doing this one? men or women? hands up to vote? i thought so, too
• The researchers concluded that GOP men don’t need to appear more masculine because their policy positions already show that, (huh? really?) but for conservative women in particular, femininity was discernible. They said Reps Rosa DeLauro (D) and Anna Eshoo (D) was “less gender-typical” while Rep Michele Bachmann (R) and Rep Kay Granger (R) were “highly feminine.”
• The researchers said more studying is needed to “understand the roots of the GOP’s more feminine face,” but said it could be as simple as liberal Democrats aiming to diminish disparities between the sexes, while conservative Republicans hold positions “that tend to bolster traditional sex roles.” (load of utter rubbish. btw, delauro voted best dressed woman in Congress)


Useless Study? Bee-Stung Penis
• Some $1 million in NSF money was spent studying where it hurts most to be stung by a bee. The penis turned out to be only third-worst out of 25 options, falling behind nose and upper lip. Researcher Michael Smith noted the usefulness was limited because of only one person in the study. He said the findings were “still interesting” (only to you, Michael – and your little friend)
• The Defense Dept, to which congressional Republicans want give billions of dollars to this year, spent money to study why coffee spills when someone walks. The researchers concluded that walking slower and steadier reduces the chances of spilling (really? my research concludes that sitting down and not moving at all reduces it still further. where’s my grant, dod??)
• Researchers in one project fed alcohol-laden grape juice to finches (cruel!) to see if the birds slurred their songs when drunk. They did, slightly, and the birds’ songs were “a bit less organized,” the researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University reported – money came from National Institutes of Health (mostly men or women came up with that? vote! yes, me too…)
• Flake announced legislation to require the WH to develop a system to weed out duplicative research and to require agencies that fund research to post a summary, funding details and info about papers written for every unclassified study paid for by taxpayers’ money


Minnesota Doctor Treated Prince (NYT, me)
• A local Minneapolis doctor who had treated Prince in recent weeks showed up at the musician’s estate on the morning he died, only to discover that he had just been pronounced dead after being found collapsed in an elevator of his home, according to a police affidavit
• Dr Michael Schulenberg had seen Prince the previous day, 20 April, according to the affidavit, which was filed in connection with a search warrant for Prince’s medical records. Schulenberg also saw Prince on 7 April, the day he canceled a show in Atlanta, the warrant said. During the visits, Schulenberg performed tests and prescribed medication for an undisclosed ailment
• Prince was also preparing to be treated for an opioid dependency from California doctor Howard Kornfeld. Kornfeld’s son, Andrew Kornfeld, and two friends of Prince initially found him collapsed. Andrew Kornfeld, who works for his father’s treatment center, had rushed on an overnight flight to get Prince enrolled in treatment, according to a lawyer
• People close to Prince have said he suffered debilitating pain in his hips and elsewhere from decades of intense performances. Authorities have said they’re investigating what role painkillers might have played in his death. The DEA and the U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis have joined the inquiry (too sad to even make comments on this story – a waste – too late too late)
• Prince did a makeup performance a week after the canceled 7 April Atlanta show that observers described as electrifying. But Prince complained of stomach pains after the concert. His private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, Ill, on the flight home and medical personnel treated him with Narcan, which is typically administered to treat opioid overdoses
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Victoria Jones – Editor