Diane Roberts: Moving Andrew Jackson to the back of the bill was a no-brainer

That Barack Obama. He’s at it again, dividing the country, fostering racial strife.

What is it this time, you ask? Why, only the most sacred of things, our best beloved, our central obsession — money.

The double sawbuck, to be precise, the one currently sporting Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States. Obama’s Treasury Secretary is sending him to the back of the $20 bill, while ex-slave Harriet Tubman gets to go on the front.

Planet Fox (that lightless but loud satellite orbiting the vast Murdoch Spatial Anomaly) is puffing and squawking. Greta Van Susteren used her April 21 “Off the Record” segment (which, since it’s broadcast to a lot of people, is actually ON the record) to get emphatic, if not coherent, about keeping Old Hickory right where God intended: “We could put a woman on a bill! Tubman — acknowledge her courage, and not stir up the country. But give Tubman her own bill! Like a $25 bill! We could use a $25 bill! Put her picture on that and we could all celebrate!”

The Brain Trust that is “Fox and Friends” also came out strong for leaving Andrew Jackson alone. He’s an American hero. Brian Kilmeade called him “one of the best generals we ever had.”

Kilmeade might want to ask the Cherokee, the Creeks, the Choctaw and the Seminoles about that.

Co-host Heather Nauer fussed that Alexander Hamilton got to remain on the $10 bill just because he’s the subject of a hit Broadway musical: “If that is the standard, next thing you know, folks, we’re going to have cats on money!”

Ben Carson (how soon we forget!) and Donald Trump (how we wish we could forget!) decided that Harriet Tubman deserved maybe the $2 bill. Trump allowed as how Tubman was “fantastic,” but dismissed the Jackson-Tubman switch as “political correctness,” adding that Jackson had “been on the bill for many, many years and really represented — somebody that was really very important to this country.”

A cynical person might wonder if Herr Drumpf had actually ever heard of Harriet Tubman. Or Andrew Jackson.

For Herr Drumpf’s information, Jackson wasn’t merely a plantation master, a proslavery Southerner. He was a government terrorist.

In 1816, he orchestrated the destruction of what was called the “Negro Fort” in Spanish Florida. More than 300 Choctaw, Seminole and African Americans were killed, many of them women and children.

Hundreds more refugees who lived around the Apalachicola River settlement were rounded up and sent back into slavery in Georgia and the Carolinas.

He violated international borders raiding Seminole villages in Spanish Florida, burning and murdering. The Seminoles harbored runaway slaves.

As president in 1830, he pushed the Indian Removal Act, setting in motion the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of native people from their lands east of the Mississippi so that white people could establish plantations worked by black people.

I guess you could say that was “really very important to this country.” You could also say it was genocide: 10,000 died of typhus, cholera, dysentery and starvation before they ever made it to “Indian Territory.”

Compare Jackson’s career with that of Araminta Ross (she later called herself “Harriet,” and “Tubman” was her husband’s last name), born a slave on a Maryland plantation c. 1822, escaped to freedom in Pennsylvania in 1849.

She became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad — a very successful one — returning South again and again to help free people.

The white abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison nicknamed her “Moses.” During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman spied for the Union, and in the decades after (she died in 1913), advocated for women having the right to vote.

Yes, Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States. But a number of dodgy people have held that office: Millard Fillmore. Richard Nixon. George W. Bush. Doesn’t mean we have to celebrate them.

No, history is not being buried: Jackson’s simply getting parked in a less prominent place on the money. He’s still there, so all you white men who feel threatened by the elevation of a bad-ass brave little black woman who believed that the words of the Declaration of Independence — the part about everyone being created equal — should govern America, need to get over it.

It’s not “political correctness.” It’s not pandering. It’s righting an old wrong.

Come join America, white guys. You might learn something.

***

Diane Roberts is the author of “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America.” She teaches at Florida State University.

Bernie Sanders’ bid reaches turning point after Northeast losses

Defeated in the Northeast, Bernie Sanders‘ movement for a political revolution is reaching a crossroads even as he vows to campaign against Hillary Clinton through the June primaries and into the Philadelphia convention.

The Vermont senator said after losses to Clinton in Tuesday’s primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut that he would now seek as many delegates as possible to “fight for a progressive party platform,” acknowledging that he had only a “very narrow path” to the nomination.

“Every person in this country should have the right to vote for whom they want to see as president of the United States and what they want to see the agenda, Democratic agenda, look like,” Sanders said in a phone interview with The Associated Press late Tuesday.

“We are going to fight for every delegate and if I do not win, we are going to bring in a whole lot of delegates who are going to be prepared to fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage, for a Medicare for all single-payer program, guaranteed paid family medical leave … almost every delegate that we get gives us more strength in the fight for a progressive agenda.”

Sanders won the Rhode Island primary, adding to his trove of more than 1,300 delegates, but his loss in New York and Tuesday’s defeats in the delegate-rich states of Pennsylvania and Maryland is likely to change the focus of his campaign from winning the nomination to one devoted to shaping the Democratic platform, Clinton’s policy agenda and his movement to address income inequality and the campaign finance system.

Sanders was campaigning Wednesday in Indiana, which holds its primary next week, and looking ahead to upcoming contests in Oregon and California. He vowed to compete until the final District of Columbia primary in June.

Clinton’s campaign and Democratic leaders are watching closely to see if Sanders will continue to raise issues that could damage Clinton’s chances in November or whether he will encourage his youthful following to support Clinton.

“I would hope that there is a beginning of a pivot for him to make it really clear to his supporters what’s at stake against the Republicans,” said former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who supports Clinton.

Clinton’s allies note that Republican Donald Trump has been co-opting Sanders’ pitch against Clinton, which the businessman acknowledged on Wednesday.

“Bernie Sanders has a message that’s interesting. I’m going to be taking a lot of things Bernie said and using it,” Trump said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” ”When he said ‘Bad judgment’ I said, ‘Soundbyte!'”

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Sanders had every right to compete until the end of the primaries as Clinton did in 2008. But he expressed hope Sanders would point out their differences but “not assail her judgment or character anymore.”

Rendell, a Clinton supporter, said that could undermine Sanders’ effort to address wealth inequality and campaign finance reform. “If he believes what he’s talking about, he’s got to understand that he’s got to help her by toning it down,” Rendell said.

At rallies, Sanders has sent mixed signals during the past week over whether he will ease up on Clinton. He has demanded that Clinton release the transcripts of her lucrative private speeches to Wall Street and critiqued Clinton on issues like trade, the minimum wage and the war in Iraq. But in other events Sanders has largely steered clear of Clinton, focusing instead on Trump.

In the AP interview, Sanders bristled when asked if he would continue to contrast his record with Clinton’s. “Of course. I’m getting attacked by Hillary Clinton and her surrogates every damn day. Every day we’re getting attacked and our record is being distorted,” he said.

“We are trying to run an issue-oriented campaign and a campaign means that you talk about your record, what you believe in, as opposed to your opponent’s. That’s what Clinton does. Of course we’re going to do that,” he said.

There’s also the issue of whether Sanders will urge his supporters to back Clinton.

In a town hall on MSNBC on Monday night, Clinton questioned the idea that she needs to adopt parts of Sanders’ platform to win over his supporters, saying that she did not make demands when she lost the primary to President Barack Obama eight years ago.

Progressive groups are pressuring Clinton and her Democratic allies to come to their side. Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a liberal group backing Sanders, said Tuesday night the question isn’t whether the senator would win delegates.

“It’s whether the Democratic establishment is going to bring our party together by embracing our fight,” he said.

Sanders’ supporters want him to fight on. “There’s no reason he should drop out, or anyone should drop how they feel about him right now. If anything, the fact that he’s persevering at this point is inspiring,” said Maddie Harris, 17, of Parkersburg, W.Va., who attended Sanders’ West Virginia rally on Tuesday.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

For Donald Trump, speech a test of foreign policy and style

Donald Trump‘s highly anticipated foreign policy speech Wednesday will test whether the Republican presidential front-runner known for his raucous rallies and eyebrow-raising statements can present a more presidential persona as he works to coalesce a still-weary Republican establishment around his candidacy.

Trump’s speech will focus on “several critical foreign policy issues” such as trade, the global economy and national security, according to his campaign. But as much as the content will be scrutinized, so, too, will Trump’s ability to deliver his message in a way that comes off as both presidential and authentic to himself.

“This is all part of the normalization effort, or the mainstreaming of Donald Trump,” said Lanhee Chen, who served as 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney‘s chief policy adviser and advised Marco Rubio‘s campaign before the Florida senator dropped out of the race.

Trump has a lot to prove when it comes to calming foreign leaders and policy professionals. They’ve been stunned by his often brash policy proclamations, like his vow to bar foreign Muslims from entering the country, and an apparent disregard for long-standing alliances. Those concerns were amplified when Trump introduced a foreign policy team last month that left many scratching their heads.

Adding to the challenge, said Chen, is that Trump has already articulated foreign policy viewpoints in numerous interviews.

“I think he’s made his views clear,” he said. “The challenge is that there isn’t a lot more he can say that will give people comfort about the way he will conduct foreign policy as president.”

Trump’s speech is expected to be dressed with the trappings of gravitas. It will be held at Washington’s stately Mayflower Hotel (after a last-minute location change blamed on “overwhelming interest”) and will be presided over by Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the campaign. Trump is expected to use a teleprompter, despite the fact that he has mercilessly mocked his rivals for doing the same, declaring at one point: “If you’re running for president you shouldn’t be allowed to use a teleprompter.”

The speech comes as Trump has been working to professionalize his campaign with the addition of several new and experienced aides who have stressed the need to expand Trump’s policy shop and offer more specifics on his plans.

“Tomorrow’s going to be, I think, interesting,” Trump told reporters Tuesday night. “It’s going to be some of my views on foreign policy and defense and lots of other things, and part of it is economics.”

He added, however, that he would not be laying out a “Trump doctrine,” saying that “in life you have flexibility, you have to change.”

Senior aide Paul Manafort said last week that he’d met people at a number of think tanks and members of Congress to talk about bulking up the team’s policy component, which is smaller than that of leading campaigns in the past.

“We’re finding there’s a lot of interest in working with him, coming on board,” he told reporters.

Manafort spent about an hour at the Heritage Foundation headquarters in Washington last week meeting policy experts at the conservative think tank. Heritage officials cast the meeting as part of an ongoing series of briefings for candidates and their advisers.

While Trump’s speech marks a departure from his usual rally routine of speaking off the cuff, consulting only hand-scrawled notes, his remarks in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last month provided a test run of sorts, with Trump speaking from prepared remarks using a teleprompter.

While Trump largely stuck to his speech as he declared his support for Israel and railed against the Iran nuclear deal, he veered off-script after referring to President Barack Obama‘s last year in office.

“Yay,” Trump said, drawing cheers. “He may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me.”

The asides prompted an unprecedented apology from the group’s president the next day, saying the committee took “great offense” to criticism of the president from its stage.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Carlos Lopez-Cantera takes David Jolly to task for saying that Merrick Garland deserves an up-or-down vote

David Jolly was criticized by his GOP senate opponents for agreeing to debate Democrat Alan Grayson when Monday night’s event was announced. They criticized him during the event. And one of them is now taking him to task for one of his responses, nearly 24 hours later.

When asked if Merrick GarlandPresident Obama’s choice to succeed Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court deserved a vote, Jolly said yes, though he added that he would vote against him if given the opportunity.

“I do think he should have a hearing and I would like to see a vote,” Jolly said, adding that if he were in the senate right now he would meet with Garland. “Of course,” he said.

Wrong answer, says the press secretary for Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s Senate campaign.

“Congressman Jolly’s support of bringing Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to a vote is evidence of his unwillingness to stand up to the President’s unprecedented decision to try to force a liberal nominee who would shift the balance of the court for years, during an election year,” said Courtney Alexander  “Time and time again, Barack Obama has proven he cannot be trusted to uphold the Constitution, and Congressman Jolly’s support of a vote does nothing more than add validity to the President’s agenda. Congressman Jolly would take a chance on confirming Obama’s liberal nominee, Judge Garland, who would take away our second amendment rights and allow government to grow to unprecedented levels.”

During Monday night’s debate, Jolly said he could not support Garland because of his stance on the Second Amendment and unions. But his stance that he would actually support an up-or-down vote is heresy in the GOP Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed less than two hours after Scalia was found dead in Texas in early February that the Senate would not vote on any nominee that Obama might select, saying that such an important decision should wait until after the election.

Democrats have strongly disagreed, saying that the Senate is abdicating it constitutional responsibilities not to advise or consent on a Supreme Court nominee.

The high court is working with just eight justices, which has resulted already in some 4-4 ties.

Another GOP Senate candidate, Congressman Ron DeSantis, issued out four different tweets during Monday night’s debate where he compared Jolly’s voting record with Grayson’s, considered one of the most progressive members in the Democratic House caucus.

The Jolly camp had nothing to add to CLC’s statement.

“Jolly is focused on passing the Stop Act, doing his day job, and winning the U.S. Senate race,” said campaign spokesperson Sarah Bascom.

Fox’s Sean Hannity at center of bitter campaign competition

Sean Hannity is getting a bruising reminder that this year’s presidential campaign defies traditional political rules.

The Fox News Channel and radio host had a nasty spat with Sen. Ted Cruz this past week, following criticism from both the left and right about his interviews with Donald Trump. Fox also aired the odd spectacle of Hannity sitting onstage with Trump as an audience booed lustily at the mention of Fox colleague Megyn Kelly‘s name.

In an election year when cable news networks are enjoying a bump in viewership, Hannity is a key man for Fox, and his audience is growing more quickly than Kelly’s and Bill O’Reilly‘s. They precede Hannity in Fox’s prime-time lineup.

Fox declined to make Hannity available for an interview for this story.

Hannity’s relationship with Trump became an issue when the liberal website Thinkprogress.org published a story that wondered how Hannity had been able to interview Trump so much without making news, and quoted exchanges that depicted a friendly relationship.

Trump had been a guest on Hannity’s Fox show 32 times before last week’s town hall in Pittsburgh, according to the host’s records.

Hannity has said on his radio show that he does not support one Republican over another.

The attack didn’t seem to surprise Hannity, who noted the website’s ties to Hillary Clinton supporters. The story, however, was picked up and amplified by the conservative, anti-Trump website Redstate.com.

During Hannity’s recent Trump interview, he pressed for specifics on how the candidate would help people economically in that part of the country and how his Mideast policies would differ from President Barack Obama‘s.

About Trump’s claims that some delegates were being snatched, Hannity said, “Clearly there are people who want to circumvent and disenfranchise the voters. What do you say to them?”

He asked him to detail Clinton’s weaknesses, and there was an uncomfortable moment where he asked Trump to reveal what unflattering nickname he would try to stick on Clinton like he did with “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz.

Trump wouldn’t say, but promised Hannity he’d be the first to know.

By Hannity’s count, Cruz had appeared on his television show 34 times since Cruz announced his candidacy. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, still in the race, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is not, had been on the show 20 times, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another dropout, making 19 appearances.

On his radio show, through last week, Cruz had logged more interview time than any other candidate — more than 188 minutes on the air. Trump’s 112 minutes were third behind Rubio.

“I’m just going to remain neutral and give you access to the candidates, because no one else is doing it,” Hannity said. “At the end of the day, if it’s Cruz or Trump who is the nominee, I’m going to support them because it would be a disaster if Hillary Clinton becomes president.”

When Cruz this past week seemingly made a reference to Hannity’s critics in a radio interview, the host flashed annoyance.

After Cruz called a Hannity question about the fight for delegates part of a silly media obsession, Hannity pressed the point.

“The only people asking this are the hard-core Donald Trump supporters,” Cruz said.

“You’ve got to stop,” Hannity replied. “Every time I have you on the air and I ask you a legitimate question, you throw this in my face, and I’m getting sick of it. I’ve had you on the air more than any other candidate.”

The unabashed conservative makes no secret of his views, and he appeals to a like-minded audience.

In last week’s Trump interview, when Hannity asked about the candidate’s private meeting at Trump Tower with Kelly on April 13, the pro-Trump crowd booed at the mention of her name. Kelly has come under constant criticism from Trump since she asked him a question he didn’t like last summer.

Neither man spoke about the audience’s reaction. Trump smiled. Hannity, who was largely off camera, appeared to make a “stop” motion with his arms.

It was an audible manifestation of a delicate problem for Fox.

Kelly, Fox’s brightest new star, has come under relentless criticism from Trump, and many Hannity fans are siding with the GOP front-runner instead of the network long loved by Republican viewers.

Given that Trump seems to feel comfortable on Hannity’s show, the veteran talk show host is an important asset for Fox in a combustible campaign.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Ted Cruz, likable guy? He’s working on that

After spending a year campaigning as a hardened, uncompromising conservative, Ted Cruz wants voters to see him in a different light.

Cruz’s presidential campaign is embarking on a concerted effort to highlight a more affable version of the fiery Texas Republican. He’s started working the late night talk show circuit, a new forum for the senator, and his wife, Heidi, has also been appearing more often on national TV to present him as a likable figure.

Cruz’s two young daughters, who have already provided occasional comic relief to their dad’s campaign, will be joining the senator on the road frequently. And his team is looking for more opportunities to put Cruz in fun, laid-back settings, like when he joined kids for a matzo-making lesson in New York.

“It’s important for us to show him in more of a lighthearted venue,” said Alice Stewart, Cruz’s communications director. She conceded that voters want more than just a candidate they agree with on policy, adding, “It’s not a secret that voters will vote for someone they like.”

The lengths Cruz has to go in boosting his standing with voters were starkly evident in a focus group of Republican women this week in Pittsburgh. When the women were asked what they knew about Cruz, several described him as “untrustworthy” or a “liar.” GOP front-runner Donald Trump has spent weeks assailing Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”

And when focus group participants were asked what animal best described Cruz, some said a “mosquito” or a “hornet.”

“You just want to bat it away,” one woman said. The session was organized by Public Opinion Strategies and Purple Strategies as part of the “Wal-Mart Moms” series that focuses on female voters.

Cruz allies say the senator is warmer than he’s given credit for, particularly in private moments. Rep. Reid Ribble, a Wisconsin Republican who backs Cruz, recalled seeing the candidate playing tag with his daughters backstage before a campaign stop earlier this month.

“I remember thinking to myself as I watched him play with his kids, ‘That’s the Cruz America needs to see,'” Ribble said. “The more people can see the humanity of any candidate, the better.”

The campaign’s emphasis on Cruz’s persona comes as the senator fights for any possible advantage in his Republican primary fight with Trump. Cruz has no mathematical chance of winning the nomination through the regular voting and is counting entirely on overtaking Trump at a contested convention.

Cruz’s campaign has demonstrated impressive deftness in working the convention delegate process. But many party insiders view Cruz with skepticism — his reputation in Washington is that of a self-serving opportunist — and his standing with the public is only a bit better.

A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that only 26 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Cruz, while 59 percent were unfavorable. Perhaps the only solace for Cruz is that Trump’s numbers are even worse — 69 percent of Americans view him unfavorably as do 46 percent of Republicans.

Cruz’s campaign knows that in order to boost his numbers, he needs to reach out to Americans beyond those who listen to conservative talk radio and know the senator from his fights with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, including his 21-hour filibuster against President Barack Obama‘s health care law that resulted in a government shutdown.

In that effort, Cruz’s campaign sees Obama as someone to emulate. The president has consistently had high personal favorability ratings and mastered the art of courting Americans outside the political arena.

Stewart from the Cruz campaign said Obama “may not have checked all the boxes for a candidate in terms of record and accomplishments, but voters liked him.” Cruz this week even parroted Obama’s famous “yes we can” campaign slogan, adopting “yes we will” as his promise to fulfill his campaign pledges.

Before the New York primary, Cruz made the rounds of the late-night talk show circuit for the first time, appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and the “Tonight” show.

Cruz is also doing more public events with his wife and daughters.

During a CNN town-hall interview, Cruz talked about a recent class picnic where 8-year-old Caroline “got to dress up daddy” in a pink boa and “big goofy-looking underwear.”

“It was on a videotape the whole time,” Caroline continued.

“Uh oh,” Cruz said, trying to smile.

“And now it’s a class video that they’re sending out to all the parents,” she said as her mom and the audience burst into laughter.

Cruz quickly tried to change the subject.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Bill Nelson files legislation to provide $1.9B to fight Zika

Sen. Bill Nelson is calling on lawmakers to fully fund President Barack Obama’s request to fight Zika virus.

Nelson announced he planned to file legislation to provide the $1.9 billion the president has said is needed to fight the spread of the virus. The Florida senator took to the Senate floor on Thursday to make the announcement, saying he made the request after hearing “rumors that the appropriations committee is looking at a figure of $1.1 billion.”

“This is truly an emergency. I’m calling on our colleagues to approve the president’s $1.9 billion in emergency funding request now in the immediate future. Not later,” said Nelson in a floor speech. “The cost of this inaction would be far greater, and the consequences way too devastating. And we don’t want to have to say in the future, I told you so.”

Nelson said the Zika virus had infected 800 Americans in 40 states and territories. There have been 91 cases spread across 15 counties in Florida. Three of the most recent cases were in the Miami area.

The call to fully fund the president’s request comes just days after Obama signed legislation to add the Zika virus to the Food and Drug Administration’s Tropical Priority Review Voucher Program.

That bill, which was backed by Nelson, incentivizes drugmakers to accelerate their search for a cure. The legislation offers companies that develop a treatment a voucher to expedite the FDA approval process of any other drug the company chooses.

Mitch Perry Report for 4.20.16 – Bernie’s chances may have just faded away, but how does Clinton handle him going forward?

It was on May 8, 2008, after the returns from Democratic primary results from North Carolina and Indiana had come in, when the late Tim Russert told viewers that the intense battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was over.

“We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it,” he said on MSNBC shortly after midnight Eastern time. “Those closest to her will give her a hardheaded analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared superdelegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.”

I remember the moment well, having just come home from seeing Radiohead begin their 2008 tour at the 1-800-Gary or whatever it was called back then out on I-4.

Ladies and gentleman, that moment happened last night in the Democratic race for president between Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Clinton’s overwhelming victory in the Empire State is being explained away by Sanders folks, because, well, that’s what you do when you’re on the losing side of a major election. Her nearly 16-percentage point victory (15.8 percent, officially) translated into 284,605 more votes than Sanders.

Democratic strategist Steve Schale lays out the impossible path that Sanders would have to get the nomination now.

Somewhat incredulously, Jeff Weaver, Sanders campaign manager, told MSNBC last night that even if Clinton wins all the delegates required to secure the nomination and leads the popular vote, the Sanders’ campaign would fight to flip superdelegates all the way to the convention. “It’s going to be an election determined by the superdelegates,” he said, adding that Clinton “did very, very well in New York doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing in these other states.”

Sanders should continue. Some folks (like Schale) say that Sanders should “land the plane” and come together to begin working to take down Donald Trump in November.

Others, like the NY Times editorial board, insist Bernie should stay in.

Sanders isn’t going away, not yet. It will be interesting to see how the fight continues. The bottom line is this: Clinton needs Sanders supporters, and indeed their energy, to have a chance in November. The Clinton folks can’t get heavy handed in trying to push him to quit.

Forget the surveys about November — Trump is bringing a large number of Republicans to the polls while participation in the Democratic primaries is down (even with all the energy that Sanders is generating). Democrats (and Hillary fans) are delusional if they think they have this in the bag.

In other news …

Carlos Lopez-Cantera was in Brandon yesterday, visiting a Cuban bakery to press the flesh with the real Floridians.

Bill Nelson is very happy with the passage of the FAA reauthorization bill, which he says does a number of positive things for airline passengers.

Hillsborough County Democrats convened on Monday to take a vote on whether or not to support Go Hillsborough, the transportation tax that may or may not be on the November ballot.

And you remember Joshua Black, don’t you, Pinellas County Republicans? The man who tweeted that President Obama should be hung is running for office again — this time for Sheriff vs. Bob Gualtieri.

Today on Context Florida: Solar regulation, rule of law, financial literacy and Apple & the FBI

Today on Context Florida:

Jim Kallinger and Dick Batchelor wrote in Context Florida last week that voters should support “Amendment 1,” which seeks to regulate solar energy in Florida. They disclose at the end of the article that they work for “Consumers for Smart Solar.” Julie Delegal reminds voters that they may not know “Consumers for Smart Solar” is a bankrolled front for Big Energy, which wants to control solar energy in Florida, and is looking to suppress competition from rooftop solar.

The Obama administration is applying a full-court press on the issue of the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. President Barack Obama made the case for his nominee last week at the University of Chicago Law School, an institution that the White House said “helped shape his dedication to the rule of law.” With all this talk about the rule of law — a foundational principle in America — Jesse Panuccio says it’s important to understand just what it means.

Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders and influencers. Drew Breakspear believes we must equip them with the tools they need to be successful, which includes knowledge about money, credit, debt and investments. Understanding how money works is the cornerstone of financial stability and success. It is critical to the future of our economy that our children be financially literate so that they can make sound financial decisions.

To Blake Dowling, the battle between Apple and the FBI is one of the most controversial technology stories of the year. The FBI, while trying to get into the phone of the two San Bernardino terrorists, took Apple to court. The agency demanded that Apple help the agency get data off the locked phone and then said “never mind.” Apple then asked, why the “never mind”? The FBI hired its own hackers and one or more of them were able to get the data off the iPhone.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Barack Obama, Warriors star Stephen Curry team up on PSA

President Barack Obama has teamed with reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry on a public service announcement calling for Americans to mentor youth in their community to make a positive impact.

The video was shown Saturday on ABC’s “NBA Countdown” ahead of Curry’s playoff opener with the defending champion Golden State Warriors against the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

Curry and Obama golfed together last August and Curry also visited the White House with the Warriors in February — and Obama mentioned Curry “clowning” with defenders the way he had been shooting.

The PSA was done through “MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership” and motivated by Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which raises awareness and calls for action to ensure all youth — including young men of color — reach their full potential.

Curry is active in the Bay Area community and committed to making a difference.

After a recent visit to Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in inner-city Oakland, he said, “The opportunity, obviously the 15-20 minutes you’re with them, I think goes a long way. … Just having fun with them is the most important. It was very beneficial.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.