Obama: Refusal To Consider Nominee Damages Public's Faith In The Judiciary

President Obama is interviewed about his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

President Obama is interviewed about his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. Nick Michael/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Nick Michael/NPR

Just after President Obama and I concluded our interview — and after the microphones and cameras clicked off — he added a thought.

Senate Republicans’ vow not to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, he said, could have profound consequences for the high court and the justices themselves.

“The thing that could be lost,” said Obama, is the “collegiality” of the court, the ability to work together. When the confirmation gets so out-of-whack that it is “just impossible,” he said, that could bleed over and eventually erode “the ability to disagree without being disagreeable” that is the hallmark of an independent judiciary.

In a wide-ranging interview about the nomination, the president said that positive reviews about Garland from Republican senators were a significant factor in his decision to nominate the appeals court judge for a seat on the Supreme Court.

He called Garland “one of the best judges, not just in the country but of his generation.”

And yet Garland was the runner-up twice before when Obama filled two previous openings on the Supreme Court. So why was the 63-year-old judge chosen this time?

“It is my belief that now more than ever his voice would serve the court well, would help to burnish the sense that the Supreme Court is above politics, and not just an extension of politics,” said Obama, adding that Garland has the kind of calm voice that would end up “increasing the American people’s confidence in our justice system.”

A few minutes later, the president was even more pointed about wanting a judge who could get confirmed.

“My goal was to actually confirm a justice who I thought could do an outstanding job,” he said. “And Merrick Garland fits that bill.”

Garland’s rough road ahead

Conservative groups are already attacking Garland, sometimes citing reasons, sometimes simply opposing the nomination because it was made by Obama. So I asked the president about Republican Sen. John Cornyn’s pledge to make any nominee “a piñata.”

The president said he and Garland had a “candid” conversation about being in the eye of a confirmation hurricane, and what that means especially for the nominee’s family.

“For those of us who are more often in the scrum of politics,” said Obama, “we call folks like Judge Garland ‘civilians.’ And so, suddenly being placed in a war zone like this is something that you want to make sure they’re mindful of.”

I asked the president about reports that Republicans had sent a back-channel message to the White House indicating they would confirm Garland in a lame-duck session after the election, if a Democrat wins the presidency.

He dodged the question, saying that he had not had any such conversations with Republicans.

Then he pivoted to say that it was Garland’s record as a “consensus builder” that would serve the nation well on a Supreme Court so sharply divided on many issues.

“I think that’s a valuable quality that has been reinforced by the statements that were made by Republicans,” he said.

Obama said he had offered the nomination to Garland over the weekend, prompting me to observe that the nominee did a pretty good acting job at a small charity dinner Sunday night where he maintained he didn’t think he would get the nod.

Interviewing the candidates

Every time there is a Supreme Court vacancy, reporters write about the interviews that presidents conduct with the finalists. So I asked Obama what he asks in these interviews, since it would clearly be inappropriate to ask about a potential nominee’s views on a specific controversy or case.

Obama said that he sometimes asks “about family and background and what made you want to be a judge. You learn a lot just by talking to people about what their story is.

“When you hear about the care with which [Garland] dealt with the victims and the families who had been affected by the Oklahoma City bombing, you get a sense of who that person is.”

The president said he reads the candidates’ legal opinions, and as a former professor of constitutional law himself, he gets a pretty good idea of “how they approach a case.” And he likes to ask potential nominees how they approach a legal question when the text of the Constitution is ambiguous. It gives him “some sense of the their judicial philosophy.”

In our interview, the president made clear he wants a hearing and a vote on the Garland nomination now, not after the election. He said he intends to take his argument to the American people, on the road and elsewhere, in the coming weeks, and he maintained that Republicans have now taken Senate prerogatives to the constitutional breaking point.

“For the first time in anyone’s memory,” said Obama, “you have the head of the Senate saying, ‘I won’t meet with a nominee. I won’t provide a nominee a hearing. I will not provide a nominee a vote.'”

Yes, he acknowledged, there are always some politics involved in the nomination process. He acknowledged too his own role in seeking to prolong the debate on the nomination of Justice Samuel Alito in 2006. But, he observed, Alito was not denied a hearing or a vote, a situation dramatically different from now.

The consequences of refusal

If Republicans refuse any consideration of this nomination, he said, not only would the Supreme Court seat remain vacant for more than a year, but there would be a new precedent for senators to stymie the confirmation process as never before. And presidents of either party would only be able to fill court vacancies when their party controlled the Senate.

“At that point the judiciary becomes a pure extension of politics. And that damages people’s faith in the judiciary,” Obama said.

He noted that a Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Justice Anthony Kennedy’s nomination in the last year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and he suggested that current Senate Republicans are defying the intent of the Founding Fathers.

“George Washington nominated a couple of Supreme Court justices in his last year,” Obama observed, noting puckishly that Washington “had better poll numbers, I’m sure, than I did.”

“What’s particularly ironic,” added the president, is the number of Republicans who profess “respect for the Founders’ intentions” who are claiming that they would now “read into the Supreme Court nomination process” that a seat should remain vacant for “an entire year … because there’s an election going on.”

Obama professed to be puzzled by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s assertion that the Senate should let the American people decide, as part of the election, who gets to fill this Supreme Court seat.

“In fact, the American people did decide, back in 2012 when they elected me president of the United States,” he said.

I asked the president if he could really blame Republicans for trying to prevent a significant ideological shift on the court, in hopes that they’ll win the presidency nine months from now.

“This is just raw politics,” Obama said, then expressed what he presumes is the basis for Republican opposition. “We don’t want somebody who’s been nominated by a Democrat.”

While Obama said he understands that Republicans are “worried and scared” about an uprising among their base voters, there are times, he said, to stand up and be counted for the good of the country.

And what of the president’s own base of voters? Many progressives note that four out of five of the judges on Obama’s Supreme Court shortlist were minorities or women, or both. Yet he picked the only white male, a centrist liberal, not someone who would, in the view of some progressives, “shake up” the debate on the Supreme Court.

Obama noted that he has appointed far more women, minorities and openly gay judges to the lower courts than any other president.

“My record of appointing a judiciary that reflects the country is unmatched,” he said. “When it comes to the Supreme Court, I’ve appointed two women, one Hispanic, and in each case the good news is, is that I appointed the person who I absolutely thought was the best person for the job. In this case, Merrick Garland is the best person for the job.”

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California Insurance Marketplace Aims To Kick Out Poor-Performing Hospitals

“We are now shifting our attention to changing the underlying delivery system to make it more cost effective and higher quality,” says Peter Lee, executive director for Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace. Anne Cusack/LA Times via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Anne Cusack/LA Times via Getty Images

California’s insurance exchange is threatening to cut hospitals from its networks for poor performance or high costs, a novel proposal that is drawing heavy fire from medical providers and insurers.

The goal is to boost the overall quality of patient care and make coverage more affordable, said Peter Lee, executive director of the Covered California exchange.

“The first few years were about getting people in the door for coverage,” said Lee, a key figure in the rollout of the federal health law. “We are now shifting our attention to changing the underlying delivery system to make it more cost effective and higher quality. We don’t want to throw anyone out, but we don’t want to pay for bad quality care either.”

It appears to be the first proposal of its kind in the country. The exchange’s five-member board is slated to vote on it next month. If approved, insurers would need to identify hospital “outliers” on cost and quality starting in 2018. Medical groups and doctors would be rated after that.

Providers who don’t measure up stand to lose insured patients and suffer a black eye that could sully their reputations with employers and other big customers.

By 2019, health plans would be expected to expel poor performers from their exchange networks.

The idea has already sparked fierce opposition. Doctors and hospitals accuse the exchange of overstepping its authority and failing to spell out the specific measures they would be judged on.

Health insurers, normally at odds with providers, have joined them in the fight. The insurers are balking at the prospect of disclosing their negotiated rates with providers. Health plans have long resisted efforts that would let competitors or the public see the deals they make with doctors and hospitals.

But scrutinizing the negotiated rates would help the exchange identify high-cost providers and allow policyholders with high deductibles to see the differences in price before undergoing a surgery or imaging test.

Lee said it’s time for the exchange to move beyond enrollment and flex its market power on behalf of its 1.5 million members. He said insurers haven’t been tough enough on hospitals and doctors.

Other public exchanges or large employers could try to replicate the idea, putting more pressure on providers and insurers. Lee has shared his proposal with other state marketplaces, government officials and employer groups to promote similar efforts.

Still, there are limits to this strategy. Exceptions would be granted if excluding a hospital or doctor from a network meant an area wouldn’t have a sufficient number of providers. Insurers could appeal and offer other reasons for keeping a provider in the network.

“California is definitely ahead of the pack when it comes to taking an active purchasing role, and exclusion is a pretty big threat,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. “There may be a dominant hospital system that’s charging through the nose, but without them you don’t have an adequate network. It will be interesting to see how Covered California threads that needle.”

The composition of networks has typically been left up to insurers. Until now, most of the discussion has centered on the proliferation of narrow networks, with a limited range of providers, sold under the Affordable Care Act as a way to hold down rates. A study in 2015 found that 75 percent of Covered California plans had narrow physician networks, with more restricted choices than all but three other states.

“I don’t know of anyone even close to trying this,” said Dan Polsky, the study’s author and executive director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. “I applaud Covered California for being bold to improve quality and reduce costs, but I worry about the implementation.”

Polsky said measuring quality can be complicated, and steps must be taken to ensure hospitals and doctors aren’t penalized for treating sicker patients or serving lower-income areas. Most quality-boosting efforts use financial bonuses and penalties rather than exclusion.

Under the Covered California plan, hospitals would be judged on a wide range of performance and safety measures, from rates of readmission and hospital-acquired infections to adverse drug events. The exchange said it will draw on existing measures already tracked by Medicare and other groups, and it will work with hospitals, consumer advocates and other experts over the next 18 months to finalize the details.

The California Hospital Association said the exchange is moving too fast and acting too much like a regulator.

“The devil is in the details, and the rapidity of this concerns us,” said Dr. David Perrott, chief medical officer at the state hospital trade group. “We understand value-based purchasing is here in some form and we do not oppose that. But Covered California is charging ahead with this assessment and trying to figure out the answers when it hasn’t been worked out.”

California physicians warn that the exchange’s proposal could further reduce networks that are already too thin for patients.

“Right now, one of the biggest problems in healthcare is limited access to specialty care. This allows more narrowing of the networks under spurious guidelines,” said Dr. Ted Mazer, a board member of the California Medical Association and a head and neck surgeon in San Diego.

Charles Bacchi, chief executive of the California Association of Health Plans, predicted that Covered California’s idea will backfire, discouraging hospitals and doctors from participating in the exchange and driving up premiums as a result.

“It’s the right goal but the wrong approach,” Bacchi said. “Covered California is proposing a top-down, arbitrary measurement system that carries a big stick. This can make it difficult for health plans and providers to work together constructively.”

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California HealthCare Foundation. Follow Chad Terhune on Twitter: @chadterhune.

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'City Of Gold,' Patchwork Of Cultures: A Tour Of LA's Food Scene

Jonathan shows off his signature suspenders.
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You wouldn’t expect a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic to take you to the sort of place that’s wedged between a 99-cent store and a boarded up meat market.

But that’s exactly where I sat down for lunch with Jonathan Gold — at a downtown Los Angeles eatery called El Parian.

“Are you all OK with goat?” he asks. “We should all get half-orders of the birria — which is basically like a roast goat stew. But if somebody would rather have carne asada — well, I will judge, but I won’t judge much,” he says with a laugh. (Read his review of the restaurant’s birria here.)

Jonathan shows off his signature suspenders. Arezou Rezvani/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Arezou Rezvani/NPR

In the restaurant world, Jonathan Gold is a heavy-hitter. Get a good review from Gold … and you’ve struck gold.

But he isn’t all about chic fine dining or Michelin Stars. He’s hungry for the unfamiliar, undiscovered microcosms of culture and community.

That insatiable appetite is at the heart of the new documentary City of Gold. Its director, Laura Gabbert, who also joined us for lunch, says she learned to love LA by reading Gold. “He gets you out of your comfort zone, into new neighborhoods, looking for new adventures,” she says.

As Gold sees it, there are Chinatowns and Little Italys all over America. But what’s different about LA is that many of the immigrants who open up restaurants here are cooking to feed — and please — only themselves and their communities. It’s what Gold calls an “anti-melting pot.”

That is not to say he loves everything. In the documentary, he points out a Taiwanese place he’s been to many times — though he’s pretty emphatic about not liking the food there.

The tortilla's at one of Gold's favorite restaurants — El Parian — are handmade, and heavenly.

The tortilla’s at one of Gold’s favorite restaurants — El Parian — are handmade, and heavenly. Arezou Rezvani/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Arezou Rezvani/NPR

“The first time I went there, I was appalled by my lunch,” he tells me. “It was my first encounter with bitter melon which, if you haven’t had it, it’s almost like one of nature’s cruel jokes. There’s this really piercing bitterness, not bitter like coffee or chocolate, but like cancer medicine.”

He goes on: “There were soups with this sort of gelatinized texture, there was vague, unappetizing to me smokiness, there was what I usually translate as stinky tofu — which is tofu that’s been fermented and it smells like a particularly foul dumpster on a summer day”

Gold says the birria — goat stew — at El Parian is their best dish.

Gold says the birria — goat stew — at El Parian is their best dish. Arezou Rezvani/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Arezou Rezvani/NPR

So why’d he keep going back?

“Because I’d look around, the restaurant was crowded, and people were really happy,” he says. “And I realized that the food wasn’t like this because they were bad cooks.”

It was just that the food there wasn’t what he was used to eating. “By the time I went back 16 or 17 times, I still didn’t love it, but I felt that I understood it, and I understood the context in which it was being served. And I think in a lot of ways, that’s more valuable than if I’d just gone in there and made cheap jokes at the expense of the food or I’d given it a bad review because I thought it was bad.”

That sort of methodical, contemplative philosophy is why even in this age of crowd-sourced reviewing, Jonathan Gold’s writing has never gone stale.

Check out El Parian’s Yelp page before dining there and you’ll know the birria is “to die for” as one amateur reviewer put it.

But nothing truly conveyed what finally landed on our table: Bowls of steaming rich goat broth, tender mounds of shredded pork and steak charred to perfection.

For a few minutes, eating replaced talking entirely. And while it did, the tune from the backroom jukebox, the soccer match on TV, the gentle hum of fans on a hot day brought to life something Gold had shared earlier that day:

“As much as you would from a novel or a painting or an opera or movie, you can go to a restaurant, and eat a meal, and look at the people around you and smell the smells, and taste the flavors and learn something about the world that has a lot to do with what’s on your plate.”

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Stray Lion injures man in Kenyan capital: wildlife service

A male lion that strayed into rush hour traffic in the Kenyan capital on Friday injured one man before being captured and taken back to a reserve that lies on the edge of the city, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said.

KWS, which manages the country’s safari reserves including the Nairobi National Park on the outskirts of the capital, said its units had caught the lion after images posted on social media showed it wandering along a main road near the park.

“A man who was injured by the lion (has been) taken to hospital,” KWS said on its Twitter feed.

KWS spokesman Paul Udoto told Kenya’s NTV that the elderly man was in a stable condition after the black-maned lion attacked him when it became agitated by the hooting of car horns by passing motorists.

The images on social media showed the lion walking along a grassy verge next to the busy road and past some people who looked on from behind a closed iron-bar gate.

Inside Nairobi National Park, which lies on the city limits, tourists enjoy views of lions, rhinos, giraffes, zebras and other wildlife against a backdrop of high-rise buildings.

Lions are occasionally spotted in the city close to the park after finding a way through fences that protect the built-up areas near the reserve.

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Spanish illusionist adds technology to his bag of tricks

Madrid – Spanish illusionist Jorge Blass is incorporating a new kind of magic into his act by using technology and social media to entertain crowds during his shows.

In addition to card tricks and sawing his assistant in half, Blass, 35, also serves a glass of water from his tablet and makes a pizza delivery man magically appear after placing an order on his iPad.


His Palabra de Mago (Magician’s Word) show, which opened on March 16 at Madrid’s Teatro de La Luz, will run for four weeks.

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Snoop Dogg Makes Romanian Village Famous With Instagram Mistake

One social media misstep from Snoop Dogg; inadvertent fame for a tiny Romanian village.

One social media misstep from Snoop Dogg; inadvertent fame for a tiny Romanian village. Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Getty Images

A tiny village in central Romania is enjoying a huge spike in attention thanks to an unlikely person: Snoop Dogg.

The U.S. rapper was in Bogotá, Colombia, this week when he posted a selfie on Instagram. He presumably meant to tag his location in the South American city, but instead checked in at Bogata, Romania, a small village in the center of the Eastern European country.

A photo posted by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on Mar 13, 2016 at 8:38pm PDT

Romanian Instagram users aware of Snoop Dogg’s affinity for marijuana jumped on the mistake. One user wrote, “Good job, Snoop. You know, there is a lot of hemp there,” according to the website Balkan Insider.

Not long after, an enterprising Romanian media company launched an English-language website called visitbogata.com, to provide information for potential tourists. The homepage reads, “Snoop Dogg checked into Bogata, Mures, by mistake — but you don’t have to! Find out more on why you should visit.”

It goes on to boast that Bogata is the “best place for chillin’ in Romania.”

The site gives some background information on the newly famous village:

“With only 2000 inhabitants, the commune, situated at approx. 5.5 hour-drive from Bucharest, is the perfect location for a relaxing vacation. Close to Cluj-Napoca, Mediaș, Sighișoara and Târgu Mureș, Bogata is the perfect place to be if you want to relax in nature and take in all it has to offer.”

And the site promotes it as a versatile getaway:

“Either you plan a longer vacation in the area, or a short break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Bogata awaits you. Bring your tent, sleeping bag, comfortable shoes and get ready for the chillest weekend you could imagine.”

According to Balkan Insider, Silvia Marinescu from the media agency called Kinecto told Republic.ro, “We just wanted to show that if you check into a place in Romania, even by mistake, for sure you can find something special there. Bogata is one of the many wonderful places here.”

A tourism site for Bogata, Romania, was created not long after Snoop Dogg accidentally tagged the village on Instagram.

A tourism site for Bogata, Romania, was created not long after Snoop Dogg accidentally tagged the village on Instagram. Screen Grab From Visitbogata.com hide caption

toggle caption Screen Grab From Visitbogata.com

The tourism website, which suggests locations to see, foods to eat and places to stay, also pokes fun at Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for his comment lamenting the fact that Romanians had faster Internet speeds than some Americans.

“Internet speed,” the site reads. “Maybe not [be] as high as in the capital city of Romania (we’re looking at you, Bernie Sanders), but we’d say it is pretty good. Good enough to quickly upload a selfie.”

Balkan Insider reports that the village has not changed much after the high-profile mistake:

“In the meantime, life is quiet and calm in Bogata. Most of the 2,000 people in the village are not much interested in what it is being said about them on the internet. Most do not know who Snoop Dogg is, either.

” ‘I don’t know how this singer – whoever is he – could make such a mistake. Bogotá is one thing, Bogata something different,’ Ioan, a 61-year-old villager said, according to a report in Pressone.ro magazine.

” ‘Let’s be serious. If he [Snoop Dogg] came here, many people would get scared. They might think he belongs to ISIS. For us, the world starts here and ends just few kilometers away,’ another villager called Ana, was quoted as saying, while working in her courtyard.”

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North Korea Fires 2 Ballistic Missiles Off Its East Coast

People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on Tuesday.

People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on Tuesday. Ahn Young-joon/AP hide caption

toggle caption Ahn Young-joon/AP

North Korea fired a pair of medium-range ballistic missiles from its east coast into the Sea of Japan at about 6 a.m. local time, according to South Korea’s military. The missiles flew about 500 miles.

This follows the launch of two short-range missiles last week.

“We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said, in a statement.

The shows of military strength by the North come as 17,000 U.S. troops and 300,000 South Korean soldiers take part in annual war games that the U.S. maintains are defensive in nature. North Korea objects to the exercises with antagonistic rhetoric and threats each year.

Relations are particularly sour between North and South this year, following the North’s fourth U.N.-rules-breaking nuclear test and a rocket launch widely viewed to be a ballistic missile test. South Korea shuttered the joint North-South Kaesong industrial complex last month as a unilateral reaction to the North’s nuclear test. That came just before the international community slapped a new package of strict sanctions on North Korea through a United Nations Security Council resolution.

The drumbeat of North Korean shows of military strength and rhetoric will likely continue in the lead-up to May, when the North’s Workers Party Congress meets for the first time since 1980.

NPR’s Tom Bowman and Michele Kelemen contributed to this post.

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Committee Rejects Philly Mob Boss' Home As Historical Landmark

The 74-year-old daughter of the late Philadelphia crime boss Angelo Bruno still lives in the family home. There’s “not a lot of encouragement” for people who want the property considered a piece of history. Matt Rourke/AP hide caption

toggle caption Matt Rourke/AP

Angelo Bruno, Philadelphia’s mob boss in the 1960s and 1970s, was killed by a shotgun blast in 1980 as he sat in a car in front of his house on 934 Snyder Avenue.

The grisly story is no doubt a point of fascination for Mafia aficionados, but it wasn’t enough to land the address on Philadelphia’s list of historical designations.

On Thursday, a historical landmark advisory board committee said the home of the mobster, known as the “Gentle Don,” was not significant enough to merit the landmark status. The committee’s unanimous recommendation now goes to the city’s Historical Commission, which will have the final say, The Associated Press reports.

Author Celeste Morello nominated the home for inclusion on the designated list last month. She told the panel that Bruno was an important historical figure, whose underworld dealing helped shape the way police tracked and prosecuted organized crime.

“If Bruno didn’t do things to make law enforcement notice him, I doubt that Philadelphia would have been one of the first organized-crime law enforcement units with a ‘strike force’ in the country,” she said, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The logic sounds like a joke to David Fritchey, the recently retired chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The newspaper wrote:

“[He] burst out in laughter last week when the Daily News informed him that Bruno’s house could become a landmark.

” ‘That’s a little unorthodox,’ he said. ‘It’s not like he was William Penn or Ben Franklin.’

“Bruno, who ran the Philadelphia mob through the 1960s and 1970s, was a shrewd businessman with a reputation for preferring diplomacy over violence – at least compared with bloodthirsty Nicodemo ‘Little Nicky’ Scarfo, who took over as mob boss in 1981.

” ‘That’s sort of like saying the Visigoths were nicer than the Huns,’ Fritchey said of Bruno. ‘He had his share of bodies.’ “

At the hearing, Morello said Bruno’s FBI file is part of the John F. Kennedy assassination record, and includes transcripts of conversations in which Bruno says he wanted the president killed.

“That’s big. That is very significant,” Morello said according to the AP. “I don’t know of anyone else in Philadelphia who has had their FBI file become a part of such a critical moment in 20th century history or United States history.”

But Jean Bruno, the Mafia chief’s 74-year-old daughter who still lives in the family home, said she knew her father to argue against the president’s assassination.

As for the home’s inclusion on the historical places list, Bruno’s daughter said she would consider the designation “an honor” and wondered if it would warrant any tax breaks.

The Daily News writes that other cities have historically designated buildings with certain shady histories, but not to honor criminals:

“Damaris Olivo, spokeswoman for New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, said the city has some landmarks associated with unsavory characters ‘but that’s not the reason why they were designated.’

“Peter Strazzabosco, deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, said its city council had given landmark status to buildings affiliated with gangsters such as Al Capone (the Lexington Hotel) and John Dillinger (the Biograph Theater). But, as in New York, those mob ties didn’t play a role in the designation, he said.

” ‘A person’s affiliation with the underworld is not considered a significant contribution to the development of the city,’ Strazzabosco said.”

Morello, who wrote a biography of Bruno in 2005 called Before Bruno and How He Became Boss, is undeterred in her quest for recognition for the late gangster and his former home.

The AP reports that she “asked if she should resubmit the application with stronger arguments or a different angle.”

Committee member Jeffrey Cohen, a Bryn Mawr College professor of architectural history, said that decision was up to her, but noted, “I don’t think you see a lot of encouragement here.”

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Missouri Victory Gives Clinton A Belated Mega Tuesday Sweep

Hillary Clinton holds a campaign event at the Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in St. Louis on March 12.

Hillary Clinton holds a campaign event at the Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in St. Louis on March 12. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

toggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP

Hillary Clinton was declared the winner of the Missouri Democratic primary by The Associated Press on Thursday evening, nearly two days after the state held its primary.

She eked out a slim victory of just 1,531 votes over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. That’s a difference of just three-tenths of a percent and was within the margin of a possible recount, but Sanders said earlier Thursday he wouldn’t ask for that.

“I think it’s unlikely the results will impact at all the number of delegates the candidate gets, and I would prefer to save the taxpayers of Missouri some money,” Sanders said in an interview with the AP.

The belated win means the former secretary of state swept all five states that voted this week on the so-called “Mega Tuesday.” She also was victorious in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Illinois.

Clinton picked up two more delegates from the win. According to the AP, that gives her a 314 pledged delegate advantage over Sanders. When super-delegates are considered, she has a 755 delegate lead.

The Republican race in Missouri still remains in limbo. Unofficial returns show Donald Trump with a thin lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by 1,726 votes in the state. There could still be outstanding absentee and overseas ballots along with provisional ballots. As long as the race is within a 1 percentage-point margin as well, there remains the possibility of a recount.

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