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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.
The Hill's 12:30 Report: Tensions rise with North Korea | Trump's two rules for advisers | WH shift on tax reform? | 'Fox & Friends' cheers Afghan bomb video | Rowdy GOP town halls | Wendy's, Hardees Twitter fight | Clear-colored coffee
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND: NORTH KOREA -- 'DOUBLE THE ORDER OF THE DECORATIVE MISSILES FOR THE PARADE, OK GUYS? IT NEEDS TO BE FLASHY': Via NBC News, the U.S. is reportedly ready to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if officials believe Pyongyang is going to go through with a nuclear weapons test. Timing: It could be as soon as this weekend. Pushback: Other reporters said administration sources insisted there was no strike planned shttp://nbcnews.to/2nMp6qU
UPDATE FROM NORTH KOREA -- FINE, MAYBE WE'LL DO A PREEMPTIVE STRIKE, TOO! *STICKS OUT TONGUE*: A top North Korean official is threatening a preemptive strike against the U.S. if his nation believes America is taking "reckless" military action. Vice Minister Han Song Ryol on Friday said that President Trump's tweets are part of a "vicious cycle" of escalated tensions in the region, adding that North Korea will continue to stockpile more nuclear warheads and improve on the country's nuclear program. http://bit.ly/2oyDq5i
YOU SHOULD KNOW: April 15 is a big day in North Korea. It marks the birthday of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung, in 1912. North Korea has been known to do big things on that day. Example: In 2012, "North Korea held a huge military parade, complete with missiles on trucks and jets flying overhead -- and launched what they said was a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit. (It failed soon after it was fired.)" http://wapo.st/2ph9nNI
WHAT TIMING: Vice President Pence is visiting South Korea Sunday (!) as part of a long-planned Asia trip. http://bit.ly/2phxETM
I LIKE MY ADVISERS THE WAY I LIKE MY LIBRARIES -- QUIET: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, in President Trump's White House, it's better to not be seen or heard in public. Who's gaining influence: economic adviser Gary Cohn, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and Trump family members Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Have they kept low profiles in the media? Yep. Who's losing influence: Chief strategist Stephen Bannon, senior adviser Stephen Miller, counselor Kellyanne Conway and chief of staff Reince Priebus. Low profiles? Lol.
Trump has two rules for people who work for him: Unless you're a paid spokesperson, you should only engage with the press to promote Trump's agenda. And don't ever forget that Trump is the main attraction. http://bit.ly/2pAyvhG
HOW MUCH DO YOU WANNA BET THERE WILL BE A "MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS" FIREWORKS DISPLAY THIS YEAR FOR THE FOURTH?: "Fox & Friends" this morning admiringly aired a government video showing a massive bomb being dropped in Afghanistan, with one host touting it as "what freedom looks like." Watch the clip: http://bit.ly/2p3mJjD
BACK STORY: Yesterday, the United States dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan, the first time such a bomb has been used in combat. About the acronym: The bomb is called a "Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb" – or MOAB – but has been nicknamed the "Mother Of All Bombs." http://bit.ly/2obRfnC
TIME FLIES, HUH?: 182 years ago today, President Lincoln was assassinated. Interesting tidbit from presidential historian Michael Beschloss: "[Here are the] contents of Abraham Lincoln's pockets when assassinated ... not shown to public for 111 years" Photo: http://bit.ly/2otYQ1F
JUST IN CASE ANY OF THEIR EGOS WERE TOO HIGH: House Republicans are facing angry crowds back in their districts during recess. Why constituents are angry: President Trump's policies and the stalled GOP attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare. How not to go viral 101: Lawmakers are turning to telephone town halls and livestreaming Facebook events to avoid heated interactions from going viral. http://bit.ly/2nMQKUN
LET'S SWAP THAT BRIGHT GIFT BOW FOR A SHINY RIBBON: Via The Hill's Naomi Jagoda, the White House is signaling an interest in moving the tax-reform debate in a different direction. Before: Trump's tax plan closely resembled Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanPelosi: 'Of course' Dems can be against abortion Five fights for Trump’s first year Sunday shows preview: Trump stares down 100-day mark MORE's (R-Wis.) "Better Way" agenda. Now: The Trump administration is drafting a new proposal -- and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney signaled that the White House won't hesitate to go its own way. Most controversial part: The House's plan relies on so-called border adjustment, which taxes imports and exempts exports. The White House has yet to fully embrace it. http://bit.ly/2obRChU
CNN's Betsy Klein
It appears the Passover Trump-Kushner family photo was taken the Sunday after inauguration following services at the National Cathedral. Photo comparison: http://bit.ly/2osjpLG
Twitter user "Meruru" (Haha, his interaction between Wendy's and Hardees is incredible.)
This was an amazing exchange http://bit.ly/2nL6ZSi
Congress is out.
Today: President Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Fla., for the weekend.
Sunday: The White House Easter Egg Roll. Back story: http://nyti.ms/2pakOtt
April 26: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will appear in "The Hill's Newsmaker Series: Prospects for Tax Reform." Topics will include key priorities when it comes to overhauling the tax code, prospects for bipartisanship and a timeline for action. RSVP: http://bit.ly/2pa2oZR
SUNDAY SHOW GUESTS:
NBC's "Meet the Press": Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly; Sen. John McCainJohn McCainKasich: 'I think political parties are on their way out' Five fights for Trump’s first year Trump wall faces skepticism on border MORE (R-Ariz.); Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedSunday shows preview: McMaster hits circuit for second straight week The Hill's 12:30 Report Easy accessibility of voter registration data imperils American safety MORE (D-R.I.). A roundtable on religion will include Pastor JoAnn Hummel; Bishop T.D. Jakes; and Rabbi David Saperstein. The political roundtable will include The New York Times Magazine's Mark Leibovich; Demos' Heather McGhee; NBC's Andrea Mitchell; and former Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.)
CNN's "State of the Union": Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi: 'Of course' Dems can be against abortion Kasich: 'I think political parties are on their way out' Sanders: Democratic Party's model is 'failing' MORE (I-Vt.)
CBS's "Face the Nation": CBS's Ben Tracy, live from Pyongyang, North Korea (!); and David McCullough, author of "The American Spirit." The panel will include The Washington Post's David Ignatius; the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation's Amity Shlaes; The Washington Post's David Nakamura; and CBS's Jamelle Bouie.
"Fox News Sunday": The panel will include Heritage Action for America's Mike Needham; Fox's Jennifer Griffin; Jones Group International's Gillian Turner; and The Washington Post's Bob Woodward.
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Pecan Day!
*EARS PERK UP*: A new company has developed a clear-colored coffee that won't stain your teeth. Call me skeptical until I try it... http://r29.co/2oxuxc3
WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK A FLIGHT TO DUBAI NEXT YEAR: Via The Wall Street Journal's Nicolas Parasie, Dubai is attempting to employ massive technological advances in transportation including flying drone taxis (!), driverless cars and a Hyperloop to Abu Dhabi. Whoooa: "The battery-powered flying taxi ... could be available for booking through an app as soon as this year, depending on how tests go, Dubai's transportation authority says." Video of the flying taxi: http://on.wsj.com/2otXmof
And to get your weekend off to an entertaining start, here are dogs that pushed out the screen windows at their owner's house and had a party on the roof: http://bit.ly/2pzy7QF
Have a Happy Easter!
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