Friday's HOT MIC

Welcome to HOT MIC, PJ Media's new daily liveblog. Join our editors and contributors for news updates and conversation throughout the day, and add your thoughts to the mix in our comments section at the bottom or by clicking on the comment bubbles on individual posts. Click here or scroll down to read Liz Sheld's Morning Briefing.

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Good morning from the NRA's Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia!

President Trump will be speaking at the NRA this evening. Trump is the first sitting president since Ronald Reagan to speak to the gun rights group. After the NRA, Trump will attend a fundraiser for Republican Karen Handel, who is facing liberal celebrity darling Jon Ossoff in a run-off for HHS Secretary Tom Price's congressional seat.

No Obamacare "repeal" this week

Last night, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy revealed there will not be a vote this week on the Obamacare repeal/replace bill.

White House officials had been pushing for a vote by President Trump's 100th day in office on Saturday, but it was clear Thursday night that the 216 GOP votes needed to pass the healthcare bill had not materialized.

At least 21 Republicans had come out against the bill, with many more undecided. Leaders can only afford 22 GOP defections.

"We are not voting on healthcare tomorrow or Saturday," McCarthy told reporters after a meeting in Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office in the Capitol.

Instead, legislators are working on a week-long continuing resolution until they can come to a budget agreement.  If they can't agree on a funding bill, the government will shut down. The president didn't seem too concerned about that prospect.

In an interview with Reuters yesterday President Trump said, "We'll see what happens. If there's a shutdown, there's a shutdown." He described a shutdown as a "very negative thing" but that the administration was prepared if it became necessary.

Good. Never take a bargaining chip off the table.

How do you solve a problem like North Korea?

The House of Representatives will vote on sanctions for North Korea next week, said Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

"The time for waiting on North Korea to get its act together is over," he said.

According to McCarthy, the sanctions, called the Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act, will target the rogue state's shipping industry as part of an attempt to crack down on their slave labor market. The bill was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce.

McCarthy said the bill “will deliver a strong and bipartisan message that North Korea and its provocations must be addressed now.”

“The policy of ‘strategic patience’ towards North Korea simply allowed North Korea to charge full steam ahead in developing its nuclear weapons program," McCarthy added.

Secretary of State Tillerson said yesterday that China has stepped in to ask North Korea to stop its nuclear testing.

"We know that China is in communications with the regime in Pyongyang," Tillerson said on Fox News. "They confirmed to us that they had requested the regime conduct no further nuclear test."

According to Tillerson, China told the North Korean's "that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own."

In an interview with NPR, Tillerson said the U.S. would be willing to negotiate directly with the NorKs. "But North Korea has to decide they're ready to talk to us about the right agenda, and the right agenda is not simply stopping where they are for a few more months or a few more years and then resuming things," he said, according to an interview that will be broadcast on Friday morning. "That's been the agenda for the last 20 years."

ESPN continues its political advocacy efforts

Earlier this week, ESPN announced it had to lay off at least one hundred employees, I would guess due to financial hardship because its annoying left-leaning political advocacy is driving subscribers away who just want to watch sports and not get a political "lesson."

The network has lost more than 10 million subscribers over the past several years. At the same time, the cost of broadcasting major sports has continued to rise. ESPN committed to an eight-year, $15.2 billion deal extension with the N.F.L. in 2011; a nine-year, $12 billion deal with the N.B.A.; and a $7.3 billion deal for the college football playoffs, among many others.

But...they persevered.

An ESPN website for women had to take down a poem honoring the cop-murderer Assata Shakur.

DaMaris Hill’s poem “Revolution” had led the April 25 feature “Five Poets on the New Feminism,” which was produced “in honor of National Poetry month…to reflect on resistance, redefining feminism and movement,” according to a site description. But Hill’s poem opened with the dedication “(for Assata Shakur),” honoring the one-time Black Liberation Army member who has been hiding out in Cuba to avoid finishing a prison term for her murder rap.

“There was an oversight in the editorial process for selecting the poems for the ‘Five Poets on the New Feminism’ feature on espnW,” a spokesperson told FNC in an email. “Dr. DaMaris Hill is a respected professor and poet, who submitted this poem based upon her personal feelings toward Assata Shakur. While the editors welcomed a contribution from a notable writer and chose it as a reflection of this one poet’s experience, upon further review we have decided it is not an appropriate selection for our site and have removed the piece from the feature.”

That is one hell of an oversight. And if you don't know who Assata Shakur is, here is a reminder:

Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, the godmother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, is suspected in a series of early 1970s incidents linked to black revolutionary groups in New York City, including a bank robbery, grenade attack and the ambushing of police officers in Queens and Brooklyn. She was convicted of fatally shooting a New Jersey trooper in the head in 1973, but escaped prison and, in the early 1980s, fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum. She is on the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.

Keep it up, ESPN, and there will be nothing left of you.

Students protest Coulter's canceled speech

Berkeley students gathered yesterday, angered by the university's passive-aggressive cancellation of a speech by pundit Ann Coulter.

Hundreds of people waving American flags and chanting "USA" held a raucous rally Thursday at a park in Berkeley — home of the free speech movement — to protest a canceled appearance by conservative commentator Ann Coulter, but the expected violence did not materialize.

Scores of officers in riot gear lined up in preparation for possible violence between supporters and opponents of Coulter, but there were no major confrontations, largely because members of an anti-fascist group did not show up in force.

Coulter's speech was canceled after "University officials said they had been unable to find a suitable and safe spot for her to speak, and offered a May 2 date."

How is it the university manages to find "safe spaces" for various and sundry victim clubs, but not Coulter? The university would take extreme steps to protect its snowflake groups if a violent, white power group threatened to violently attack the snowflakes. The difference is that the university administration doesn't like Coulter or her ideas and doesn't believe she should be allowed to talk about them on their campus.

"There are ways of dealing with violence," Coulter astutely observed. "We do have a police force."

"Both sides are so intolerant of each other. We are a divided country. We need to listen to each other but we're each caught in our own bubbles," Berkeley student Joseph Pagadara, 19, said.

Only one side is engaging in violence to shut down the other, it's not "both sides." There would be no conservatives or libertarians at Berkeley if they were as intolerant as the left. How many lefties are at Hillsdale? That's a rhetorical question.

Final morsels

A new bill punishes those who interfere with free speech on campuses

73% say the media is "abusing" the First Amendment

China bans "Islamic" names

United Airlines victim settles for probable obscene amount of money

See ya' round HOT MIC as I check in with updates from the NRA throughout the day.

Um... what?

A lifetime (what's left it it, anyway) evergreen Tweet for me, regarding the sins of my youth:


This is why I quit watching.

Marvel’s Agents of Shield joins ‘The Resistance’

John Sexton explains:

If you’re guessing that the show has constantly drawn parallels between this Hydra dystopia and Trump’s election you would be right. In one recent episode, one of the male characters, who is now leading Hydra and sporting what Samantha Bee would call “Nazi hair,” beats up a female character and comments off-handedly that he warned her to tell the truth but “nevertheless, she persisted.”

In the most recent episode, the Shield agents, who are all slowly coming to their senses about who they really are, take over Hydra’s favorite news network and broadcast a pirate video. As you can see below, this is agent Phil Coulson (actor Clark Gregg) talking about “alternative facts” and inviting people to join the resistance. “I’m choosing to stand up, to become a part of something bigger,” he says. All that’s missing is a pussy hat.

The show started off as a weak X-Files clone, finally found its footing as a fun set of side stories in the Marvel movie universe, and has now descended into SJW fantasyland.

Are you still watching it?

Michael, it's interesting that in one breath you criticize Kasich and in the next, Sasse. The men are polar opposites on ObamaCare. On the one hand you have Kasich, Medicaid expansion's biggest Republican cheerleader. On the other, Sasse, who at least knows the right answer when asked if the government should be in charge of our health care. If we had 51 more senators who could answer that question correctly, Republicans wouldn't at this very moment be bargaining over how much government-controlled health care they can get away with supporting.

Looks like some on the Left are finally getting over their months-long snit about the election. Now, if only the #neverTrumpumpkins on the "right" would follow suit... "vee may perhaps to begin.  Yes?”


Steve: It's too bad Ben Sasse, who appears to be all mouth and no moxie, doesn't hold high elective office so he could actually do something about Obamacare.

C'mon, GOP -- fix this.

John Kasich? Not "ruling out" another presidential run? Really?

Is there some national demand for this son-of-a-mailman's services in the Oval Office?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday refused to rule out running for president on Friday but said it’s “unlikely.” “In terms of politics, I don’t know what the future brings, but I know it’s in front of me,” Kasich told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington.

Kasich said that even after he leaves the governorship, he plans to raise money and keep a team of advisers and consultants in place so that he can remain active politically and vocal on policy issues. But he insisted that that effort, and the new book he’s now promoting, is not to set up a presidential bid.

While Kasich has spoken at length about the GOP diverging from his own views, he reiterated Friday that he’s still a Republican. “I’m not giving up on my party,” he said. But he believes the political landscape is changing with the rise of independents and that a well-funded independent could win the presidency.

Basically, one just did, so he's right about that, at least.

If you've ever had a chance to see Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke in person, you know what an impressive man he is. And what a political asset he could be to the national GOP. So this seems like good news:

The White House is considering David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, for a position at the Department of Homeland Security, three people familiar with the administration’s planning told POLITICO.

Clarke is in line to be appointed as assistant secretary at DHS’ Office of Partnership and Engagement, which coordinates outreach to state, local and tribal officials and law enforcement. The position does not require Senate confirmation. A senior administration official cautioned it’s “not a done deal yet.”

Clarke, a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump, has long been rumored as a possible candidate for a job in the administration and met with Trump in November at Trump Tower. He also spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last year.

Naturally, the Democrats are hating on this possibility.

He has come under fire in recent days amid revelations about the case of Terrill Thomas, who died of dehydration last year at the Milwaukee County Jail after guards turned off the water in his cell. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, has said he won’t remove Clarke from office over Thomas’ death.

Clarke also has faced criticism for participating in a National Rifle Association-backed trip to Russia in 2015, where he and other members of the group’s delegation reportedly met with Dmitry Rogozin, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deputies. Rogozin was sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2014.

At this point, President Trump could nominate Jesus of Nazareth, the Dalai Lama and the Buddha himself, and they, too, would come "under fire" and "face criticism" merely for existing,