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March 17, 2014

Over at The New York Times, Timothy Egan notices a strange similarity between Paul Ryan's rhetoric on poverty, and that of the English authorities during the 19th century potato famine in Ireland:

A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a "culture of dependency"? Certainly England's man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. "Dependence on charity," he declared, "is not to be made an agreeable mode of life."

And there I ran into Paul Ryan. His great-great-grandfather had fled to America. But the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated "culture of dependency" is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England's excuse for lethal negligence.

There is no comparison, of course, between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs.

But you can't help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy. [The New York Times]

I don't think anyone really thinks dependence on charity or a culture of dependency ought to be a long-term condition. Self-reliance is an indisputable virtue. But for the truly helpless, there can be no pathway back to self-reliance if one starves to death. Famine is not honorable or virtuous. Nor is it civilized to live in a country where the poor starve to death.

Paul Ryan would do better to set out an agenda of job creation than lecture the poor on the virtues of self-improvement. There are lots and lots of people who want jobs, who want to work and want the dignity of self-reliance — so many that there are 2.9 job seekers for every job opening. People can't lift themselves out of poverty and off welfare if the economy isn't creating an abundance of jobs. Job creation comes first. John Aziz

1:00 p.m. ET

Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton, is set to turn 1 on Monday. What would a royal birthday be without some formal photos to celebrate? Kensington Palace shared a few gems of the tyke Sunday:

Nice camera work, Kate.

Could she be any cuter?

Time flies. Julie Kliegman

12:01 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders raised $25.8 million in April, the campaign said Sunday. That's a sharp drop from the $44 million he pulled in in March.

The campaign put a positive spin on the news, noting it surpasses the campaign's monthly average of $17 million.

Hillary Clinton holds a large delegate lead over Sanders in the Democratic presidential race. In April, the struggling Sanders campaign announced layoffs of hundreds of staff members. Julie Kliegman

11:21 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Malia Obama will attend Harvard University in 2017 after taking a gap year, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama announced Sunday. The decision to take a year off will theoretically lessen the spotlight in college, as her father will be out of office well before she starts classes.

Harvard's acceptance rate this year was just 5.2 percent, the lowest in the institution's history, The New York Times reports. Obama will join a storied club of presidential children that have attended Harvard as undergraduate or graduate students, which includes figures ranging from Robert Lincoln to George W. Bush. Julie Kliegman

10:58 a.m. ET

In April, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) made a seriously uncomfortable joke at a comedy show.

Here's a quick refresher: De Blasio, joking about his chronic lateness, said he was running on "CP Time." Colored People's Time has long been a reference to the racist stereotype that black people are frequently late. Clinton jumped in, jokingly claiming the acronym really means "Cautious Politician Time."

President Obama took Clinton and de Blasio to task Saturday during his speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. He apologized for being late and said he was running on CPT, which stands for "Jokes That White People Should Not Make." Watch the zinger below. Julie Kliegman

10:19 a.m. ET

Rev. Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest influential in forming U.S. opposition to the Vietnam War, died Saturday at age 94, The New York Times reports.

In 1968, Berrigan and his brother led other activists in seizing hundreds of local draft records in Catonsville, Maryland, and setting them on fire with homemade napalm. Berrigan was imprisoned. His activism and subsequent arrests continued in his later years.

"The day after I'm embalmed, that's when I'll give it up," he said in 2001. Julie Kliegman

10:05 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump leads the Republican presidential race in Indiana with 49 percent support among likely voters, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll out Sunday.

Ted Cruz sits 15 percentage points behind, with 34 percent support, and John Kasich notched just 13 percent. The margin of error is 3.9 percentage points.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders, 50 percent to 46 percent, ahead of Tuesday's primaries. That's smaller than the poll's 4.6-point margin of error. Julie Kliegman

8:11 a.m. ET
Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) picked up about 80 delegates of more than 170 on the table at local and state conventions Saturday, Politico reports.

He snagged a majority of delegates in Arizona and Virginia, two states that strongly backed Donald Trump in primaries. Cruz also made gains in Missouri. Trump fared well in Massachusetts, Alaska, and Arkansas.

Most delegates are obligated to support the winner of their state's nominating contest on the Republican National Convention's first ballot, but can switch allegiances in future rounds of voting. Cruz's strategy banks on Trump not being able to grab the minimum of 1,237 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination outright. Julie Kliegman

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