Today was frustrating for Washingtonians who wanted nothing more than to unload on "The Newsroom" but were rudely interrupted by the Supreme Court. The high court's decision to overturn a 1912 Montana law limiting corporate political donations might hurt American democracy, but it'll really drive up attendance at our upcoming Bull Moose Party fundraiser. And Antonin Scalia is getting so curmudgeonly that it's only a matter of time until he starts all of his sentences with "And another thing!..." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, June 25th, 2012:
POSTAL WORKERS STARVE SELVES FOR OBSCURE REASON - Dave Jamieson: "A group of U.S. Postal Service employees and supporters launched a hunger strike Monday on Capitol Hill, urging action from lawmakers in order to save an agency they said was imperiled by Congress itself. The postal workers and boosters said they were trying to draw attention to a wonky yet crucial element of postal service reform being considered: the repeal of what's called the 'prefunding mandate,' a 2006 requirement from Congress that the USPS prefund the retiree health benefits for its workers 75 years in advance, to the tune of about $5.5 billion per year. 'Congress created the problem, Congress can fix it,' said Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier who worked in Portland, Ore., for 27 years and is taking part in the hunger strike.'We're just frustrated. We're indignant, we're outraged, we're here to shame Congress into doing the right thing. We're willing to suffer, to go on a hunger strike in order to show our indignation.'" [HuffPost]
JUST DON'T CALL IT INSIDER TRADING - This could only be more offensive if, after John Boehner greenlit the stock transactions detailed below, he proceeded to drive to the homes of some hapless SEC officials and carve some figure eights into their lawns. WaPo: "On Jan. 23, [2008,] Boehner (R-Ohio) met Paulson for breakfast. Boehner would later report the rearrangement of a portion of his own financial portfolio made on that same day. He sold between $50,000 and $100,000 from a more aggressive mutual fund and moved money into a safer investment.The next day, the White House unveiled the stimulus package. Boehner is one of 34 members of Congress who took steps to recast their financial portfolios during the financial crisis after phone calls or meetings with Paulson; his successor, Timothy F. Geithner; or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, according to a Washington Post examination of appointment calendars and congressional disclosure forms." [WaPo]
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: WOULD U THROW ME UNDER THE BUS? YES [ ] NO [ ] - Andrea Stone: "The nation's top intelligence official, acting in the wake of a series of revelations about secret national security programs, announced Monday the steps he will take to crack down on leaks of sensitive government information. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a press release that employees in all government intelligence agencies would have to answer a question related to unauthorized disclosure of classified information during a lie detector test. The agencies include the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.Clapper also said he will request the Inspector General 'lead independent investigations of selected unauthorized disclosure cases when prosecution is declined by the Department of Justice.' He said the move 'will ensure that selected unauthorized disclosure cases suitable for administrative investigations are not closed prematurely.'" [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Here's a dumb piece from a Forbes contributor. "The maximum amount of time collecting unemployment is scheduled to be reduced from its current 99 weeks beginning this month. This could result in people dropping out of the labor force which could cause a reduction in the unemployment rate....Coincidently, it's just in time for the November election. I suppose we've reached the point where one always has to look at the decisions from Washington through the political prism. Perhaps I'm just becoming too cynical?" Reducing the duration of unemployment insurance to goose the jobless rate would seem more like a cynical ploy if Republicans hadn't been clamoring for cuts for the past two years. [Forbes]
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SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS 'SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS' PORTION OF SB 1070 - Which is just the government kindly giving you yet another opportunity to self deport (HINT HINT). Mike Sacks: "The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a split decision in the Obama administration's challenge to Arizona's aggressive immigration law, striking multiple provisions but upholding the 'papers please' provision. Civil rights groups argue the latter measure, a centerpiece of S.B. 1070, invites racial profiling... The justices found that it was not clear whether Arizona was supplanting or supporting federal policy by requiring state law enforcement to demand immigration papers from anyone stopped, detained or arrested in the state who officers reasonably suspect is in the country without authorization. The provision that was upheld -- at least for now -- also commands police to check all arrestees' immigration status with the federal government before they are released... the Supreme Court gave the Obama administration a victory by striking three other challenged provisions as stepping on federal prerogatives. Two of the provisions made it a crime for undocumented immigrants to be present and to seek employment in Arizona, while a third authorized police officers to make warrantless arrests of anyone they had probable cause to believe had committed a deportable offense." [HuffPost]
Antonin Scalia went off the reservation a bit (OK, a lot bit... like no-Verizon-service-bars off the reservation). The Hill: "Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday ripped President Obama's new deportation directive when he offered his minority opinion on the Arizona immigration ruling... The conservative justice accused Obama of selectively enforcing only those immigration laws that he deems appropriate and said states would never have joined the union if the framers of the Constitution had intended for the executive branch to wield power in such a way. 'The delegates to the Grand Convention would have rushed to the exits,' Scalia wrote." [The Hill]
Mitt Romney authoritatively declared today that the ruling
"signals the need to do stuff about things" "underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy." Why didn't the president think of that? [HuffPost's Elise Foley]
President Obama contains multitudes. TPM: "President Obama said he is 'pleased' but 'concerned' after the Supreme Court invalidated some parts of SB 1070, Arizona's controversial immigration law that his Justice Department challenged." [TPM]
HIGH COURT UPHOLDS CITIZENS UNITED RULING - Specifically, the justices overturned Montana's 100-year-old law limiting corporate contributions 5-to-4, which is particularly intense when you realize that the Supreme Court straight up told the Progressive Era to go jump in a lake. Mike Sacks: "In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court disagreed [with Citizens United]. It found that the state's Gilded Age history of business-driven corruption was sufficient to justify the state's Corrupt Practices Act. Passed by voter referendum in 1912, the law decrees that a 'corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.' By summarily reversing the case, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the justices refused to reconcile their sweeping statement of free speech principles in Citizens United with the real-world facts -- from Montana's history to today's super PACs -- put forward by Montana and its supporters to demonstrate that independent expenditures do, indeed, corrupt or create the appearance of corruption. Instead, the 5-4 majority, in an unsigned opinion, wrote that '[t]here can be no serious doubt' that Citizens United applies to Montana's law." [HuffPost]
Lastly, the justices did away with mandatory life sentences for juveniles convicted of murder. Sacks with the hat trick: "Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the 5-4 majority, said, 'By requiring that all children convicted of homicide receive lifetime incarceration without possibility of parole, regardless of their age and age-related characteristics and the nature of their crimes, the mandatory sentencing schemes before us violate this principle of proportionality, and so the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.' The ruling that such sentences violate the Eighth Amendment continues the juvenile justice reform movement's streak of victories at the high court over the last decade. In 2005, the justices eliminated the death penalty for minors. In 2010, the court struck down life-without-parole sentences for all juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion both times, joined by the court's four-justice liberal bloc." [HuffPost]
The high court is expected to hand down its health care ruling on Thursday, the final day of its term.
IF IT AIN'T BROKE: OBAMA STICKS WITH OUTSOURCING ATTACK - Sam Stein: "Speaking to a boisterous crowd in the Granite State, Obama criticized Romney for outsourcing jobs and mocked his campaign's insistence that outsourcing and offshoring are two different things. 'Now, just last week, it was reported that Governor Romney's old firm owned companies that were pioneers in the business of outsourcing American jobs to places like China and India,' said Obama. 'So yesterday his advisers were asked about this and they tried to clear this up by telling us there is actually a difference between outsourcing and offshoring. That's what they said. You cannot make this stuff up'... 'There's a very simple difference between outsourcing and offshoring,' top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said on CBS's 'Face the Nation.' '[Outsourcing] is done by companies every day. They take functions and they allow vendors to do it rather than handling it in-house. Offshoring is the shipment of American jobs overseas.'" [HuffPost]
On that note, the president is up in New Hampshire. CNN: "President Barack Obama came out on top of Republican rival Mitt Romney in a new poll of Granite State voters. The president received 51% support from those registered to vote in New Hampshire to Romney's 43%, according to an American Research Group poll released Monday. Obama held an advantage over Romney in the competitive state among independent voters, 62% to 31% and women 58% to 34%. Romney led Obama among men, 52% to 44%." [CNN]
ROMNEY YOUTH OUTREACH LED BY PEOPLE TOO OLD TO BE ON THEIR PARENTS' CELL PLAN - Which for us is truly the Alamo of youth. Anyhoo, this latest bit of news from the good people who brought you the Latino outreach page with the stock image of Asians. TPM: "The Romney campaign launched Young Americans for Romney Monday as part of its effort to reach out to young people. The group will "work with prominent young leaders from across the country to help spread the message about why Mitt Romney is the best choice for America's future," according to a release from the campaign. Though several politicians and supporters involved in the youth-outreach effort are in their 20s, none of the leaders of the team -- its chairman or honorary co-chairs -- is under 30." [TPM]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Den of Kittens is what it says on the tin.
RIP GUNNAR THE SEAL - HuffPost DC: "Gunnar, the Smithsonian National Zoo's elderly gray seal who died on Friday, did not lead a boring life. ... He was trained by the Navy to use screwdrivers." [HuffPost]
- Van Gogh chose the wrong medium. [http://bit.ly/KzlTvJ]
- All aboard the Sorkin hate train. [http://bit.ly/Kzm36y]
- Surprisingly funny best man speech, composed primarily of "I'm On A Boat" parody video. [http://chzb.gr/KzjBNj]
- Dog deems leftovers acceptable. [http://bit.ly/KzmqOm]
- Our office is a lot like this beer factory (but with the aggregation turbine). [http://chzb.gr/KzmIol]
- BMW plays role of bullet in recreated slow-motion videos. [http://bit.ly/Kzkpla]
- Some say that MeowMania was an inevitable product of the intertubes. [Flash required] [http://bit.ly/KzmTzX]
@pourmecoffee: Obamacare ruling to come Thursday. This gives everyone more time to learn more common self-surgical procedures.
@daveweigel: DEVELOPING: In last-ditch effort to prove that the mandate is real, Democrats deliver wheelbarrows of children's letters to SCOTUS.
@delrayser: You guys are all tuning out any non-SCOTUS tweets right now, yes? I want to tell you about the time I killed a hobo.
6:00 pm: If you're gooooooing to Saaaaan Fraaaaancisco/Beeee sure to head to Naaaaaaancy Peloooosi's fundraaaaiser with MC Haaaaaamer. [Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco]
6:30 pm: Pat Toomey's Citizens for Prosperity in America Today proceeds in its mission to destroy Citizens Who Want Nothing More Than to Wallow in the Recession for Another Year or Two. [Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW]
6:30 pm: Scott Brown attends a fundraiser hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters which we hope means he'll ask a few people to yell "YAZ HITS ONE OUT OF THE PARK!!!" for his own amusement. [Bobby Van's, 1201 New York Ave NW]
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