POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Washington Goes On Well-Deserved Vacation

05/24/2013 05:37 pm ET | Updated Jul 24, 2013

On the Friday before Memorial day, the IRS was closed due to sequestration while the rest of Washington just plain didn't work. Eric Holder stunned the town by showing up at his desk after HuffPost called for his head yesterday. And President Obama forgot to salute the Marine guarding his helicopter but made up for it by giving him a White House umbrella. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, May 24th, 2013:

WHITE HOUSE WANTED TO KEEP ROSEN SUBPOENAS UNDER WRAPS - New Yorker: "The Obama Administration fought to keep a search warrant for James Rosen's private e-mail account secret, arguing to a federal judge that the government might need to monitor the account for a lengthy period of time. The new details are revealed in a court filing detailing a back and forth between the Justice Department and the federal judges who oversaw the request to search a Gmail account belonging to Rosen, a reporter for Fox News. A 2009 article Rosen had written about North Korea sparked an investigation; Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department adviser who allegedly leaked classified information to Rosen, insisted that the reporter should not be notified of the search and seizure of his e-mails, even after a lengthy delay...[Machen] argued that disclosure of the search warrant would preclude the government from monitoring the account, should such a step become necessary in the investigation. Machen added that 'some investigations are continued for many years because, while the evidence is not yet sufficient to bring charges, it is sufficient to have identified criminal subjects and/or criminal activity serious enough to justify continuation of the investigation.'" Yesterday, HuffPost called for Holder to quit. Can he take this guy Machen with him for the love of God? [New Yorker]

Speaking of God, the atheist who told Wolf Blitzer that no, she does not thank the Lord, is miraculously $50,000 richer. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Atheists unite!

GITMO: OBAMA AT ODDS WITH MILITARY BRASS - And not just because they keep shooting down his "Gitmo Rewards Card" proposal that'd let detainees use points to upgrade from "chain link walled room" to "concrete walled isolation chamber." Mike McAuliff: "Obama [called] on Congress Thursday to end the laws they have passed restricting the administration from moving the 166 captives who remain at the United States' jail for terrorism suspects in Cuba...'Is that who we are? Is that something our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave our children?' The answer to his rhetorical question was certainly meant to be no, but when the Senate Armed Services Committee questioned a panel of defense officials exactly a week earlier, on May 16, the answer was more like yes. The hearing was called 'The Law of Armed Conflict, the Use of Military Force, and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.'... The officials argued that while it might be time to review the AUMF, as the authorization is known, it was currently being used appropriately and would be of use as long as there is a war on terror, or, as the administration describes it, a war on 'Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces.'" [HuffPost]

"BURNED OUT, WENT DOWNTOWN" MEETS OTHERS WHO HAVE BURNED OUT, GONE DOWNTOWN - HuffPost Hill's favorite K Street neophyte, Burned Out, Went Downtown (BOWD), writes: "Out of context sightings downtown are very disorienting. Former MOC in random conference rooms at random office buildings on random streets. Do you call them 'Congressman?' Nah... use that first name because you can. That guy who used to work for whatshisface at a table at Rosa across from you. Do you acknowledge him? Too late... Already made awkward eye contact." Thanks, BOWD!

Republican strategist/talking head/former Hill staffer John Feehery on his Facebook page: "No offense to our folks in the armed forces but do active duty personnel really need to board the airplane before families with very small children. Isn't that kind of ridiculous?"

John Harwood responds: "Thank you for your service in the United States Congress, sir"

GROWING HEMP BROADLY POPULAR - A new HuffPost/YouGov survey of 1,000 Americans finds more than 2-1 support for allowing hemp to be grown legally. But the push to amend the farm bill to legalize it is on the ropes, so to speak. Unless Mitch McConnell pushes hard for the amendment to get a floor vote, the measure, backed by Rand Paul, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, might get blocked by Democrats.

DAVE DOWNER - Dave Jamieson: "As millions of Americans pack their cars ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the United States remains alone among the world's advanced economies in its lack of guaranteed paid vacation time for workers, according to a new report. In an update to an earlier analysis, the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research looked at the vacation policies in 16 European countries, along with Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the U.S. Among the 21 countries, the U.S. was the only one without a mandate that employers provide some kind of paid time off...John Schmitt, an economist and one of the report's authors, argued that the lack of a mandate exacerbates America's growing economic inequality. 'It's time to bring them into the fold,' Schmitt said of the estimated 23 percent who don't enjoy paid vacation." [HuffPost]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

JUST SEND THE DAMN EMERGENCY AID: POLL - Emily Swanson: "American support for federal disaster relief programs is high, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. And if a disaster aid bill is needed for those hit by the Moore, Okla., tornado earlier this week, most don't think other programs should be cut to fund it. According to the new poll, 59 percent of Americans think that any disaster relief for the area affected by the Moore tornado should be funded separately from existing programs, while only 23 percent said it should be offset by spending cuts to other programs. Seventy-two percent of Democrats, along with 53 percent of both Republicans and independents, said that disaster funding should come separately from other programs. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has said that any additional money budgeted for relief should be offset by cuts to other programs. It now appears unlikely that an additional bill will be necessary, largely because of a Hurricane Sandy Aid bill that both Coburn and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) opposed." [HuffPost]

IRS CLOSED BECAUSE OF SEQUESTRATION BECAUSE OF COURSE - Next week, an ACME safe will appear out of nowhere and fall on the agency. Luke Johnson: "Spending cuts have left the IRS shuttered Friday as it faces a controversy over the targeting of tea party groups. The furloughs were put in place due to sequestration, automatic cuts included in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Management and Budget are also closed Friday. The agencies' employees will not be paid. It is the largest closing of government offices since the government shutdowns of the 1990s. The IRS will also close on June 14, July 5, July 22, and Aug. 30 due to the cuts." [HuffPost]

IRS OFFICIALS GIVING CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS OF TEA PARTY INVESTIGATIONS - [Jay Leno Mode]This IRS scandal is nearly as confusing as my taxes![/Jay Leno Mode]. Paul Blumenthal: "In a written response to the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration, senior Internal Revenue Service official Joseph Grant gave an account of why agents created criteria that targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, an explanation that differs from later testimony by another IRS official to the inspector general and subsequent statements by key IRS officials...The key difference between Grant's November 2012 statement, made public by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and those from other IRS officials is that he said the criteria were developed in response to 'significant spending ... seeking to influence elections' rather than in answer to an uptick in the number of 501(c)(4) applications, as other officials have said." [HuffPost]

GOD BLESS AMERICA? GOD DAMN AMERICA!, JOHN CONYERS EDITION - When being anti-Semitic, always use the phrase "Jewish community," it's the polite thing to do. WWJ/AP: "A Michigan congressman has apologized after attending Louis Farrakhan's appearance at a Detroit church during which the Nation of Islam leader made anti-Jewish remarks. U.S. Rep. John Conyers joined Detroit City Council member JoAnn Watson and others at Fellowship Chapel for Farrakhan's Friday speech. The Chicago-based minister denounced 'Satanic Jews' and the 'synagogue of Satan' that he said controls major U.S. institutions and said President Barack Obama has 'surrounded himself with Satan ... members of the Jewish community.' In a statement out Thursday, Conyers said, 'Farrakhan made unacceptable racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic statements' that Conyers condemns 'in the strongest possible terms.'" Conyers's statement comes one day after the Jewish advocacy group the Anti-Defamation League criticized the Detroit Democrat for failing to counter Farrakhan's anti-Semitism." [WWJ]

Louie Gohmert executes a double layout half in Louie Gohmert and sticks the landing! Laura Bassett: "At a congressional hearing Thursday on an abortion bill that would ban the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy,Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told a female witness that she should have carried her pregnancy to term even though doctors had discovered the fetus had no brain function. Think Progress first reported that the Democrats' sole witness at the hearing, Christy Zink, told an all-male panel of congressmen the painful story of her decision to end her pregnancy at 21 weeks, because tests showed that the fetus' brain was not functioning...'I still come back wondering, shouldn't we wait, like that couple did, and see if the child can survive before we decide to rip him apart?' Gohmert said." [HuffPost]

THAT TIME MEL WATT CAUSED CONGRESS TO VOTE DOWN THE FOURTH AMENDMENT - Radley Balko: "Earlier this month, President Obama nominated North Carolina Rep. Mel Watt to head up the Federal Housing Finance Authority... Back in early 1995, the new Republican majority set out on its 'limited government' agenda with a bill to chip away at the Exclusionary Rule, the policy that says evidence found in the course of an illegal search can't be used against the suspect at trial. (Though there are some exceptions.) During the debate, Watt introduced [an] amendment to the bill...[that was] the exact language of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The House killed Watt's amendment by nearly a 3-1 margin." [HuffPost]

Here's the roll call.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - "Mad Men" meets Daft Punk is why we love the internet.

IMPEACHMENT WATCH: PRESIDENT FAILS TO SALUTE A MARINE - Though, technically, presidents shouldn't salute members of the military because they are the civilian leaders of the armed forces. The Hill: "President Obama boarded Marine One on Friday without returning the salute of the Marine who stood at the helicopter's steps. A White House pool report on Friday noted that 'a few White House regulars were atwitter' when Obama walked up the steps without saluting the marine on duty. Quickly realizing the break from tradition and presidential etiquette, Obama - who was traveling to Annapolis, Md., -- emerged from the chopper, walked down the steps and shook hands with the Marine, the pool report noted. It added that Obama also engaged in a brief conversation. " [The Hill]

COMFORT FOOD

- NARAL's Ilyse Hogue enjoys these foxes jumping on a trampoline, as do we. [http://bit.ly/10pIgiR]

- Some of the more impressive LEGO creations to be spit out by the zeitgiest lately. [http://bit.ly/10pIFC4]

- Arrested Development is almost here! Behold a supercut of the Bluths doing the chicken dance. [http://huff.to/18c34ib]

- Twitters greatest account, '80s Donald Draper, set to music. [http://bit.ly/14ZEFbl]

- The Lonely Island takes on the semicolon in their latest video, though the remixed version that covers proper emdash use is still being mixed. [http://bit.ly/1afBu02]

- A map of the world's atheists. [http://bit.ly/10oiPyk]

- Germany is the most popular country in the world. Who says there are no second acts in American lives? [http://bit.ly/10RfZ4k]

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: If you plan to binge-watch Arrested Development, be sure to get a safety buddy to occasionally open the blinds and check your irony levels.

@indecision: Boy Scouts allowing gay scouts but not gay troop leaders. What a great message for gay children: don't grow up.

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

Suggest a correction