The Obama administration declared that Syria had crossed the proverbial "red line" by using chemical weapons -- like all Washington Red Lines, it arrived long after it was expected. Rand Paul doesn't want to assist foreign governments "hostile" to Christians, meaning our joint training exercises with the Roman Empire are probably off. And like President Obama, today's derecho rose to power in the Midwest, disappointed Washington and prompted a lot of Instagramming. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 13th, 2013:
U.S. TO PROPOSE SYRIA NO-FLY - WSJ: "A U.S. military proposal for arming Syrian rebels also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced from Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there, according to U.S. officials. Asked by the White House to develop options for Syria, military planners have said that creating an area to train and equip rebel forces would require keeping Syrian aircraft well away from the Jordanian border. To do that, the military envisages creating a no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials." [WSJ]
Earlier: "American and European intelligence analysts now believe that President Bashar al-Assad's troops have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in the civil war in Syria, an assessment that will put added pressure on a deeply divided Obama administration to develop a response to a provocation that the president himself has declared a 'red line.'" [NYT]
White House statement: "Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year. Our intelligence community has high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information. The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete. While the lethality of these attacks make up only a small portion of the catastrophic loss of life in Syria, which now stands at more than 90,000 deaths, the use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades."
@alexweprin: Fox News talking about Obama's handling of scandals, MSNBC talking Hillary 2016, CNN only one talking Syria "Red Line."
MARCO RUBIO NOT NECESSARILY SURE #ITGETSBETTER - ThinkProgress: "ThinkProgress spoke with the Florida Senator at the opening luncheon of the annual Faith and Freedom Forum on Thursday and asked him about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill to make discrimination against LGBT individuals illegal across the country. Though Rubio bristles at the notion of being called a 'bigot,' he showed no willingness to help protect LGBT workers from discrimination. 'I'm not for any special protections based on orientation,' Rubio told ThinkProgress." [ThinkProgress]
HABEAS CORPUS IS CHILD'S PLAY TO TOM COTTON - Mike McAuliff reporting on House floor action: "Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) compared ending indefinite detention to giving someone a free pass in a game of hide and seek. 'There was a phrase in that game called 'olly olly oxen free' -- meant you could come out, you were safe, you no longer had to hide,' Cotton argued. 'This amendment is the olly olly oxen free amendment of the war on terrorism. It invites Al Qaeda and associated forces to send terrorists to the United States and recruit terrorists on U.S. soil.'"
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST FONDLY RECALLS RICHARD BRUCE CHENEY - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who not only wraps his head in tinfoil but also his entire body so drones don't pick up his heat signature, pulled a #slatepitch and argued President Obama is more of a monster than Dick Cheney. "Cheney would argue he's never waterboarded a kid," PSLGOPL writes. "The President can't say he hasn't ended one with an errant drone strike." Not sure about that, PSLGOPL!
This happened: "At a tribute to Rep. John Dingell on Thursday, original Supreme Mary Wilson invited several in attendance, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, to perform 'Stop in the Name of Love.'" [WaPo]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From July 2009 through last May a greater percentage of unemployed people have left the labor force than found jobs each year, according to an analysis of Labor Department workforce churn data by the National Employment Law Project. While some of the people leaving the labor force are just aging, a lot of the rest are probably giving up hope of finding work. Some of that hopelessness undoubtedly comes from the well-documented phenomenon of employers simply not wanting to hire anyone who's been jobless for anything but a brief duration. [NELP chart via Twitter]
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SENATE KILLS IMMIGRATION POISON PILL - Roll Call: "Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., opened the third day of proceedings by moving to table, and thereby kill, the opening GOP bid for bolstering the bill's border security provisions. The amendment was designed to impose such a high threshold for border security that the 'gang of eight' coalition behind the underlying bill would fracture. But Reid's maneuver to kill it without so much as a fare thee well also threatens to upend the rickety bipartisan agreement to stay on course for a textbook friendly debate. Reid's move infuriated opponents of the bill, who said their right to keep talking while they worked to build a coalition for their proposal had been stripped away without fair warning. "This so-called open and fair process is a farce," the top Judiciary Committee Republican, Charles E. Grassley, called out just before the roll call... Grassley wrote the amendment at issue, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to certify that the Mexican border had been fully secured for six full months before the bill's new system could begin to legalize people now in the country illegally." [Roll Call]
PRYOR MULLING SUPPORT FOR CIR - It takes real guts for an Arkansas lawmaker to vote for something supported by farmers and Walmart -- the only thing politically riskier is appearing at a Razorbacks game with Bill Clinton. God bless you, Mark Pryor. WSJ: "Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who is up for re-election in his conservative-leaning state next year, said in a brief interview Thursday that his 'inclination is to vote for the legislation,' though he cautioned he would want to see how the upcoming weeks of debate over amendments change the underlying bill...'A lot of the business community wants this, a lot of the agricultural community wants this,' he said. 'We have people who don't want this, but by and large most of your employers, they'd like to see this happen.' Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is based in Bentonville, Ark., in February broadly praised the efforts of the White House and the group of eight senators at the time working on crafting the Senate bill." [WSJ]
RUBIO, PAUL OFFER DIFFERING FOREIGN POLICY OUTLOOKS AT CONSERVATIVE CONFERENCE - Sabrina Siddiqui and Luke Johnson: "Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were the clear stars among a group of four tea party senators who addressed a crowd of about 300 social conservatives on the first day of the annual Faith & Freedom Coalition conference. Each made an emphatic appeal for upholding America's liberties, similar to the grounds on which they were elected to the Senate in 2010.... as was evident in their remarks on Thursday, both senators disagree on how the United States should sustain its position as the most powerful country in the world. Paul, a rising hero to libertarian Republicans, railed against foreign aid and preemptive war. Taxpayer dollars should not be allocated to countries that are 'hostile' to Christians, such as Pakistan and Egypt, [Paul] argued....Although Rubio conceded that Americans should not engage in every conflict, he posed an entirely different question: If the United States did not lead the world -- then who would?" [HuffPost]
Not a great stretch for the world's greatest deliberative body's children: "Frank 'Connor' Snellings, 21, the son of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was arrested Thursday morning on charges of driving while intoxicated, hit-and-run driving, and driving the wrong way on a one-way street in the French Quarter [Editor's note: Laissez les bon temps rouler!], according to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office. The car Snellings was driving hit a pedestrian, who was not seriously injured, according to the sheriff's report. Snellings and a passenger in his car were not hurt. 'We love our son wholeheartedly, but we are extremely disappointed by his irresponsible actions last night,' Sen. Landrieu said Thursday in a phone interview." [Times-Picayune]
PELOSI: PROSECUTE SNOWDEN - Sorry, transparency advocates, despite Nancy Pelosi's animal sacrificing San Francisco values will not save your beloved Edward Snowden. Mike McAuliffe: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Edward Snowden, who has claimed responsibility for the leak of National Security Agency surveillance programs, should be prosecuted. Snowden revealed the fact that the NSA was recording data on Americans' phone calls and mining data and information from major Internet providers in the United States and around the world. 'I think on three scores -- that is leaking the Patriot Act section 215, FISA 702, and the president's classified cyber operations's directive -- on the strength of leaking that, yes, that would be a prosecutable offense,' Pelosi told reporters at her Capitol Hill news briefing. 'I think that he should be prosecuted.'" [HuffPost]
SUPREME COURT DOESN'T RULE ON GAY MARRIAGE, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION OR VOTING RIGHTS - The court hasn't been this underwhelming since Scalia's "Puccini and Martini" happy hours. Luke Johnson: "The Supreme Court did not announce decisions Thursday in hotly anticipated cases on affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act and gay marriage. The court is first expected to make a decision on Fisher v. University of Texas, challenging the university's affirmative action policy in college admissions. The justices then will likely rule on the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act along with decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8... SCOTUSBlog wrote that the most likely days for an opinion on gay marriage are June 26 and 27." [HuffPost]
The High Court did rule unanimously that you can't patent genes, so parents of redheads won't be paying royalties to Ginger Inc. anytime soon. Times: "Isolated human genes may not be patented, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday. The case concerned patents held by Myriad Genetics, a Utah company, on genes that correlate with increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The patents were challenged by scientists and doctors who said their research and ability to help patients had been frustrated. The particular genes at issue received public attention after the actress Angelina Jolie revealed in May that she had had a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she had inherited a faulty copy of a gene that put her at high risk for breast cancer. The price of the test, often more than $3,000, was partly a product of Myriad's patent, putting it out of reach for some women." [NYT]
Antonin Scalia, while agreeing with the majority, wrote a separate opinion because he's not quite sure whether genetics is an actual thing.
Scalia has his opera, Elena Kagan has...this: "Tommy Tutone made the Supreme Court? Oddly enough, yes. Justice Elena Kagan alluded to the power pop band's 1982 hit '867-5309/Jenny' in a high-profile decision on Thursday. Kagan cited the famous phone number in her opinion for American Trucking Association v. City of Los Angeles, which stated that federal law specifically preempted an agreement between trucking companies and the Port of Los Angeles. Kagan wrote: 'Under that contract, a company may transport cargo at the Port in exchange for complying with various requirements. The two directly at issue here compel the company to (1) affix a placard on each truck with a phone number for reporting environmental or safety concerns (You've seen the type: "How am I driving? 213-867-5309") and (2) submit a plan listing off-street parking locations for each truck when not in service.'" [Daily Beast]
Hooray super PACs: "AMERICANS AGAINST AMERICANS WHO DO NOT RECYCLE AND MISSPELL BENGAZI" [FEC]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Misanthropic kitten hates kisses.
IMPORTANT WHITE PEOPLE NEWS - Soon, Byron York will come across as an even bigger putz for saying minorities don't count. Times: "Deaths exceeded births among non-Hispanic white Americans for the first time in at least a century, according to new census data, a benchmark that heralds profound demographic change. The disparity was tiny -- only about 12,000 -- and was more than made up by a gain of 188,000 as a result of immigration from abroad. But the decrease for the year ending July 1, 2012, coupled with the fact that a majority of births in the United States are now to Hispanic, black and Asian mothers, is further evidence that white Americans will become a minority nationwide within about three decades." [NYT]
- Just in time for Father's Day, a mashup of the worst dads in movie history. [http://bit.ly/172Drkt]
- Supercut of Dave Letterman making the same "Are those our drums?" jokes to musical guests. [http://bit.ly/18CkDJm]
- Because the possible derecho has us all worked up, here's a timelapse of a supercell storm in Texas. [http://bit.ly/1bxgxOL]
- A collection of time capsules from way back when. Louis Armstrong's trumpet is in the ground, it seems. [http://bit.ly/1731uzU]
- Snoop Lion appeared on "One Life To Live" and toked up. [http://bit.ly/ZM4qve]
- Be the king of your bike lane with this jet powered bicycle. [http://bit.ly/13EFm8q]
- Goats are dicks. [http://huff.to/11YzyUB]
@lehmannchris: Rupert Murdoch files for divorce the same day he learns his genes can't be legally patented. Coincidence?
@AlecMacGillis: More whites died than were born last year. In unrelated news, a TX congressman is giving away a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle on July 4.
@dcbigjohn: I'm like the one armed dude on Arrested Development for politicians who's kids are on twitter
5:30 pm: Steve Chabot hosts a reunion for members of the class of 1994. "What are you doing now?" "Oh, not much. Just, you know, IN CONGRESS..." [Credit Union House, 403 C Street NE]
5:00 pm: Ramblin' Joe Biden heads out San Francisco way for a fundraiser hosted by venture capitalist Doug Hickey and his wife, Dawn Ross. [San Francisco, CA]
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Steny Hoyer welcomes one and all to his "Annual Bull Roast and Birthday Party." Guests will be able to "Enjoy Country Barbeque & Ice Cream Sundaes." Golly. [Mitchellville, MD]
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