Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Bob Corker: Is Our Senators Learning?

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A red panda escaped from the National Zoo, meaning Republicans will likely want to add a sixth step to the border security amendment now. Some of the Capitol's janitors might soon be sequestered, meaning you'll use the Longworth cafeteria's bathrooms at your own peril. And a new report finds the IRS also targeted liberal groups. That sound you heard was Darrell Issa blowing the dust off his Benghazi files. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, June 24th, 2013:

IRS TARGETED BASICALLY EVERYBODY - Well, that was a pointless several months. Sam Stein: "The Internal Revenue Service screened progressive groups in addition to conservative ones in the lead up to the 2012 elections, according to IRS documents released by congressional Democrats on Monday. The documents as well as an internal IRS report being sent to relevant congressional committees reveal that the tax agency used terms like 'progressive' and 'occupy' to flag organizations that were applying for tax-exempt status. The revelations greatly complicate the political scandal that has engulfed the IRS over the past few weeks..."

Bob Corker to Jeff Sessions on having enough time to read the new immigration border security amendment: "Any middle-school student in Tennessee or Alabama could read this amendment in probably 30 or 40 minutes." H/T Mike McAuliff

BOEHNER SHOULD CONTROL THE WINGNUTS, BACKBITERS SAY - Chris Frates: "Fetal masturbation. Rape doesn't usually result in pregnancy. Grade-schoolers should be taught traditional gender roles. A handful of House Republican lawmakers seem unable to stop making headlines on abortion and gay marriage. And Republicans on and off the Hill know who's to blame: House Speaker John Boehner. GOP lawmakers, strategists, and insiders say Boehner and House leadership are enabling foot-in-mouth disease by allowing divisive social issues to reemerge at a time when Republicans were finally winning the daily messaging war against a controversy-plagued White House." [National Journal]

NATIONAL ZOO LOSES, FINDS RED PANDA - God we hope Newt Gingrich forms a blue ribbon commission to discover how America can be better prepared for these kinds of things. AP: "The male named Rusty was captured in a tree near a home in the Adams Morgan neighborhood Monday afternoon, said National Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson. It had traveled across the leafy Rock Creek Park, perhaps crossing a road or under a creek bridge to reach a residential area nearly ¾ of a mile from the zoo. Senior curator Brandie Smith said animal keepers surrounded the area where he was found and called Rusty's name to calm him before capturing him in a net...The animal was taken to the zoo's animal hospital for a checkup and will remain there for several days. How Rusty escaped is still a mystery, though. Zoo officials began reviewing security footage Monday morning to see if there is any evidence of how he escaped or whether he may have been taken by a human and then set loose. No security cameras are pointed directly at the red panda exhibit, though, and the zoo plans to add more cameras." [AP]

SEQUESTRATION THREATENING CAPITOL JANITORS - Pity the staff assistant who will have to inform the interns that tours are no longer the worst part of their jobs. Also pity the interns. Especially the interns. Amanda Terkel: "If Congress doesn't do something about sequestration this year, the workers who clean the U.S. Capitol could lose their jobs. Stephen Ayers is the current Architect of the Capitol, whose office is responsible for the operation of the government complex. On June 6, Ayers testified to the Senate Appropriations Committee's Legislative Subcommittee that if sequestration continues into 2014, his office may have to cancel a custodial contract. 'I think in 2014, the most significant effort for us will be canceling contracts,' he told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). 'So we'll be canceling a cleaning contract in the Capitol Visitors Center. We will likely cancel our shuttle bus service that moves employees and staff around the Capitol campus. So those are two good examples, very quickly, of contracts that we will have to eliminate in 2014 to meet our sequestration numbers.'" [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A plan to avert layoffs has no mo' in North Caroline: "A N.C. Senate bill that gives employers the option of work sharing - with unemployment benefits attached - has the support of a Republican sponsor, a left-leaning think tank and is in place in 24 states. What Senate Bill 645 doesn't have, however, is any momentum. The bill, which would amend the state's unemployment insurance law, has not been acted upon since being submitted April 3 by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus. It is in the Senate committee on rules and operations." [JournalNow.com]

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REID WON'T MOVE STOPGAP FARM MEASURE - Sometimes we can't help but think that the Senate majority leader does his best threat-conjuring while playing five finger fillet at his desk. Mike McAuliff: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned Monday that there would be no new bailouts for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) after the House failed last week to renew the nation's primary farm policy law for the second time. The trillion-dollar farm bill is generally passed every five years. But it went down to defeat Thursday in the House after Republicans added an amendment that would have reduced food stamps even more than the $20 billion cut that at least 40 Democrats had agreed to support. Last year, the House also failed to move the farm bill, instead passing a stopgap measure that kept the old policies in place for another year, and the Senate went along with that effort. But Reid in his opening remarks on the Senate floor Monday said that he would not do so again, potentially setting up a showdown between the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-run Senate." [HuffPost]

SUPREME COURT PUNTS ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION DECISION - Though the ruling leaves the matter largely undecided, it does favor those of you who wish your comparative lit classmates more closely resembled the crowd at a Vampire Weekend show. Ryan Reilly and Mike Sacks: "By a 7-1 vote on Monday, the Supreme Court told an appeals court that it misinterpreted the justices' precedent when reviewing the University of Texas at Austin's affirmative action policy. The decision is a provisional victory for Abigail Fisher, a white woman who claimed that UT-Austin unconstitutionally discriminated against her after the state's flagship university rejected her application in 2008 under its race-conscious admissions program. UT-Austin will now have a much more difficult job of proving its program constitutional under the standard the Supreme Court clarified on Monday. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, endorsed the Supreme Court's prior decisions establishing affirmative action as constitutional to further states' compelling interest in fostering a diverse student body. But the majority maintained that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit did not give a hard enough look at UT-Austin's race-conscious admissions program." [HuffPost]

Clarence Thomas has thoughts on the matter -- strong thoughts: "Justice Clarence Thomas joined in a majority opinion today sending the Supreme Court's affirmative action case back to a lower court. But in a concurring opinion on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Thomas added his own take, arguing against affirmative action policies and comparing the school's justifications to those of Jim Crow-era segregationists. Thomas says that the "University echoes the hollow justifications advanced by the segregationists" and that there "is no principled distinction" between the two." [WaPo]

@AdamLiptak: In memoir, Justice Thomas said affirmative action at Yale "stung" and made him seem "inferior to my white classmates"

No H8 Campaign's photos of members of Congress is painful

RUBIO'S POPULARITY DECLINING AMONG REPUBLICANS - The Hill: "Sen. Marco Rubio's (R) popularity with Republican voters has taken a significant hit in recent months as the Florida lawmaker worked to sell the Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration reform bill, according to a new survey by Rasmussen. Rubio is now viewed favorably by 58 percent of Republican voters, down 10 percentage points from May and 15 points from February. The survey also found that 16 percent of Republican voters viewed Rubio unfavorably, while a quarter of Republican voters are undecided. The numbers emphasize the difficult tightrope act the Florida lawmaker must walk. Political observers say Republicans will struggle to retake the White House if they cannot win over Latino voters, who backed President Obama by a greater than two-to-one margin in 2012. But while Rubio, who is believed to have presidential aspirations, sees the political advantage of his immigration push, he also risks alienating the conservative base that will be central to winning the party's nomination." [The Hill]

PAUL LEPAGE MAKES RAPE JOKE, MIGHT RUN FOR CONGRESS - Everyone knows that the the three best places to make rape jokes are, in ascending order of rapetasticness, a "The Game" seminar, a Vanderbilt hockey practice and the House Republican conference. Kennebec Journal: "Gov. Paul LePage said Friday that he's sorry if anyone was offended by his crude sexual remark a day earlier about a Democratic leader in the state Senate. The Republican governor, in impromptu comments to reporters outside his office, also said he is considering abandoning his re-election bid in 2014 and running instead for Congress. In his statement to reporters, LePage apologized in particular to Maine loggers, some of whom were outraged by statements he made Thursday about Sen. Troy Jackson, a logger from Allagash who is the Senate's assistant majority leader...Jackson came under fire from LePage on Thursday after he said that Democrats would not accept the governor's latest state budget proposal...[LePage] said, "Sen. Jackson claims to be for the people, but he's the first one to give it to the people of Maine without providing Vaseline." [Kennebec Journal]

NEW OBAMACARE WEBSITE WILL HELP STREAMLINE YOUR DEATH PANEL - The FAQ section will be especially helpful ("Can I depart this earthly realm with COBRA benefits?"). Jeff Young: "Obamacare took a small but visible step forward on Monday with the launch of a consumer information website, a precursor to the health insurance exchanges that will allow millions to shop online for health insurance starting this fall...The Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a new version ofHealthCare.gov that enables small business owners and individuals who don't get health insurance at work to begin reviewing how they will comparison shop and secure financial assistance when the health insurance exchanges, also called health insurance marketplaces, open for business. The department also opened a toll-free call center to answer consumer questions about the law. The health insurance exchanges are scheduled to begin operating on Oct. 1, leaving the Obama administration and its allies just over three months to improve the public's knowledge of how health care reform and its coverage options work. Opinion polls illustrate not only that opponents of the law continue to outnumber its supporters, but also that the public poorly understands the law." [HuffPost]

Barney Frank doesn't want to be governor. "No. No way. Absolutely not," Frank said in an interview with HuffPost's Sam Stein. "The next gubernatorial term I would be 74 years old. I was very sorry [New Jersey Sen.] Frank Lautenberg died but I wished he hadn't run. I feel fine now. But I couldn't guarantee anybody at the age of 74, in 10 months, that I was going to be totally healthy and fully vigorous for four more years. I think it is irresponsible." Frank continued, "I got married a couple years ago. I have a wonderful marriage with a man who does not want to move and be the first man of Massachusetts and I wouldn't want him to be." [HuffPost]

SILVIO BERLUSCONI SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS - Translated into Italian, "Law and Order"'s "BONG BONG" sound is "Bunga-Bunga." Times: "A court in Milan on Monday found former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi guilty of paying for sex with a minor and abusing his office to cover it up, handing him a seven-year jail sentence and banning him from public office for life. Mr. Berlusconi waited more than three hours before posting his disappointment on his Facebook page. "I was really convinced that they would acquit me, because it was impossible to condemn me based on the facts," Mr. Berlusconi wrote...The ruling, like most things involving Mr. Berlusconi, polarized Italy. It shook the governing coalition in which Mr. Berlusconi's center-right party is participating, but was not expected to topple it. The former prime minister, who denies wrongdoing, does not immediately have to leave his seat in Parliament while the case faces two rounds of appeals." [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Corgi puppy discovering water is like Aureliano Buendia seeing ice for the first time... except not.

ATTENTION POSSIBLY GAY CONGRESSMAN OR CONGRESSMEN, CALL YOUR OFFICE - Michelangelo Signorile: "Prominent gay blogger Mike Rogers, who became widely known for revealing the homosexuality of closeted gay politicians in the early 2000s, was reported over the weekend by U.S. News and World Report to be readying a story that will out a U.S. congressman, one of three allegedly closeted anti-gay politicians Rogers supposedly has information about. But Rogers says the report is not fully accurate: The outing is not imminent but rather in the information-gathering stages, with 'a process in place' to get information on the congressman's alleged sexual activity. 'All I told the gentleman from U.S. News and World Report is that I have somebody who is planning on sleeping with a U.S. congressman and videotaping it secretly and giving the videotape to me because the congressman is anti-gay, and the next thing I know, the media is all over it,' he explained in an interview on my SiriusXM radio program at Netroots Nation, the annual convention of progressive bloggers, which took place in San Jose over the weekend. 'I never said the outing was imminent.'" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- President Obama sings Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." [http://bit.ly/10NxeWL]

- The world's largest solar-powered boat is great for the environment but will make your 90s rap video look totally lame. [http://bit.ly/12hHNey]

- The activities that comprise an average life, depicted in jelly beans. [http://bit.ly/1ce9riy]

- This sequence of five dogs, a cat and a duck is like the Von Trapp family saying good night but with treats. [http://huff.to/12Rx9Bw]

- Eleven photos of adults recreating photos from their childhood. [http://huff.to/144RNME]

- Cat dances "Smooth Criminal" then falls off table. Decidedly unsmooth. [http://bit.ly/11AY17q]

- A 1936 video explaining how a transmission works.[http://bit.ly/1a5b71g]

TWITTERAMA

@RepUnderwood: Moments like this require someone who will act, who will do the unpleasant thing. The necessary thing. #redpanda

@mattyglesias: SUPREME COURT SOMETHING SOMETHING ASK A LAWYER.

@delrayser: Looks like we're getting the rare Double Alito this morning. Don't worry, the rash should disappear on its own in a couple days.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

7:00 pm: Much like Congress, the Rolling Stones are too old and should think about calling it a day. Linda Sanchez takes her donors to the Stones' concert at the Verizon Center. [Verizon Center]

TOMORROW

6:00 pm: We would have preferred John Barrasso name his wine tasting fundraiser, "JOHNNY B'S SPITBUCKET SPECTACULAR." He didn't. Disappointing. [Carmine's, 425 7th Street NW]

6:00 pm: Kelly Ayotte celebrates her birthday with a campaign fundraiser. Remember: Age is just a number, as is your contribution amount. [507 D Street SE]

6:00 pm: Amy Klobuchar, whose last name we really enjoy spelling for reasons we can't quite pinpoint, attends a campaign function. [Art and Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave NW]

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