The president told lawmakers not to believe what they read in the Huffington Post, prompting Steny Hoyer to disregard everything he thought he knew about Larry Summers' sideboob. After a tense conversation on the Senate floor, Lisa Murkowski switched her vote on President Obama's ATF nominee from 'nay' to
'new terminal at Fairbanks International Airport' 'aye.' And a now-fired drunk intern earned a place in Washington lore -- not to mention P90X's next ad campaign -- when he lost his shoe stalking Paul Ryan. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 31st, 2013:
OBAMA TO ADDRESS LAWMAKERS ABOUT NSA - Sabrina Siddiqui: "President Barack Obama continued to defend the National Security Agency's widespread surveillance programs behind closed doors to Senate Democrats on Wednesday, but on Thursday he faces a tougher audience. A group of lawmakers who have expressed concerns about privacy and transparency in the wake of the NSA revelations will meet with the president at the White House Thursday. The meeting was confirmed by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who told The Huffington Post he would be in attendance and 'looked forward' to further discussion around possible changes to the scope of the NSA's data collection. Other senators whose attendance was confirmed to HuffPost include Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), as well as two of the NSA's top defenders -- Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Politico reported that some members of the House of Representatives will also participate, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)." [HuffPost]
ORDER ON NSA INFO ACCESS DECLASSIFIED - Ryan Reilly: "Government agents may only access a National Security Agency database of all domestic phone calls in the United States when an executive branch official decides there is a 'reasonable, articulable suspicion' that a phone number is associated with terrorism, according to a formerly secret court order revealed Wednesday. An April ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was declassified by the Obama administration just ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act programs. The so-called telephone metadata can only be accessed by 'authorized personnel who have received appropriate and adequate training,' according to the court order. The April 25 order, signed by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, served as the basis for a separate order, disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that forced a Verizon subsidiary to turn over its phone logs." [HuffPost]
We give it a month until the Texas legislature mandates doctors ask women to "answer me these riddles three" before performing an abortion. Laura Bassett: "A new bill being advanced in the Texas state Senate would require women to take a three-hour class on adoption before legally being allowed to have an abortion. Senate Bill 42, filed by Texas State Sen. Eddie Lucio, an anti-abortion Democrat, would direct the state's Health and Human Services Commission to develop a three-hour course 'regarding a pregnant woman's option to place her child for adoption.' Women would be required to complete the course at least 24 hours before having an abortion. Lucio said the bill is intended to change women's minds about ending their pregnancies." [HuffPost]
Now you tell all your friends that you've seen Bo Obama poop.
ATF VOTE NEARLY TORPEDOES FILIBUSTER DEAL - Somewhere, Heidi Heitkamp just burned half her office budget on a last-minute ticket to D.C. Mike McAuliff and Luke Johnson: "The approval of Todd Jones to head the ATF hinged on the vote of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who at first voted no on a procedural question but then switched after an intense hour of heated discussion on the Senate floor. Murkowski was one of six Republicans who agreed earlier this month not to filibuster seven of the president's nominees... It was unclear why Murkowski initially balked at Jones, although some Republicans have charged he was somehow culpable in the Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal...Murkowski was surrounded by more than a dozen of her colleagues at one point... and their raised voices could be heard from the Senate press gallery...Indeed, one person familiar with the showdown thought that Murkowski might have been convinced to vote no on her way to the floor, only to find [John] McCain, [Harry] Reid, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others reminding her of the agreement they reached and the fact that filibustering Jones could blow up the entire deal...Even with Murkowski's aye, Jones was one vote short, with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) unexpectedly away. The count was being held open until 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday for her return." [HuffPost]
Edward Snowden is somehow making broccoli prices skyrocket, which will deprive President Obama of his favorite food: "Blame Edward Snowden if you soon find yourself paying more for frozen broccoli at the grocery store, or your special someone doesn’t bring you roses on your anniversary. Ecuador President Rafael Correa has been using the National Security Agency leaker’s surveillance scandal as a reason to pull out of trade agreements with the United States that, until now, have kept Ecuadorian imports of frozen broccoli, canned artichokes and flowers tariff-free. But as trade agreements expire and political tensions intensify between Ecuador and the United States, the consumer may begin to feel the pinch." [Politico]
Everyone in Washington is talking about The 50 Hills Most Beautiful. Number 17 is easily the most gorgeous.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The House Agriculture Committee's farm bill would have denied food stamp benefits to as many as 5.1 million Americans, or more than 10 percent of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's enrollment, according to a new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The estimate, based on an exhaustive analysis of how new asset tests would disqualify applicants, reveals a deeper impact than the one estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, which said the House bill would cut fewer than 2 million from benefits. The new report doesn't estimate how many fewer people would receive benefits after Republicans added harsher amendments before the legislation died on the House floor. [Health Impact Project]
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HOUSE FAIL FEST - Jake Sherman: "What a week. House Republicans are calling a last-minute Rules Committee meeting to ensure three bills that deal with what they consider government abuse do not fail on the House floor before the August recess. The bills — part of a themed week called “Stop Government Abuse” — were coming to the floor as part of a fast-track process that required support from two-thirds of lawmakers for passage. Instead, Republican leadership has decided to construct a process that would allow the bills to be slapped together and passed with by a simple majority of the House.... This comes the same day House Republicans abandoned a plan to consider a $44 billion transportation and housing spending bill. GOP leadership says they’ll finish the bill in September, but Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said he doubts that will happen."[Politico]
OBAMA DEFENDS LARRY SUMMERS IN MEETING WITH CONGRESSIONAL DEMS - Jen Bendery and Sabrina Siddiqui: "President Barack Obama gave a 'full-throated defense' of Larry Summers in a closed meeting with House Democrats Wednesday, according to a lawmaker in the room...Summers, along with Janet Yellen, are reportedly the top contenders for the Fed post... During Wednesday’s meeting, one Democratic lawmaker, who requested anonymity, said the president became agitated and rose to Summers’ defense in response to Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) walking up to the microphone and simply saying, 'Larry Summers. Bad Choice.' In paraphrasing Obama's response, the lawmaker said the president replied, 'Hey, don't talk sh*t about him because he's actually a pretty good guy. And then he said, 'If somebody talked sh*t about you like that, I'd defend you too' (The lawmaker added that Obama didn't use the expletive.)... According to two Democrats in the room, Obama also ripped The Huffington Post for making Summers, in the president’s words, 'a progressive whipping boy.' The Hill reported that Obama told Democrats 'not to believe everything you read in the Huffington Post.'" [HuffPost]
The female members of the House made perfectly clear who they want to be then next Fed chair: "A majority of the Democratic women serving in the House of Representatives are urging President Barack Obama to nominate Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve, putting additional pressure on the president to reject economist Larry Summers, who is rumored to be the frontrunner. Thirty-eight of the 62 Democratic women in the House have signed on to a letter circulated by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), saying that Yellen, currently the Fed vice chair, would be the 'best choice' to lead the institution...Many Yellen supporters are worried that Summers would follow in the footsteps of his mentor and dial back the Fed's efforts to lower unemployment in order to appease the bond market...Summers also served as president of Harvard University, but he resigned in 2006 after he suggested that women may be inherently less talented at math and science than men are." [HuffPost]
Confused old man walks into strange place: "There was confusion Wednesday after [Sen. John McCain] mistakenly strolled into President Obama’s meeting with Senate Democrats at the Capitol. The room full of Democrats — who happened to be meeting in the same room where the Senate GOP usually holds their weekly policy luncheons — erupted in applause and laughter as the former Republican presidential candidate made his entrance. As McCain, 76, walked out of the Dem-filled space, reporters pressed him as to why he stepped foot in the room. Saying he “had to give a speech,” McCain was eyed walking away sporting a big grin." [The Hill]
"Back in 2008 Weiner introduced a bill to make it easier for high-end foreign models to enter the United States."
OBAMA CHOOSES WOMAN FOR DEPUTY 'PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STOP HARASSING US ABOUT LARRY SUMMERS' DIRECTOR - It's a shame that the next deputy treasury secretary will be so bad at math and science. Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama plans to name Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin as deputy Treasury Secretary, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the Treasury department, according to two people familiar with the matter. Raskin, 52, has been vetted for the position and Obama plans to nominate her in the coming weeks, according to the people, who asked for anonymity to discuss the personnel decision before an announcement. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has been told of the choice, according to one of the people. Prior to serving as Maryland’s top financial regulator from 2007 to 2010, Raskin was a managing director at Promontory Financial Group, which advises banks. She was nominated to the Fed in March of 2010." [Bloomberg]
JOHN MCCAIN REGRETS HIS SEQUESTRATION VOTE, MY FRIENDS - Sam Stein: "When the Obama administration and congressional Republican leadership crafted the policy of sequestration in the summer of 2011, the idea was relatively simple: Onerous budget cuts that affected the top priorities of each political party would never take place because it was in the interest of both parties to avert them...Now, in retrospect, even the authors of sequestration concede that they oversold the willingness and ability of lawmakers to come together on a replacement. And in an interview with The New Republic, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) placed it among the biggest legislative regrets of his career. 'TNR: Were you surprised that the GOP allowed sequestration? JM: I think the way it was sold, that the Sword of Damocles would never fall, was a contradiction. You should never point a gun unless you were going to pull the trigger. The leadership said this would never happen. It is the worst vote I have cast in many years.'" [HuffPost]
Republican Rep. Tom Cotton is running for Mark Pryor's Senate seat, sweat beads on Michael Bennet's head confirm : "The freshman congressman has scheduled an event Tuesday with supporters in his hometown of Dardanelle. A person who has spoken with Cotton said the congressman intends to enter the race against Pryor, who faces re-election next year... Cotton, 36, is a former management consultant who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was elected to the 4th District in November, after racking up endorsements during his primary bid from national Republican leaders including U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and conservative groups such as the Club for Growth.:" [AP]
WOMEN BREAKING THROUGH THE SELLOUT GLASS CEILING - The women of Seneca Falls would be so proud. National Journal: "While it’s no secret that men outnumber women in Washington’s lobbying corps, individual lobbying contracts held by women are worth more on average than those held by men, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures by LegiStorm. The average contract between a client and a single female lobbyist was worth more than a contract between a client and a single male lobbyist in 2002, 2007, and 2012, the years analyzed by LegiStorm, a nonpartisan group that provides information on Congress. Moreover, a two-woman team held contracts with a greater average worth than those held by a two-man team, and contracts with a mixed-gender team tended to be worth more than contacts held by two men. For example, the average contract amount between a single woman and a client in 2012 was $33,289, while that for a single male lobbyist was $26,299. Contracts between two women and a client averaged $23,542; for two men, contracts averaged $17,855. For a mixed-gender team, the average was $22,992." [National Journal]
Thomas Roberts called Anthony Weiner sexting partner Sydney Leathers "batshit" on air.
PRO TIP: DON'T CALL A FORMER COLLEAGUE 'SLUTBAG,' EVEN IF YOU'RE OFF THE RECORD - That also includes the neologisms "whorecase," "skanksack" and "portman-ho." HuffPost: "In an interview with Talking Points Memo, [Anthony] Weiner communications director Barbara Morgan attacked Olivia Nuzzi, the former intern whose story on the campaign was published by the Daily News Tuesday. In the story, Nuzzi accuses Weiner of incorrectly calling several female interns by the name 'Monica,' and claims that many interns joined the campaign with hopes of landing in the good graces of Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton...'Fucking slutbag,' she said. 'Nice fucking glamour shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again.'...Morgan apologized for her remarks in a statementTuesday evening. 'In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation,' Morgan said. 'It was wrong and I am very sorry, which is what I said tonight when I called and emailed Olivia to apologize.'" [HuffPost]
HuffPost Hiccup: Yesterday we incorrectly attributed the video that Steve King mistakenly featured on his campaign website to Media Matters when the video belonged to American Bridge. Apologies. We're also sorry about the many previous errors not acknowledged with a hiccup.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a fearless toddler.
DRUNK INTERN IS DRUNK, OBSESSED WITH PAUL RYAN - Gawker, who has reprinted the email detailing these shenanigans in full, summarizes: "Briefly: An underage congressional intern rolled into work two hours late this morning, 'absolutely hammered,' 'reeking of booze,' and vigorously declaring his love for failed vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan — standard Mitt Romney stuff. After checking in with his supervisors, the intern abruptly ran out of his office to get a jumpstart on stalking Congressman Ryan, left his shoe on the ground to hold his place in a line that didn't exist, and hobbled into a nearby restaurant to score a breakfast burrito. (He also had a plan for meeting and seducing an unknown hottie in the interim that didn't pan out for him.) When he returned to collect his shoe, it was gone. And he was fired." [Gawker (full email)]
- The ten weirdest insured celebrity body parts. [http://bit.ly/12FCdtz]
- A history of "Oregon Trail," the cause of 99.98 % of dysentery cases among millennials. [http://bit.ly/1e9V1Rq]
- Cat won't let owner play ukulele. [http://huff.to/1bJwGGk]
- A collection of old school video games reimagined in the first-person. [http://bit.ly/14DJjZT]
- A 1999 commercial for Corn Pops starring "Breaking Bad"'s Aaron Paul. [http://bit.ly/11v1ML7]
- 79 commonly mispronounced words and the correct way to say them. [http://bit.ly/15b1OLp]
- Photos of Fortune 500 boardrooms. [http://bit.ly/1coSSDA]
@elisefoley: Who's launching a Kickstarter to buy the drunk intern a new shoe? He lost it in pursuit of Democracy and love of country.
@pourmecoffee: Monica Lewinsky is at the top of Drudge and the Backstreet Boys are releasing a new album. Who turned the Hot Tub Time Machine to 1998?!
@LOLGOP: The GOP telling people not to sign up for health insurance will be in the same wing as climate change denial in the Misanthropy Hall Of Fame
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