POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Desolation Of Smog

04/29/2014 06:33 pm ET | Updated Apr 29, 2014

The GOP House Conference is rubber and John Boehner is glue, whatever he says bounces off it and lands in the news. The Supreme Court upheld an EPA smog rule, but the day when it classifies smog as speech can't be far off. And Barbara Boxer asked whether "50 Cent is a singing group," making her the second-most rap-ignorant politician after Alan "Snoopy Poop Dog" Simpson. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, April 29th, 2014:

GOP LAWMAKERS NIX FUNDS FOR AT-RISK KIDS - It's a peak legislative period for Congress, so expect an onslaught of "Republicans skip vote on Girl Scout resolution for orgy/golden retriever sacrifice at Quinn Gillespie" stories. Mike McAuliff: "Republicans on a congressional tax-writing committee objected Tuesday to the cost of a bill that would spend $1 million a year to help keep foster kids out of the sex trade, and then voted for $310 billion in tax breaks for businesses. Many Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee backed the foster kids measure, but they removed a key provision that would have added $12 million to its 10-year cost and that was not paid for with budget cuts elsewhere. The GOP lawmakers made no such objections to the $310 billion over 10 years that it would cost to make permanent six expired tax cuts that primarily benefit large corporations, including the so-called GE loophole. Lacking 'pay-fors,' the cost of those cuts would be added to the deficit...[the] provision aimed to reimburse states for ensuring that foster kids who age out of the system have proper documents, like Social Security cards and medical records, so that they can obtain a regular job instead of turning to the underground economy." [HuffPost]

WHY VANCE MCALLISTER GOT A SHOVE AND THOSE OTHER GUYS DIDN'T - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told "Kissing Congressman" Vance McAllister that he should go ahead and resign from office now following his videotaped staffer smooch. Why didn't Cantor say the same to Michael Grimm, who is under indictment? What about Scott DesJarlais, the doctor who not only had an affair with his patients but strongly encouraged one of them to get an abortion? A source familiar with Cantor's thinking tells HuffPost Hill the fact that McAllister's offense involved a subordinate made it worse. DesJarlais' happened prior to his taking office, and Grimm denies that he broke the law, so he gets to have his day in court before he's told to get lost. Thanks, ASFWCT!

HOUSE GOP UNVEILS APPROPS BILL - David Rogers: "House Republicans rolled out their budget for science, commerce and justice programs Tuesday — a $51.2 billion package that outbids President Barack Obama in many cases and will require future cuts from other domestic accounts to make room under the 2015 spending caps." [Politico]

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS EPA POLLUTION RULE - AP: "In a major anti-pollution ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday backed federally imposed limits on smokestack emissions that cross state lines and burden downwind areas with bad air from power plants they can't control. The 6-2 ruling was an important victory for the Obama administration in controlling emissions from power plants in 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states that contribute to soot and smog along the East Coast. It also capped a decades-long effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that states are good neighbors and don't contribute to pollution problems elsewhere. The rule upheld Tuesday was EPA's third attempt to solve the problem. The rule, challenged by industry and upwind states, had been cast by foes as an attempt by the Obama administration to step on states' rights and to shut down aging coal-fired power plants. Opponents said the decision could embolden the agency to take the same tack later this year when it proposes rules to limit carbon pollution. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said the agency will be flexible and work with states on the first-ever controls on power plants for the gases blamed for global warming. On Tuesday, the court upheld a rule adopted by the EPA in 2011 that would force polluting states to reduce smokestack emissions that contaminate the air in downwind states." [AP]

GOP v. ADELSON HEATS UP - Grim: "The same week two prominent GOP lobby shops signed up with an online gambling company to take on Sheldon Adelson over online gambling, Red State has a nicely written diary full of talking point soup -- bailouts, winners and losers, cap and tax. This could get ugly."

Dean Heller chatted with Speaker Boehner today about unemployment benefits, per Politico's Burgess Everett. Doesn't seem like any minds changed. Heller's office says he will keep working on it.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Great blog post by Rebecca Pell on the challenges of finding work as a 52-year-old transgender woman: "In November of 2013 I was hired at a rental car company to detail cars. While it is a job, it's humiliating and demeaning to accept that this is the only job I can get. But as everyone keeps telling me, I'm fortunate to have a job and it's only temporary. So for the past five months I have shown up for work every day to do a job that requires no particular skills, where I don't fit in and which doesn't pay the bills. A job which has no meaning, which I do realize is a luxury, but is something important to me. And five months later I still can't get a job anywhere else." [HuffPost's All Work, No Pay series]

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BOEHNER WALKS BACK IMMIGRATION CRITICISM OF HIS PARTY - On our patented "John Boehner Wants To Get The Hell Out Of This Place" pain scale, we give this situation three-and-a-half yellow golf shorts out four. Elise Foley: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) distanced himself on Tuesday from comments he made last week that blamed GOP members for blocking immigration reform, instead turning the blame back to the president. 'There was no mocking,' Boehner told reporters at a press conference. 'You all know me -- you know, you tease the ones you love, right, but some people misunderstood what I had to say and I wanted to make sure the members understood that the biggest impediment we have in moving immigration reform is that the American people don’t trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass.' Boehner hinted at some tension in a meeting held with House Republicans before the Tuesday press conference, saying he can 'rib people just a little bit too much sometimes.' The speaker has repeatedly said in the past that immigration is a tough haul because President Barack Obama has proved himself unwilling to enforce the law, citing Obamacare extensions in particular. Last week, however, Boehner seemed to pin the blame on members of his own conference, rather than solely on the president." [HuffPost]

@toddzwillich: Sen Boxer on the floor, just now: Min wage used to be 50 cents. "Today, 50 Cent is a singing group, is that right?"

OBAMA RESPONDS TO FOREIGN POLICY CRITICS - Though the question of why he isn't killing more pirates remains unaddressed. Josh Hersh: "President Barack Obama ended his tour of several Asian countries on Monday with a passionate and unscripted defense of his foreign policy agenda, flogging his critics for having once championed more aggressive approaches during the years of his predecessor. 'For some reason, many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again,' Obama said during a press conference in Manila with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. 'Why? I don’t know. But my job as commander in chief is to look at what is it that is going to advance our security interests over the long term, to keep our military in reserve for where we absolutely need it.' Obama's unusual remarks came in response to a question from a reporter from Fox News, and they reflected the intensity of his frustration with both the shortcomings of his foreign policy and those who criticize it. His language, which was raw and personal, carried a degree of pique and candor more often reserved for private Oval Office discussions. 'You got me all worked up,' he later joked. As foreign policy challenges have mounted around the world, Obama has repeatedly found himself accused of presidential weakness and a failure to lead. Critics have pointed to the recent Russian incursion into Ukraine and the continuing nightmare in Syria as evidence that American military might is no longer respected or feared." [HuffPost]

"Nice try Huff Post," Darrell Issa's office praises us.

How about world leaders try their utmost to keep water from pouring into their lungs and let's leave it at that: "Last week, the world learned that Barack Obama would, in fact, save Vladimir Putin from drowning. But according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, Americans don't think Putin would return the favor. Responding to a question at a news conference in South Korea last week, Obama said, “I absolutely would save Mr. Putin if he were drowning." He noted, "I used to be a pretty good swimmer. I grew up in Hawaii." Most Americans think that's true. In the new poll, they said by a 53 percent to 29 percent margin that they think the U.S. president would save his Russian counterpart from a watery death." [HuffPost's Emily Swanson]

JACK LEW WANTS PEOPLE TO GET HIGH, RICH - Jen Bendery: "Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was on Capitol Hill Tuesday to testify about his department's annual budget, but some House Republicans were jonesing for a conversation about weed. 'Mr. Secretary, let me ask you about marijuana,' Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said during a subcommittee hearing for the House Appropriations Committee, which he chairs. Rogers questioned whether it was 'wise' for the federal government to issue guidance to banks earlier this year on how to process marijuana sales in Colorado and Washington, where recreational marijuana use is now legal. The administration released the guidelines to reassure banks that they won't be punished for doing business with legitimate marijuana shops in states that have legalized sales, even though marijuana is still illegal federally. The guidance requires banks to vigorously monitor their business with marijuana dispensaries. It doesn't grant them immunity from prosecution, but it directs prosecutors to prioritize cases where financial institutions aren't following the guidance...Lew acknowledged that the issue is 'complicated,' but said the administration is trying to create a more transparent process in order to stem the proliferation of cash-only businesses, which would be far more difficult to monitor for violations of federal and state laws." [HuffPost]

Interesting David Frum piece on the decline of gun ownership and rise of gun nuttery: Only about one-third of American households now own a gun, compared to about one-half in 1973. Much of this decline can be traced to the fading of hunting as an American pastime. Only about 6 percent of Americans hunt even once in a year. That’s just slightly more than the number who attended a ballet performance: 3.9 percent. Yet a smaller group of gun owners manages to exercise more political power." [The Atlantic]

Consciously decoupling ... from bigamy? "Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is seeking an annulment of his 24-year marriage on the grounds that his wife was already married when they wed, the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday. Grayson accuses Lolita Grayson of bigamy in new court paperwork filed in their ongoing divorce case. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the documents state that Lolita Grayson 'represented herself as single in order to induce Mr. Grayson to marry her.' Years later, the documents say, she 'secretly participated' in a divorce from her prior husband, who is named as Robert Carson of Broward County. The court documents reveal Grayson is also charging his wife with defamation, libel and slander for accusing him of shoving her during a confrontation at their home in March. A video surfaced shortly after that incident in which she was shown as the aggressor, and she dropped the charges. Grayson is reportedly seeking at least $15,000 in damages, in addition to punitive damages. The Huffington Post asked Grayson about the charges on Tuesday afternoon as he walked into the House chamber for votes. He punted the matter to his lawyer. 'Gotta talk to the attorneys,' he said." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

JUDGE STRIKES DOWN WISCONSIN VOTER ID LAW - Prompting fears in Republican circles that tens of thousands of black people will rush to the polls and retroactively elect Lois Lerner president. AP: "A federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin's voter Identification law, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued his long-awaited decision Tuesday. It invalidates Wisconsin's law. Wisconsin's law would have required voters to show a state-issued photo ID at the polls. Supporters said it would cut down on voter fraud and boost public confidence in the integrity of the election process. But Adelman sided with opponents, who said it disproportionately excluded poor and minority voters because they're less likely to have photo IDs or the documents needed to get them. Wisconsin's law was only in effect for a 2012 primary before a Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional." [AP]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a tap dancing dog.

STATE LAWMAKER BASICALLY SUPPORTS SENDING GAYS AND LESBIANS TO PRISON FOREVER - Samantha Lachman: "A Republican state senator and congressional candidate is nostalgic for the days when the United States would send just missionaries to African countries rather than scientific experts hoping to prevent LGBT discrimination. Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who is running to unseat Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), thinks God is upset that Secretary of State John Kerry announced plans to send 'experts' to discuss Uganda's new anti-gay bill with President Yoweri Museveni. Museveni signed the law in February. It prescribes charges of up to a lifetime in prison for certain sexual acts after Ugandan scientists told the president that they believe there is no genetic basis for homosexuality. Grothman decried Kerry's efforts to the Voice of Christian Youth America, an evangelical radio network, earlier this month: 'Now, usually I associate the United States with being a positive influence on Africa,' [Grothman said]. 'Instead what we have is the secretary of state going to Africa and educating Ugandans or saying he is going to send American scientists to Uganda to explain how normal homosexuality is. I mean, think about that. I mean, what must God think of our country?'" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- The Times' new series reenacts ridiculous trial transcripts. [http://bit.ly/1lt0ZUi]

- NPR's 1994 internal memo describing the internet if fabulous. "Internet is a collection of computer networks that is connected around the world." [http://bit.ly/1kjksUL]

- The cast list of the latest "Star Wars" iteration has been released. [http://bit.ly/QVsiLX]

- Hank Hill covers Lil' Jon. [http://bit.ly/1mUezma]

- The latest edition of "What Are You Listening To?" from Newcastle, England. [http://bit.ly/1fpI7pl]

- A sexy, slow jam version of the "DuckTales" theme. [http://huff.to/1mX2GJH]

- Don't attempt a backflip when graduating college. Just don't. [http://huff.to/1fubRBk]

- Twenty GIFs that explain science. [http://bit.ly/1o0qegB]

TWITTERAMA

@AskDrRuth: Going to luncheon where I'll be learning a lot about Abe Lincoln. As President's go, he's a bit too tall for me!

@KagroX: Does Scalia ever lose gracefully? Or does he only either win or spit nails?

@Dceiver: One thing that me and Donald Sterling have in common is that we won't be owning the Clippers much anymore

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