Nancy Pelosi appointed five Democrats to the Benghazi select committee after her initial appointment, Rep. Flaming Brown Paper Bag of Dog Poop (D-F.U.), was rejected by Republicans. John McCain got his wish when President Obama deployed troops to Nigeria, though the garage where his neighbors' son has band practice remains woefully unliberarted by American military might. And President Obama emerged from the White House today and yelled, "the bear is loose!" prompting a sternly-worded press release from the RNC wondering how the president can lead if he can't control our country's bears. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 21st, 2014:
PELOSI NAMES FIVE DEMOCRATS TO BENGHAZI COMMITTEE - In our opinion, Pelosi should have named Sheila Jackson Lee, Steve Cohen et al to the committee, like the time Joe Torre let Wade Boggs pitch an inning because he stopped taking the game seriously. Sabrina Siddiqui: "After weeks of intense debate about whether to boycott or join the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appointed five Democrats to the panel on Wednesday. Pelosi announced that Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) will serve as the ranking member of the Benghazi panel, supported by Reps. Adam Smith (Wash.), Adam Schiff (Calif.), Linda Sanchez (Calif.) and Tammy Duckworth (Ill.). Cummings, in his role as the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has been involved in many fiery hearings on Benghazi, and often led the Democratic response when Republicans sought to resurrect the issue. The other Democrats named to the panel also serve on committees that have previously investigated the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. All five Democrats joined Pelosi on Wednesday to address reporters on Capitol Hill, reiterating their belief that Republicans launched the investigation for political gain. Just six Democrats voted with the House GOP to establish the committee two weeks ago." [HuffPost]
@daveweigel: Just a couple weeks ago I remember Clyburn comparing Dems joining Benghazi committee to him bringing his own rope to a hanging.
This week's pool report to beat, courtesy of National Journal's George Condon: "Pool arrived at Interior at 4:15, about a minute or two before our walking president. He had left the White House grounds at 4:04, immediately doffing his suit coat and tossing it over his shoulder. Tourists nearby waved and shouted. On the Ellipse, there were few tourists in sight. When he approached the waiting pool, he proclaimed exultantly, 'The bear is loose.' And 'It's good to be out.'"
PATENT REFORM FLOPS - Kate Tummarello: "Senators delivered a potential deathblow to patent reform on Wednesday as the Judiciary Committee postponed work on the tech industry’s top legislative priority. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said weeks of negotiations on a compromise had reached a dead end and announced he was yanking the bill from the panel’s legislative agenda. 'I have said all along that we needed broad bipartisan support to get a bill through the Senate,' Leahy said in a statement. 'Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal.'" [The Hill]
Mark Leibovich goes after the low-hanging fruit that are politicians' memoirs. Leibo is quickly becoming the journalistic equivalent of the standup comic who complains about airline food. Don't get us wrong, he produces very vivid and compelling accounts of why airplane food sucks.
OBAMA DEPLOYS SMALL CONTINGENT OF SOLDIERS TO AID IN NIGERIA SCHOOLGIRL RESCUE - Time: "The United States has deployed 80 American troops to Chad to assist in the search for more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the militant group Boko Haram last month, President Barack Obama told Congress on Wednesday. 'These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,' Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy. 'The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.' The letter was sent to comply with the War Power Resolution, which requires congressional notification within 48 hours of American troop commitments. The deployment follows manned and unmanned surveillance flights launched by American personnel earlier this month, as well as the deployment of a team of U.S. military, law enforcement, and hostage negotiation advisers to the Nigerian capital of Abuja. Obama has been under fire from some lawmakers on Capitol Hill for not more aggressively deploying American troops in the search for the missing girls. “We should devote more of our national capabilities to help our Nigerian partners in locating the girls,” said Arizona Sen. John McCain on May 16." [Time]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The 2 million Americans who've missed out on long-term unemployment insurance since December probably won't be getting their benefits back. Last month, the Senate passed legislation that would give lump-sum payments to people cut off since December by reauthorizing federal programs retroactively from December through May. But even if the House moved on the Senate bill this week and allowed people to collect back-payments, the long-term jobless would only receive support for one more week before the benefits expired again. Now, the retrospective push is losing steam. Though they still say House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) should allow a vote on the Senate bill, the senators advocating for the legislation are wondering if it remains practical after all this time. "Or have we reached a point because of the delay that the prospective option is the only one that's viable," Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) told HuffPost on Tuesday. In other words, Reed and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), the two senators from the states with the highest rates of unemployment, might abandon back payments in favor of restoring the safety net for people who become unemployed for long periods of time in the future. [HuffPost]
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OBAMA SPEAKS OUT ABOUT VA NEGLECT, DOESN'T SACK SHINSECKI - Meanwhile, expect to see Eric Shinseki aimlessly roaming the rain-slicked streets of Washington tonight, staring sadly a his reflection in storefront windows while a man under a nearby bridge plays "God Bless The Child" on a tenor sax. Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama vented his anger Wednesday over allegations of misconduct at Veterans Affairs hospitals and vowed to root out anyone responsible, though he stopped short of announcing VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation over the ordeal. 'If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful and I will not tolerate it. Period,' Obama said during a hastily called press conference at the White House. 'I will not stand for it. Not as commander-in-chief, but also not as an American,' he added. 'None of us should.' The president's remarks come a day after the VA inspector general indicated his office is investigating possible misconduct at 26 VA facilities around the country, including a Phoenix hospital where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for care and staff rigged record-keeping to cover up long wait times. Obama insisted that anyone found to have manipulated or falsified records at a VA facility 'will be punished,' but he urged patience as the administration carries out its probe." [HuffPost]
GOP VERY PETULANT - Jen Bendery: "It's been six months since Senate Democrats pushed through filibuster reform, a change that Republicans warned would have grave consequences and destroy comity in the refined upper chamber. So what's happened since then? Two things: The president's nominees have largely been confirmed, and Republicans wasted hours of Senate floor time delaying those nominees before voting to confirm them anyway. At least 126 hours, to be exact. Since December 2013, when Democrats changed the rules so that it only takes a simple majority to advance a president's nominees -- instead of the previous 60-vote threshold -- Republicans have voted to block 30 of President Barack Obama's nominees whom they ultimately ended up voting for. Thirteen of those nominees were even confirmed unanimously. Take Diane Humetewa, for example, a judicial nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Humetewa had the backing of her home state's two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, and it was widely known that she was poised to make history as the first Native American woman on the federal bench. Last week, 34 Republicans voted against letting Humetewa's nomination advance. Hours later, once Republicans let the clock run out on the allotted time for debate on her nomination, all of them voted to confirm her." [HuffPost]
Classic defensive clock management.
PENNSYLVANIA GOV WON'T CHALLENGE GAY MARRIAGE RULING - Tom Corbett will waste no expense, however, in his ongoing appeal to the court of public opinion. That's costing him one hell of a retainer. AP: "The governor said Wednesday that he will not appeal a court ruling that struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban, allowing a growing number of couples to proceed with their wedding plans. Gov. Tom Corbett's decision means that same-sex marriage will remain legal in Pennsylvania, without the threat that a higher court will reinstate the ban. 'The case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal,' Corbett said in a statement. 'Therefore, after review of the opinion and on the advice of my commonwealth legal team, I have decided not to appeal.' Corbett's decision goes against the Republican governor's personal beliefs. He opposes same-sex marriage and supported thus-far unsuccessful efforts to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage...Corbett, who is seeking re-election this year facing poor public approval ratings, has sought in recent months to move to the political center and away from staunchly conservative positions on several hot-button issues." [ABC News]
A President Hillary Clinton would work far less insane hours than her husband, writes Igor Bobic.
PENNSYLVANIA TO HAVE LARGEST ALL-MALE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION - Laura Bassett: "Pennsylvania is set to become the largest all-male delegation in Congress this November as a result of Tuesday night's primary races. Pennsylvania sends 20 senators and representatives to Congress each year, and Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) is currently the only woman in the group. Schwartz gave up her seat this year to run for governor, but lost in the Democratic primary on Tuesday to businessman Tom Wolf. Wolf will challenge incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in November. Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies (D), Chelsea Clinton's in-law, campaigned to replace Schwartz, but she lost in the primary to state Rep. Brendan Boyle. The seat is a Democratic stronghold, so Boyle is highly favored to win in November. While Boyle is a Democrat, he has a mixed record on reproductive rights and was not the favorite of progressive women's groups. Earlier this month, EMILY's List and NARAL Pro-Choice America teamed up for the first time in their histories to oppose Boyle, citing his vote for an anti-abortion bill that has already forced five abortion clinics in the state to shut down. Only four states -- California, Florida, New York and Texas -- have larger congressional delegations than Pennsylvania. But all of those states have at least two women in their ranks. Pennsylvania will be the most populous state to have all male congressmen and a male governor." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a baby goat in a wheelchair.
WASHINGTON D.C. IS NOT A REAL PLACE SOMETIMES - The City Paper should endorse Captain Planet for mayor. WaPo: "It started with the rush delivery of more than 200,000 shiny-new cans before the city’s primary election last month. That led to the odd problem of trash can proliferation, with old cans waiting weeks to be picked up and streets and alleys overflowing with extra bins. Then there was the arrest and lockup of a little-known District artist for trying to repurpose (as flowerpots) several of the old cans that had been plastered with “Take Me!” signs. And the city’s overcorrection of the languishing can problem, which officials dubbed a “blitz” — cleared away not just unwanted cans, but even some recently delivered ones. And now, it turns out that the city has not been recycling thousands of the cans, as the administration of Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) had promised — but chucking them instead. City officials admitted Tuesday that sanitation crews dumped at least 132 truckloads of plastic bins — a third of the more than 16,000 old cans collected last week — alongside city waste and hauled them all off to Virginia to be incinerated. A spokeswoman said that throwing away the cans was ultimately a safety decision made after streets and alleyways became overly congested." [WaPo]
UH OH ELEANOR - Mike DeBonis: "For more than 60 years, Conrad Deskins has patronized the East Potomac Park Golf Course, the 36-hole complex on Hains Point, just a few blocks from downtown Washington. On a warm Tuesday afternoon, he follows up a chip-and-putt session with a sandwich outside the course’s modest clubhouse. On many days like this, Deskins joins a regular group for a low-stakes afternoon skins game — even though, he says, at 82 his swing is starting to fade. 'That won’t stop my enthusiasm,' he said. 'Eleanor might. But that won’t.' That’s a nod to House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who last month renewed a bidto transform one of the city’s three federally owned golf courses — most likely East Potomac, she says — into a 'world-class, tournament-quality public course, with playing fees commensurate with such courses.'" [WashPost]
- The first footage from the new "Star Wars" set. [http://bit.ly/1npyRAz]
- "Check out all hamburgers!!" -- Three Japanese dudes try to eat at every L.A. burger chain in one day. [http://bit.ly/SjMzLM]
- A deep dive into ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. [http://bit.ly/1vBJRk6]
- Cat is tired of "Let It Go." [http://huff.to/1vHaDaM]
- The surfing goats of Pismo Beach, California are under threat. [http://huff.to/1gPcfey]
@BassoonJokes: An ensemble cast love story about friends trying to honor fallen soldiers, from the people who brought you New Year's Eve, it's Memorial Day
@BrentButt: Google motto 2004: Don't be evil
Google motto 2010: Evil is tricky to define
Google motto 2013: We make military robots
@MarxFeed: 26 Ways The Base Actually Determines The Superstructure
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