POLITICS
06/26/2014 05:54 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Americans Celebrate Successful Outcome Of Game Theory Experiment

The U.S. World Cup team won by losing today, which is we can only assume is some kind of weird extension of Obama's apology tour. Republicans broke into Terry McAuliffe's office to deliver a budget, and presumably weren't deterred by the mountains of empty Red Bull cans and burst stress balls. And a record number of parents have been separated from their children by deportations, because as much as Americans love family values, it hates anchor baby terrorist sleeper agents more. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 26th, 2014:

INTRUDERS BREAK INTO TERRY MCAULIFFE'S OFFICE, DROP OFF BUDGET - They were just trying to steal health insurance from poor people. Jim Nolan: "At the urging of House Speaker William J. Howell, the clerk’s office of the House of Delegates enlisted the help of the Capitol Police to enter Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s unoccupied, secure suite of offices on a Sunday afternoon to deliver the state budget. The highly unusual entry on June 15 took place without the permission of administration officials or the knowledge of the Virginia State Police, which is in charge of protecting the governor. McAuliffe was not in the building. The circumstances surrounding the delivery of the budget and the controversy it has ignited demonstrate just how much relations have deteriorated between the McAuliffe administration and Howell and his fellow House Republicans in the battle over the budget and Medicaid expansion." [Richmond Times Dispatch]

AMERICANS ARE DEPRESSINGLY IGNORANT: PEW STUDY - Most Americans can't even identify the difference between Kang and Kodos. Pew: "About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time, while 34% say humans and others have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. These views have changed little in recent years....Overall, 61% of the public say there is solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, while 35% say there is not solid evidence that the Earth is warming...Another key measure of political engagement is how knowledgeable people are about the current political landscape, and here again the more ideological groups score far higher. Nationwide, just 40% of Americans can correctly identify the partisan balance in both the House of Representatives and the Senate...The remaining six-in-ten know only one (33%) or neither (28%) of those facts." [Pew]

WALKER NOT TARGET OF INVESTIGATION IN CAMPAIGN PROBE - Paul Blumenthal: " Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was not a target of an investigation into allegedly illegal campaign coordination related to the state's 2011 and 2012 recall elections, according to a lawyer for the special prosecutor running the probe. 'At the time the investigation was halted, Governor Walker was not a target of the investigation,' Randall Crocker, the attorney for special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, told the Wisconsin State Journal on Thursday. 'At no time has he been served with a subpoena.' The statement comes one week after a federal appeals court released a treasure trove of documents from the investigation, in which the prosecutors were laying out the evidence they had of a 'criminal scheme' to coordinate the political efforts of independent conservative groups with the Walker campaign. It appears that an argument was being developed that Walker's campaign was at the center of this 'scheme.' The documents released last week show that prosecutors had issued subpoenas for "the production of documents related to the criminal scheme of R.J. Johnson, Deborah Jordahl, Governor Scott Walker and Friends of Scott Walker to utilize and direct 501(c)(4) organizations, as well as other political committees." [publication]

@cspanJeremy: WHAT IS HAPPENING Rep Woodall? #metapic.twitter.com/zq9cJNtxIN

Our defeatist president on the U.S.'s World Cup squad: “The U.S. exceeded expectations... This year you get a sense it has captured popular imagination..We’re not Germany yet or Italy or France or Argentina or Brazil but we’re now in the mix.” [ABC News]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives trumpeted new bipartisan legislation to revive benefits for the long-term unemployed on Thursday. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already signaled his lack of interest in jobless aid, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged Boehner to let the bill get a vote anyway. "It is unconscionable that Republicans have refused to renew this essential support for hard working Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own," Pelosi said in a statement. [HuffPost]

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HARRY REID WANTS TO REVIVE EARMARKS - Sam Stein and Grim: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he expects congressional earmarks will be revived and insisted senior Republican Party members support the return of congressionally directed spending. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Reid argued that the prohibition on earmarks was a mistake that tipped the balance of power away from the legislative branch and toward the president. He said he wants the ability to approve specific spending projects to be put back under control of Congress. Reid said top House Republicans have told him they support earmarks and would like to see the practice return. He said those he's spoken to include 'a very senior member of the House Republican caucus.' Reid wouldn't name names, but said that the lawmaker is 'still there' -- meaning it's likely not Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.)...In recent months, other lawmakers have argued these same points, suggesting that Congress may be warming up to a return to the practice it banned several years ago...Freshmen Republicans in the House have petitioned Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to reconsider his opposition. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) would be the most likely GOP senator to take over the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee if the GOP wins control of the Senate in this year's elections, and has been a longtime supporter of earmarks. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), too, only bowed to the pressure to ban earmarks under tremendous strain." [HuffPost]

SCOTUS SLAPS OBAMA'S WRIST OVER RECESS APPOINTMENTS - NBC News: "The US Supreme Court today limited a president's power to make recess appointments when the White House and the Senate are controlled by opposite parties, scaling back a presidential authority as old as the republic. The case arose from a political dispute between President Obama and Senate Republicans, who claimed he had no authority to put three people on the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012 when the Senate was out of town. He used a president's power, granted by the Constitution, to 'fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate.' But the Republicans said the Senate was not in recess at the time the appointments were made, because every three days a senator went into the chamber, gaveled it to order, and then immediately called a recess. By a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court agreed that the Senate was not in recess, holding that it's up to both houses of Congress to define when they're in session or in recess. As a result of the decision, the Senate can frustrate a president's ability to make recess appointments simply by holding periodic pro forma sessions, a tactic used in recent years by both political parties." [NBC News]

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN PROTEST BUFFER ZONES AT ABORTION CLINICS - America's rich tradition of pamphleteering has devolved from Thomas Paine and company to a bunch of Church friends with too much time on their hand circulating leaflets plastered with photos of fetuses. Laura Bassett: "The Supreme Court ruled on McCullen v. Coakley Thursday, striking down a Massachusetts law requiring protesters to stay at least 35 feet from an abortion clinic's entrance and walkways. In a unanimous opinion, the court held that such buffer zones violate First Amendment free speech rights. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the court...'Even today, [sidewalks] remain one of the few places where a speaker can be confident that he is not simply preaching to the choir. With respect to other means of communication, an individual confronted with an uncomfortable message can always turn the page, change the channel, or leave the Web site.' 'Thus, even though the Act says nothing about speech on its face, there is no doubt—and respondents do not dis­pute—that it restricts access to traditional public fora and is therefore subject to First Amendment scrutiny,' Roberts said. Eleanor McCullen, the lead plaintiff in the case, is a member of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who argued the buffer zone violates her First Amendment right to free speech. 'It's America,' she told NPR earlier this year. 'I should be able to walk and talk gently, lovingly, anywhere with anybody.'" [HuffPost]

That said, John Roberts WILL NOT abide people showing photos of fetuses in his face: "The Supreme Court unanimously struck down Thursday a Massachusetts law allowing abortion clinics to have a buffer zone keeping protesters at least 35 feet from entrances and walkways. They did so from behind their own buffer zone, which they created for themselves last year to keep away protesters...But Roberts and his court don't actually want this exchange of ideas at their taxpayer-funded doorstep. In 2012, the court issued a regulation banning all demonstrations on the 252-by-98 foot plaza right outside the government building. The only place for people to protest, therefore, is on the adjacent public sidewalk." [HuffPost]

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET REAL OVER THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK - It's unclear who will distribute more press releases about jobs this year, the DCCC and RNCC... or Boeing. Zach Carter: "Congress is gearing up for another government shutdown, this time over a minor federal agency that most Americans have never heard of: the Export-Import Bank. Ex-Im, as it's known in Capitol Hill parlance, provides cheap loans to foreign companies who want to buy U.S.-manufactured goods, particularly Boeing airplanes. The agency has limited macroeconomic significance, but its very existence has ignited a holy war within the Republican Party, where hardliners view the bank as an exercise in corporate welfare. Ex-Im's formal authorization expires Sept. 30, the same date congressional funding for the entire federal government runs out. If the Democratic-led Senate insists on reauthorizing and funding the bank, the Republican-controlled House can reject the measure, and shut down the government just five weeks before the November elections. Democratic leaders smell election-year blood -- an opportunity to leach campaign funds from corporate donors that have traditionally backed the GOP. And a Republican-led government shutdown over an obscure agency may be the Democrats' best chance to take back the lower chamber." [HuffPost]

NUMBER OF FAMILIES SEPARATED BY DEPORTATIONS GROW - If life were more like musicals, an influx of orphaned children would lead to a spike in catchy, street-based song-and-dance numbers featuring adorable ragamuffins. However, life is not like that and this is depressing. Elise Foley: "Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year carried out more than 72,000 deportations of parents who said they had U.S.-born children, according to reports to Congress obtained Wednesday by The Huffington Post. The reports were sent by ICE in April to the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, as required by law. ICE confirmed the authenticity of the two reports, which lay out 72,410 removals of immigrants who said they had one or more U.S.-born children in 2013. The reports show that even parents of U.S. citizens are among the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants being expelled from the United States each year. They hold particular significance as President Barack Obama faces pressure to change his deportation policies to keep families together. Obama's deportation policies are under increased scrutiny by those in both political parties as the House stalls on immigration reform and the government scrambles to deal with an influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border illegally. While opponents of immigration reform have argued that Obama's lax enforcement is attracting new unauthorized immigrants, reform advocates are turning to the White House to slow deportations." [HuffPost]

Howard Baker, former Senate majority leader and chief of staff to Ronald Reagan, has died: "Howard H. Baker Jr., a soft-spoken Tennessee lawyer who served three terms in the Senate and became known as 'the great conciliator' in his eight years as the chamber’s Republican leader, died on Thursday at his home in Huntsville, Tenn. He was 88. His death was announced on the Senate floor by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who called him 'one of the Senate’s most towering figures.' Further details were not immediately available. Mr. Baker found his greatest fame in the summer of 1973, when he was the ranking Republican on the special Senate committee that investigated wrongdoing of the Nixon White House in the Watergate affair. In televised hearings that riveted the nation, he repeatedly asked the question on the minds of millions of Americans: 'What did the president know, and when did he know it?'" [NYT]

DAVID ROGERS ON BAKER: "As leader, he helped bring television to the Senate, a decision many still rue. But he often said that what changed Washington more was the airplane and air-conditioning: one tearing members apart by sending them home each weekend, the other encouraging delay since senators no longer had to flee Washington’s heat in the summer." [Politico]

The GOP lost the Congressional Baseball Game for the sixth-straight year yesterday, 15-6.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are pugs dressed as "Game of Thrones" characters.

R.I.P. NYC'S SODA BAN - NY Post: "Guzzlers prevailed Thursday as New York’s highest court refused to reinstate New York City’s ban on the sale of big sodas, ruling that the city’s health department overstepped its bounds when it approved the 16-ounce cap on sugary beverages. The court largely ignored the merits of the ban in the 20-page ruling, but determined that the city’s Board of Health engaged in policy-making, and not simply health regulations, when it imposed the restrictions on restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and street cart vendors. 'The Board of Health engaged in law-making beyond its regulatory authority,' the opinion reads. '… It is clear that the Board of Health wrote the Portion Cap Rule without benefit of legislative guidance.' The city had hoped Thursday’s ruling would overturn a lower court’s decision that blocked the restrictions after restaurants, theater owners, beverage companies and small stores sued...City Health Commission Mary T. Bassett said the administration of current Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to look for ways “to limit the pernicious effects of aggressive and predatory marketing of sugary drinks and unhealthy foods.” [NY Post]

COMFORT FOOD

- Gluten free duck doesn't want your bread crumbs. [http://bit.ly/1wBJju2]

- Golden retriever eats corn on the cob. [http://some.ly/UMVx5x]

- A visualization of transatlantic flights on an average day. [http://bit.ly/1m0wp6I]

- Every World Cup poster since 1930 in six seconds [https://vine.co/v/Mt2bOitX0iV]

- Will Ferrell's USMT pump-up speech -- delivered alongside Teddy Roosevelt -- was as absurd as you'd expect. [http://chzb.gr/1vaiIl9]

- Jerry Seinfeld answers questions about online etiquette. [http://bit.ly/1qJjd82]

- Dog meets robot spider. [http://huff.to/1pSV7Gm]

- Man plasters his resume on beer. [http://some.ly/1pncAZw]

TWITTERAMA

@DVNJr: If you can lose and still survive the "Group of Death," maybe you should rename the group.

@jonfavs: It's like we advanced with the help of the superdelegates

@MicheleBachmann: Thanks to @Delta,@amyklobuchar and I on the same side of the aisle.pic.twitter.com/2d4WG1K8H2

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