Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Utah Apparently Not A Gay Friendly Place

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President Obama turned down a hit of weed, so we’re not quite sure where his appetite for all that fast food comes from. The president was also greeted by a person wearing a horse mask — James O’Keefe is really slipping. And John Boehner said he disagrees with Sarah Palin before retiring to his basement, slipping off his loafers, pouring a glass of Merlot, and quietly muttering "Jesus" as he shook his head and collapsed on the La-Z-Boy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 9th, 2014:

UTAH APPEALING GAY MARRIAGE DECISION TO SUPREME COURT - AP: "Utah is going straight to the nation's highest court to challenge a federal appeals court's finding that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry, the state attorney general's office announced Wednesday. The state opted to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court rather than request a review from the entire 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. That option is now off the table, no matter what the high court decides. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes' office said in a statement the appeal will be filed in the coming weeks, to get 'clarity and resolution' from the highest court. "Attorney General Reyes has a sworn duty to defend the laws of our state," the statement said. The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear the appeal of the June 25 ruling by a three-judge 10th Circuit panel, said William Eskridge, a Yale University law professor. There also is no deadline to make a decision, he said. The panel's June 25 ruling found states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they choose partners of the same sex. The 2-1 decision marked the first time a federal appeals court weighed in on the matter. It became law in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. [AP]

The FBI won't relent in its persecution of the Juggalos.

KEYSTONE DECISION MOVED TO AFTER MIDTERMS - WaPo: "The Nebraska Supreme Court will announce as soon as Thursday that it will hear oral arguments in the case over the Keystone XL pipeline's route in early September, effectively postponing any final federal decision on the controversial project until after the midterm elections. In April, the State Department announced that it would not issue a determination on whether the pipeline was in the nation's interest until Nebraska resolved whether the project's path through the state complied with state law. A group of landowners is challenging the decision by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) to sign legislation designed to speed the project by approving its route and letting the company use the power of eminent domain in negotiating right of way for the project. Court officials confirmed Monday that it will hear arguments in the case, Thompson v. Heineman, in the first week of September. Under that schedule, a final ruling would not come out until October at the earliest, though it could take some months longer than that. A administration official familiar with the State Department's decision-making process, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said it is 'highly unlikely that a decision will be made before the mid-term election' given the court's schedule." [WaPo]

ED GILLESPIE, ARE YOU FLIP-FLOPPING? - A Democratic tracker has Gillespie, a Republican looking to oust Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), on video saying "I don't support a federally mandated minimum wage." His campaign tells HuffPost that he does support it. He did say he opposed repealing federal min wage laws on MSNBC. Musta misspoken. [HuffPost's Alex Lazar]

HuffPost Haircuts: Michael Steel (h/t Sabrina Siddiqui), Stefan Becket (h/t Stefan Becket).

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Darlene Cunha has written a really awesome first-person account of poverty that should terrify every middle-class person. [WashPost]

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NSA SPIED ON FIVE POLITICALLY ACTIVE AMERICANS - Invest in tinfoil futures. Now. Also Bitcoins...and transistor radios, definitely transistor radios. Grim: "The National Security Agency spied on five American citizens despite a lack of any finding that they posed a threat to national security, The Intercept, an investigative outlet co-founded by [Glenn] Greenwald, is reporting Wednesday. All five are moderate American citizens who appear to have been targeted for surveillance between 2002 and 2008 because of their political activity. The NSA told The Intercept that the surveillance was not 'based solely' on speech. 'No U.S. person can be the subject of FISA surveillance based solely on First Amendment activities, such as staging public rallies, organizing campaigns, writing critical essays, or expressing personal beliefs,' the statement read. The revelation of the names of those spied on has been hotly anticipated since Greenwald teased it in May. The names were included in documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Greenwald obtained the consent of all five before publishing their names, he told HuffPost. Among those is Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country, is widely regarded as moderate." [HuffPost]

TROUBLES REMAIN FOR MENENDEZ - Roll Call: "What all the righteous indignation and melodramatic skullduggery obscures, however, is that Menendez continues to face questions about behavior that’s far more legally and politically problematic than the already substantially discredited tales about his cavorting at sex parties in the Caribbean. For nearly two years, the Justice Department has been investigating whether Menendez illegally used his congressional office to benefit the business interests of his most generous donors, particularly Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. The Senate Ethics Committee appears to have put its similar inquiry on hold in deference to the Feds. If federal prosecutors end up alleging Menendez broke the law, that would be a much bigger deal for the already dismal ethical reputation of Congress — as well as for the Democratic Party and Latino community — than whether an antagonistic nation was able to make headway with an ambitious conspiracy to ruin an influential lawmaker. Menendez is not only chairman of a prestigious committee, but he’s a senior member of two other powerful panels. Next year, he’ll be the third-ranking Democrat on Banking and will advance to No. 6 in party seniority on Finance. So his becoming enmeshed in an ethical imbroglio could complicate a broad array of legislation." [Roll Call]

ABORTION CLINIC BUFFER ZONES BEING DISMANTLED - In other corporations are people news, we just attended 3M's bar mitzvah; it was New York Knicks-themed. Laura Bassett: "Two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts' protective buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the free speech rights of protesters, four other buffer zones around the country have already disappeared or been challenged in court. The City Council of Portland, Maine, repealed its 39-foot buffer zone around a women's health clinic this week, and the cities of Burlington, Vermont, and Madison, Wisconsin, have stopped enforcing their buffer zones. In Burlington, people had been legally prohibited from protesting within 35 feet of the clinic, and Madison had a "floating" buffer zone that prohibited protesters from coming within eight feet of a patient entering or exiting an abortion clinic. On Tuesday, the anti-abortion group Alliance Defending Freedom sued to challenge New Hampshire's new buffer zone law, which allows individual clinics to set up their own buffer zones up to 25 feet around the premises...A spokesman for New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) said the state's law may not be unconstitutional because it is narrower than the Massachusetts law specifying a 35-foot buffer zone, which the Supreme Court struck down." [HuffPost]

We can now throw Dickstein Shapiro into the LeBron mix -- they're in sore need of talent: "Thirteen lawyers and lobbyists from Dickstein Shapiro — including three former members of Congress — are defecting to K Street rival Greenberg Traurig. Dickstein public policy practice head Andrew Zausner is headed to Greenberg to chair that firm’s government law and policy practice, Greenberg announced on Wednesday. He’s bringing a dozen others from Dickstein with him — including former Sen. Tim Hutchinson and ex-Reps. Pete Hoekstra and Albert R. Wynn. It’s the latest major upheaval in Washington, D.C.’s downtown legal market that has seen big mergers and changes in the past few months. And it’s a major coup for the firm Greenberg Traurig — which has added nearly 40 attorneys and lobbyists over the last year." [Politico]

GUY UNDERTAKING LONGSHOT LAWSUIT AGAINST PRESIDENT DOESN'T THINK IMPEACHMENT IS FEASIBLE - The speaker took some time from having the legislative branch wear a neck brace and arm sling to emphasize its case against the executive branch to weigh in on the I-word. Sabrina Siddiqui: "Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Boehner was asked about former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's assertion that House Republicans should impeach Obama rather than sue him, as they are trying to do. Boehner responded by simply saying, 'I disagree.' He repeated those words in response to a follow-up question about some members of his conference privately calling for Obama's impeachment. Boehner is currently pursuing a lawsuit against Obama over his use of executive actions to sidestep Congress... The speaker has said the potential legal action is not about impeachment, despite speculation that it may be a prelude to impeachment proceedings in the House. Palin derided the lawsuit on Tuesday and reiterated her belief that Republicans should push for impeachment instead. 'You don’t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight, and there’s no room for lawyers on our front lines,' Palin said on Fox News' 'Hannity.' ... Most House Republicans appear to disagree with their critics on the right and are throwing their support behind Boehner's lawsuit. Even some of the lower chamber's most conservative members conceded to The Huffington Post on Tuesday that impeachment is an unrealistic goal." [HuffPost]

Too bad she doesn't read the news: "More than half of the country has a message for former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin: enough. That's the result from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll in which 54 percent of voters say they've heard enough from Palin and would prefer that she be less outspoken in political debates. That includes nearly two-thirds of Democrats, a majority of independents, and even nearly four-in-10 Republicans. And the results come as Palin has called for President Barack Obama's impeachment." [NBC News]

Sam Brownback's market bullishness is matched only by circa-2000 Henry Blodget and timeshare salespeople: "Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is unfazed by a massive revenue shortfall that threatens to leave his state's finances in ruins. Determined that supply-side economics will ultimately be a boon to Kansans, Brownback promised Wednesday to "hit the accelerator" on deep income tax cuts should he win re-election in 2014. In 2012, Kansas lawmakers passed a plan backed by Reagan economist Arthur Laffer that slashed income tax rates under the assumption that it would reduce state tax revenue yet substantially create jobs and boost the economy. But neither of those promises came to fruition...Appearing on MSNBC's 'The Daily Rundown,' Brownback was asked how he planned to bridge the projected budget shortfall and fund critical state services, including education, at the same time 'Uh, growth. I think we're going to be able to get there. Key part of that growth is keeping those taxes down,' he said Wednesday." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a hedgehog birthday.

GATHER AROUND, CHILDREN, AND LET ME TELL YOU THE TALE OF THE PRESIDENT AND A GUY IN A HORSE MASK - At least we were able to get through the "Harlem Shake" without the cabinet uploading a video. WaPo: "On Tuesday, President Obama shook hands with a man wearing a horse head mask. In doing so, he provoked much concerned speculation over how a masked man (woman? child? tower of cats wearing a trench coat?) could get so close to the leader of the free world without a guy with an earpiece intervening. He also gave one of the Internet’s oldest, weirdest memes its most glorious day in the sun. After all, who’d’ve thunk a mask that once disguised the faces of naked Japanese Internet-chefs would one day end up … here? No one knows for sure just when the horse head mask morphed from a novelty into a full-fledged meme. Even Archie McPhee — purportedly the original retailer of the latex max, which began as a Halloween costume —writes it off as a 'creepy' thing that 'has popped up all over the Internet in recent years.' But Internet things, as we know, rarely just pop up on their own -- and this one had its fair share of accelerants." [WaPo]

COMFORT FOOD

- George R.R. Martin's NSFW message for people who don't think he'll finish the "Game of Thrones" series. [http://bit.ly/1sxWb24]

- A 1943 video on how to knife fight. [http://bit.ly/1kEQ32G]

- A supercut of exhale and inhales from pro wrestling interviews is the most hilariously agitating thing you'll watch all day. [http://bit.ly/1r8Hi6i]

- Guy does fabulous Nick Offerman impression. [http://huff.to/1mzHpXs]

- Former NBA players discuss what it's like to realize their careers are over. [http://bit.ly/1sxWH01]

- Elephants loving the rain. [http://bit.ly/1lUsNgT]

- The world's fastest talking woman is infectiously energetic. [http://bit.ly/VL08pr]

TWITTERAMA

@AlexMLeo: I have been looking all over and I still can't find a Hobby Lobby to not shop in.

@ryanjreilly: "Yes We Cannabis" sign spotted from Obama motorcade in Colorado, per pool report.

@swin: cool thing about RINOs is that libs will hogtie and exterminate you regardless once our socialist revolution is fomented.

#journolist

#p2

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