President Obama supports D.C. statehood, because the arc of history is long, but it bends toward someone saying "Mumbo sauce" on the Senate floor. Senate inaction has lead to boredom and depression amongst its members, so if you tune to C-SPAN 2 and catch Jon Tester and Mark Begich idly tossing Swedish fish into each other's mouths while John Cornyn crochets at his chamber desk, that's why. And Rand Paul has been vociferously defending Israel's right to defend itself, rallying around the cry, "Next year in Jerusalem!… so long as it's not part of a wasteful congressional junket or in any way entangles America in a foreign country." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 21st, 2014:
GEORGE H.W. BUSH APPOINTEE BUSTED ON LAST DAY OF OLD D.C. POT LAW - Weird, right? Peter Hermann and Keith L. Alexander: "About 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, a police officer said he spotted a driver smoking marijuana on Seventh Street in Northwest, near Verizon Center. Galen Joseph Reser, 65, was arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana. The Chevy Chase resident, who in 1989 was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as assistant secretary for governmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, declined to comment." Man. Can't a 65-year-old former U.S. Department of Transportation official get high in his car? [WashPost]
REFUGEE CHILDREN PUTTING PRO-REFORM REPUBLICANS IN AWKWARD SPOT - Not since those kids accosted John Boehner during his morning milk soup at Pete's Diner has a Republican has been made to feel so so weird by kids and immigration. Elise Foley and Marina Fang: "In recent days, as concern and anger have spiked over the flow of undocumented children along the nation's southern border, Republicans have put increasing blame on President Barack Obama. The culprit, they argue, is a 2012 Obama administration directive that gives relief to so-called Dreamers, the undocumented young people who came to the U.S. years ago as children. Reflecting the mood of the conservative base, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) demanded this past week that any legislation to alleviate the current crisis must include a repeal of that 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. But as lawmakers point the critical finger at DACA, they also invite a spotlight on their own immigration platforms. And the exposure has the potential to create some political discomfort. Several of the president's most prominent detractors have also worked on legislation that would give legal status -- not just temporary reprieve -- to those same undocumented immigrants. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) both considered, but never introduced, bills to allow undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to stay. And yet, while both were critical of DACA from the start, recently they have begun amplifying their complaints, saying it has encouraged some of the more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors who crossed the border illegally this fiscal year." [HuffPost]
OBAMA SIGNS LGBT DISCRIMINATION ORDER - In case our headline is confusing, he didn't sign a document demanding people discriminate against gay people. Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order banning workplace discrimination against millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors and the federal government. The executive order has two parts: It makes it illegal to fire or harass employees of federal contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and it explicitly bans discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government. The part targeting federal contractors affects 24,000 companies employing roughly 28 million workers, or about one-fifth of the nation's workforce. 'America's federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people,' Obama said during remarks at the White House just before signing the order. 'I'm going to do what I can with the authority I have to act.' The provision affecting federal employees takes effect immediately, while employees of federal contractors will have their new protections in place by early next year, according to senior administration officials. To the relief of the LGBT community, Obama did not include a sweeping religious exemption in the executive order -- something the community feared could happen in the wake of last month's Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case." [HuffPost]
PLAYBOOK FACTS OF LIFE: Nobody has ever said "Mumbo sauce" on the House or Senate floor. We checked.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The New York Times with some piping hot sadness on subprime auto lending: "Rodney Durham stopped working in 1991, declared bankruptcy and lives on Social Security. Nonetheless, Wells Fargo lent him $15,197 to buy a used Mitsubishi sedan. 'I am not sure how I got the loan,' Mr. Durham, age 60, said. Mr. Durham’s application said that he made $35,000 as a technician at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y., according to a copy of the loan document. But he says he told the dealer he hadn’t worked at the hospital for more than three decades. Now, after months of Wells Fargo pressing him over missed payments, the bank has repossessed his car. This is the face of the new subprime boom." [NYT]
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HALF THE SENATE IS DEPRESSED - [Unshaven Chris Coons ambling about the Capitol in a bathrobe, eating Lucky Charms out of the box and crying uncontrollably.] WaPo:"[M]any senators say they are spending most of their time on insignificant and unrewarding work.... Senators say that they increasingly feel like pawns caught between Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose deep personal and political antagonisms have almost immobilized the Senate...Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), who commutes daily from Wilmington to the Capitol by Amtrak, said he keeps working on small issues, hoping to find bipartisan partners and sneak them into law without getting ensnared in the bigger partisan wars. Otherwise, he said, 'I have a hard time getting on the train in the morning.' ... If Reid allowed the free -flowing give-and-take that defined the Senate of the past, his endangered Democratic incumbents would be forced to vote on carefully crafted GOP amendments designed to hurt them in November. He refuses to do that. If McConnell were to work with Reid to allow the Senate to function more smoothly and effectively, he would undermine a key component of the Republican campaign argument this fall: that Democrats have mismanaged the Senate and the GOP must take over...Almost every week has the same rhythm: confirm appointees Monday night, consider a Democratic bill that will fail without any real debate, then confirm a few more nominees... And so rank-and-file senators have found personal routines to make their lives palatable. At least once a week, late in the day when the chamber is all but empty, Whitehouse will deliver a speech on the need for climate-change legislation Wicker has devoted more time to foreign affairs, an arena requiring diplomacy, not votes. Coons has become the Senate’s leading authority on African affairs." [WaPo]
BRUISING GEORGIA SENATE PRIMARY COMING TO AN END - Amanda Terkel: "The Republican Party will finally settle on a Senate candidate in Georgia on Tuesday, when Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and former Dollar General CEO David Perdue face voters after months of negative campaigning. Kingston and Perdue were the top two vote-getters in the May 20 primary, beating a handful of more conservative candidates who many Democrats hoped would be the ones to win. But because neither received a majority of the vote, the contest went to a runoff. The runoff was nine weeks long because of a 2012 lawsuit by the Justice Department that alleged a three-week contest disenfranchised military and overseas voters. Both men were considered more part of the establishment than some of their other primary opponents, including Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who had tea party support...They both have generally stuck to appealing to conservative voters, unlike in Mississippi's recent GOP Senate runoff, where Sen. Thad Chochran (R-Miss.) reached out to African-American voting blocs to defeat tea party candidate Chris McDaniel." [HuffPost]
WHO IS JOHN GALT, AND IS HE GOOD FOR THE JEWS? - If this is anything like the time he Paulsplained Howard students about black history, then we wholeheartedly support this. National Journal: "When Sen. Rand Paul descended onto the Senate floor earlier this month to promote his legislation to end foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, he stood next to an outsize poster showing the names and faces of three Israeli teenagers who had just been killed...Not long after Paul stopped speaking, his political operation swung into action. His top strategist, Doug Stafford, packaged the speech into an email that landed in the in-boxes of a clutch of influential Jewish and pro-Israel Republicans across the country. The episode—the pro-Israel bill, the impassioned speech, the rapid dissemination—is a small window into the early and aggressive Jewish-outreach campaign of the junior senator from Kentucky with his eye on the White House in 2016. As Paul lays the groundwork for a presidential bid—he's already hired two top Iowa Republicans and one veteran New Hampshire strategist—few constituencies have received more attention than Jewish Republicans and pro-Israel advocates." [National Journal]
UNCLE JOE SURE TOLD HIM, I TELLS YA - Reuters:
"Vladimir Putin has no soul, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden concluded after meeting with the Russian leader at the Kremlin in 2011, according to an article in the New Yorker published online on Monday. Biden told the magazine about his 2011 visit with Putin, who at the time was prime minister, and said he found himself just inches away from the Russian leader. 'I said, 'Mr. Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,'' Biden told the magazine. 'He looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, 'We understand one another.'' Biden's assessment is in stark contrast to that of former U.S. President George W. Bush, who famously said after his first meeting with Putin in 2001: 'I looked the man in the eye ... I was able to get a sense of his soul.'" [Reuters ]
OBAMA ALL ABOUT D.C. STATEHOOD - His view on the relationship between a person and their government has been evolving for some time. AP: "President Barack Obama says he supports statehood for the nation's capital. Obama was asked Monday about the prospect of the District of Columbia becoming the 51st state during a town hall at a city school. The president said, 'I'm for it,' adding that he has been 'for quite some time.' Obama added that: 'The politics of it end up being difficult to get through Congress, but I think it's absolutely the right thing to do.' Obama has previously spoken in favor of giving the District voting representation in Congress, and the White House has consistently supported giving the local government full control of the city's budget and laws. Following his re-election in 2012, Obama added District license plates with the phrase 'Taxation Without Representation' to his official vehicles." [AP]
"John, I will give you D.C. statehood.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a puppy.
JOSE SERRANO IS D.C.'S BESTEST BESTIE - Jose Serrano for shadow senator. City Paper: "D.C.'s love for Democrat Rep. Jose Serrano of New York is nothing new. In 2010, he was on the receiving end of a ceremonial resolution from the D.C. Council after he unsuccessfully proposed ending Congress control over the District's budget. In 2013, he received a 'Champion of Democracy' award at DC Vote's annual gala. Serrano is his party's ranking member on the House appropriations committee's subcommittee on financial services and general government, which oversees D.C.'s budget...That means Serrano often finds himself speaking out against House colleagues who use their positions to introduce laws that would impact how D.C. can spend its own money. In the last month, there have been high-profile attempts to gut D.C.'s gun laws and block the city from enforcing its own marijuana decriminalization law through the appropriations process. Each time, Serrano delivered a floor speech arguing against what he described as violations of the basic rights of U.S. citizens. Both times, he was unsuccessful. 'I just think it's unfair and it's cheap politics [for politicians] to put issues on the agenda that they can't accomplish at home,' [Serrano said.] 'While I understand that we have constitutional oversight duties in D.C., and that's just the way it is, I still feel that you can use your own personal judgement and sentiment and humaneness in trying to not make that more difficult for [D.C. residents.]" [WCP]
- Kim Jong Un is unhappy with this rather low budget satirical video being circulated in China. [http://huff.to/1qXm9Lj]
- In medieval Europe, old manuscripts were regularly sewn into clothing. [http://bit.ly/1qwyL06]
- A teaser video for the next "Star Wars" installment features an X-wing. [http://bit.ly/1lm2px0]
- An interactive graphic detailing how hot your city will be at the end of the 21st Century. [http://bit.ly/1nNBlGW]
- A graphic designer made a fish tank out of LEGOs that resembles a Super Mario level. [http://bit.ly/1wQDasi]
- Siamese kittens drinking milk. [http://bit.ly/1k8lVCy]
- A dispatch from Brooklyn's last adult movie theater. [http://bit.ly/1o0fYqL]
@aedwardslevy: It would be so terrible to be a journalist with the initials T.K.
@chrisgeidner: "Would you please consider this press release below for your upcoming news?" … Probably not.
@JaredRizzi: Area Political Clock, Measuring Patience, Ticks Loudly
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