Tensions between Beyonce and Jay-Z have escalated for weeks, but President Obama was too busy smiling for photo-ops to intervene -- why won't he lead? Chuck Schumer uses a comically outdated flip phone to strategize with Harry Reid and, one assumes, Mr. Moviefone. And President Obama is skipping Jimmy Kimmel's show to deal with various crises, though suspending John McCain's campaign would be the more statesmanly thing to do. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014:
BILL BECOMES LAW! - The bill was totally bipartisan so almost nobody wrote about it. Gregory Korte: "Federal job training programs will see their biggest overhaul in 16 years after President Obama put his signature Tuesday on a law intended to streamline a tangled web of programs. It's the first major rewrite of federal job training programs since Congress passed the Workforce Development Act in 1998 — when Netscape was the Web browser of choice, résumés were on paper and largely sent in the mail and newspaper want ads were the primary way of learning of job openings. 'Even back then, even in 1998, our economy was changing,' Obama said. 'The notion that a high school education could get you a good job and that you'd keep that job until retirement wasn't a reality for the majority of people.' The 1998 law was scheduled to be renewed in 2003. Since then, government auditors have found a sprawling network of overlapping and duplicate job training programs. As of 2011, the federal government spent $18 billion a year on 47 separate job training programs run by nine different agencies, according to the Government Accountability Office." [USAToday]
District residents will nag Andy Harris to fix their potholes on Thursday.
Ted Cruz responds to being name checked on "True Blood": "Of all the places I never thought to be mentioned, HBO’s True Blood vampire show would have to be near the top of the list. Sunday night, they aired a misogynist and profanity-ridden episode where Texas Republicans are murdered attending a 'Ted Cruz fundraiser.' Well, I’m sorry to have lost the vampire vote, but am astonished (and amused) that HBO is suggesting that hard-core leftists are blood-sucking fiends…." [WaPo]
HOBBY LOBBY DECISION BUOYS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN - The ruling is a blessing in disguise, but not in the weird Richard-Mourdock-on-pregnancy-from-rape-is-a-gift-from-God way. Roll Call: "[F]emale Republican fundraisers, PAC organizers and candidates remain badly outgunned by their Democratic counterparts, particularly in Senate contests. Democratic women in this midterm’s most competitive Senate races uniformly raised more than their GOP opponents... The Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling granting religious employers an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate gave Democrats fresh fundraising fodder. The ruling helped push receipts at EMILY’s List, the Democratic women’s political action committee, to well more than a half-million dollars in June alone, the group’s biggest haul in any month this year...Women Lead, a year-old super PAC to promote GOP,,, raised $120,532 in the second quarter of this year... Value In Electing Women, a Republican PAC known as VIEW PAC, has pulled in just under $414,000 in this cycle... But even those increases don’t bring Women Lead, VIEW PAC or any of the other GOP women’s PACs on the scene anywhere within striking distance of EMILY’s List. EMILY’s List’s super PAC, known as Women Vote, has pulled in more than $3 million so far in this cycle." [Roll Call]
Leadership: "Obama scraps Jimmy Kimmel visit amid 'more serious matters'"
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Debra Harrell, the South Carolina woman who was arrested after her 9-year-old daughter was found playing alone outside while she was at work, has been fired from her job at McDonald's. "She is currently unemployed,” said Harrell’s attorney Robert Phillips, adding that he didn't know why she was let go from her job. McDonald’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. [HuffPost's Jillian Berman]
They used to have a word for parents like Harrell: "Normal." Read this Atlantic piece on how we're ruining children because we won't just let them play alone.
Playbook Facts of Life: If you coach your kid's baseball team, you're a bad parent. Stop it.
UPSIDE DOWNER - Federal Reserve wonks think the long-term unemployment situation is looking pretty sweet. Unclear of how solitary child play will impact inflation.
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D.C. CIRCUIT COURT GUTS OBAMACARE - Jeff Young and Grim: "Two Republican judges on the D.C. Circuit Court have ruled that the equivalent of a typo is enough to strip health care subsidies from up to 5 million people, dealing what would be a death blow to the Affordable Care Act if the decision is allowed to stand. The one Democrat on the panel dissented. The three-judge panel ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that people in the 36 states that use the federal health insurance exchange are ineligible for subsidized insurance. The decision would also affect those who purchased insurance through the exchange but don't receive subsidies, as reneging on the payments would lead to a rapid increase in insurance rates for everyone. The White House said Tuesday the decision will be appealed to the entire D.C. circuit court -- what's known as an en banc review -- where Democrats hold a majority that is nearly certain to overturn the GOP judges' aggressive move. The next step could be the Supreme Court, which already upheld the Affordable Care Act in a separate case two years ago...The two judges seized on text within the law that said subsidies would be provided to people who purchased insurance on exchanges established by the states. But 36 states declined to set up their own exchanges, and chose to rely on the federal government's exchange instead. Because the law doesn't specifically say that people who bought insurance on the federal exchange also get subsidies, the law's opponents argued that therefore such subsidies are illegal." [HuffPost]
THE COURT'S ABSURD ABSURDITY PRINCIPLE: Courts aren't supposed to interpret something too literally if doing so delivers an absurd result. "We therefore give the absurdity principle a narrow domain, insisting that a given construction cross a 'high threshold' of unreasonableness before we conclude that a statute does not mean what it says." Reminder that we're talking about millions of people losing insurance subsidies they were supposed to get from a law called "The Affordable Care Act."
BOEHNER, DEMOCRATS REACH LAST-MINUTE BLAME ACCORD - It came down to the wire, but this 12th-hour recriminating was hardwon. Elise Foley: "Should Congress fail to approve funding to deal with the border crisis before the legislative recess in August, it will be President Barack Obama's fault, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday. In a statement, Boehner said that a working group of House Republicans has completed its recommendations and will present them to the rest of the GOP conference on Wednesday. But he cautioned that nothing will happen 'in a timely manner' if Obama and Democrats refuse to compromise, particularly on changing a 2008 law meant ensure hearings for unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada. 'I don't believe the American people will support sending more money to the border unless both parties work together to address these policies and actually solve this problem," Boehner said. "The lack of leadership from this White House, and President Obama's refusal to stand up to critics in his own political party, are jeopardizing our ability to find common ground and help the kids who are caught in the middle of this crisis.'" [HuffPost]
Country first: "As the financial crisis shook the country in the backstretch of the 2008 presidential election, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) chose abruptly to suspend his campaign and head back to Washington to forge a solution. The idea was to look dignified and presidential. But it shocked Republicans, and Democrats largely pounced on the Arizona Republican for making a panicked, ceremonial and ultimately feckless move. What wasn’t widely known at the time was that one top Democrat was giving McCain political and economic advice, according to a newly released book. That book, Clinton, Inc., says former President Bill Clinton was talking to the senator during the financial crisis even as McCain was running against then-Senator Barack Obama for president." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
JUDICIAL VACANCIES REALLY MESSING THINGS UP - Jen Bendery: "Federal judicial vacancies are causing unsustainable courtroom delays, resulting in evidence going stale, witnesses dying before they can testify and, in some instances, people being pressured to plead guilty just to get out of jail faster, according to study released Monday by the Brennan Center for Justice. The study, featuring interviews with more than 20 judges, clerks and lawyers in 10 federal court districts, offers an in-the-trenches account of what happens to the people trying to carry out the work of a court when their senators take months or even years to fill judicial vacancies. More broadly, the study sheds light on the ill effects of roughly 50 district court vacancies around the country. Most of the judges who were interviewed for the report describe vacancies translating to heavy caseloads for other judges and delays in administering justice. That increases pressure to hurry up and resolve each case in order to get on to the next one...Texas has some particularly terrible tales. In the Eastern District of Texas, judges regularly travel 350 miles, each way, to hear cases that have piled up as a result of two district court vacancies. In that same region, one woman waited so long for a trial that she was pressured to plead guilty, since her pre-trial detention was comparable with the time she would serve under a plea deal." [HuffPost]
Chuck Schumer has an old cell phone. It's not quite "Hold on, I need to do some insider trading with Bud Fox" old, but it's pretty old. Zach Carter: "He is one of the most powerful people in Washington. A legendary political strategist. A prolific fundraiser with deep ties to America's wealthiest industries. A senator who can get almost anyone in the country on the phone within minutes. But that phone will be an ancient LG flip-phone. The kind teenagers in the late 1990s deployed to tell their parents that no, they weren't partying at Jeff's house when they were, in fact, partying at Jeff's house. 'I bought 10 of them in case they run out,' says Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), laughing and extending the black phone across the table to be examined. It starts to buzz in his hand, the LED display flashing excitedly. 'It's Harry.' He flips the phone open and we go off the record." [HuffPost]
OREGON TO VOTE ON WEED - Matt Ferner: "This November, Oregon voters will get to decide whether they want to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. 'Initiative Petition 53 has qualified for the November ballot,' Tony Green, communications director for Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, confirmed to The Huffington Post Tuesday. The petition was submitted by New Approach Oregon, a Portland-based marijuana policy reform group, earlier this month. More than 87,000 signatures have been verified by Brown's office. According to the proposed initiative text, adults 21 and over in Oregon would be able to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana at home and one ounce in public. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission would be the agency charged with regulating and monitoring the industry, similar to the regulatory model used in Washington state. Taxes collected on sales of marijuana would be distributed to schools, law enforcement and drug prevention and education programs in the state." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is an excited baby goat.
CONGRESSIONAL INACTION TAKING THE FUN OUT OF PROTESTING - WaPo: "Three Capitol Police officers ascend the marble staircase to have a word with Medea Benjamin, the head of Code Pink, an antiwar protest group that has come to publicly demand that Congress send no money to Egypt. 'I haven’t seen you guys in a long time,' Officer Patrick Gray says, giving Benjamin a bearhug. 'Man, you guys used to be feistier. I remember when there used to be like 200 of you guys.' Code Pink isn’t the only group failing to flood Capitol Hill. Last year around this time, the tea party had one of its biggest rallies since 2010 on the same day that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) hosted a six-hour anti-immigration protest. Today, there’s Code Pink and a clean-air rally that appears to have resorted to child protesters. (It’s a 'play-in' where dozens of young children are holding anti-pollution signs.) It’s not to say that there aren’t protests in Washington. Just this past weekend, hundreds of people gathered outside the State Department to demonstrate against Israel’s deadly offensive in Gaza. It’s just that Congress isn’t prime real estate for a rally. 'We get arrested a lot more, and it’s harder to justify whether it’s really worth coming to the Capitol,' Benjamin tells me. 'People say there’s no sense in dealing with Congress anymore because they are so impotent and useless.'" [WaPo]
- "Memorial Tree Dedicated to George Harrison Killed By Beetles." [http://bit.ly/1jTI0nU]
- Can you shred like this bus guitar player? No, you can't shred like this bus guitar player. [http://bit.ly/1ucee2u]
- Website will spit out every major pop song from a year of your choosing (assuming it's a year after 1959). [http://bit.ly/1rj44t6]
- Can you shred like this 10-year-old girl and her little sister? No, you can't shred like this 10-year-old girl and her little sister. [http://uproxx.it/1mAJAGh]
- Short feature on Mayan cuisine in the Yucatan peninsula. [http://bit.ly/1mA636b]
- Device lets you inflate 100 water balloons every minute. [http://bit.ly/Wy3gW7]
- Man defeats vertically shot iPhone videos. [http://chzb.gr/1sMj1WH]
@Jon Ralston: So this is what a collective conservative orgasm looks like. Thanks, Twitter. #Halbig
@pourmecoffee: 23 Jump Street looks terrible pic.twitter.com/Ga75t83WD2
@john_dingell: Staff has now informed me of what a Kardashian is.
I'm only left with more questions.
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