POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Senator Caught Having Unoriginal Ideas

07/23/2014 06:11 pm 18:11:44 | Updated Jul 23, 2014

Politicos were shocked to learn that John Walsh plagiarized his masters thesis — just as soon as they found out who John Walsh was. David Gregory is rumored to be on the outs at “Meet the Press,” disappointing people who wake up early on Sunday to watch programming they saw on CNN all week. And Ted Cruz accused President Obama of launching an indirect boycott of Israel by halting flights to Tel Aviv. On a totally unrelated note, Air Canada did the same thing. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014:

HOUSE REPUBLICANS BRAVELY PROPOSE TO INVADE AMERICA - We wish our fighting men and women luck as they establish a beachhead in the Mesa, Arizona A&W. Elise Foley and Sabrina Siddiqui: "House Republicans are considering a roughly $1.5 billion package that would help deal with the nation's ongoing border crisis, but there will be strings attached that could threaten the bill's support from Democrats and the chance for resolution before members leave town in August. Key to the plan are changes to a 2008 law meant to protect unaccompanied minors who enter the U.S. illegally from countries other than Mexico and Canada from being swiftly deported before they can make a case that they deserve to stay. Many Democrats have said the law should be left as-is, and although President Barack Obama has voiced support for changes, he didn't propose doing so when he requested $3.7 billion to deal with the influx of more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally since October. After meeting with members Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that they would not give the president a 'blank check' on the border crisis without conditions...The proposal will set the House up for a conflict with Senate Democrats, who are planning their own funding bill at $2.7 billion -- less than Obama requested, but more than the House GOP has indicated it is willing to spend. The Senate Democrats' bill will not include changes to the 2008 law." [HuffPost]

ANDREW CUOMO BAD - The Times: "With Albany rocked by a seemingly endless barrage of scandals and arrests, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set up a high-powered commission last summer to root out corruption in state politics. It was barely two months old when its investigators, hunting for violations of campaign-finance laws, issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm that had placed millions of dollars’ worth of advertisements for the New York State Democratic Party. The investigators did not realize that the firm, Buying Time, also counted Mr. Cuomo among its clients, having bought the airtime for his campaign when he ran for governor in 2010." What happens next will shock you. [NYT]

FLYING IS TERRIFYING: REPORT - David Wood: "The horrifying deaths of 298 passengers of a jetliner shot down over Ukraine have focused the world's attention on a previously unrecognized threat: the proliferation of surface-to-air missiles in the hands of rogue, non-state actors. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was brought down by a BUK-17, a high-tech Russian-built missile designed to intercept high-speed, high-altitude combat aircraft. But the real threat may lie in the half a million low-tech, short-range antiaircraft missiles widely available worldwide -- including those held by some of the world's most ruthless militants. These shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missiles (MANPADS, for man-portable air defense systems) are relatively cheap, easily hidden, simple to use and challenging to defeat. They have not yet drawn wide public attention as a threat to civilian passenger jets, but the danger is real: Since 1973, at least 30 civilian aircraft have been downed by shoulder-fired missiles, killing about 920 civilians, according to Stratfor, a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas. In 2007, for instance, the Somali extremist militia al Shabab used a Russian SA-18 missile to shoot down a Belarusian cargo plane that had just delivered supplies to a UN peacekeeping force in Mogadishu. The missile was fired just as the giant, four-engine Ilyushin-76 was lifting off from the city's seaside airport. The eleven crewmen were killed in the plane's fiery crash...Military aircraft commonly carry defenses against heat-seeking missiles, usually flares ejected to draw the missile away from its target. But most commercial aircraft carry no such defensive equipment, leaving them vulnerable to heat-seekers at low altitudes during takeoff and landing." [HuffPost]

HOW CONGRESS SOLD YOU TRU-COAT - Car sales are surging and subprime loans are helping to drive the growth, but some consumers are getting run over. A recent New York Times story highlighted some lending shenanigans familiar to anyone who remembers the subprime pileup in the housing industry. That mess led to a crackdown on Wall Street lending practices -- but lawmakers made a very deliberate decision not to include auto lenders in new regulation. The Wall Street reform bill passed in 2010 excluded auto dealers from the purview of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While the bureau regulates auto lenders, the dealers -- who connect car buyers with the lenders -- are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission. Consumer advocates say the resulting ripoffs are a fairly predictable result of the car dealer carveout. "Having separate regulators for dealers and lenders doesn’t make a lot of sense," Chris Kukla of the Center for Responsible Lending told HuffPost. "The two parties are inextricably linked in the auto finance world." [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST KNOCKING AT THE GLASS CEILING- HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who famously registered his wedding at the FEC, is pleased at the rumors that David Gregory might be out at "Meet the Press." "PSLGOPL supports diversity. Good riddance David. Maybe Jill Abramson should be considered," PSLGOPL writes, adding, "I'd be for any of you three white guys too." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

Paul Ryan's new poverty proposal comes out tomorrow! Here's a preview and here is one of many prebuttals. After that it's time for Paul Ryan's book tour.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Center for Economic and Policy Research has some "pay cut clocks" that show how much money workers have missed as the real value of the minimum wage erodes over time -- about $6 billion since 2009, a cool $300 billion since Peak Minimum Wage in 1968. [CEPR.net]

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JOHN WALSH PLAGIARIZED MASTERS THESIS - Times: "Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man. On the campaign trail this year, Mr. Walsh, 53, has made his military service a main selling point. Still wearing his hair close-cropped, he notes he was targeted for killing by Iraqi militants and says his time in uniform informs his views on a range of issues. But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution. Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a 'strategy research project,' to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online. Most strikingly, each of the six recommendations Mr. Walsh laid out at the conclusion of his 14-page paper, titled 'The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,' is taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic." [NYT]

Freedom: "Capitol Police confiscated a 9mm Ruger handgun from the bag of Camden, S.C., resident Ronald William Prestage shortly after 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning at the Cannon House Office Building. Prestage, 59, was arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a District of Columbia offense that carries up to five years in prison. Records indicate he has a concealed carry permit in South Carolina. Prestage is a veterinarian and farm operator, and is president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council. He may have been on the Hill to lobby on agriculture issues. Two officers escorted Prestage from the building in handcuffs around 9:35 a.m., and loaded him into a waiting police van. He did not respond to questions from CQ Roll Call." [Roll Call]

DEMOCRATS OUTNUMBER GOP SUPER PAC MEGA-DONORS - And we'll soon add to that list Bill Ackman and his HERBALIFE ARGHHHH SMASH SMASH ::HEADDESK:: PAC. Paul Blumenthal: "Democratic super PACs continue to attract more money than their Republican counterparts, due in part to a huge amount of support from deep-pocketed mega-donors. Overall, 81 individuals, organizations or families have given $500,000 or more to super PACs between January 2013 and June 2014, totaling $161.6 million for November's midterm elections, according to a review of Federal Election Commission records by The Huffington Post. These contributions accounted for 52 percent of the $311 million raised by super PACs during that time. Donors solely giving to Democratic groups dominated the upper echelons of super PAC giving. A total of 44 mega-donors gave only to Democratic groups, while another seven gave to both parties' super PACs but tilted their support toward Democrats. Republicans received the support of the other 30 mega-donors. Democratic super PACs received $109.6 million from mega-donors after 18 months of the 2014 election cycle, while Republican groups received just $45.8 million...Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund executive turned environmental activist, led all super PAC donors by a wide margin. The San Francisco-based billionaire had given $20.7 million to super PACs by the end of June. All but $5 million of his giving went to his own super PAC, NextGen Climate Action Committee. The rest went to Senate Majority PAC, a group dedicated to protecting the Democratic majority in the Senate" [HuffPost]

BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE CRUZ? - Igor Bobic: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) suggested Wednesday that the Obama administration was conducting an 'economic boycott' of Israel in order to force an immediate halt to its latest military incursion into the Gaza Strip, which has been marked by escalating death and destruction since it began earlier this month. In a sharply worded statement released by his office, the conservative firebrand questioned why the Federal Aviation Administration had extended its prohibition on U.S. flights heading to Israel's main airport in Tel Aviv for a second day in a row. 'Given that some 2,000 rockets have been fired into Israel over the last six weeks, many of them at Tel Aviv, it seems curious to choose yesterday at noon to announce a flight ban, especially as the Obama Administration had to be aware of the punitive nature of this action,' he said." … Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department, told reporters Wednesday that any allegation of economic blackmail was 'ridiculous' and 'offensive.'" [HuffPost]

TEXAS WOMEN STYMIED BY ABORTION RESTRICTIONS - Laura Bassett: "Since Texas' sweeping new anti-abortion law went into effect last November, the number of legal abortions performed in the state has dropped 13 percent, according to a new study released Wednesday by the The Texas Policy Evaluation Project. The report finds that the number of reproductive-age women living more than 200 miles from a provider has increased nearly 30-fold over the past year, since 19 of the 41 clinics in Texas have had to shut down as a result of Texas' many new restrictions on abortion clinics. And while the overall abortion rate has dropped dramatically, second-trimester abortions have gone slightly up as a percentage of all abortions, suggesting women are being forced to wait later into their pregnancies to have the procedure. The study looked specifically at the effects of HB 2, a law that was passed in the summer of 2013 and partially went into effect in November. The law limits medication abortion, a popular non-surgical method that is often preferred in the first trimester; requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital; and bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In September, a fourth provision of the law will take effect requiring all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers, or mini-hospitals. Many clinics have already had to shut their doors because their doctors could not get admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Hospitals often turn down abortion providers for political or logistical reasons having nothing to do with the provider's competence or safety record. " [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a cat who won't share its yogurt.

DAVID GREGORY POSSIBLY OUT AT 'MEET THE PRESS,' DEFINITELY IN HOUSE - "If it's Sunday, it's me on the couch watching football in my jam jams." Politico: "David Gregory could be out at NBC's 'Meet The Press' as early as November, Page Six reported Wednesday. But he's not leaving Washington. Gregory and his wife, Beth Wilkinson, a prominent lawyer, recently closed on a $5.45 million house in Washington's Berkley neighborhood, according to real estate records. The seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom house also features a two-story foyer and expansive terrace. The purchase suggests that Gregory will remain a Washingtonian no matter what fate he meets at 'Meet.' His tenure as moderator has been beset by poor ratings -- 'Meet' consistently ranks third behind ABC's 'This Week' and CBS's "Face The Nation" -- and negative press, including a much-buzzed about report from April that NBC News hired a 'psychological consultant' to get greater insight into his personality. (Gregory called the report 'utter fiction.') In the wake of the report, and amid rumors that Gregory was soon to be replaced, NBC News President Deborah Turness sent a memo to staff declaring her unwavering support for the embattled host. 'There has been a great deal written about 'Meet the Press' in the past few days, much of it quite ludicrous,' she wrote. 'I wanted to reach out to reiterate my support for the show and for David, now and into the future, as we work together to evolve the format.'" [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- Dog steals, then returns, baby's toys. [http://bit.ly/1kV6Sad]

- A shotgun with a silencer, the refined "GIT OFF MY LAWN" yeller's weapon of choice. [http://bit.ly/1rLAL1L]

- Breathtaking photographs of levitating water, better known as fog. [http://huff.to/1ru9EZU]

- Kitten lays waste to a ceramic cat. [http://huff.to/1ngTBgF]

- What it sounds like when an auditorium full of people crack their knuckles at the same time. [http://bit.ly/1x2g7L8]

- Baby goats yelling at dude. [http://bit.ly/1sSXXOg]

- No one has any idea how Tylenol actually works. [http://bit.ly/UoHXo0]

TWITTERAMA

@achorowitz: don't plagiarize RT @samsteinhp don't plagiarize

@pourmecoffee: Meet The Press
with Samuel L. Jackson

"Say Obama needs to lead again. I dare you."

@delrayser: This 4th Cir/DC Cir split will only be resolved by figuring out which panel's judges have higher scores in the Kardashian game.

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