We’re thrilled to be acquired by Verizon as we now have an inside line on not getting AMBER alerts at 3:00 am. Still, the deal was never a sure thing -- AOL officials close to the negotiations tell us it was either Verizon or CREDO Mobile. And the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the president's trade promotion authority, though President Obama could still take executive action by stealing all the generic prescriptions from your medicine cabinet and torching a few canisters of premium unleaded on the White House lawn. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 12th, 2015:
SENATE FAILS TO INVOKE TPA CLOTURE, 52-45 - Mike McAuliff, Zach Carter, Dana Liebelson and Laura Barron-Lopez: "Senate Democrats dealt a stinging blow to President Barack Obama Tuesday by stalling legislation that would grant him authority to fast-track international trade deals. Democrats, including several who favor Obama's trade agenda, banded together to prevent the Senate from considering legislation that grants the president so-called Trade Promotion Authority, which would bar Congress from amending or filibustering any trade agreements negotiated by the administration. The measure received 52 supporters, short of the 60 needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Forty-five senators voted against the plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged Democrats to vote to begin debate on the controversial trade legislation, indicating he'd be open to allowing separate votes on three other trade bills that Democrats do want to see passed...But Democrats, including those in favor of granting Obama fast-track authority, joined together in the final hours Tuesday with the expectation that they could cut a better deal before the debate starts. 'We're telling everyone, 'Don't be a cheap date,'' said one Democratic aide who spoke anonymously to discuss strategy. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who co-sponsored the package of bills with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), indicated early Tuesday he wanted more than TPA and TAA to be considered." [HuffPost]
@RyanGrim: "I think the president was disrespectful to her by the way he did that...made this more personal." - Sen. Brown on Obama's Warren attacks …. More Brown: "I think referring to her as her first name, when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps--I've said enough."
SENSIBLE PROPOSAL DISCUSSED - Maybe if instead of taxing the rich, Obama talked about "transitioning" hedge fund dollars to the public sector. Richard Rubin: "One of the Democratic Party’s favorite applause lines is getting another turn in the spotlight: hit hedge-fund millionaires with the same taxes as the working class. It still works on the stump even though it has fallen short in the Capitol. Lower tax rates on carried interest have fewer defenders now, even among Republicans. Democrats haven’t been able to muster the votes to change the rules, despite almost a decade of trying…. 'The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country. So when I say that, I’m not saying that because I dislike hedge fund managers or I think they’re evil,' Obama said at a forum on poverty. 'If we can’t ask from society’s lottery winners to make that modest investment, then really this conversation is for show.'" [Bloomberg]
'NO WELFARE FOR WEED ACT' MAKING TRIUMPHANT RETURN - Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) are seeking cosponsors for a bill banning poor people from using welfare to buy weed. The forthcoming legislation, which is similar to a bill that stalled last year, would ban Temporary Assistance for Needy Families beneficiaries from using their government-issued debit cards at weed stores. Congress outlawed welfare cards from liquor stores, strip clubs and casinos in 2012, but lawmakers failed to anticipate Washington and Colorado legalizing weed. In their Dear Colleague letter, Gosar and Kirkpatrick note that a Denver TV station has, in fact, reported on welfare withdrawals form weed store ATMs. The Gosar-Kirkpatrick bill, which would also outlaw food stamps being spent on pot products, would force welfare beneficiaries to spend their own cash to have a good time. It is unclear if the bill repeals the fungibility of money.
HUFFPOST HILL PURCHASED! Also AOL, Huffington Post and other similarly minor properties. Alexander Kaufman: "Verizon announced Tuesday morning that it plans to buy AOL for $4.4 billion. The all-cash deal between the telecom giant and the owner of The Huffington Post will be completed this summer, pending regulatory approvals. Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, said in a press release that the merger will help 'provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience.' … AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said he will continue to lead the company once the deal goes through...At a town-hall meeting with employees, Armstrong said the company had no plans to move from its New York headquarters, located in three floors on 770 Broadway on the edge of Manhattan's East Village. He said AOL would operate largely as a standalone division of Verizon, and none of its brand names would change. AOL stock rose nearly 19 percent to $50.59 by mid-afternoon on Tuesday. Verizon shares fell nearly 1 percent to $49.55." [HuffPost]
Your AOL floppy disk jokes are all terrible.
I own stock?
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Food stamp enrollment has dipped beneath 46 million for the first time since 2011, according to the latest numbers from the federal government. In February, 45.6 million Americans received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program. That's the lowest monthly enrollment figure since 45.8 million received benefits in August 2011. [HuffPost]
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CONGRESS IS AWFUL - Austin Wright and Leigh Munsil: "In his bill set to pass this week to overhaul how the Pentagon buys weapons, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee relied heavily on those with most at stake: the nation’s arms makers. Defense contractors played a major role in crafting the proposal by Rep. Mac Thornberry designed to reform the Pentagon acquisition system, according to a POLITICO comparison of the legislation and industry proposals. Some of the provisions in the Texas Republican’s bill could end up boosting company profits — at the expense of taxpayers. For example, the bill would weaken the power of the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, an independent watchdog who answers directly to the secretary of defense and often uncovers flaws in big-ticket weapon systems. That was a provision proposed by the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents the nation’s leading defense and aerospace firms. The legislation would encourage the defense secretary make sure contracting officials use the the standard of lowest price when choosing winning bids only in 'appropriate circumstances' — potentially giving officials wide latitude to bypass a less expensive solution." [Politico]
CONGRESS IS FRUSTRATING - Don't even look at John McCain's lawn. Roll Call: "Members of the Capitol Hill press corps are urging lawmakers to open defense authorization markups to the public, but the senators in charge of the markups are not budging. 'We voted and that was the decision of the committee,' Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said Monday evening. 'I asked the committee what their views were and they decided that’s what they wanted.' McCain was referencing an April 23 committee vote to close the National Defense Authorization Act full committee markups to the public, with McCain casting the final vote to keep deliberations closed. The vote continues past practices of keeping the markup behind closed doors, which former Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., started to address what he said was the hassle of switching in and out of classified session. But the press is pushing back, calling for open deliberations. 'The process of making decisions should itself be visible to the American people in real time — as it is in most other corners of Congress,' Kathleen Hunter of Bloomberg, the chairwoman of the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Senate Daily Press Gallery, wrote in a May 6 letter to McCain." [Roll Call]
FDA RECOMMENDS LIFTING GAY BLOOD DONATIONS - This was starting to feel like that time Mississippi forgot to outlaw slavery until the 80s. Amanda Terkel: "President Barack Obama's administration on Tuesday recommended ending the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. The new recommendations are contained in draft guidance issued by the Food and Drug Administration. The public will have 30 days to comment on the policy, and the FDA will later issue final rules. Men who have had sex with other men, even just once, have been banned from giving blood since 1985, near the start of the AIDS epidemic. As The New York Times has noted, 'Restrictions on donors were written when H.I.V. testing was slower and less refined. Today, some tests can detect the virus in blood as little as nine days after infection.' For years, gay rights advocates have blasted the rule as discriminatory and pushed for a change." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a whispering dog.
LANDLORD DEFINITELY WON'T EXTEND LEASE - Plus they need to factor in time to prowl the neighborhood liquor stores for unused boxes. Amber Ferguson: "Despite the 2016 election being more than a year away, White House staffers have already begun prepping for the next first family. That's probably a good thing, considering staffers will have only five hours to move them into the White House on Inauguration Day. Kate Andersen Brower, author of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, compiled first-person accounts from the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen and engineers who have served the presidents and first families over the years, beginning with the Kennedys. 'On the day of the inauguration they have five hours to move these people in and five hours to move the other family out,' Brower said in a HuffPost Live interview Monday. 'A moving van pulls up, it’s crazy really, on the South Lawn and they have to make it work.'" [HuffPost]
'CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW' GUY WORKED HARD FOR HIS MONEY - From Spencer Morgan's 2011 profile: "This peculiar brand of fame was frequently awkward, however. At a cousin’s wedding, he wore 'the grayest of gray suits,' but still wound up feeling 'like a cafone—Italian for 'oaf'—when more people lined up to take pictures with him than with the bride. A few months ago, he attended his grandmother’s funeral. As her body was being lowered into the ground, he heard the hushed voice of a family friend: 'Can you hear me now?'" [Atlantic]
- Seth Meyers ran a splendid parody of "Mad Men's" terrible and inscrutable "next week on" segments.
- Slow motion ferrets laissez les bon temps roulez.
- Kanye breaking character is the most fun you'll have watching the fourth-wall break today.
@ariannahuff: Is there an Olive Garden in Seattle?
@TonyRomm: but wait so like, journobod would be sitting all day, coffee breath, maybe a booze gut but maybe not, no one confuses you with chris pratt
@nycsouthpaw: Press Sec: So... Brady skipped the event
PS: How do you feel about it?
PS: In case someone asks...
POTUS: Get out.
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