POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Big Brother Bodyshamed By Congress, Will Slim Down

06/02/2015 05:25 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2015

FIFA President Sepp Blatter stepped down just four days into his term -- the refs gave Blatter four extra days because of injury time in his last one. The Senate sent the USA Freedom Act to President Obama’s desk for his signature, which will downgrade the scope of the government’s domestic intelligence apparatus from “omnipresent” to “sweeping.” And the staff of Run, Warren, Run have conceded that Elizabeth Warren is not, in fact, running for president. How many staffers transition to You Keep Doing You, Liz remains to be seen. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015:

SENATE PASSES HILARIOUSLY-NAMED USA FREEDOM ACT, REFORMING NSA SURVEILLANCE - Definitely the winner of this year's "Clean Skies Act Award For Ballsiness In Legislative Naming." HuffPost: "After allowing portions of the Patriot Act to expire early Monday morning, lawmakers voted on Tuesday to reinstate the National Security Agency's sweeping data collection programs, though with modest reforms to the agency's programs and the secret court charged with keeping it in check. In a 67-32 vote -- called earlier than expected -- the upper chamber agreed to pass the USA Freedom Act, effectively ending the two-day lapse in the NSA's programs. The act re-establishes modified versions of the expired Patriot Act provisions. Attempts to amend the USA Freedom Act fell short in the Senate, where the debate over the legislation has led to weeks of political turmoil. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) put forth a handful of amendments that would have weakened the reforms to the Patriot Act provisions. However, those measures failed to pass, largely due to concern that the House, which passed an unamended bill earlier this month by a vote of 338-88, would refuse to approve an amended act." [HuffPost]

For the first time in history, a soccer pro took a fall without grabbing his shin and faking an injury.

CAN OUR GOVERNMENT INVADE OUR PRIVACY, PROTECT US, FERRY ITS KIDS TO SOCCER PRACTICE AND HAVE IT ALL? - Free idea: let the NSA spy on all of us, but have the clicks that its phone wiretaps make spell out "WE'RE LISTENING TO YOU" in Morse code. Problem solved. Ali Watkins: "Does the multibillion-dollar U.S. intelligence apparatus truly have no backup plan? ... Tucked away in Section 224 of the act is what’s come to be known as its 'grandfather' clause. That clause allows active investigations that were started prior to Sunday's expiration to continue under the now-defunct programs, and lawmakers have confirmed that's a viable option. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that routine use of Section 215 is still occurring under the grandfather clause...Section 218 of the Patriot Act, which doesn’t expire, sets a fairly low bar for getting these court orders, requiring only that wiretaps or collection can yield foreign intelligence. Section 214 of the act is also still standing. It involves pen register and trap-and-trace devices, which can record the numbers and recipients of phone calls and communications. How that collection will function given the blurry line between Internet and telephone communications remains to be seen. Additionally, the FBI has its own tools it can use to collect personal information: National Security Letters, which are used to force companies -- including banks and telecommunications companies -- to turn over information." [HuffPost]

President Obama will deliver a eulogy at Beau Biden's funeral on Saturday.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Half of older Americans have no retirement savings, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Fifty-two percent of households of people 55 and older haven't saved a dime for retirement, though nearly half of those do have an employer pension. Among the remaining 48 percent of older households with savings, the median amount was $109,000 -- good for an annuity of about $405 per month. [HuffPost]

UPSIDE DOWNER - Most Americans think poor people shouldn't feel ashamed for using the safety net, according to a new YouGov poll. Just 14 percent of survey respondents said they thought people should feel ashamed for using welfare, while 62 percent said people shouldn't feel ashamed. Republicans were more likely to favor shame than Democrats, 20 percent to 9 percent. During a House Agriculture Committee hearing about food stamps last month, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) discussed the possible benefits of welfare shame. Yoho explained that he grew up in a wealthy family but wound up broke and on food stamps after he got married at 19. "I remember having the coupons, the food stamps, and there was a stigma, but I was so thankful they were there, but [the stigma] implored me to work harder to get off them as quick as I could," Yoho said. "So I don't think that's a bad thing, per se." [HuffPost]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

CONGRESSMAN KNEW ABOUT HASTRET ALLEGATIONS - Watt did he know and when did he know it? Sam Stein: "At least one member of Congress was likely aware that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) allegedly sexually molested a former male student prior to his time in Congress. Relatively early on during Haster's speakership, Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) was approached with news about the alleged abuse by Hastert, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation that took place with Watt...According to the source, the person who approached Watt was an intermediary for the family of the abuse victim and knew the North Carolina congressman informally. It is unclear what Watt, who now directs the Federal Housing Finance Agency, did with the information. The Huffington Post reached out to more than a dozen former and current lawmakers and elected officials. Former members of Congress who served with Watt said he had never mentioned it to them. Several of Watt’s colleagues at the time who are still serving in Congress didn't recall hearing anything. Democratic leadership sources say they never heard anything from Watt and had no inkling of Hastert’s past." [HuffPost]



Is this for gay marriage or Obamacare?

READY FOR *RESIGNED ABOUT* WARREN - Try to break the news to your activist grandma gently. Sam Stein: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) isn’t running for president. And one of the main groups created to encourage her to run for president will soon stop running, too. Run Warren Run, the collaborative effort by progressive organizations to show Warren that she had supporters, commitment and money for a 2016 presidential bid, will suspend operations on June 8. Time, political winds, and, in all likelihood, Bernie Sanders were the culprits. 'Over the last six months, from our perspective, the possibility of Warren running has had a transformative effect on the political debate in that it has elevated Warren’s fight into something more than moment to moment legislative battles,' said Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, one of the groups behind Run Warren Run. 'Do we wish she were running? Absolutely. Do we wish we had not tried to get her to run? Not in the slightest.'" [HuffPost]

GOP'S 'ESTABLISHMENT' PREFERENCE MIGHT BE OVER - Tough luck for Senator Mumsy von Hedgefundwitz [R - Sea Island (Winter) - East Hampton (Summer)]. Stu Rothenberg: "The Republican Party continues to change. Rank-and-file GOP voters are angrier and more frustrated after eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, and they are looking for new voices that reflect their frustration and desire to roll back the Obama years. While 'blue' states such as New York and Connecticut still matter in the GOP nomination process, the decline of the party’s strength in the Northeast has cost those states delegates at Republican conventions. For example, New York sent 154 delegates to the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, while the state had only 95 delegates at the 2012 convention in Tampa. That development has strengthened the voices of Republicans in the South and conservatives nationally." [Roll Call]

HERBALIFE COUNTER-LOBBIES AGAINST BILL ACKMAN - Great article from Alexandra Stevenson and Ben Protess, whom we can't say with complete certainty won't end up working for one of these guys as a researcher: "This behind-the-scenes lobbying, detailed for the first time in interviews and in confidential documents reviewed by The New York Times, shows that after two years of Mr. Ackman’s walking the halls of Congress and entreating prosecutors, Herbalife is taking a section from his playbook. The counteroffensive -- carried out by Democratic operatives, three public relations firms and two law firms stacked with former prosecutors -- signals a critical moment in the battle. At this latest juncture, each side has now spent tens of millions of dollars shaping the public narrative -- and the federal investigations...Herbalife has taken its campaign to Washington, where it rallied members of Congress to scrutinize Mr. Ackman. The company also recently donated $40,000 to a nonprofit group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, that has called on lawmakers to investigate Mr. Ackman. But after receiving a call from a reporter, the group pledged to refund the $40,000 to avoid the 'appearance of a conflict.'" [NYT]

Everything is pointless, everything is cool when you're part of a team: "CREW, which has long campaigned against short-sellers using political connections for financial gain, contacted Herbalife last year about Mr. Ackman’s effort. Melanie Sloan, the founding executive director of CREW, then spent months researching Mr. Ackman… By then, Ms. Sloan had left CREW for her own consulting firm, whose clients include Herbalife. And shortly before CREW sent the letter to lawmakers, Ms. Sloan urged Herbalife to donate $40,000 to CREW. Herbalife agreed. Ms. Sloan made the donation, her colleagues said, and billed Herbalife." [Ibid.]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a hamster monster.

Darth Vader truck nuts would've been better but we applaud the effort: "During a recent trip to a high school rodeo in Casper, Wyo., [Dick Cheney] responded to a question about his unpopularity by flashing his signature uneven grin. 'Remind me to show you the back of my truck,' he said. Outside the rodeo arena, he took a moment to show off the latest feature on his Ford F-350 Super Duty truck, a Darth Vader trailer-hitch cover, a nod to his alter-ego from the Bush days. 'Darth Vader,' he said, smiling. 'I’m rather proud of that.'" [WSJ's Patrick O'Connor]


COMFORT FOOD

- A very necessary guide to kitchen knives.

- Actors and actresses' final scenes.

TWITTERAMA

@anamariecox: Teenage Huckabee also thought "Free Moustache Rides" t-shirts were pretty funny -- and potentially effective.

@POLITICO_Steve: The plane on which American Pharoah was transported to Long Island for the Belmont is called "Air Horse One."

@brfreed: Loretta Lynch’s briefcase is named Lightbringer.

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS