The Supreme Court handed down so many rulings today, you’d think it was sentencing people to jail for nonviolent drug offenses. The justices OK’d use of unreliable drug cocktails for lethal injections, transforming capital punishment into the human equivalent of squeamishly dropping a lobster in a pot of boiling water, yelping, covering one's ears, and scampering away. And with rulings for gay marriage and Obamacare not going Antonin Scalia’s way, you’d think the guy would be having a miserable week; then you’d remember he got to kill a bunch of poor people slowly so it’s probably a wash for the guy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, June 29th, 2015:
MERKEL'S MAYHEM - Europe's ego and idiocy hasn't dragged the world into senseless misery for a few decades now, but Germany is ON IT. Daniel Marans: "If Greece leaves the eurozone in the coming days, it will be the result of decisions made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, more than any other institution or leader. Although Greece has been negotiating with a so-called "troika" of institutional creditors -- the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, which represents the eurozone nations -- Germany is widely believed to be the creditor whose views are most decisive. The country is the single largest creditor in the series of bailout payments that the troika has provided to Greece since 2010. As such, Germany under Merkel’s leadership has been the lead architect of the loans-for-austerity policy Europe has used to manage the Greek debt crisis." [HuffPost]
Fun way to watch the crisis unfold: Read HuffPost Greece with the Chrome translator tool. Trust us.
WHITE HOUSE EXPECTS IRAN NEGOTIATIONS TO PASS DEADLINE - Didn't we already have a deal? What was that whole thing with Tom Cotton about? Jordan Fabian: "The Obama administration’s effort to reach a final nuclear agreement with Iran is expected to slip past its deadline Tuesday, though U.S. officials expressed confidence a deal is within reach. 'At this point, I would anticipate the negotiations will extend past the deadline,' White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. 'Our negotiators will remain in Vienna past the deadline in pursuit of a final agreement.' Earnest declined to handicap the chances of reaching a deal, but said a final agreement 'is within our sights.' 'I would hesitate to put numbers on it at this point,' he said. 'Obviously our negotiators understand the stakes in the negotiations.' The administration previously aimed to have a final agreement completed by June 30, capping off a nearly two-year effort to curb Iran’s nuclear program." [The Hill]
AWKWARD: OBAMA TO DINE WITH LEADER HE SPIED ON - The mix of hurt feelings and web spying would make you think the world is run by teenage exes. Jordyn Phelps and Arlette Saenz: "When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff learned in 2013 that the National Security Agency was listening in on her phone calls and reading her emails, she was none too pleased...But tonight, over two years later, Rousseff will be wined and dined by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a private 'working dinner' at the White House. It’s part of a two-day fence-mending trip and an opportunity for the two presidents to move beyond what the White House acknowledges as a 'turbulent patch' between the Western hemisphere’s two largest economies." [ABC News]
PUERTO RICO IS SCREWED - We're eagerly anticipating the ad campaign featuring a man looking into the camera and saying, "Come, discover my Puerto Rico," but it's just a Senior Vice President at Citigroup named Burt Rosenberger. Linette Lopez and Shane Ferro: "The governor of Puerto Rico has admitted that the country can't keep paying down its over $72 billion worth of public-debt obligations. As a result, the country finds itself in a uniquely awful position. It can't enter bankruptcy, according to its own laws, so now it has to deal exclusively with its creditors to restructure its debt. That means it has to deal with Wall Street...A lot of Puerto Rico's debt is in municipal bonds, and thus the country's situation is similar to Detroit's. But unlike Detroit, Puerto Rico -- a US territory -- doesn't have the option of using the bankruptcy process to discharge its debt. Consequently, it will be forced to negotiate with its creditors, making it a little bit more like Greece." [Business Insider]
Nope: "The United States government is not contemplating a federal bailout of Puerto Rico to help the island deal with its debt crisis, the White House said on Monday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said federal officials are, however, committed to working with the island." [Reuters]
The Dow fell nearly two percent today. Opa!
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SUPREME COURT GREENLIGHTS NEW LETHAL INJECTION DRUGS - To be fair, if the drugs don't actually kill the condemned, it means they're a witch. Kim Bellware: "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in a 5-4 vote that Oklahoma may continue to use a controversial lethal injection drug during executions. The Oklahoma death row prisoners who brought the matter to court 'failed to identify a known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain,' Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion in which Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy concurred. The prisoners also failed to show that a large dose of the controversial drug, midazolam, 'entails a substantial risk of severe pain,' Alito wrote...The lawsuit that prompted the decision was brought on by lead plaintiff Richard Glossip, an Oklahoma inmate who has been on death row for 17 years. Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that midazolam, the first drug used in Oklahoma's three-part lethal injection protocol, can't reliably render an inmate unconscious and free of pain while the second and third drugs paralyze him and stop his heart, thus making the execution cruel and unusual punishment." [HuffPost]
We could just force condemned prisoners to read court rulings: "In a scathing dissent in the Supreme Court ruling on Monday which upheld Oklahoma's use of a lethal injection drug, some of the court's liberal justices suggested that the high court's ruling would allow prisoners to be 'drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake' by states that wished to put them to death. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, wrote that the majority opinion in the 5-4 case left those sentenced to the death penalty 'exposed to what may well be the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake.'" [HuffPost's Ryan Reilly]
HIGH COURT UPHOLDS INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSIONS - One step closer to congressional districts that don't look like Jackson Pollacks. Adam Liptak: "The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Arizona’s voters were entitled to try to make the process of drawing congressional district lines less partisan by creating an independent redistricting commission. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority in the 5-to-4 decision, endorsed what she called “an endeavor by Arizona voters to address the problem of partisan gerrymandering — the drawing of legislative district lines to subordinate adherents of one political party and entrench a rival party in power.' Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority opinion. The case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, No. 13-1314, concerned an independent commission created by Arizona voters in 2000. About a dozen states have experimented with redistricting commissions that have varying degrees of independence from the state legislatures, which ordinarily draw election maps. Arizona’s commission is most similar to California’s." [NYT]
OBAMA'S COAL REGULATIONS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL - This, along with your victory gardens, will really help win the War on Coal. War on Coal victory gardens, by the way, are just gardens that are actually just a bunch of running air conditioners dumped on your front lawn connected to an extension cord plugged into an outlet in your house. Kate Sheppard: "The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against an Environmental Protection Agency regulation limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants, undermining the Obama administration's drive to cut pollution from electricity generators. The case looked at the EPA's regulation of mercury and other emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, which Republicans have attacked as a 'war on coal' and an example of presidential overreach. The EPA interpreted the law 'unreasonably' when it failed to consider the costs of compliance with the new regulations, the court ruled 5-4 in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia." [HuffPost]
One last SCOTUS ruling: "The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Monday to stay a recent lower court ruling that would have shuttered all but nine abortion clinics in Texas. The high court will allow the clinics to remain open while it decides whether to hear an appeal over a Texas law that requires all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers -- essentially, mini-hospitals. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined with his four liberal colleagues -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan -- to keep the clinics afloat. Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservatives Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito opposed the stay." [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog in a ball pit.
TRUMP COWERED - Every time you make a "you're fired!" joke, your stupidity radiates outward and is absorbed by Trump, making him more obnoxious, like"Ghostbusters 2." Cynthia Littleton: "NBC is ending its long relationship with Donald Trump in the wake of the presidential hopeful’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants. NBC said it will no longer carry the Trump-produced Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Nor will he return to the long-running reality show 'The Celebrity Apprentice' as host. 'Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,' NBC said in a statement. 'At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.'" [Variety]
- A supercut of peopleflipping the bird in film.
- This is what a world-record telephoto camera len can do.
- The world's most badass motorcyclist, and that's saying something.
@poniewozik: What did we do to deserve the chance to watch Donald Trump lose both a TV show and an election within the span of a year?
@Olivianuzzi: does Obamacare cover no never mind bad tweet
@Popehat: Did Scalia cite any examples of inmates who really deserve the needle, so we can know who's probably factually innocent?
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