06/25/2013 05:59 pm ET Updated Aug 25, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Shorn Piglet Edition

The Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, putting an end to the New Black Panthers' reign of tyranny. Though the ruling's effect might not be immediately felt, expect the borders of congressional districts to increasingly resemble flamingos. And Vladimir Putin showed can-kicking Americans how idioms are really done when he said deciding whether to extradite Edward Snowden is like shearing a piglet. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 25th, 2013:

WE WOULD SHORT TRANSCANADA STOCK IF WE HAD MONEY - The world is divided into two sets of people -- those who are kept up at night panicking about the existential threat that is climate change, and everybody else. John Kerry is not everybody else. He the better part of 2009 and 2010 tucked away in a host of Senate offices, proselytizing on climate change. People who were in the rooms remember Kerry lecturing, haranguing, hectoring, pounding the table, his voice rising as he desperately tried to convey a deep sense of genuine emergency. As a legislative tactic, it failed miserably. Senators have no interest in lectures. The bill never came close to passage and Kerry left the Senate without a single major legislative achievement in his nearly 30 years in the chamber. He now has his chance to make his mark. President Obama's announced Tuesday that he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline if the State Department certified that it would not lead to a net increase in global carbon emissions. Congressional Republicans were quick to presume victory, noting that a previous State Department analysis had said just that. But that analysis, which has been heavily criticized, was done before John Kerry was named Secretary of State. And what Obama has effectively done is hand the Keystone decision to one of Washington's fiercest backers of strong climate change action. Michael Brune, the head of the Sierra Club, told HuffPost Hill that elevating Kerry's role, and basing the decision on science, makes him hopeful about the outcome. "The case that KXL would be a significant contributor to climate change is strong and compelling," he said. "With Obama laying down the standard that a pipeline that exacerbates climate change is not in our national interest, it's pretty clear KXL is not long for this world."

Sam Stein's scoop of Obama's Keystone announcement actually did drive the stock down. Usually only Bloomberg reporters get to do that.

Vladimir Putin, on why he's not going to arrest Eric Snowden and ship him back to the U.S. AP: "Putin compared Snowden to WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who has been provided asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, saying that both men were labeled criminals but consider themselves rights activists and champions of freedom of information.'Ask yourself a question: should people like that be extradited so that they put them in prison or not?' he said. 'In any case, I would prefer not to deal with such issues. It's like shearing a piglet: a lot of squealing and little wool.' [Associated Press]

Russian people shear piglets?

I'M SHOCKED, SHOCKED TO FIND THAT IMMIGRATION REFORM IS PASSING IN HERE! Support for comprehensive immigration reform is much broader in Congress than Republican leaders are letting on. To gauge which way the wind is blowing in Washington, watch which direction the money is flowing, and, more importantly, who's directing the money. The top two Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas, might not be working for immigration reform in the upper chamber, but their allies off Capitol Hill are leading the advocacy efforts. Two of the most well-funded groups working on behalf of reform are being run by senior aides in McConnell and Cornyn's circle. One, American Crossroads, is run by close McConnell ally Steven Law, and is pledging to spend seven figures to press Republicans to approve reform. Law has said that reelecting McConnell, his longtime mentor, is the group's top electoral priority. FWD.us, the tech-funded group pushing for immigration reform, has tens of millions of dollars pledged to the fight. Rob Jesmer runs FWD's D.C. operations as its campaign manager. He was executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2012 cycle, meaning he was in charge of electing and reelecting Senate Republicans, reporting to both Cornyn and McConnell... The outside advocacy amounts to a classic Washington two-step, where politicians up for reelection tell the base one thing, while hoping for a different outcome." [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST: DIVERSITY CRUSADER - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, done writing an angry letter to MetLife for not offering peak oil insurance, thinks liberals are being too myopic about the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act ruling. "I guess I'm a cutting edge self-loathing Republican," PSLGOPL writes, "but I'd prefer there weren't any Democratic seats held by white middle aged men. I'm for diversity in Congress and the media. In my perfect world, you three would be black, Hispanic and Arabic." PSLGOPL continued, "Speaking of diversity, how pumped are we that rich, white and 36 year incumbent Markey ran Max Clelan ads to beat a moderate hispanic in Mass?!? Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Au revoir, Tony Podesta pied-a-terre. "Four years after he bought it from a church for $1.57 million, the Democratic superlobbyist is looking to unload his Capitol Hill pied-a-terre -- a circa 1880 brick townhouse that served as a convenient spot to stage fundraisers,just three blocks southeast of the Capitol. (His real home is in Kalorama.) Two bedrooms, garden, parking for three cars, hardwood and Spanish tile floors -- and, of course, spacious, light-filled entertaining areas. Plus: Four lucrative rental units upstairs. 'Hated to sell,' said Podesta, who recently split from lobbyist wife Heather, 'but life changes.'" Hang in there, Tony! [The Reliable Source]

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RACISM SOLVED: SUPREME COURT GUTS VOTING RIGHTS ACT - The clerk of the Alabama House must be overloaded with bills proposing English literacy tests for voter registration. Ryan Reilly, Mike Sacks and Sabrina Siddiqui: "The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court. The 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that 'things have changed dramatically' in the South in the nearly 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965....Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a wide-ranging dissent on behalf of herself and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, justifying the continued vitality of the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provision. 'The sad irony of today's decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective,' Ginsburg wrote. 'The Court appears to believe that the VRA's success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that preclear­ance is no longer needed.'" [HuffPost]

Samuel Alito: America's most prominent eye-roller (where you at, Al Gore?): "Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke from the high court's usual decorum on Monday morning, rolling his eyes and shaking his head as his senior colleague, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, read her dissents in two cases. Longtime Supreme Court observer Garrett Epps called it a 'mini-tantrum' and 'display of rudeness.' 'Alito pursed his lips, rolled his eyes to the ceiling, and shook his head 'no,'' wrote Epps in the Atlantic. 'He looked for all the world like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, signaling to the homies his contempt for Ray Walston as the bothersome history teacher, Mr. Hand.' He added that Alito's gestures "brought gasps from more than one person in the audience." [HuffPost's Ryan Rainey]

President Obama: "I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act - enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress - has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today's decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent."

VOTING RIGHTS ACT NOW CONGRESS' RESPONSIBILITY - Which means it will come out of conference committee, if it ever even gets that far, outlawing the New Black Panthers and carving out regulatory exemptions for Diebold. Amanda Terkel: "[O]n Tuesday, the Supreme Court threw out the Voting Rights Act's list of covered jurisdictions, handing Congress the monumental task of coming up with a new formula. 'I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls,' said President Barack Obama... 'As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I intend to take immediate action to ensure that we will have a strong and reconstituted Voting Rights Act that protects against racial discrimination in voting,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in a fiery statement that sharply condemned the ruling issued by Chief Justice John Roberts. When asked for comment, House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office said it would be deferring to House Administration Committee Candice Miller (R-Mich.) and Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). " [HuffPost]

OBAMA ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ACTION ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES - So when a Democratic president accused of exploiting the government to prosecute conservative groups starts issuing executive actions on the environment, do the veins in conservatives' temples explode or simply bulge? NBC News: "President Barack Obama laid out a far-reaching set of proposals meant to address the driving causes of climate change, headlined by a new directive to begin limiting carbon emissions for new and existing power plants and the announcement of high environmental standards for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline to be met before his administration signs off on the project. The president outlined a series of climate proposals he intended to advance through executive action, sidestepping a Congress mired in gridlock in its handling of most matters, let alone politically touchy energy and climate issues...To that end, Obama issued a presidential directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to begin drafting new rules governing carbon emissions from power plants. 'I'm directing the [EPA] to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,' he said." [NBC News]

This is how widespread belief in climate change is: "In his big speech on climate change today, President Obama mocked Republicans who deny the existence of man-made global warming by derisively referring to them as members of 'the Flat Earth Society.' As it turns out, there is a real Flat Earth Society and its president thinks that anthropogenic climate change is real. In an email to Salon, president Daniel Shenton said that while he 'can't speak for the Society as a whole regarding climate change,' he personally thinks the evidence suggests fossil fuel usage is contributing to global warming." [Salon]

The cover of Today's express might be the cover of the year.

PRESIDENT NICKEL AND DIMING HOME CARE WORKERS - Dave Jamieson: "In December of 2011, President Barack Obama stood at the White House alongside a group of home care workers and announced that his administration would extend minimum wage and overtime protections to them after decades of exclusion. The White House still has a video on its YouTube channel explaining the significance of the regulatory change, entitled 'A Promise Kept.' But in reality, the president hasn't yet delivered on that promise. A year and a half after the fanfare, home care workers who tend to the elderly and disabled in their homes are still not covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Depression-era statute that serves as a bedrock of U.S. labor law. The president's proposal remains under review at the White House, where industry players have lobbied to have it softened, if not scrapped." [HuffPost]

CIVIL CHARGES BEING READIED AGAINST CORZINE - New Jersey's least-fat, least-gay governor will soon rack up some serious legal fees. Times: "Federal regulators are poised to sue Jon S. Corzine over the collapse of MF Global and the brokerage firm's misuse of customer money during its final days, a blowup that rattled Wall Street and cast a spotlight on Mr. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor who ran the firm until its bankruptcy in 2011. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the federal agency that regulated MF Global, plans to approve the lawsuit as soon as this week, according to law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case. In a rare move against a Wall Street executive, the agency has informed Mr. Corzine's lawyers that it aims to file the civil case without offering him the opportunity to settle, setting up a legal battle that could drag on for years. Without directly linking Mr. Corzine to the disappearance of more than $1 billion in customer money, the trading commission will probably blame the chief executive for failing to prevent the breach at a lower rung of the firm, the law enforcement officials said. If found liable, he could face millions of dollars in fines and possibly a ban from trading commodities, jeopardizing his future on Wall Street." [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Resourceful kittens use a person's leg to get food.


- Tuesday is the worst day. Allow these slow-motion puppies to make it more bearable. [http://bit.ly/17aWiGN]

- What would happen if John Lennon auditioned for the voice? For one thing, Shakira would be bored. [http://huff.to/18dtAIp]

- Adding music from "Jurassic Park" to this video of a safari being chased by a giraffe really adds a lot of tension. [http://bit.ly/121ffqO]

- Firing an AK-47 underwater makes the gun shoot rounds faster, just FYI. [http://bit.ly/11IwQny]

- Pro tip: If you're at a ballgame, don't steal foul balls from little girls. [http://bit.ly/18dNNO3]

- Want to pull an Edward Snowden and remain un-extradited? Follow this map. [http://bit.ly/11ZNxe3]

- A map of the U.S. with each state labeled with its most famous brand. [http://bit.ly/1cgOXpB]


@davidshepardson: Stuck watching President Obama's motorcade burn a lot of fossil fuel on return trip from Georgetown climate change speech

@pourmecoffee: Aliens monitoring us: "They're not ready for First Contact until they fix climate. Prepare to fold dimensions and return to Stankonia 6."



6:00 pm: We would have preferred John Barrasso name his wine tasting fundraiser, "JOHNNY B'S SPITBUCKET SPECTACULAR." He didn't. Disappointing. [Carmine's, 425 7th Street NW]

6:00 pm: Kelly Ayotte celebrates her birthday with a campaign fundraiser. Remember: Age is just a number, as is your contribution amount. [507 D Street SE]

6:00 pm: Amy Klobuchar, whose last name we really enjoy spelling for reasons we can't quite pinpoint, attends a campaign function. [Art and Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave NW]


12:00 pm: Mike Crapo hangs out with folks who put values on human lives all day, the American Council of Life Insurers. [101 Constitution Ave NW]

7:00 pm: Jeff Flake tries to forget about his childrearing issues for a few hours with a fundraiser at the Nationals game versus his home state Diamondbacks. $1,000 suggested donation, which is about the cost of a beer. [Nationals Park]

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