Furloughs begin today for over 600,000 Pentagon employees, allowing the government to pay for another three minutes in Afghanistan. The FISA court has rubber-stamped so many surveillance requests the judges must be suffering tennis elbow. And another disgraced politician, Eliot Spitzer, announced he's running for office. We've dispatched reporters to Iowa and New Hampshire to report on any Mark Foley sightings. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 8th, 2013:
PENTAGON FURLOUGHS BEGIN TODAY - There are going to be a lot of very unhappy people in a lot of very bland Crystal City bars ording a lot of very cheap happy hour deals today. Roll Call: "One of the most consequential effects of the sequester began today: Weekly unpaid furlough days for more than 650,000 civilian workers at the Defense Department, who will effectively see their pay cut by 20 percent for the final 11 weeks of this budget year. All the commissaries at domestic military installations are closed, for example, and will be every Monday through the end of September. (Most agencies within the department have decided to salve the economic sting a tiny bit by setting the furloughs on Mondays and Fridays, so that workers might at least enjoy a series of long weekends.) But the visuals of closed cafeterias, equipment maintenance sheds, supply warehouses, payroll offices and the like will have absolutely no effect on the pace of congressional effort toward untangling the budget morass. Whatever work is taking place on that score is totally out of view. And none of the congressional leadership is suggesting this will change before Congress returns from its August recess a full week after Labor Day, when there will be 23 days left before this fiscal year gives way to the next." [Roll Call]
@aterkel: Furloughed DoD workers get ready for the Federal Furlough Five Mile Fun Run pic.twitter.com/0dMuXYWWde
Here, for your viewing pleasure, is CNN host Eliot Spitzer congratulating Rep. Anthony Weiner on his nuptials.
BUDGET DEFICIT SHRINKING - We often forget Newton's fourth law, which observes the inverse relationship between the size of the deficit and the number of Benghazi questions that need answers. The Hill: "The White House on Monday estimated that the budget deficit for 2013 will be $759 billion -- a difference of $214 billion from the $973 billion deficit projected in President Obama's budget. If the projection proves correct, it would be the first time since Obama took office that the deficit fell below $1 trillion for the fiscal year. The White House budget office's annual mid-session review says that as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the deficit would be 4.7 percent compared to 6 percent projected in the budget. Buried in the report's tables, however, can be found an increase in deficits compared to the earlier estimate in later years. The deficit for 2014 is projected to increase from $744 billion to $750 billion, and by 2023, the deficit clocks in at $549 billion, $109 billion larger than previously estimated if Obama's blueprint were to be adopted." [The Hill]
Why does the New York Times hate women? We're not sure, but they put this on their front page today, another in their long-running series urging women back into the kitchen.
"THIS TOWN" EXCERPT, PAGE 95 - "Terry McAuliffe was there, too, even though he has had some issues with Jack Quinn over the years. Specifically, the Macker did not like how the former White House counselor had lobbied his former boss Bill Clinton to pardon Quinn's client Marc Rich, a massive embarrassment to Clinton, who -- did McAuliffe mention? -- is also Terry's best friend."
LEIBOVICH TAKES ISSUE WITH NYT REVIEW - In a sneering New York Times review of Mark Leibovich's "This Town" -- it sneers at Washington, not Leibovich -- David Shribman spends half his time mocking the self-importance of DC figures (tough task, that) and the other half talking about David Shribman. It begins: "Of all the irritating things about Washington -- the phoniness, the showy cars, the utter inability of a metropolitan area of 6.9 million people to produce a single decent slice of pizza or a passable submarine sandwich with oil and not mayonnaise -- none is more infuriating than the local insider habit of referring to the place as 'this town." The utterly bizarre reference to showy cars aside, we asked Leibovich for his take. "No view on subs. Pizza much improved since I moved here in 1997. Pete's (New Haven style) a particularly great addition. Derivative, but good 'nuff for me." Thanks, Leibo!
The other book that has Washington aflutter is, of course, Radley Balko's just-released "Rise Of The Warrior Cop," on the creeping militarization of American policing. We haven't finished it, but are doubting it features a chapter on Tammy Haddad.
Friendly advice for the NRSC: Don't let your summer interns make PUBLICATION Independence Day videos... or any videos, for that matter.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Timothy Mailloux of Albany, N.Y., has been unemployed for a year and a half except for a temp job here and an informal assignment there. He's grateful for the short-term jobs because they break up the gaps on his resume. "You really can't show more than six months," he said. "It's sort of deadly." Not having work can be surreal as weeks bleed into each other without the rhythm of days on, days off. "I can't believe it's July already," Mailloux said. "When you're not doing anything, the days just flow by. There's no sort of milestones or things you can focus on and deal with and occupy your time." [HuffPost]
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FISA COURT VERY TRUSTING - The panel charged with reviewing surveillance requests is to information-hungry intelligence officials what your doctor -- you know, the one with all the Buddha statues and mini-gongs in his office -- is to potheads seeking medical marijuana 'scripts. Journal: "The National Security Agency's ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans hinges on a secret court ruling that redefined a single word: 'relevant.' This change... was made by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a group of judges responsible for making decisions about government surveillance in national-security cases. In classified orders starting in the mid-2000s, the court accepted that 'relevant' could be broadened to permit an entire database of records on millions of people, in contrast to a more conservative interpretation widely applied in criminal cases, in which only some of those records would likely be allowed, according to people familiar with the ruling...'Relevant' has long been a broad standard, but the way the court is interpreting it, to mean, in effect, 'everything,' is new... The Supreme Court in 1991 said things are 'relevant' if there is a 'reasonable possibility' that they will produce information related to the subject of the investigation. In criminal cases, courts previously have found that very large sets of information didn't meet the relevance standard because significant portions--innocent people's information--wouldn't be pertinent. But the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, FISC, has developed separate precedents, centered on the idea that investigations to prevent national-security threats are different from ordinary criminal cases." [WSJ]
HOUSE REPUBLICANS GUTTING DODD-FRANK LIKE IT'S OBAMACARE - If Intrade were still around, we would definitely be shorting Chris Dodd's legislative legacy right now. Zach Carter: "The House Appropriations Committee approved an agriculture budgeting bill last month that would significantly restructure the U.S. bank regulatory regime as part of a GOP effort to protect Wall Street's offshore trading in derivatives -- the complex financial products at the heart of the 2008 economic meltdown. Republicans in Congress have been pressuring regulators for years to exempt derivatives that U.S. companies sell overseas from the new rules set by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. For much of 2013, the deregulatory drive enjoyed bipartisan support in the House, with lawmakers casting their efforts as an attempt to harmonize U.S. law with international regulations. But financial reform advocates have attacked the initiative for padding Wall Street profits at the expense of important public protections, and Democratic support has eroded. In June, the House passed a bill that would completely exempt from U.S. oversight derivatives sold through the nine most popular foreign derivatives jurisdictions...If banks can simply route trades through loosely regulated overseas affiliates, financial reform advocates warn, the most critical aspects of Dodd-Frank will be effectively nullified." [HuffPost]
RICK PERRY WON'T SEEK REELECTION - The governor looks forward to spending more time with his traditional family at their Niggerhead Ranch. Mollie Reilly: "Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2014. 'The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,' Perry said of his decision. 'It's been an improbable journey that has taken me from a farm in this place called Paint Creek, Texas to the governor's office,' Perry said of his time in office. 'Each day has been an honor.' Perry's announcement came during a news conference in San Antonio, Texas. First elected as the Lone Star State's lieutenant governor in 1998, Perry became governor in 2000 after then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become U.S. president. He was reelected in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He unsuccessfully ran for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, leaving the race ahead of the South Carolina primary. During an appearance on this week's 'Fox News Sunday,' Perry said another presidential bid was 'an option.'" [HuffPost]
Frank Lautenberg's family, who would like to see Cory Booker jump in a Meadowlands Superfund site, endorsed Frank Pallone for Senate. ABC News: "The Democratic congressman is running in a special Senate election to serve the remainder of the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term and today he earned the backing of Lautenberg's family. In a clear dig to the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, Newark mayor Cory Booker, the family wrote that Pallone most reflects Lautenberg's values including his focus on being a 'workhorse, not a showhorse.'... there were clear tensions between Lautenberg and Booker before his death. Most notably, Booker announced his intentions to seriously consider a run before the 89-year old Democratic senator had announced whether he would seek another term himself." [ABC News]
ELIOT SPITZER RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN NYC - That Lenny Bruce never lived to see City Hall potentially inhabited by Weiner/Spitzer is perhaps the greatest tragedy in all this. Times: "Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York five years ago amid a prostitution scandal, is re-entering political life, with a run for the citywide office of comptroller and a wager that voters are ready to look past his previous misconduct. In a telephone interview on Sunday night, Mr. Spitzer, 54, sounding restless after an unwelcome hiatus from government, said he had re-envisioned the often-overlooked office and yearned to resurrect the kind of aggressive role he played as New York State's attorney general. He said that after consulting with his family and taking the temperature of the city's electorate, he believed New Yorkers would be open to his candidacy. 'I'm hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it,' he said...Mr. Spitzer batted away a question about whether the reception enjoyed by Mr. Weiner, who is running neck and neck with the front-runner Christine C. Quinn, factored into his decision, but said he was approached regularly by New Yorkers who say they would support him if he ran for office again." [NYT]
Howard Fineman spoke with Spitzer about his upcoming run, why he chose comptroller and whether he thinks voters will forgive his transgressions.
Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of the secretary of state, is said to be improving after suffering a seizure this weekend. "Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Secretary of State John Kerry, who was hospitalized over the weekend after apparently suffering a seizure, was upgraded to fair condition from critical on Monday, the State Department said...Mrs. Heinz Kerry, 74, grew sick while staying at the family's vacation home on Nantucket on Sunday. An ambulance was summoned to the house around 3:30 p.m. and left shortly afterward for Nantucket Cottage Hospital." [NYT]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - All this fatigued corgi wants is to have some shuteye.
WMATA IS OPPOSED TO BEAUTY - Boing Boing: "[S]ome jackass bureaucrat decided to pay workers to rip out 1,000 pretty little flowers planted secretly by a 'guerilla gardener' along the (often broken) escalators at the Dupont Circle station. The floral terrorist behind the illicit garden was Henry Docter, the self-described Phantom Planter. He organized an online petition to try and persuade the idiots who run the Metro to 'let my flowers grow.'" [Boing Boing]
- .........................CAT SNEAK ATTACK!!! [http://huff.to/1biDiJ4]
- Sliced bread isn't just the barometer for all things great and what you slather Nutella on after being dumped, it's also a foodstuff that turns 85 this year. Here is a history of sliced bread. [http://bit.ly/154qReT]
- Golden Corral is disgusting. But, no, really, Golden Corral is disgusting. [http://bit.ly/1afY9yD]
- Important competitive eating update. A must-read for those of you striving to eat 69 hotdogs in 10 minutes. [http://bit.ly/18IJ87h]
- Cutting customer reviews on Amazon, whose users are, we guess, too anti-social for Reddit. [http://bit.ly/15qIE2p]
- Dog goldberg machine is almost too much for the internet to handle. If it were real, ICANN would have to hold an emergency meeting. [http://bit.ly/12dujSO]
- A bunch of popular iOS apps are free today, marking the fifth anniversary of Apple's App Store. [http://bit.ly/1d8HEjW]
- Parrot and owner perform duet of "Always Look On The Bright Side Life." [http://bit.ly/12QAOhv]
@FISA_Court: Our rulings have more black than a Paula Deen wedding
@delrayser: Rick Perry won't run for Governor of Texas again, but doesn't rule out returning as Emperor after secession goes through.
@pourmecoffee: If you look just above Rick Perry's head, it always says, "Buffering ... Buffering ... Buffering".
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