President Obama discussed race relations with the White House press corps today, unnerving Richard Cohen as it involved a black man aggressively making eye contact with white people. Steve King is set to appear on Univision, where he will engage in a civilized conversation about a group of people he once likened to cattle. And Mike Enzi is trouncing Liz Cheney in Wyoming in a new poll, defying the Cheneys' expectation that she would be greeted as a liberator. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, July 19th, 2013:
PRESIDENT REMINDS COUNTRY HE IS BLACK, AND THAT COUNTRY STILL IS RACIST, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS IT USED TO BE - Really stellar 310 million-person beer summit today. Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama made an unexpected appearance at Friday's White House press briefing to talk about the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case and, more broadly, how the United States continues to grapple with racial bias. 'When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,' Obama said..'I think it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away,' Obama said. 'There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.' He went on to recount instances when he had heard 'the locks click on the doors of cars' as he walked down the street. African-American men are used to getting into an elevator and seeing a fellow passenger 'clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off,' he said." [HuffPost]
Angry white men respond: We're not racist, black people are the problem!
Beer summits for everyone! Roll Call: "Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin on Friday announced he would hold a hearing on 'Stand Your Ground' laws like the one that's generated so much controversy in Florida following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin...Durbin's hearing will come when the Senate returns from the August recess. It will be before the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, of which he serves as chairman. Durbin's office announced the hearing in a release just after noon Friday...Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, like Durbin a Democrat from Illinois, had asked House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., to call a similar hearing, but Goodlatte initially declined to comment." [Roll Call]
What's Sasha reading? The most stylish man in HuffPost's D.C. office shares his favorite long stories.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Here's the worst thing ever: "A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and held a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday. The 10-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl remained in critical condition Tuesday. Authorities identified the mother as Rachelle Grimmer, 38, and children Ramie and Timothy. When the family entered the office on Monday shortly before it closed, Grimmer asked to speak to a new caseworker, and not the one whom she worked with before, Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said. Grimmer was taken to a private room to discuss her case, then she revealed a gun and the standoff began, Goodman said." [Associated Press]
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HOW DEMOCRATS HOPE TO SELL IMMIGRATION REFORM TO HOUSE MEMBERS - And since earmarks aren't an option anymore, a boatload of highway onramp improvements and agricultural research grants won't do the trick. WaPo: "[P]roponents of reform are not prepared to give up. And they are putting together a plan designed to win over individual House Republicans -- one by one -- by mobilizing constituencies within their districts to make an economic and moral case that reform is necessary not just to solve the immigration problem, but for the good of the economy and the country. Earlier this week, business groups and other advocates for reform met with leading pro-reform Senators to discuss the fact that efforts to pressure House Republicans have been too sluggish and need to be revved up for the August recess. And it's true that aides to reform Senators are frustrated and want to see more action. But proponents of reform are trying to change that, and the nuances of the emerging plan are interesting and important. The idea is to identify major businesses -- farmers, growers, tech companies -- in the districts of individual Republicans and get them to make the case to their Members of Congress that immigration reform is necessary for the good of the local economy." [WaPo]
The House We-Hate-Kids Caucus is not pleased with the "Kids Act." The Hill: "Conservatives in the House are not rushing to embrace an immigration proposal from party leaders to offer a path to citizenship to children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents...The proposal generated support inside a two-hour House GOP conference meeting on immigration last week, but some conservatives said in interviews they remain leery of any immigration legislation beyond efforts to secure the border. 'Frankly, I'm a little nervous about it,' said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee...'Obviously, there's a lot of sympathy for kids who came here at a young age through no fault of their own. They're here,' Jordan said. 'I think there are people who want to look at it, but still, the law's the law.'" [The Hill]
Steve King is appearing on Univision this weekend so, yeah, you might want to check that out.
THIS TOWN - This is the This-Towniest This Town scenario possible: "President Obama nominated campaign fundraiser Timothy Broas on Thursday to be his next ambassador to the Netherlands, one year after the Washington lawyer withdrew himself from consideration for the same post following a DUI arrest. Broas, a defense attorney specializing in white-collar crime cases, raised at least $700,000 for the president's two presidential campaigns. He was nominated for the post last year and went through a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." [USAToday]
ENZI UP OVER CHENEY: POLL - Mike Enzi, who overnight went from "backbench GOP senator who everyone confused with Mike Crapo and/or James Risch" to "befuddled crusader against America's least-favorite family," is leading his new challenger by over 30 points according to a new poll. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Enzi is ahead of Cheney by 55 percent to 21 percent among GOP primary voters, according to the Republican firm Harper Polling, which conducted the survey for the Conservative Intelligence Briefing blog. His favorable rating is 76 percent among Wyoming Republicans, with just 6 percent viewing him unfavorably. Forty-eight percent say Enzi has done enough to deserve a fourth term, while just 28 percent think someone else should have a chance...While Cheney is generally well-liked in Wyoming, many of the state's Republicans have yet to make up their minds about her: 45 percent view her favorably, 15 percent unfavorably, and 40 percent say they haven't heard of her or don't have an opinion." [HuffPost]
Don't expect Nancy Pelosi to donate to Peter King's exploratory committee: "New York Republican Rep. Pete King has been stoking talk of running for president in 2016 over the last couple days, saying someone needs to take on the Ted Cruz/Rand Paul wing of the GOP. He's already facing some skepticism. Asked on Friday about what she thought of a White House bid from the former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had a telling response. She smiled and asked in return, 'Was he serious?'" [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]
VIRGINIA FIRST LADY MAY HAVE RECEIVED FREE DENTAL CARE - In an alternate universe, Governor Creigh Deeds would be tamping down 2016 chatte--BWAHAHAHAHAHA. No he wouldn't. WaPo: "Investigators looking into gifts to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his family have asked questions about whether first lady Maureen McDonnell received cosmetic dental work for free, according to two people familiar with the probe. Federal officials have been investigating allegations that a dentist within the large Richmond-area practice of W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. provided cosmetic dentistry services at no charge to the first lady, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Free dental work would expand the number of gifts that the first family has received and add a new name to what has been a short list of benefactors. It also would fit a pattern of items given to Maureen McDonnell -- including designer clothing and accessories -- that appear to have been aimed at polishing her image as first lady." [WaPo]
HOUSE RESOUNDINGLY REJECTS GEORGE W. BUSH - Joy Resmovits: "The House of Representatives voted Friday to pass a replacement of the long-expired No Child Left Behind Act, the first time the nation's sweeping federal education policy law has been updated on the floor of Congress since its passage 12 years ago. Only Republicans voted for the bill, yielding 221-207 in favor of the bill, called the Student Success Act. In 2001, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, with bipartisan support from politicians such as Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). That law required for the first time that states accepting federal education money show their schools were making progress...The new bill, written by House education committee chair Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), shows how far Republicans have departed from Bush's big-government ideas on education. The bill abandons NCLB's signature metric and has no requirement that states set annual goals for schools. 'Hindsight is now 20-20 and we can now identify the law's weaknesses,' Kline said Friday. He called it a 'one-size-fits-all mandate that fails to provide schools any meaningful information about their students' performance.'" [HuffPost]
GORDON HUMPHREY!!! - Add two-term Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey (N.H.) to the growing list of former politicians who think this country is drifting into a dark place. He's working to find a nice country for Ed Snowden to find asylum in, starting with Sweden. "We need to bring to justice those that have trampled our rights," Humphrey told Laura Goldman. "Congress has so far made no effort to find out who ordered this and remove them from office. Yahoo and Google were forced to be accomplices and turn over private emails to public officials." [Naked Philadelphian]
NEW ABORTION RESTRICTIONS IN TEXAS REACHING 1:1 RATIO WITH EXECUTIONS - Yeeeeeeeeeehaaaaawwwwwwww!!! Laura Bassett: The same day Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a bill that may lead to the closure of most abortion clinics in the state, Republican state legislators introduced a bill that would ban abortions as soon as the fetal heartbeat can be detected. ThinkProgress first reported that state Reps. Phil King (R), Dan Flynn (R), and Geanie Morrison (R) filed House Bill 59 on Thursday, which, if enacted, would be on par with the most severe abortion ban in the country. The bill would require women seeking abortion to first undergo an ultrasound, and if the fetal heartbeat can be detected -- which usually occurs around six weeks of pregnancy -- she would be banned from having the procedure. Many women don't even know they're pregnant after six weeks. In order to effectively detect a heartbeat that early into the pregnancy, doctors usually have to perform a transvaginal ultrasound, which is more invasive than the traditional jelly-on-the-belly procedure. A spokeswoman for Flynn told HuffPost that the bill has no chance of being debated and is only intended to make a statement." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a racoon awkwardly stealing cat food
PEGGY NOONAN'S VIBRATIONS ARE GETTING THE BEST OF HER - Politico: "Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan believes that House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa dropped a "bombshell" on Thursday when he told reporters that the IRS's chief counsel was involved in developing the agency's controversial guidelines for reviewing tea party cases. "The IRS scandal was connected this week not just to the Washington office--that had been established--but to the office of the chief counsel," she wrote on Thursday night. 'That is a bombshell... And Democrats know it.' But it isn't a bombshell, and Noonan should know as much because she wrote about it exactly two months ago in another Wall Street Journal column. 'Reuters reported high-level IRS officials, including its chief counsel, knew in August 2011 about the targeting,' she wrote on May 18, 2013, in a column highlighted today by the liberal watchdog Media Matters." [Politico]
- The rapping weatherman is back, has brought a friend. [http://bit.ly/14na0HV]
- A coffee machine that gets to work whenever it detects an audible yawn. [http://bit.ly/15KwMpT]
- Blindfolded man tricked into thinking he was bungee jumping The reality was nowhere near as glamorous. [http://bit.ly/12PaxAF]
- Mars used to have an atmosphere like Earth's but then it began to show male planet baldness (ba-dum-tish) and now it's quite the albino planet. [http://bit.ly/12BDb4S]
- For some reason Ron Swanson is peeing on a lot of things in this music video. [http://bit.ly/12BEuRi]
- Not only is there a formula to formulaic Hollywood movies, it originates in a book by a screenwriting guru. [http://slate.me/122Pps8]
- The definition of a "girls' night out" changes drastically at 30. [http://bit.ly/15Qowoq]
@elisefoley: Apparently today is the birthday of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Business Insider, Clueless and the oldest manatee in captivity
@pourmecoffee: Fox News tonight: Should you be terrified or afraid of Obama? A fair and balanced debate.
Tonight: Paul Begala makes the trek up to Anchorage for a fundraising benefiting
[Corrected time/date] Tomorrow, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm: A Murkowski staffer writes us: "Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and her office are taking on all challengers in the 'Young Faces of ALS Corn Toss Challenge' at the Fairgrounds near the ballpark to raise money for Lou Gehrig's disease research. Look for her; she'll be the ringer on the GALS duo" [Link]
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