An eventful few days in journalism as Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos announced he's buying the Washington Post, Barry Diller finalized the sale of Newsweek
and the evening shift manager at Books-A-Million hinted at a possible Daily Caller sale. A Republican congressman thinks tanning taxes unfairly target white people (not to mention an obvious carve-out to Big Sun). And Reince Priebus insisted that CNN was corrupting the political process with its forthcoming Hillary Clinton documentary. He's right: the network should get back to informing voters with more wall-to-wall royal offspring coverage. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 5th, 2013:
WASHINGTON POST BEING SOLD TO JEFF BEZOS - WaPo: "The Washington Post Co. has agreed to sell its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, ending the Graham family's stewardship of one of America's leading news organizations after four generations. Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world's richest men, will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications to the Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses. Seattle-based Amazon will have no role in the purchase; Bezos himself will buy the news organization and become its sole owner when the sale is completed, probably within 60 days. The Post Co. will change to a new, still-undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without The Post thereafter...Few people were aware that a sale was in the works for the paper...Bezos, in an interview... expressed optimism about its future. 'I don't want to imply that I have a worked-out plan,' [Editor's note: That sound you hear is Erik Wemple's head exploding] he said. 'This will be uncharted terrain and it will require experimentation.'... The deal does not include the company's headquarters on 15th St. NW in Washington (the building has been for sale since February), or Foreign Policy magazine, Slate.com, the Root.com, the WaPo Labs digital-development operation or Post-owned land along the Potomac River in Alexandria." [WaPo]
Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist weighs in: "For Profit colleges and cardboard boxes filling landfills. The reporters are more compromised than ever!" Thanks, PSLGOPL!
@sarahfrier: Washington Post Co. is worth $4.2 billion in the stock market today. The newspapers, sold for $250M, are a minor chunk of the company.
CHUCK GRASSLEY TARGETING WALGREENS - This could become a big deal. Grassley, known for serious oversight that can go beyond headlines, has made his second major move aimed at alleged abuse in the 340B program, which is designed to provide low-cost drugs to patients at hospitals that serve poor populations. The program has metastasized and the for-profit drug chain Walgreens now makes millions through its contract relations with "nonprofit" hospitals. Grassley's letter asks, more or less, uh, wtf? [PDF]
If you're a lobbyist who works on one side of this issue or the other, let us know if you've got good stories at email@example.com. This one seems fun.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Email of People on Food Stamps: "I receive very little in food stamps and only $720 on SSI and with the high cost of groceries I only ate one or two meals a day. Luckily I started buying a protein drink and use that instead of buying any meats and just eat one meal with veggies & fruit. Lost plenty of weight which I no longer need to do but can't afford to eat more meals. One can eat more of the foods that aren't good for you to stretch dollars and I imagine that's why a lot of people never get better but not me, although if I could afford it, I'd eat organic. It's humilating to me to have to accept them but I am unable to work. There are food banks but it's mostly things I wouldn't eat." [Hang in there!]
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RNC THREATENS CNN, NBC OVER HILLARY CLINTON FEATURES - Chairman Reince Priebus warned both networks that his party will offer debate agreements with other stations unless two upcoming Hillary Clinton projects are scrapped. Alternately, the networks could also re-air, "DC 9/11: Time of Crisis" and everything would be hunky dorey. Sabrina Siddiqui: "Priebus added that if the networks do not agree to pull their programming prior to the start of the RNC's Summer Meeting on Aug. 14, he will 'seek a binding vote stating that the RNC will neither partner with these networks in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates they sponsor.' In recent weeks, CNN announced a documentary on Clinton that will run in theaters and on TV. NBC said it was planning a miniseries starring Diane Lane as the former secretary of state...CNN spokeswoman Allison Gollust provided the following statement to The Huffington Post, '...Should they decide not to participate in debates on CNN, we would find it curious, as limiting their debate participation seems to be the ultimate disservice to voters.' NBC News spokeswoman Erika Masonhall tweeted, 'NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project.'" [HuffPost]
Chuck Schumer is so enamored with his new bipartisan bestie, John McCain, that he wants to clone the Arizona senator. Previously we thought cloning was the kind of thing Schumer would denounce at a Friday morning press conference. "Well look, I think the Senate has had a pretty good six months, a lot better than either house has had in awhile," Schumer told HuffPost's Sam Stein. "There have been a good number of bipartisan initiatives that have passed, of course immigration, but the farm bill, the agreement that we worked out on the nominations, the water bill, Violence Against Women Act, the fiscal cliff -- quite a bit has been passed in a bipartisan mode in the Senate. The House seems to just be dysfunctional. It's sort of breaking down...Why aren't there more John McCains? It's not a mystery why there's a John McCain. The question is, why hasn't even a stronger group in the House created some John McCains? And the redistricting system makes it much harder." [HuffPost]
NRA TARGETING SCIENCE, ANIMALS - Christina Wilkie: "In a move bizarrely reminiscent of its 'anti-gun' enemies list, the National Rifle Association announced a new plan Friday to target scientists, environmental groups, government regulators and individuals who favor banning the use of lead in gun ammunition. The targeted attacks are part of Hunt for Truth.org, a newly revamped effort by the nation's largest gun lobby to block attempts to regulate the use of lead in bullets. Regulations have been proposed in some states after studies have shown that millions of birds -- most notably the highly endangered California condor -- are dying of lead poisoning after ingesting lead bullet fragments. The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, estimates that hunters in the United States shoot more than 3,000 tons of lead into the outdoors every year, and that as many as 20 million birds die annually from lead poisoning. To the NRA, however, the proposed bans on lead in bullets represent an "assault" on "traditional" hunting and on hunters' rights...The NRA singled out a law under consideration in California which would require hunters in the Golden State to use lead-free ammunition. Lead free bullets are widely available from top manufacturers, and have not been shown to function any differently than bullets containing the highly toxic element." [PUBLICATION]
WENDY DAVIS TALKS POLITICAL FUTURE - Laura Bassett: "Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) sounded a lot like a gubernatorial candidate in her speech at the National Press Club on Monday, touting her ability to reach across the aisle and discussing everything from education policy to women's rights to the infrastructure and economy of Texas. But she stopped short of announcing her candidacy for governor, saying only that she is "working very hard to decide" which office she will run for in 2014. 'I do think that in Texas, people feel like we need a change from the very fractured, very partisan leadership that we've seen in our state governor right now,' Davis said at the fundraiser luncheon. 'I can say with absolute certainty that I will run for one of two offices -- either my state senate seat, or the governor's.'" [HuffPost]
WISCONSIN LOVES CHEESE, UNSURE ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE - Nick Wing: "Don't expect Wisconsin to take any steps toward marriage equality in the near future, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said at a weekend conference in Milwaukee... Walker [noted] that Wisconsin voters adopted a gay marriage ban to the state constitution in a 2006 vote. 'I just don't see that as being anything that's going to be addressed anytime soon.' Walker previously faced pressure on the issue from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) at the National Governors Association meeting. Quinn suggested that Walker should help ensure that same-sex couples have equal rights throughout the region. Minnesota began conducting same-sex weddings last week...Wisconsin's views on gay marriage have changed since the passage of its 2006 gay marriage ban with 59 percent support. Recent polling has showed 46 percent of the state is now in favor of same-sex marriage, but that figure is short of the majority that would be needed to overturn the amendment..." [HuffPost]
What ever happened to putting someone's name on a park bench? USA Today: "The dead can't vote, but they can give money to politicians. Thirty-two people listed on federal campaign records as 'deceased' have contributed more than $586,000 to congressional and presidential candidates and political parties since Jan. 1, 2009, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. Last week, news emerged of a possible donation by a deceased contributor in a high-profile Senate race. A super PAC aiding Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election reported Wednesday that it had received a $100,000 contribution from Houston home builder and GOP mega-donor Bob Perry on June 3 -- nearly two months after his April 13 death... Under federal campaign rules, individuals can make candidates and political committees the beneficiaries of their estates, much in the way they can leave money to favorite charities." [USA Today]
Important political update.
'PURITY' AND 'REPUBLICAN': TWO WORDS THE GOP DOESN'T WANT LINKED IN PEOPLE'S MINDS - Look at what you've done, Grover. Roll Call: "Republican state Sen. Mimi Walters has a 94 percent lifetime rating with California's anti-tax group, but that might not be enough for her to avoid a anti-tax primary challenger as she runs for Congress. Walters is the early front-runner to replace retiring Rep. John Campbell (click here for Roll Call's interview with her). And by every traditional measure, she should win the seat easily. But one vote for a Democrat-sponsored tax extension (SB 11) is being viewed as ideological treason by some anti-tax conservatives. Even though Walters has been a friend for nearly a decade, some fiscal conservatives (including the California-based Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Americans for Tax Reform) view SB 11 as a tax increase and are searching for an alternative to Walters in the congressional race." [Roll Call]
Barring some kind of Republican own goal -- and that never happens -- Max Baucus' Senate seat might be out of the Democrats' hands. WaPo: "Montana state schools superintendent Denise Juneau announced Monday that she will not seek the open Montana Senate seat, leaving Democrats still in search of a standard-bearer in the race.. Juneau's decision comes three weeks after former governor Brian Schweitzer threw Democrats for a curve by declining to run. Since then, a trio of women -- state auditor Monica Lindeen, Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock and now Juneau -- have declined to run...On the GOP side, former state senator Corey Stapleton is running, as is state Rep. Champ Edmunds. Freshman Rep. Steve Daines is also considering running." [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a cat enjoying television.
FLORIDA MAN SAYS DUMB THING - ThinkProgress: "Obamacare's 10% tax on tanning bed services is racist against white people because darker-skinned people don't need to tan. At least, that's what Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) advised Speaker John Boehner to claim in order to turn people against the Affordable Care Act. At a recent town hall meeting, Yoho laid out his strategy to an appreciative crowd: ...' it's a racist tax and I thought I might need to get to a sun tanning booth so I can come out and say I've been disenfranchised because I got taxed because of the color of my skin...'" [ThinkProgress]
- Gas-powered wheelbarrow makes the country life much more fun. [http://bit.ly/15mfgvS]
- This taekwondo instructor really needs to work on his presentation. [http://usat.ly/16mh7gZ]
- Climate change is totally ruining your morning cup of joe. [http://bit.ly/1cprt5P]
- How much pizza, soda and egg nog consumed by the McCallister family in "Home Alone." [http://bit.ly/1412tbK]
- British man visited every country in the world. North Korea was kind of a technicality. [http://bit.ly/15lzDcO]
- Science can now tell us which ATM pin numbers are the worst. [http://ti.me/15gA9IZ]
- A supercut of the best t-shirts worn in movies. [http://huff.to/16oVlJr]
@jasoncherkis: So what elected office will A-Rod now seek in NYC?
@dceiver People who purchased the Washington Post also liked these products'
@NickBaumann Rich guy buys media property, has no plan. cc @Newsweek @tnr @washingtonpost
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