President Obama compared the rollout of health care reform to the rollout of Apple's iPad, so apparently people who sign up for insurance through the new exchanges won't get Retina displays at the outset. Obama and Harry Reid disagreed sharply over whether Republicans' overarching goal is to make poor people sick or to oppress minorities. And the president promised to be more transparent about surveillance, a move political observers could easily see through. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 9th:
OBAMA LAMENTS BEING ONLY PERSON IN WORLD WHO CARES - Jen Bendery: "During a White House press conference, Obama at times appeared incredulous as he described the years-long effort by Republicans to nix the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which has been law since March 2010. House Republicans have voted to repeal the law 40 times. 'The one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don't have health care,' Obama said, referring to the number of people who will have health insurance as a direct result of the law. 'Why is it that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail? Their number one priority?' The president chuckled as he said Republicans at least used to say they would replace the law with a better health care proposal. Not anymore, he said. 'There's not even a pretense now that they're going to replace it with something better,' Obama said. 'The notion is simply that those 30 million people, or the 150 million who are benefiting from other aspects of affordable care, will be better off without it. That's their assertion. Not backed by fact. Not backed by any evidence. It's just become an ideological fixation.'" [HuffPost]
It's also just like an iPad. "There are always 'some glitches' in landmark legislation, he said, from Social Security to Medicare. 'That's true, by the way, of a car company rolling out a new car. That's true of Apple rolling out the new iPad. You will be able to, whenever you want during the course of the next six months and the next year, find occasions where you say 'A-ha! That could've been done a little bit better,' Obama said." [The Hill]
If Republicans have serious no alternative to the Affordable Care Act how do you explain this web page with bullet points on it? Check and mate.
HARRY REID'S JUST PUTTING THIS OUT THERE - Luke Johnson: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Friday that he hopes Republicans are opposing President Barack Obama based on substance and not based on his race. 'It has been obvious that they're doing everything they can to make him fail. I hope that...that's based on substance, not the fact that he's African American,' he told Nevada Public Radio, KNPR." [HuffPost]
MOST TRANSPARENT ADMINISTRATION IN HISTORY PROMISES ADDITIONAL SEE-THROUGHINESS - Sabrina Siddiqui: "President Barack Obama announced new measures Friday to increase transparency and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court amid growing concerns over the National Security Agency's widespread surveillance programs. Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Obama proposed the first of several steps 'to help restore public confidence' following revelations in June that the federal government was secretly mining millions of Americans' phone and electronic communications.... The president's proposed measures focused on reforming Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, under which the NSA programs are considered lawful. The reforms would focus on creating more oversight and greater transparency, particularly through modifications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which currently authorizes the surveillance through highly-classified opinions." [HuffPost]
BURN: "No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot," Obama said. "The fact is, Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies."
To support their claim that the telephone metadata program is constitutional the Obama administration has released a white paper stating "THE TELEPHONY METADATA COLLECTION PROGRAM IS CONSTITUTIONAL." So pretty much settled.
NSA KEEPING YOUR DISHES CLEAN Obama compared the NSA's telephone metadata program to a sink full of dirty dishes, though he said he hasn't done dishes much since he moved into the White House. He promises to get around to them right after he closes Guantanamo. [Mediaite]
MEANWHILE: There's a Darrell Issa aide somewhere preparing to subpoena Jay Leno.
SUMMERS WATCH - Obama and Major Garrett had a classic "I love you bro" moment. Zach Carter: "Obama said that he had defended Summers in a meeting of House Democrats last week because some members of the press had been attacking Summers 'for no reason.' Since Summers had done good work during the early years of his administration, Obama said, he felt compelled to defend his old adviser. But that defense was not an indication that he currently prefers Summers to [Janet] Yellen, he said. 'Major, I'd defend you if people were saying something that wasn't true about you,' Obama said. He did not detail which criticisms of Summers he found untrue." [HuffPost]
Obama also called Janet Yellen "Mr. Yellen," significantly increasing her chances of becoming the Fed chair.
WHERE'S ELIOT NELSON? We sent him to Alaska to find the Bridge to Nowhere. Mike Painter of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly said they might never get that thing done: "Uncle Ted is no longer with us. Gov. Frank is no longer in office. Our best time for a hard link access to Gravina has come and gone. It did get started; we did get the Gravina Highway; it looked like it was going to happen. But politics as they may be, the moon and the stars are no longer in alignment." [ktoo.org]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) told a horror story to his constituents during a town hall in Welch, Okla., on Thursday. In a video of the event posted by ThinkProgress, the freshman Republican said he was in Crystal City, Va., buying groceries in a nice but crowded store when he noticed something strange. "Every lane was open and it was backed up and I noticed everybody was giving that card," Mullin said, apparently referring to the electronic benefit transfer cards most states use to distribute food stamps. Then he noticed this couple next to him. "This guy was built like a brick house. I mean he had muscles all over him. He was in a little tank top and pair of shorts and really nice Nike shoes. And she was standing there, and she was all in shape and she looked like she had just come from a fitness program. She was in the spandex, and you know, they were both physically fit. And they go up in front of me and they pay with that card." Mullin knew what he'd witnessed. "Fraud," he said. "Absolute 100 percent, all of it is fraud. There's fraud all through that." [HuffPost]
Mullin is also a raging birther.
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PAUL LePAGE WANTS TO LeKILL REPORTERS - Nick Wing: "Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) launched a targeted verbal strike on a local newspaper Friday, joking that he wished he could find the office of the Portland Press Herald and 'blow it up.'
LePage made the comments, the latest in an ongoing tiff between the governor and area newspapers, before climbing into the cockpit of a F-35 Lightning II fighter jet simulator. 'I want to find the Press Herald building and blow it up,' he said. The simulator reportedly allowed the outspoken governor to shoot at enemy planes, but he had no such luck tracking down a virtual newspaper building." [HuffPost]
CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GUY? Jack Mirkinson and Rebecca Shapiro have suggestions for New York's least charming mayoral candidate: "Maybe, if a nice reporter from England's ITV network named Lucy Watson comes up to you, you probably shouldn't start mocking her because she's from another country. Did you know lots of New Yorkers are from other countries? Maybe you shouldn't say things like 'It's hard to take you seriously' because she has a different accent than you, or even make a lame attempt at using a British accent. Lots of New Yorkers have different accents than you do! Would you make fun of them in the same way?" [HuffPost]
OBAMA SAYS NOTHING IS PERFECT - Afterward, he looked at the floor for a while and muttered, "Everything is pointless." Elise Foley: "President Barack Obama said on Friday that he is certain the Senate-passed immigration reform bill could pass the House, if Republicans stopped refusing to bring it for a vote. 'I am absolutely confident that if that bill was on the floor of the House, it would pass,' he said at a press conference at the White House. 'The challenge right now is not that there aren't a majority of House members, just like a majority of Senate members, who [are] prepared to support this bill, the problem is internal Republican caucus politics." ... He said critics are wrong to argue the bill isn't good enough because it wouldn't fully fix the problem. 'I don't know a law that solves a problem 100 percent,' Obama said, citing the discrimination that remains despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. 'That doesn't make them bad laws,' he added. 'It just means that there are very few human problems that are 100 percent solvable.'" [HuffPost]
RINO AGREES - Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) also thinks the Senate immigration bill should have gotten a vote. Marijke Rowland: "'The Senate bill won't get a vote in the House, and it's something that could have helped this community,' Denham said to the some 25 people present. 'I am frustrated. I thought we'd get this done before the August work period. I think the Senate made tremendous progress. It was done bipartisan and I thought that would be enough to get the House moving forward.' The assembled group included concerned residents, area attorneys, church pastors, union representatives, chamber members and Latino organizers. Many wanted to know why a comprehensive reform seemed out of reach in the House. 'I don't know I have a good answer,' Denham said. 'It probably has a lot more to do with politics than policy.'" [Modesto Bee]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - National Geographic hung out with some lions in the Serengeti. The videos are pretty amazing. [NatGeo]
HUH. "Looks as if Adrian Fenty took the phrase "Go West, young man" to heart -- and has done very well for himself. Last year, the former D.C. mayor scored a plum job with Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley's hottest venture capital firms. Now we've learned that Fenty is dating Laurene Powell Jobs, the billionaire widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs." [WaPo]
SUPPORT GROWS FOR REDSKINS NAME CHANGE FAVORED BY ALL SENTIENT BEINGS - John Flowers: "As obnoxious as team owner Dan Snyder can be defending the name, no one has ever suggested a worthy replacement. Until now. Perhaps the best suggestion has come from Redskins fan and Huffington Post reporter Arthur Delaney. Noting the team's D.C.-ness and that 'At least two former Skins players were known as secretaries of defense,' he suggests the following: 'This team should be called the Washington Department of Football.'" [MSNBC.com]
An early mockup of the Doff's team logo.
TGI FRIDAY'S COMING TO COLUMBIA HEIGHTS - Can a restaurant survive on ironic meals? [WCP]
- Here are some skateboarding mice. [Buzzfeed]
- Bill Nye tells us whether we could stop an asteroid on a collision course for Earth. [ASAPscience]
- Adorable, sleepy cats and dogs are adorable, sleepy. [HuffPost]
- Grown Ups 2 premieres in Guantanamo tonight (ha, torture). [Facebook]
- Sharknado 2 gets an appropriately stupid name. [Mashable]
- Eight songs to sum up the Breaking Bad final season. [Billboard]
@aedwardslevy: Come on, everybody complains about Summers in Washington.
@igorbobic: Release the skeet shooting dish photograph
@justin_horvath: I can't decide which is more criminal: Snowden's #NSA leaks or those yellow curtains in the East Room. @ethanklapper @AriMelber @jbendery
@EvanMcSan: Official White House keg conveyance, aka Foam One pic.twitter.com/ZDBt8iNp2w
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