Eric Holder took a break from prosecuting your grandmother's weed dispensary to announce the loosening of unjust sentencing laws. Mitch McConnell wants Republicans in the Senate to hold their noses and work together. And a cash-strapped Hill intern is asking strangers to fund her summer in D.C. so that she might one day land a job in Congress and have strangers fund her summers in D.C. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 12th, 2013:
NORTH CAROLINA ADDRESSING SCOURGE OF MINORITY VOTING - Luke Johnson: "North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a bill Monday requiring photo identification at the polls and eliminating a slew of voting measures designed to protect against voter disenfranchisement. The governor, eschewing a more traditional signing ceremony, announced by way of a YouTube video that he had signed House Bill 589. The bill will require voters to show photo identification -- a driver's license, passport, veteran's ID, tribal card -- beginning in the 2016 elections....McCrory said the bill was necessary even if there are very few reported cases of voter fraud. 'Even if the instances of misidentified people casting votes are low, that shouldn’t prevent us from putting this non-burdensome safeguard in place,' he said in a Raleigh News and Observer op-ed. "Just because you haven’t been robbed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lock your doors at night or when you’re away from home." [HuffPost]
TREY RADEL EMBRACED BY RAP COMMUNITY - My name is Trey and I'm here to say, my rapping skillz are A-OK! Roll Call: "The Rap Genius community embraced Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel this past weekend. An essay Radel authored to explain 'Why I’m a Hip Hop Conservative,' originally published by BuzzFeed, was added to the user-generated rap music review site Aug. 10. Rap Genius posts lyrics, news and speeches related to hip-hop music, then allows users to annotate and interpret the meaning. This particular post appeared on the News Genius portion of the site. By Monday afternoon, 17 pop-up annotations had been added to Radel’s 633-word speech. With encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, users fact-checked Radel’s references to lyrics and rappers (Eric B., of Eric B and Rakim, was a D.J., 'not a rapper,' one pointed out). They also expanded on a few autobiographical references that Radel dropped into the essay. One noted that the three languages he speaks are English, Spanish and Italian. Another added a brightly colored marijuana graphic about '4/20' to represent his April 20, 1976, birth date." [Roll Call]
COLLIN PETERSON IS SAD - House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) griped to Ag Week about Eric Cantor's farm bill meddling. "On the prospects for the farm bill, Peterson expressed intense frustration over the role that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has played in the process. 'If I could read Eric Cantor’s mind, I’d have a better idea,' Peterson said. He said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told him as Congress left Washington for a five-week recess that he expects to bring up the nutrition bill immediately when the House returns on Sept. 9, appoint conferees the next day and finish the bill before Sept. 30 when the current farm bill expires. But Peterson said he doesn’t know whether Boehner can live up to that because 'the leadership of the House is not working in concert. You don’t know who is going to be in charge, to have the final say.'" [Ag Week]
The Anthony Weiner photo to end all Anthony Weiner photos (well, to end all SFW Anthony Weiner photos).
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - North Carolina soup kitchens are noticing more clients this month. Something's wrong! "They think the upswing has to do with problems with a new state computer system called NC FAST, or Families Accessing Services through Technology. The software was supposed to streamline social services, but officials have acknowledged that glitches have prevented some residents from receiving their food stamp allotment on time.... A spokesman with the state Department of Health and Human Services said each county is going through a learning curve in the transition to NC FAST, and the state is working to provide more training and fix problems....'We are concerned that some clients are experiencing delays, and are working around the clock with county offices to ensure that applications are processed quickly and accurately.'" [WRAL]
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HOLDER PROPOSES DRUG SENTENCING REFORMS - Robin Wilkey and Ryan Reilly: "Attorney General Eric Holder called for 'sweeping, systemic changes' to the American judicial system on Monday, urging 'a frank and constructive dialogue about the need to reform a broken system.' As part of that effort, the Justice Department will no longer list drug quantities in indictments of certain low-level drug offenders, allowing defendants who lack ties to gangs, violence and large-scale drug trafficking organizations to avoid harsh mandatory minimums, Holder announced during the Monday speech before the American Bar Association...Holder outlined other reforms as part of his new 'Smart on Crime' plan during the speech, including allowing for the early release of non-violent elderly federal defendants who had served significant portions of their sentences, thereby helping to reduce the overall federal prison population. He also called for greater use of incarceration alternatives and renewed focus on prevention, pointing out reforms in typically conservative states that have steered funding towards treatment and supervision, rather than funneling more money into prisons." [HuffPost]
MCCONNELL TRYING TO LAY DOWN THE LAW, WILL UNDOUBTEDLY FAIL - This will end with Ted Cruz reserving the right to object in the middle of a caucus breakfast. Politico: "Ahead of fall fiscal talks that already have Washington nervous about a government shutdown, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is clamping down on Republicans with a firm message to stick with him on spending. With the nearly unanimous GOP rejection last week of Senate Democrats’ transportation funding bill, McConnell senses an opportunity to dig in on an issue that highlights the most elemental difference between the two parties: the size of government. The GOP leader sees a winning political message heading into the fall before the 2014 midterms. Showing himself as the leader of a conference bent on spending cuts as he runs for reelection in conservative Kentucky won’t hurt either. To McConnell, Republicans are simply following the law established by the Budget Control Act — which created the sequester’s automatic spending cuts — to trim billions in spending each year while Democrats are the party of 'tax and spend,' turning their backs on the last big bipartisan budget deal. A vote for the transportation bill would have violated Congress’s promise to stick to the agreed-upon spending levels, Republicans say." [Politico]
MCCONNELL AIDE SORRY HE MADE HIS BOSS SAD - The Hill: "An aide who said he was holding his nose while managing Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign acknowledged his comments 'hurt' the Senate minority leader. 'He wasn't angry, he wasn't upset, but I could see the hurt in his eyes,' McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in an interview released Monday with WHAS-11...Benton created waves last week when a private phone conversation went public in which he said he would be 'sorta holding my nose for two years' while working for McConnell. McConnell primary challenger, Matt Bevin, pounced on the comments, saying they showed 'even McConnell's top guy realizes that his boss is not a true conservative.'... 'It was just so dumb,' Benton continued. 'I don't feel that way at all. Being asked to manage Senator McConnell's campaign is one of the great honors of my life, and I believe in the man very much.'" [The Hill]
COURT STRIKES DOWN STOP-AND-FRISK - First the 64-ounce soda ban and now this? It's been a bad stretch for Michael Bloomberg but a fabulous one for Dominican guys who like slurpees. Times: "In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms. In a blistering decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, found that the Police Department had 'adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling' that targeted young minority men for stops. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the city would appeal the ruling, angrily denouncing the judge for deliberately not giving the city 'a fair trial.' The mayor cited the benefits of stop-and-frisk, crediting the tactic for making the city safer and for ridding the streets of thousands of illegal guns. But in her ruling, Judge Scheindlin found that in doing so, the police systematically stopped innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing." [NYT]
Cheer up, white-dominated patriarchy of New York, you can always move to Texas! "White male Democrats once dominated Texas politics. But next year’s elections could leave five or fewer of them in the House. As Democrats put their emphasis on turning out more women and Hispanic voters and Republicans try to maintain advantages in the state’s small towns and rural areas, the trend, decades in the making, is expected to continue...The polarization of the parties along racial and ideological lines makes it harder to reach compromise on economic issues and other matters. White male Democrats used to serve as a bridge between liberal and conservative elements of the party, but the conservative wing of the Democratic Party has been obliterated... Democrats started the 2013 legislative session with seven white male members. At least two plan to retire... Of the remaining white male lawmakers, only Rep. Tracy King of Batesville hails from a rural area. Just two white male Democrats serve in the Senate." [Dallas Morning News]
AMERICANS RENOUNCING CITIZENSHIP AT RECORD RATES - Sorry to see you go! Please let us know what we can do to make your American experience better. Christina Wilkie: "The number of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship jumped to 1,131 in the second quarter of this year, a whopping sixfold increase over the same three-month period in 2012, when just 189 Americans gave up their U.S. passports, as Bloomberg reported Friday. Although the departing don't always go public with their reasons, taxes seem to be a frequent complaint. Experts attribute the latest surge to tough new measures to be implemented next year by the Internal Revenue Service to locate and tax Americans' assets held overseas...One of the highest-profile Americans to give up her passport in recent years is pop music icon Tina Turner, a longtime resident of Switzerland, who renounced her U.S. citizenship earlier this year in favor of Swiss citizenship. At the time, Turner said she couldn't imagine living anywhere but Switzerland, and Turner's agent said she simply wanted to 'clarify her situation.'" [HuffPost]
BIRTHER GOES FULL BIRTHER - With a name like Farenthold, someone needs to check that the Texas lawmaker isn't beholden to some vast Belgian conspirarcy. BuzzFeed: "Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold said that Republicans could secure the votes to impeach Barack Obama in the House of Representatives. Farenthold was speaking at an open house held at a Civic Center in Luling, Texas, Saturday according to a YouTube video description and the Congressman’s online schedule. His answer came from a constituent’s question about conspiracy theories surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate. 'I think unfortunately the horse is already out of the barn on this, on the whole birth certificate issue,' Farenthold said. 'The original Congress when his eligibility came up should have looked into it and they didn’t. I’m not sure how we fix it.'" [BuzzFeed]
Somebody convene a select Senate committee to investigate: "A rodeo stunt at the Missouri State Fair has come under criticism after a clown donned a Barack Obama mask and stuck on a broom that descended from his backside. The stunt took place during the bull riding competition on Saturday night. Rodeo announcer Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association and a school superintendent, announced a special guest: 'President Obama.' Another voice is heard over the loudspeaker working up the crowd and saying, 'We're going to stomp Obama now.'" [CNN]
Justice: The rodeo clown has been banned for life.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog playing by himself.
HILL INTERN CROWDFUNDING INTERNSHIP - Oh man, sequestration is really hurting Congress' interns. Oh wait... City Paper: "Some unpaid interns haveused the court system to challenge the legality of their nonexistent wages. Others have successfully pleaded their cases for pay in letters-to-the-editor pages. But one young Hill intern coming to D.C. next week has a simpler approach: crowd-sourced funding. Las Vegas native Jessica Padron, 20, launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign so she could accept her dream unpaid internship in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office. Padron is hoping to raise $6,500 by Aug. 25 to cover her living expenses in the nation’s capital for four months, including housing, food, and miscellaneous expenses. She estimates that she’ll need $4,200 for “modest” intern housing. (Housing in D.C., she wrote, “has reached and surpassed levels of New York.”) The campaign has raked in $2,775 so far, and patrons wishing to donate $100 or more will receive free admittance to Padron’s “Going Away Party Extravaganza,” which will be catered by a chef who has donated his expertise for the occasion. No one has claimed this perk yet." [WCP]
- Photos of bored fathers at One Direction concerts. [http://bit.ly/14pC4ov]
- A guy filmed himself as he ran onto the pitch during a Real Madrid exhibition match in the States. [http://bit.ly/13TbnNk]
- Comedian plays "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in 19 different voices. [http://bit.ly/14oMcxC]
- The "Breaking Bad" theme played with meth lab equipment. [http://bit.ly/17jG9xF]
- Japanese photographer pretends to have a girlfriend in these Instagram photos. Sad. [http://bit.ly/163qwvc]
- Eighteen obscure albums recorded by 1980s TV stars, including Bruce Willis' (yes, he was on TV) "The Return of Bruno." [http://bit.ly/17joPsD]
- The world's greatest pizza dough twirler. [http://bit.ly/13eEJr4]
@pourmecoffee: It's Erwin Schrödinger's birthday, OR IS IT? You will not know until you read this tweet. It totally is.
@daveweigel: Don't worry, America, I have filed my 1700 word story on how Ted Cruz has already won the Iowa caucuses. On to 2020 speculation!
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