08/28/2013 05:55 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Fifty Years After March On Washington, Still No White House Tours

Fifty years ago today, Dr. King marched so that Americans would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their voter ID card. Fox News commemorated the occasion by reporting that rap offends some people, but respectfully refrained from discussions about hip hop barbecues. And John Boehner asked President Obama to provide a detailed rationale for a Syria bombing campaign, otherwise he'll move to vote to defund it 40 times. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, August 28th, 2013:

@cbellantoni Here's 1st @NewsHour excerpt of President Obama saying he has "not made a decision" on Syria: bit.ly/185gpVS

SYRIA: NUMBER OF LAWMAKERS CALLING FOR CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL GROWS - Roll Call: "The number of lawmakers who have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to consult with Congress before he strikes Syria has nearly tripled in the past 24 hours — to 93 and counting... the letter penned by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., pushes the president to 'receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria.' While the letter lacks signatures from top leaders, it now has 77 Republicans and 16 Democrats signed on. The letter will be sent to the president at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Among the Republicans on the letter are Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas, House Republican Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford of Oklahoma and some close Boehner allies, including Tom Latham of Iowa, Mike Simpson of Idaho, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, and Tom Price of Georgia. Democrats include Rep. Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee." [Roll Call]

John Boehner wants a debriefing, yo: "I respectfully request that you, as our country’s commander-in-chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy. In addition, it is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution." [Office of the Speaker]

VAST CONSPIRACY AGAINST LARRY SUMMERS - A broad coalition of opponents to Larry Summers is working behind the scenes to make the former Obama economic adviser's nomination and confirmation to the Federal Reserve chairmanship as difficult as possible, according to several people involved in the operation. The opposition so far has been muted, as members of the coalition, who are largely sympathetic to the president, hoped that reports of Summers' impending nomination were merely a trial balloon that could be popped without a public battle. But as the White House appears increasingly likely to forge ahead in nominating Summers to the post, his critics are preparing to increase the intensity and volume of their opposition. [HuffPost]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS, HERITAGE TOTALLY IN A FIGHT - The Republican Study Committee is pissed the Heritage Foundation pushed for separating food stamps from the farm bill and then urged Republicans to vote against the resulting farm-only farm bill. Tim Alberta: "According to several sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the Republican Study Committee -- a group of 172 conservative House members -- has barred Heritage Foundation employees from attending its weekly meeting in the Capitol building. The conservative think tank has been a presence at RSC meetings for decades and enjoys a close working relationship with the committee and its members. But that relationship is now stretched thin, sources say, due to a series of policy disputes that culminated with a blowup over last month's vote on the the farm bill." [National Journal]

CLASSIC PODESTA - Tim Carney: "Super-lobbyist Tony Podesta is unloading his $1.8 million Capitol Hill townhouse, and he’s paying Sen. Mary Landrieu’s husband to sell it for him. Frank Snellings is married to Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat and member of the Appropriations Committee. When not raising their children or helping Landrieu’s reelection campaign, Snellings is a realtor at Coldwell Banker. Podesta, one of the most connected Democratic lobbyists in town, has retained Snellings as his listing agent for the famed 'Podesta Townhouse.'" The Landrieus live in a huge townhouse on Capitol Hill. [Examiner]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless: "Arthur, I was laid off July 12, now on Cobra. Called CareFirst today in MD to get my own insurance plan. Advised to wait as I am required to get Obama's socialized plan 1/1/14. Meantime, fought my employer and finally got my MD unemployment benefit that comes to me on a spendable Visa/Debit card not in my checking account to pay my mortgage. Also learned food stamps are on an 'Independence Card' Visa also. Shouldn't the name be Dependence card?" [Hang in there!]

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DIGNITARIES MARK 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH ON WASHINGTON - And as our country's myriad "stand your ground" laws, economic parity among the races and demographically proportional prison populations can attest, the dream has been completely realized. Times: "President Obama stepped on Wednesday into the space where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stood and summoned his iconic dream of a colorblind society in a celebration of a half-century of progress and a call to arms for the next generation... 'To dismiss the magnitude of this progress... that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years,' Mr. Obama said as Dr. King’s relatives, compatriots and admirers watched. 'But we would dishonor those heroes as well to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete.'...Mr. Obama, who was preceded by two former presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, took veiled shots at his political opponents, criticizing those who 'practice the old politics of division'... The Rev. Bernice King, Dr. King’s daughter, who spoke after the former presidents, noted that there were no women on the program 50 years ago, but that a number of powerful women spoke on Wednesday afternoon." [NYT]

A collection of front pages after the first march on Washington.

BOEHNER, CANTOR DECLINED INVITES - Right now everyone in the speaker's communication team is doing everything in their power to keep their boss from donning his golf outfit and hitting the links. The Hill: "The House’s two most senior Republicans, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), turned down invitations to speak at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Boehner opted to speak at a separate congressional ceremony commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s delivery of the 'I Have a Dream' speech on Capitol Hill, Roll Call reported, rather than at Wednesday’s event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial... The majority leader was traveling in North Dakota and Ohio on Wednesday and declined the invitation. Cantor’s decision is notable because he traveled to Selma, Ala., with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) earlier this year, and has stated his commitment to passing a rewrite of the Voting Rights Act in the 113th Congress." [The Hill]

50 years later, rap music makes some people uncomfortable and Fox News is ON IT.

@JimDeMint: Would Martin Luther King, Jr. approve of Obamacare? ow.ly/ombxB #DreamDay #MarchonWashington

NOTHING BUT UNCERTAINTY IN SYRIA - Josh Hersh raises two more questions about the conflict, which is good, because this situation needed some complexity: "Do punitive strikes work? ... Even assuming the strikes can be firmly linked to the president, is there sufficient reason to believe 'punitive' attacks will have the desired impact? Experts and historians generally say no. In an analysis in the Los Angeles Times, Ken Dilanian notes that the 1986 bombing of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi did nothing to deter the Pan-Am bombing two years later; nor did strikes against Osama bin Laden's cohort in East Africa in the late 1990s deter the attacks of 9/11. Will the strikes improve the situation in Syria or the region?... many experts believe the strikes could make things worse. Already more refugees are flooding into saturated neighboring countries. The rebels themselves are fractured and ridden with infighting. Many of the strongest units in the campaign against Assad are affiliated with Sunni jihadist groups, and some of them have already been designated terrorist groups by the U.S. and Europe." [HuffPost]

Oh good, more uncertainty: "Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they're certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime ... But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds?... 'It's unclear where control lies,' one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable." [Foreign Policy]

STEVE LONEGAN PROBABLY DOESN'T WANT TO BE SENATOR - More normative opinionating than stag night at Congressional Country Club. Amanda Terkel: "New Jersey GOP Senate candidate Steve Lonegan said on Tuesday he thinks it's 'weird' that his opponent, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), won't put to rest rumors about his sexual orientation. 'It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don't know if you saw the stories last year. They've been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o'clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure,' Lonegan, the conservative former mayor of Bogota, N.J., told Newsmax. Lonegan's comments imply that someone who is gay is not 'a guy.' In a Washington Post profile published on Tuesday, Booker said that he is perfectly comfortable if people are unsure about his sexual orientation and that he wants to keep his romantic life private." [HuffPost]

Booker responds: "It's just disheartening to hear somebody, in this day and age, in the United States of America, say basically ... that gay men are not men, they're not guys," he said in an interview with HuffPost Live. "It's shocking to one's conscience in this country, where we believe that the content of one's character, the courage in one's heart, the strength of one's sense of purpose, the love that one has for others and their service, is what defines them. And instead he's challenging the masculinity of millions of Americans." [HuffPost]

DE BLASIO AHEAD BY WIDE MARGIN IN NYC MAYORAL RACE - "With 13 days until the primary election, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surges ahead of the Democratic pack for New York City mayor with 36 percent of likely voters, close to the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is at 21 percent, with 20 percent for former City Comptroller William Thompson, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner has 8 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, with 6 percent for City Comptroller John Liu, 1 percent for former Council member Sal Albanese and 8 percent undecided. This compares to the results of an August 13 Quinnipiac University poll which showed de Blasio at 30 percent, with 24 percent for Quinn and 22 percent for Thompson. In possible Democratic primary runoff matchups: De Blasio tops Quinn 59 - 30 percent; De Blasio leads Thompson 52 - 36 percent; Thompson bests Quinn 57 - 33 percent." [Quinnipiac]

50 YEARS LATER, THE DREAM LIVES ON: ULTIMATE FRISBEE FINDS CHAMPION IN CONGRESS - Roll Call: "Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., is standing up to the National Park Service on behalf of ultimate flying disc players and other recreational leagues that have been displaced from their fields by tree planting on the Ellipse, an open lawn south of the White House in President’s Park. In a letter released Tuesday by Norton’s office, she asks NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis to propose an alternative site for her constituents’ recreational activities and send 30 days notice of 'any future plans the NPS or the Secret Service has for planting trees in President’s Park.' Norton’s concern over tree-planting in the 52-acre park began in June, when she was contacted by the group Wednesday Night Ultimate on the Ellipse. But the players have been battling since spring to protect the limited public space available for their low-profile sport." [Roll Call]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a kitten attacking a pitbull.

WASHINGTON HAS NATION'S WORST DRIVERS: REPORT - A surprising finding, considering we're so comfortable with gridlock... We'll show ourselves out. WaPo: "Drivers in Washington, D.C. are more than twice as likely to get into traffic accidents than the national average, according to a new report, making residents of the nation’s capital the worst drivers in the country. Washington residents go an average of just 4.8 years between accidents, according to Allstate’s America’s Best Drivers report. It’s the sixth year in a row that Washington has ranked at the bottom of Allstate’s annual survey, which relies on claims data filed with the Illinois-based insurance giant... The data doesn’t conclude why drivers in Washington are worse than in other cities, but [an Allstate spokesman] suggested the capital’s busier lifestyle may be to blame. Washington residents, he said, are also much more likely to drive; more Washingtonians have cars than residents of other large cities, like New York." [WaPo]


- National flags made from food most associated with their countries. Italy has never looked so delicious. [http://bit.ly/12ICKZz]

- Texas Monthly wins the "Best Subhead Of The Year" award. [http://bit.ly/16ooaUe]

- A supercut of talking dogs in movies and television. [http://huff.to/17ke2hU]

- Another supercut, this one on-screen kisses thwarted at the last minute...meaning clips from every movie ever. [http://huff.to/1dnjU09]

- How long "Orange is the New Black" characters would survive if inserted into the "Game of Thrones" universe. [http://bit.ly/1dMoCmL]

- The world's smallest-working Mac was not, sadly, made by the world's smallest graphic designer. [http://bit.ly/1aLZlJK]

- Morgan Freeman went on renown news outlet HLN and recited the definition for "Twerking." [http://bit.ly/17ma5td]


@mattyglesias: Reading this speech it’s really shameful how obsessed MLK was with playing the race card.

@joshgreenman: How were people ever moved by the "I Have a Dream Speech" when they couldn't see it broken down in a word cloud?

@sahilkapur: On background, I agree. MT @elisefoley It's so annoying aides won't go on the record to say an innocuous thing

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