A damning internal audit by the VA found that Comcast customer support has been running the agency for years. House Republicans demanded John Boehner fire their softball team's manager... who will presumably have a soft landing on K Street. And President Obama should stop calling himself "the bear." If there's one type of person people hate more than beleaguered politicians, it's dudes who try to give themselves nicknames. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, June 9th, 2014:
SELLOUT VIRGINIA LAWMAKER TURNS DOWN QUID PRO QUO JOB - You better believe Organizing for America is scrambling to find the most adorable child it can, sticking it in an iron lung, and wheeling it to Phillip Puckett's house. WaPo: " Amid a firestorm of criticism regarding his resignation from the Virginia Senate, Democrat Phillip P. Puckett is withdrawing his name from consideration for a job with the state tobacco commission, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. Puckett (D-Russell) formally resigned his seat Monday and was expected to be appointed deputy director of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission at a meeting, possibly as soon as this week. But after Democrats accused Puckett of selling out, he decided to remain with his job in banking, according to two people who were familiar with his decision. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his decision...It happened 1997, when then-governor James S. Gilmore III (R) turned a Democratic senator from Loudoun, Charles L. Waddell, into his deputy transportation secretary and thereby gave the GOP a 20-19 edge." [WaPo]
Today in Super PACs: "Two Republican media operatives have created a super PAC to defend the GOP-led committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The new Benghazi Truth PAC can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate or individual donors, but not coordinate its spending with any federal candidates." [Montgomery Advertiser]
KY-SEN: GRIMES BREAK PROMISE ON COAL - Looks like the War on Coal© finally has its own Benedict Arnold® #tcot. Politico: "Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign insisted last week that she’d use a high-dollar fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as a forum to promote Kentucky’s coal industry and demand action to protect the use of fossil fuel. That didn’t happen, according to an audio recording of the affair obtained by POLITICO through a source at the event. Instead, when the Kentucky Democrat spoke at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill last Thursday, she stuck to a partisan script, railing against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s record on jobs, the minimum wage and women’s issues.The one word she didn’t say during her 11-minute speech: 'coal.' ... It’s a notable omission for a campaign that went out of its way last week to say that she would “use the event” to raise concerns about environmental rules that are unpopular in Kentucky. After she was criticized for holding a fundraiser with Reid — whose views against coal are unpopular in her state — her campaign said the event would offer a chance to highlight opposition to newly proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency to dramatically cut carbon emissions." [Politico]
Haircuts: Sam Stein (h/t Sam Stein) Jen Bendery (h/t Jen Bendery) Haircutweek: Nick Wing (h/t Nick Wing), Howard Fineman (h/t Howard Fineman), Igor Bobic (h/t Igor Bobic), Luke Johnson (h/t Elise Foley), Jethro Ward (h/t Jon Ward).
@nikkihaley: South Carolina made history this year by passing education reform. We will no longer educate children… http://instagram.com/p/pB7TLcyu6F/
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - There's little chance Congress will revive the unemployment benefits that expired in December, but Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) won't stop talking about it. Levin on Sunday wrote an op-ed calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to support the benefits. A press release sent out by his office on Monday highlighted the fact that if the benefits had not expired, 3 million Americans would have been eligible since then. And later this week, Levin will host a press conference outside the Capitol where unemployed people will tell their stories. "Our government has never terminated unemployment benefits when a full 35 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or more," Levinwrote in the op-ed, published in Roll Call. "It’s cruel. Hardworking Americans desperately seeking new jobs have exhausted their savings, seen their homes foreclosed on, let bills go unpaid, and run out of money needed to just put gas in their cars to go on an interview." [HuffPost]
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OBAMA ENACTS STUDENT LOAN RELIEF - We'll consider this a government handout until classics majors are excluded. ABC News: "Aiming to alleviate the burden of student loan debt, President Barack Obama expanded a program Monday that lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their income every month, and threw his support behind more sweeping Senate legislation targeting the issue. Flanked by student loan borrowers at the White House, Obama said the rising costs of college have left America's middle class feeling trapped. He put his pen to a presidential memorandum that he said could help an additional 5 million borrowers lower their monthly payments. 'I'm only here because this country gave me a chance through education,' Obama said. 'We are here today because we believe that in America, no hard-working young person should be priced out of a higher education.' An existing repayment plan Obama announced in 2010 lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in payments, but is only available for those who started borrowing after October 2007. Obama's memo expands that program by making opening it to those who borrowed anytime in the past." [ABC News]
Stop trying to make "the bear is loose" happen, Mr. President. Courtesy of Washington Times' Ben Wolfgang's pool report: "Immediately after student loan speech, POTUS and chief of staff Denis McDonough, sans suit jackets, took a walk from White House to the Starbucks at 17th and Pennsylvania for a drink. Upon exiting the White House, POTUS remarked 'the bear is loose.' Your pooler caught up with the president, carrying what appeared to be a venti-sized beverage, as he exited the Starbucks. McDonough was double fisting drinks; unclear who the second one was for. (Also checking on details of drink orders)...During the walk, POTUS also instructed press to keep its distance and give him room, at one point telling White House staff: 'let's test your wrangling skills.'"
@ZekeJMiller: Apparently this exists: @BearObama
YOU GET NEGLECTED! YOU GET NEGLECTED! YOU GET NEGLECTED! EVERY-BODY-GETS-NEGLECTED!!!! - Somewhere, sad Eric Shinseki is kicking a can down the road and a frat boy in a passing Jeep Wrangler just shouted, "Hey, ShinSUCKi, think fast!" and chucked a half-full Smoothie King container at his head. WaPo: "The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday that more than 57,000 former troops have waited at least 90 days for their first VA medical appointments and another 64,000 who enrolled in the department’s health system during the past decade have never visited a doctor in the network. Additionally, about 13 percent of VA schedulers have said they were told to falsify appointment-request dates to give the impression that wait times were shorter than they really were, according to the department. The information comes from the agency’s internal audit of 731 VA medical centers, which the VA released Monday. The report said that complicated scheduling practices created confusion among clerks and supervisors, contributing to the problems. It also said the VA’s goal of providing an initial appointment within 14 days of a request was unattainable because of the growing demand for care among veterans. The report came less than two weeks after the VA inspector general’s office confirmed recent allegations that VA hospitals have falsified appointment records to hide treatment delays. Former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned over the scandal on May 30." [WaPo]
WISCONSIN: JUDGE REJECTS STAY OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RULING - "U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb refused to issue a stay on Monday against her recent ruling to allow same-sex marriages in Wisconsin. On Friday, Crabb struck down the state's ban on gay marriage, calling it 'unconstitutional.' It was the 14th federal ruling against state marriage bans since last June, when the Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional...Hundreds of couples married over the weekend in Milwaukee and Madison after county clerks in the state's two largest cities extended office hours following the federal judge's ruling Friday. Couples living elsewhere had to wait until Monday to get licenses because Wisconsin requires residents to apply in the counties where they live. Dozens of couples were initially refused licenses in Appleton, Green Bay and elsewhere while county clerks in those communities weighed what to do and sought advice from the Wisconsin Vital Records Office, which keeps marriage records. Nearly 100 people at the Outagamie County Clerk's office in Appleton objected when told they could not apply for licenses." [AP]
Bill Frist can see this bill from his television and he thinks it's A-OK: "A bill moved to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) desk on Monday that requires hospitals to keep brain-dead pregnant women on life support to protect the fetus, even if the woman's family members object. House Bill 1274, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon (D), specifies that if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant, the doctor must keep her on mechanical support unless her will specifically states that she wants to be taken off life support if she is pregnant. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate last week." [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]
REDSKINS HIRE LOBBYIST - One can only assume that the good folks at McGuireWoods have previously worked to keep the Cleveland Indians' logo extra smile-y. Politico: "The Washington Redskins has brought in K Street reinforcements amid a major political fight brewing over the team’s name. The team hired McGuireWoods Consulting in late May, according to newly-filed lobbying disclosures. The hire of a major K Street firm came just one week after 50 Democratic senators sent a letter to the National Football League asking the league to formally support a change in the Redskins name. 'The N.F.L. can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,' the senators wrote. McGuireWoods will work on 'discussions of team origins, history and traditions, Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and youth sports, activities of Original Americans’ Foundation,' according to the disclosure. The team and McGuireWoods did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Redskins owner Dan Snyder has stood firm against efforts to change the name. 'We’ll never change the name,' Snyder told USA Today last year. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.'" [Politico]
Speaking of football and stupid sayings, the Examiner's "11 times the White House used the 'political football' defense" is today's valiant defense of the English language: "Call it a combination of President Obama’s favorite rhetorical techniques: bemoaning politics and using sports metaphors. Obama and his closest allies just love talking pigskin when on the defensive. The desired effect is to paint the White House as above the Washington fray and more principled than its political rivals." [Examiner]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are two liliger cubs.
ICYMI: JOHN BOEHNER FIRED JOE BARTON - This is sad. Time: Any Little League baseball coach knows the challenge. On an amateur team where skill level varies, it’s tough to find the balance between trying to win games and getting everyone playing time. But for the Republican congressional baseball club, a dispute over playing time had members calling for the manager’s head earlier this year. A 'significant' number of the 31 Republican players quietly sought the resignation of Rep. Joe Barton, the 64-year-old Texas Congressman who coaches the team, according to Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.). The players were unhappy with Barton’s philosophy that everyone who has the courage to sign up should get to play under the lights. They are also miffed about Barton’s unusual strategy of employing separate lineups for fielding, batting and pinch running." [Time]
- Bad hockey commentary. [http://bit.ly/1oDI373]
- An oral history of the "Mighty Ducks" trilogy, including an in-depth discussion of the Quack Attack. [http://ti.me/1tYoENG]
- Short film about a top french chocolatier. [http://bit.ly/1pcIarS]
- Photos from D.C.'s Capital Pride, which took place this weekend across the district. [http://bit.ly/1kdOrfi]
- A trip to Iceland's penis museum. [http://bit.ly/1pvC5EN]
- The magnetic cello is what happens when you combine classical music with Skrillex. [http://bit.ly/1nufo34]
- An infographic breaking down the oddest household pets. [http://bit.ly/1pWojxt]
- BuzzFeed examines the differences between Mexican and American Coke. [http://bit.ly/TAcK1l]
@elisefoley: Last week I walked up to my dad on the beach telling some strangers about my twitter follower count. Parents are funny.
@joshgreenman: Hillary Clinton's eyes when pointedly explaining = Tim Duncan's eyes when challenging a call
@daveweigel: Remember how Obama almost pulled Judd Gregg out of the Senate, but NH’s Dem gov agreed to replace him with an R? VA GOP plays a rougher game
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