Joe Biden says he has no savings account, which explains that time he tried to take out a reverse mortgage on the Naval Observatory. The White House released its legal justification for droning an American citizen, which until now we assumed was John Brennan pointing a finger gun at a picture of a suspected terrorist and yelling "PEW PEW." And the Free Beacon won this week's HuffPost Hill "The Obamas Do Not Have Any White Dogs" Award for citing Han Solo as a reason Hillary Clinton can't be president. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, June 23rd, 2014:
U.S. GONNA DRONE YOU: MEMO - Do yourself a favor: if you and your friends are going to pile in the back of a flatbed pickup truck in a remote area, don't wear traditional Muslim garb while doing so. Matt Sledge: "A federal court released on Monday a Justice Department memorandum justifying the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, but government redactions still left large swathes of the reasoning behind the operation unrevealed. Awlaki, an American citizen who allegedly rose to become a senior member of al Qaeda's Yemen branch, was killed in a September 2011 drone strike carried out by the CIA. Journalists, human rights activists and members of Congress like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have pushed the administration ever since to reveal its rationale for killing an American citizen without a trial. 'There is no precedent directly addressing the question in circumstances such as those present here,' David Barron, a recently confirmed judge for the First Circuit Court of Appeals, writes in the July 2010 memo, acknowledging that he is in uncharted waters as he concludes that the law authorizing force against al Qaeda also justifies killing Awlaki. The document released Monday is a 41-page memo authored by Barron, who was then acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. It was released as part of a public records lawsuit against the government by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times." [HuffPost]
Pro tip: don't take pictures of your penis: "A prominent defender of the National Security Agency, Naval War College professor John Schindler, is under investigation for 'inappropriate content' he allegedly created that appeared on social media, a college official told The Huffington Post in a statement on Monday. Schindler and his wife abruptly shut down their social media accounts on Monday, with Schindler telling readers of his blog he was taking a break because of harassment from critics of the NSA. Schindler has long been a controversial and outspoken voice in the debate over surveillance; he has referred to journalist Glenn Greenwald as 'Glenda' and has disparaged WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning for coming out as transgender." [HuffPost's Matt Sledge]
HIGH COURT UPHOLDS MOST OF OBAMA'S CLIMATE CHANGE RULES - [Tom Donahue shuffling through Lafayette Park, his head hung low, the sad Charlie Brown piano music playing]. Reuters: "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued a mixed ruling on a challenge to part of President Barack Obama's greenhouse gas regulations by exempting a small proportion of facilities from a federal air pollution program while allowing most major pollution sources, including power plants and refineries, to be included. The court was divided in several different ways in what was a relatively narrow case concerning a challenge by industry groups and Republican-leaning states to one aspect of a suite of rules issued by Obama's Democratic administration in 2009 and 2010. On a 7-2 vote, the justices rejected the industry-backed argument that pollution sources cannot be regulated for greenhouse gases under the 'prevention of serious deterioration' or PSD program. The program requires any new or modified major polluting facility to obtain a permit before any new construction is done if it emits 'any air pollutant.' But industry could claim a partial win because the court said on a separate 5-4 vote that some facilities the government had wanted to regulate will be exempted...The Supreme Court decision does not affect the Obama administration's ability to set air pollution standards for greenhouse gases under a separate provision of the Clean Air Act. On June 2, the White House announced proposed rules calling for 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, including coal-fired facilities." [HuffPost]
President eats deconstructed burrito: "So I just walked over to Chipotle for lunch. (Laughter.) I caused a lot of havoc, as you might expect. (Laughter.) It had been a while since I had the burrito bowl, and it was good. (Laughter.)"
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Most people don't think the Washington Redskins should change the team's name, but if the team ever decides to do the decent thing, Americans favor one alternate name over all others. HuffPost, in partnership with YouGov, surveyed Americans about changing the Washington football team's moniker. A majority said that if they had to pick a new name, they liked "Washington Warriors" best. But only 21 percent of those polled said that the Redskins should change their name, while 62 percent said they should not. [HuffPost]
ALERT: Delaney is moderating a panel titled "Bipartisan Solutions To Long-Term Unemployment" tomorrow at 1 p.m. in room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Panelists: Betsey Stevenson, a Member of the White House Council of Economic Advisors; Michael Strain, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; Judy Conti, Federal Advocacy Coordinator with the National Employment Law Project; and Heidi Shierholz, an Economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
UPSIDE DOWNER - Two states are taking small steps away from a little-known aspect of the war on drugs. The California Legislature has just passed a bill that will allow people convicted of drug-related felonies to receive welfare and food stamps. And last week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) signed legislation lifting the state's ban on food stamps for felons. The felon bans were relics of the tough-on-crime politics of the 1990s, and their demise is partly due to waning support for the harsh treatment of drug users. "In a lot of cases, the law enforcement community is supportive and feels this is a way to reduce recidivism," said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy, a liberal D.C. think tank. Lower-Basch noted that other states, including Alabama and West Virginia, have also considered changing their policies. "We're moving in the right direction." [HuffPost]
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HOUSE GOP LEADERSHIP SPOTS STILL UP FOR GRABS - Politico: "[Steve] Scalise’s ascent to majority whip has opened up the chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee, the 175-member conservative caucus he once chaired. There’s only one problem: The group’s bylaws do not address holding elections in the middle of a congressional session, so there’s a chance the group will go leaderless until after the midterm elections. The RSC’s founders and former chairmen — who hold inordinate sway over the group — will huddle to discuss how to handle Scalise’s unexpected departure. There’s talk of appointing a placeholder chairman to hold the group over until after the 2014 elections. None of that has stopped a group of lawmakers who want to lead the RSC. Even before Cantor lost his primary, a number of Republicans were gearing up to make a run at the chairmanship. Reps. Andy Harris of Maryland, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Stephen Fincher of Tennessee and Tom Graves of Georgia have all expressed some interest in the post...Scalise has yet to tap his chief deputy, but there are several lawmakers in the running. One is Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina. McHenry, 38, served on McCarthy’s whip team and helped Scalise build support for his competitive election. The nine-year veteran of the House has a large web of friends in the chamber and is politically astute. He is in charge of recruiting for the National Republican Congressional Committee and has a good sense of how to work the House floor." [Politico]
JOE BIDEN FORGOT TO MATCH HIS 401(K) CONTRIBUTIONS - Don't worry, kids, all papa Joe needs to secure your nest egg is an upturned cardboard box, three playing cards -- creased down the middle and face down -- and his lightning fingers. WaPo: "Not having money seems to be the thing to talk about lately if you're a politician. A few weeks after Hillary Rodham Clinton said she and Bill Clinton were 'dead broke' after leaving the White House (an argument that, as our colleague Philip Rucker explains, is now undercut by Clinton's current wealth), Vice President Biden jumped into the fray. Biden told the White House's Working Summit on Working Families that he was the 'poorest man in Congress,' and that while he makes 'a lot of money' as vice president, he doesn't have the trappings of wealth — or the savings safety net — of others who are well-off. 'Don't hold against me that I don't own — that I don't own a single stock or bond. Don't hold it — I have no savings accounts. But I got a great pension, and I got a good salary,' Biden said. Biden said he wore a 'mildly expensive suit' Monday morning and that he is extremely fortunate compared to others he grew up with in Scranton, Pa. 'Sometimes we talk about this stuff, about struggle. My struggle, my God, compared to where I grew up and the way people are trying to go through things now — but here's the point I want to make,' Biden said. 'I've been really, really fortunate.'...a closer look at his financial disclosure forms show that he does, in fact, have some money stocked away in savings and investments —but all the accounts are reported to have less than $15,000 in them." [WaPo]
HuffPost Hill had dinner with Marion Barry on Friday, where the Ward 8 council member delivered a stirring defense of yogurt. "Yogurt is more healthy than a lot of things," Barry said. "As is cottage cheese. The best kind of yogurt is organic, without all these fillers and stuff." Technically, a reporter had asked about a well-publicized tax on yoga studios under consideration in the D.C. Council, not a tax on yogurt. But Barry had misheard the question -- perhaps due to the noisy singles mixer at the other end of LOOK, the posh K Street restaurant lounge where the Q&A was being held. Regardless, Barry was staunchly opposed to the non-existent tax on Washington's Chobani supply, calling the D.C. Council "crazy" for considering the measure. "They're grasping at straws," Barry railed in his gravely southern drawl. "I'm not sure who proposed it, I think Jack proposed it." The reference, presumably, was to Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans -- who, it should be said, has not proposed a levy on fermented milk. [HuffPost]
YOU JUST KEEP BEING YOU, FREE BEACON - "Last week, we learned that aging Hollywood actor Harrison Ford suffered a broken leg—and had to undergo surgery—following a mishap on the set of 'Star Wars: Episode VII.' The news came as a bit of a shock to fans, as it was initially reported that Ford had merely injured his ankle. You might be asking yourself: What does this mean for 2016? Good question. If we want to put this news into context, we should consider the fact that Harrison Ford is currently 71 years old. That’s only two years older than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton will be if she accomplishes her dream of becoming the second-oldest president in American history. (As a recent Free Beacon analysis has shown, most renowned leaders throughout history were considerably younger when they came to power.) Ford’s injury, therefore, raises some serious questions about Clinton’s fitness to serve in the White House. If Harrison Ford, at his advanced age, is unable to complete a relatively mundane task—pretending to be a roguish intergalactic smuggler—without injuring himself, shouldn’t voters be concerned about whether Hillary is fit to endure the rigors of the presidency, especially when there’s already so much we don’t know about her physical condition?" [Free Beacon]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are puppy firefighters.
JEFF FLAKE'S FAMILY, BOY, I DUNNO - Looks like Seamus has some new friends in Dog Heaven. ::sniff:: ... we miss you, Seamus! Fox Phoenix: "As the owners of 17 dogs wait for answers as to why their pets died at a Gilbert boarding service, Fox 10 News has learned that the son and daughter-in-law of US Senator Jeff Flake were tasked with caring for the dogs while the boarding house’s owners were out of town...'I demanded. I got in the owners face,' said Valerie Collins who left her two dogs in the care of the Green Acre boarding house near Gilbert. 'We went out of the front and he carried my Daisy who was lifeless. I prayed that they were still alive and [the facility's owner] just threw her at my feet like a piece of meat.' MCSO says the owners of the boarding facility were in Florida at the time of the accident and left their son and daughter in-law in charge. Through various sources, including owners of the deceased dogs, FOX 10 has been able to confirm Austin Flake, son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, was supposed to be watching over the property with his wife when the accident happened." [FOX 10 Phoenix]
- This week's o hai-iest cat. [http://bit.ly/1nwPYAr]
- Pearl Jam covered "Let It Go" from "Frozen." [http://uproxx.it/1m5FIwk]
- Researchers have discovered a "magic island" on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. [http://huff.to/1uXxNX8]
- How the U.S. can advance in the World Cup. [http://nyti.ms/TohYx1]
- An interview with ousted American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, age 11. Some people never change. [http://bit.ly/T3ekrR]
- Giant doberman pinscher attacked by kitten, keeps its cool. [http://bit.ly/1q1mS10]
- A collection of hand drawn movie posters from Ghana. [http://bit.ly/UACT0K]
- Photos of discarded x-rays that people in the Soviet Union used to make contraband records. [http://bit.ly/1l3PvTo]
@JaredRizzi: Area Reporter Wonders Aloud if Iraq's Problems Can Be solved By Cartography
@JeffYoung: That bar from jokes? MT @ProPublica Berlin plans to build a place where Christians, Jews and Muslims worship together propub.ca/1wmsCm9
@daveweigel: I'm so old I remember when Obama needed to save his 2012 bid by dumping gaffe-prone VP Biden for the beloved and flawless Hillary.
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