The Obama administration will deport thousands of kids -- Let's Move! Charles Krauthammer says conservatives have won the debate over long-term unemployment insurance, probably because more and more people are living invisible hand to mouth. And Taylor Swift has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. If you haven't already read it, "QE2 and BRIC: The Coming Storm" will positively knock your socks off. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 7th, 2014:
DEMOCRATS PLANNING MESSAGING PUSH FOR INSURANCE RATE INCREASE - "Think of it like the Recovery Summer... but for your body." Politico: "Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms. The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens again. So they’re trying to avoid -- or at least, get ahead of -- any September surprise. Aware that state insurance rate hikes could give Republicans a chance to resurrect Obamacare as a political liability just weeks before the midterms, the White House’s internal health care enrollment outreach apparatus immediately redirected into a rapid-response, blocking-and-tackling research and press operation geared toward preempting GOP attacks on the issue. In what aides say is a sign of a changed approach within the White House — but also heightened concerns around the midterms — they’re even coordinating with Hill Democrats, funneling localized background analysis and talking points to each state’s delegation through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. They’ve also relied on California Rep. Henry Waxman’s staff at the Energy and Commerce Committee to produce rebuttal reports, often in advance, on GOP claims about insurance." [Politico]
Harry Reid is kicking the tires of a new parking brake metaphor he's taking for a test drive.
DEMS ALSO GIRDING FOR DISABILITY FIGHT - Greg Sargent: "Democrats are bracing for a new assault from Republicans on the safety net that could come as early as this month — in particular, on disability insurance. In response, Senator Sherrod Brown is urging Dems to go on offense, by calling for an expansion of Social Security, rather than getting into an argument over how much to cut it. Senator Orrin Hatch has requested a Finance Committee hearing into Social Social Security Disability Insurance — whose trust fund is set to be depleted soon — and Dems on the committee have agreed. It may take place this month, before the August recess." [WashPost]
CIA WAS INVOLVED IN GERMAN SPYING: REPORT - That might explain why we kept seeing Jürgen Klinsmann surreptitiously placing thick envelopes under various benches around the D.C. metro area. Reuters: "The Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of a German intelligence official and has prompted renewed outrage in Berlin, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Monday. CIA Director John Brennan has asked to brief key members of the U.S. Congress on the matter, which threatens a new rupture between Washington and a close European ally, one of the officials said. It was unclear if and when Brennan's briefing to U.S. lawmakers would take place. The CIA declined any comment on the matter. The office of Germany's Federal Prosecutor, based in the western city of Karlsruhe, late last week issued a statement saying that a 31-year old man had been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign spy, and that investigations were continuing. The statement offered no further details. German politicians have said that the suspect, an employee of the country's foreign intelligence service, admitted passing to an American contact details concerning a German parliamentary committee's investigation of alleged U.S. eavesdropping disclosed by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency." [Reuters]
Harold Pollack would like to have a serious conversation about death panels, please.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Responding to good news about the economy last week, influential conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer declared conservatives had won the debate over long-term unemployment insurance. Congressional Republicans have stifled opportunities to renew the benefits, which expired in December. On Fox News' "Special Report," Krauthammer said he thinks it's been the right call. The past six months saw "the largest six-month decline in the length of unemployment ever measured," he said. "The debate on that extension is over, and the conservatives were right." Thanks, Chuck! [HuffPost]
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HIDE YO KIDS: OBAMA IS GOING TO DEPORT THEM - The government is ignoring the common humanity of hundreds of thousands of poor, non-white people and somehow Obamacare, ISIS and/or Benghazi are Obama's Katrina. Good thinkpiece-ing, everyone! The Hill: "The White House said Monday that most of the thousands of unaccompanied minors flooding across the border would likely be deported. The statement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who said most of the children crossing the border won’t have a legal basis to stay in the United States, comes after criticism from members of both parties, and ahead of President Obama’s trip to Texas on Wednesday. 'Based on what we know about these cases, it is unlikely that most of these kids will qualify for humanitarian relief,' Earnest said. 'And what that means is, it means that they will not have a legal basis for remaining in this country and will be returned.' All minors automatically get a chance to apply for asylum in the United States, but the chances of it being granted are slim. To qualify, an applicant must prove they are part of a targeted class that is suffering persecution at the hands of the government and that their home government is unable or unwilling to protect them. Earnest’s statement was a noticeable departure from comments made Sunday by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who sidestepped repeated questions about whether the children would be allowed to remain in the U.S." [The Hill]
Pro tip, Josh: If you're talking about sending frighten children away from the country by the busload, don't call them "kids." Keep up the good messaging!
ADMINISTRATION PUSHING FOR MORE TEACHERS IN UNDERPRIVILEGED AREAS - Because "metal detector" does not quite stack up against "teacher to student ratio of 15:1," "robust music program" or "books." Joy Resmovits: "The Obama administration announced plans on Monday to enforce a long-ignored federal mandate: a decade-old requirement that states give students of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds equal access to good teachers. The new initiative, called 'Excellent Educators for All' aims to bring states into compliance with a teacher equity mandate in the No Child Left Behind Act, the George W. Bush-era law that requires states to reward and punish schools based on standardized test scores. There are three parts to the effort: By April 2015, states must submit 'comprehensive educator equity plans' that detail how they plan to put 'effective educators' in front of poor and minority kids. To help states write the plans, the Education Department will create a $4.2 million 'Education Equity Support Network.' And this fall, the Education Department will publish 'Educator Equity profiles' that highlight which states and districts fare well or poorly on teacher equity. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the changes Monday at a roundtable with teachers and President Barack Obama... It's not yet clear, though, exactly how the department will hold states accountable for all this planning -- and ultimately produce changes in classrooms. When asked about this issue at a White House press briefing Monday, Duncan said, 'We'll look at this as a piece of many things.'" [HuffPost]
JOHN BOEHNER STILL PUSHING AHEAD WITH LAWSUIT - Oh man, what if Congress billed by the hour? Can you even begin to imagine the justifications behind being paid for district work periods? National Journal: "House Speaker John Boehner is defending his plans to sue President Obama later this month over executive power, saying he is standing up for the legislative branch of government and the Constitution. 'In the end, the Constitution makes it clear that the President's job is to faithfully execute the laws,' writes Boehner, in an op-ed appearing Sunday on the CNN website. 'And, in my view, the President has not faithfully executed the laws when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education.' Boehner asserts that over the last five years, "the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him." Over that time, Republicans have protested such executive actions as recess appointments and environmental regulations." [National Journal]
Boehner is planning on a late July vote on the lawsuit, Roll Call reports.
The UN is extending benefits to its employees with same-sex partners. It's helpful to have survivor benefits when your country wants you dead. Amanda Terkel: "The United Nations Secretariat will now provide full benefits to employees in same-sex unions, regardless of whether their home country recognizes marriage equality. 'Human rights are at the core of the mission of the United Nations,' U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday when announcing the policy. 'I am proud to stand for greater equality for all staff, and I call on all members of our UN family to unite in rejecting homophobia as discrimination that can never be tolerated at our workplace.' The change does not apply to all of the nearly 50 U.N. organizations, although some of them -- such as UNESCO and the World Food Program -- already had policies recognizing same-sex unions based on where the marriages took place. Ban's announcement applies only to employees of the U.N. Secretariat, although it is likely that other agencies in the system will be pressured to follow suit." [HuffPost]
MAJORITY OF AMERICANS BLAME BUSH II FOR IRAQ: POLL - But when asked if the current unrest is Obama's Katrina, 140% of Americans replied, "Oh, yeah, definitely, impeach that guy." Quinnipiac: "The 2003 war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do, American voters say 61 - 32 percent, and President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in 2011 was the right thing to do, voters say 58 - 37 percent in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. But voters disapprove 55 - 37 percent of the way President Obama is handling the situation in Iraq and disapprove 52 - 42 percent of the way he is handling the situation in Afghanistan, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. The pace of U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is 'about right,' 46 percent of voters say, while 26 percent say Obama is moving 'too quickly' and 20 percent say 'not quickly enough.' Among voters in military households, 32 percent say 'too quickly,' as 19 percent say 'not quickly enough and 41 percent say 'about right.' By a 51 - 27 percent margin, American voters blame former President George W. Bush, rather than Obama, for the situation in Iraq. Only 35 percent of voters, however, say Obama is better than Bush conducting foreign policy, while 39 percent say he is worse." [Quinnipiac]
In other news, Taylor Swift has a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
FEDERAL JUDGE TO SUPREME COURT: 'STFU' - "Do you even weigh counterarguments, bro? Approach the bench, bro." Mollie Reilly: "Writing on his personal blog in response to the high court's recent 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, U.S. District Judge Richard George Kopf harshly criticized the justices for taking what he sees as a too active role in controversial cases. 'This term and several past terms has proven that the Court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the Court has the power to avoid,' Kopf, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote. 'As the kids says, it is time for the Court to stfu.' For clarity, Kopf included a link to the Urban Dictionary definition for 'stfu': 'Acronym used for the phrase 'shut the fuck up' for efficiency reasons.' Pointing out that all five justices who decided in favor of Hobby Lobby are Catholic males appointed by Republican presidents, Kopf argued that the decision 'looks stupid and smells worse.' 'While 'looks' don’t matter to the logic of the law (and I am not saying the Justices are actually motivated by such things), all of us know from experience that appearances matter to the public’s acceptance of the law,' he wrote." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a tiger playing in a pool.
VOX POPULI, VOX SUPER STONED - The word "Bama" lends itself to so many potential strains of weed ("Bama bruiser," "Bama slamma," etc). Saki Knafo: "Thousands of residents of Washington, D.C., have signed a petition calling for the nation's capital to join Colorado and Washington state in legalizing recreational marijuana. The petition, submitted Monday by the D.C. Cannabis Campaign to the D.C. Board of Elections, bears 58,000 signatures, more than twice the number needed to put a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in November. The board is expected to rule on the validity of the signatures by the middle of August. The proposed law would allow adults to possess up to two ounces of pot on their person and would permit the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home. It would not legalize the sale of marijuana, because a current law bars D.C. voters from doing so via ballot initiative. The D.C. Council, however, is considering a bill that would essentially undermine that law by allowing the District to tax and regulate commerce in marijuana...Supporters of both the bill and the ballot initiative argued on the call that marijuana prohibition disproportionately harms African Americans, echoing a concern that has long been raised by opponents of the war on drugs. According to a Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs report, nine out of 10 people arrested for drugs in the District from 2009 through 2011 were black, although blacks make up only slightly more than half of the city's population. Government surveys show that blacks are no more likely than whites to use marijuana." [HuffPost]
- In case you ever find yourself in a chimpanzee colony, here are the gestures they use to communicate. [http://bbc.in/1zcTyr4]
- What an airport would look like if it serviced spaceships from "Star Wars." [http://bit.ly/TYVa79]
- Kids reacting to an original Game Boy -- which HuffPost Hill received for having surgery at six -- makes HuffPost Hill feel old. [http://uproxx.it/1rIbE1V]
- Johnny Cash once recorded the entire New Testament. Listen. [http://bit.ly/1oerta3]
- First-person view from the world's tallest water slide. [http://bit.ly/VSQMYW]
- Your skin can sniff things, according to science. [http://bit.ly/1vSB0aV]
- Cockatiel likes to cuddle. [http://bit.ly/1oBUyiF]
@timothypmurphy: Why isn't there a DC bar called The Establishment
@HayesBrown: Srsly, does anyone think that the fact that we flipped a friendly country's spy to spy for us a bad thing? ...You know, besides Germany.
@toddzwillich: A gin blog called Sloe News Day
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