Some observers are upset that Walmart will stop selling Confederate merchandise, but at least some kids in the third world will get a "Rebel Sweetie" cutoff to compliment their "World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers" tee. Conservative commentators' stubborn refusal to acknowledge the pain and intimidation caused by Confederate imagery might seem odd until you remember that Byron York once said Obama isn’t popular if you don’t count black people. All that said, we have no problem with memorials to the Confederate dead: Sending poor, misinformed people to die for a hopeless cause is one of history's most American things. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015:
TPA A-OK - Your job will now walk -- head down, Charlie Brown-style, piano music particularly forlorn -- across a tarmac to a plane it will fly overseas where, once arrived, it will present itself to its new owner. Mike McAuliff and Zach Carter: "The Senate on Tuesday handed President Barack Obama the biggest legislative victory of his second term, with a dramatic vote clearing the way for major trade agreements with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union. The 60-37 vote all but ensures the passage of legislation that will allow Obama to 'fast-track' his negotiated trade pacts through Congress, preventing filibusters or amendments. Liberals have long assailed Obama's trade agenda, but Republicans successfully wooed a bloc of Democrats led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to secure enough votes to overcome a filibuster. With the 60-vote threshold cleared, the path is now open for the Senate to take a final vote on the legislation on Wednesday...The fate of the bill, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, hinged on whether backers of the fast-track legislation could win over Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Chris Coons (Del.). All three had pushed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow a vote reauthorizing the soon-to-expire Export-Import Bank as part of any deal on TPA. They didn't get one." [HuffPost]
John Boehner will lead a congressional delegation to Charleston on Friday to attend funeral services for Rev. Clementa Pinckney; President Obama delivering eulogy.
EX-IM RENEWAL COULD BE TIED TO HIGHWAY BILL - Alternatively Congress could let Ex-Im die and put in an amendment funding a Boeing memorial off-ramp. Matthew Fleming: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the highway bill would be the 'obvious place' for a vote to keep the bank alive. That’d be over the objections of one Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who ripped GOP leaders earlier Tuesday and demanded they commit to killing the bank. There’s been some dispute between Ex-Im supporters and Republican leadership over whether or not a deal had been struck on an reauthorization vote prior to the charter’s expiration at month’s end in exchange for a prior vote on TPA. But Tuesday, McConnell said that senators were given the opportunity for a test vote earlier this month and then floated the highway plan." [Roll Call]
OPM DIRECTOR: QUE SERA SERA... HACKED - Katherine Archuleta proceeded to leave the hearing room, walk outside, locate a Bodhi tree, find serenity beneath its shady embrace and discovered the Middle Way. She and the cosmos are now as one. Lisa Rein: "The federal personnel chief said Tuesday that she does not believe 'anyone is personally responsible' for the massive hack of federal employee data and security clearance files and instead blamed the breach on old computer systems and the hackers themselves. 'We have legacy systems that are very old,' Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management, told Senate lawmakers at a hearing on the intrusion. 'It’s an enterprise-wide problem. I don’t believe anyone is personally responsible.' She then told Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who pressed her repeatedly to take responsibility for failing to shore up the agency’s computer security, that the attackers are the ones to blame." [WaPo]
Mitch McConnell calls on Kentucky to move Jefferson Davis statue.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Scott Thistle: "A bill that would see Maine ask the federal government for permission to disallow the purchase of junk food with state and federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds, once called Food Stamps, cleared the House of Representatives on a 73-70 vote Monday." [Maine Sun Journal]
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U.S. ALTERING HOSTAGE POLICY - Friendly reminder that hostages aren't just routine spending bills. Julie Hirschfeld Davis: "President Obama on Wednesday will announce that the government will no longer threaten criminal prosecution of the families of American hostages who are held abroad by groups like the Islamic State if they attempt to pay ransom for the release of their loved ones. The change is one of many that are intended to fix what the administration has acknowledged is a broken policy on United States captives, a senior administration official said. In a presidential directive and an executive order, Mr. Obama also plans to make clear that while he is keeping a longstanding federal prohibition against making concessions to those who take hostages, the government can communicate and negotiate with captors holding Americans or help family members seeking to do so in order to ensure their safe return. The changes make official what has long been the United States government’s unspoken practice in some hostage cases, but one that has been inconsistently applied and poorly understood both inside federal agencies and among family members desperate to win the release of their relatives." [NYT]
WHITE MISSISSIPPI MAN RUBBED SHOULDERS WITH RACISTS: VIDEO AT 11 - Sources close to the gentlemen say he also has a floppy haircut and 24 different blazers with brass buttons. Andrew Kaczynski and Ilan Ben-Meir: "Republican Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran expressed support for the Mississippi state flag, which features the Confederate battle flag, in a 1995 interview with the neo-Confederate Southern Partisan magazine. 'I don’t think Congress ought to decide,' Cochran said when asked about Mississippi’s state flag. 'I think it is strictly up to the state legislature of Mississippi, and if I were a member of the legislature I would vote to keep the flag as it is.' 'I think it is unfortunate that some have used it in a way that it raised questions about their views,' said Cochran, cutting off the questioner when pressed about “separating heritage” from the flag. 'But our state, I think, has demonstrated by our actions that it is not a racist state. We have full rights and participation in all the political processes. It’s a decision the Mississippi state legislature has made, and I respect their decision.'" [BuzzFeed]
Just like the South, our low, low prices will never rise again! "Amazon is reportedly pulling the Confederate flag from its online store...At least one of the top-selling flags was listed by an independent seller on Amazon’s marketplace. The ban appears to affect Confederate flag items listed both by individual sellers and by Amazon itself. Amazon joined a growing group of retailers that plan to take Confederate flags off their shelves. On Monday, Walmart and Sears vowed to remove the banners and related items from their stores. Earlier on Tuesday, eBay banned Confederate flag paraphernalia from its website. So, too, did the online marketplace Etsy, known for its homemade crafts, which said it planned to remove all Confederate flag items from its site." [HuffPost's Alexander Kaufman & Andrew Lord]
Walmart still sells guns.
DON'T FORGET TURNING YOUR KIDS GAY & REPLACING PERFORMANCE BONUSES WITH CARBON-OFFSETTING TREES*
SHOT - "Donald Trump's bid for president is now official, but Americans still aren't quite ready to take him seriously, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. Just 21 percent of Americans, including about a third of Republicans and independents who lean Republican, say they consider Trump a serious candidate for president. That's basically unchanged from the 23 percent who took him seriously in 2011, when he briefly threatened to run before deciding against it." [HuffPost's Ariel Edwards-Levy]
CHASER ACTUALLY, JUST SHOOT US - "The New York developer and reality television star is second among 2016 presidential candidates in a new Suffolk University poll of New Hampshire Republicans – behind only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The poll of 500 likely GOP presidential primary voters found 14% back Mr. Bush. Mr. Trump is right behind at 11%. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio come next, with 8% and 7%, respectively. The poll tested 19 GOP candidates – a rare survey that included ultra-longshots like Mark Everson and former Govs. Bob Ehrlich and Jim Gilmore." [WSJ's Reid Epstein]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a cat playing dead.
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE AT FOX NEWS - Stay strong. Come home safe. Ed Mazza: "A Fox News cohost threw an ax at a target last week, but missed and hit a nearby marching band drummer instead, according to video posted online. The edited clip posted on Facebook shows 'Fox & Friends' cohost Pete Hegseth throw an ax at a bullseye on a wooden board during the June 14 broadcast. The ax sails over the target and hits Jeff Prosperie, a drummer in the West Point Hellcats marching band, which was performing during the show...'I am thankful to God that the double sided blade only hit broadside on the outer elbow with significant impact and a couple of cuts as it fell along my wrist,' [Prosperie wrote], 'It could have been much worse or fatal. Focusing on full physical and emotional recovery.'" [HuffPost]
- Three-year-old acts out Shia LaBeouf's epic motivational speech
- The trailer for the Netflix reboot of "Wet Hot American Summer."
- It takes workers seven minutes to clean Japan's bullet trains.
@morninggloria: if anything we should make it easier for people to advertise publicly that they're idiots
@dfriedman33: The Dukes of Hazard, but digitally altered so they have a pride flag on the General Lee.
@jbarro: Bill Kristol's call for respecting the confederacy sounds odd at first, but remember, they did start an unnecessary war.
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