David Bowie’s death prompted so much passive acceptance of alternative sexual mores by Republicans that Twitter started to feel like a mid-inning “YMCA” singalong. Barack and Michelle Obama plan to stay in D.C. until both their daughters graduate high school, though that may change the moment they’re allowed to join a parents listserv. And the Supreme Court justices’ lines of inquiry about a union case were so predictable that it’s high time we skip all the pageantry and just have Anthony Kennedy watch “Norma Rae” and get back to us with his thoughts. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, January 11th, 2016:
HIGH COURT APPEARS SKEPTICAL OF MANDATORY UNION FEES - Robert Barnes: "A majority of the Supreme Court seemed ready Monday to agree with a group of California teachers who say it violates their First Amendment rights to be forced to pay dues to the state’s teachers union. A 40-year-old precedent allows states to permit unions to collect a so-called agency fee from non-members to support collective bargaining activities, and California is one of about 20 states that allow it…Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the member most likely on other issues to side with the court’s four consistent liberals to form a majority, seemed hostile to the union’s arguments. In the public sphere, he said, negotiations between unions and government could not be separated from controversial public policy questions such as merit pay for teachers or layoff policies that rely on seniority rather than teacher performance." [WaPo]
OBAMAS TO STAY IN D.C. PAST JANUARY, 2017 - He'll finally have the chance to check out the Meridian Hill drum circle and just hang. Christina Sturdivant: "While President Obama can’t serve another four-year term in the White House (though he has said he'd win if allowed to run), it looks like he’s staying another two more years in the District, according to Paul Brandus. Brandus, an award-winning member of the White House press corps, tweeted today that the First Family is staying in D.C. until the youngest Obama graduates high school...According to Brandus, the Obamas favor Kalorama and Embassy Row. Last October, Jim Bell of Beasley Real Estate told the Washington Business Journal that the Obamas could spend approximately $5 million to $7 million to accommodate all of their housing requirements." [DCist]
DELANEY DOWNER - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) created a new task force today to address the poisoning of Flint's water. This new committee comes in addition to the task force Snyder empaneled in October and the one the Environmental Protection Agency also created that month. So that's three task forces. Still can't drink the water yet.
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BRINKSMANSHIP NOW A GOOD THING - From the people who brought you "Boy, the Mongols sure did disrupt Eurasia." Burgess Everett and Jake Sherman: "[A]s Obama comes to Capitol Hill for his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, the political dynamics have shifted dramatically. Both sides have lost their most powerful tool to get stuff done -- leverage. The government is funded until a month before the election. The debt ceiling won’t be hit until 2017. And that means the spurt of bipartisan deal making that Congress and White House managed in 2015 will probably come to a screeching halt until Obama’s successor takes office. 'There isn’t the sense of urgency on a lot of these issues that there was last year,' said John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 Senate Republican. 'Needing the president as a partner to do things? A lot of the stuff we needed to get done, got done last year.'" [Politico]
ICYMI: "[Hawaii Rep. Mark] Takai, D-Hawaii, has asked Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to allow Aloha wear to be worn on the floor. The Hawaii congressman said his office has observed 'Aloha Fridays' since he came into office in 2014. 'However, when House votes occur on Fridays, it is harder to get into the spirit, as Aloha Wear is forbidden by the House rules, which requires that full business attire be worn on the Floor,' Takai wrote..." [Star Advertiser]
SANDERS OPERATING WITHOUT FINANCE TEAM - He should lose his digital team, too. He probably wouldn't make much money, but there'd be way fewer annoying guys named Zach with sleeve tats. Betsy Woodruff: "The Sanders campaign doesn’t have a finance team…'In the past there was always the digital team and the finance team and they hated each other,” said Craig Engle, a campaign finance attorney. 'But now you’ve got a situation--at least with Bernie Sanders--where now the digital team and the finance team is the same team.' … [a Sanders spokesperson] estimated that the campaign has had fewer than a dozen in-person fundraising events. Instead, it’s raked in massive amounts of cash--$33 million in the last three months of 2015, and about $73 million over the course of the year—through online fundraising." [Daily Beast]
Great Leader Kim Jong-un terrifies capitalist dog Marco Rubio with steadfast commitment to Juche and backing of proletariat: "Sen. Marco Rubio is set to miss a classified briefing on the situation in North Korea for a presidential campaign fundraiser Monday night, the latest high-profile Senate business he will skip amid growing criticism. The Senate Foreign Relations is holding a closed-door hearing in the Capitol on Monday evening, where senators will be briefed by officials from the State Department, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Defense." [CNN's Tal Kopan]
NM! @learyreports: .@marcorubio flying back from Florida to attend North Korea briefing, spox says, in change of plans.
KAY HAGAN BECOMES LOBBYIST, UNSURE WHETHER SHE'LL CALL HERSELF A LOBBYIST - We're unsure, but the legal definition might actually be "Paid Person Who Nods Knowingly During Backyard Soirees At Tom Daschle's House." Megan Wilson: "After being courted by many K Street firms, former Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is joining Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the firm plans to announce on Monday. Akin Gump is Washington’s largest lobby shop by revenue, taking in more than $35 million in advocacy fees alone in 2014, but Hagan still has another year before she would be able to register to lobby. Senators are required to take a two-year 'cooling off' period before they can directly advocate before their House and Senate colleagues. Hagan left Congress at the end of 2014 after losing a tough reelection battle to then-Rep. Thom Tillis (R). Hagan, who will be serving as a senior policy consultant within the firm’s public law and policy practice, is staying mum on whether she’ll become a registered lobbyist." [The Hill]
BUT HE STILL HASN'T JOINED ELLO - It's going to be weird if no one tells the commander-in-chief about the screenshot notifications. Samantha Guff: "The White House just joined Snapchat, but don't expect any rainbow vomit selfies from Obama anytime soon. The administration plans to kick off its first official Snapchat story with a behind-the-scenes look at State of the Union prep, 'with footage and angles you won’t find anywhere else,' it said in a blog post...In 2015, he graced the web with his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. But 2016 is a new year, and Snapchat is all the rage. It's only fitting that it would be the next app for POTUS in the Great American Social Media Takeover." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a couple of baby goats in pajamas.
AREA RICH PERSON ABANDONS VANITY PROJECT - Maybe the New Republic will go back to it's old format with a new and more appreciative audience; like Old Coke, except instead of a less sweet beverage, it's more rambling treatises on Freud, Disraeli and Zionism from Leon Wieseltier. Lukas Alpert: "A year ago, Chris Hughes, owner of the New Republic, vowed to continue his fight to transform the century-old magazine into a more digitally-focused media operation, despite a bruising mass walkout by staffers who bristled at his efforts. On Monday, he said he was done.The 32-year-old Mr. Hughes announced that he is putting the magazine up for sale. He admitted he had underestimated 'the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate.'" [WSJ]
- The best/worst thing David Bowie ever did: his "Dancing in the Streets" cover with Mick Jagger.
- Also, Bowie's first night in America ever was spent in SIlver Spring.
- A look at some topical and NSFW erotica: "Oregon Patriots Occupied My Butt."
@chrisgeidner: I will not fall for trolling hot-take thinkpieces. I will not fall for trolling hot-take thinkpieces. I will not fall for trolling hot-take
@LoganDobson: Sheldon. Do it. It'd be so hilarious. Buy TNR. Lotta synergy with the Review-Journal.
GlennThrush: To those who accuse Clinton of cynically using southern accent whilst campaigning in The South: She's using it on the hard-frozen plains too
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