HUFFPOST HILL - House Battles Ghost

The House voted to defund ACORN, meaning those Pets.com subsidies can't be far off. D.C. police apprehended the suspected green paint vandal, an individual who is either a deranged nobody or Sherwin Williams' new media director. And pundits speculated wildly about the meaning behind President Obama and Hillary Clinton's lunch, which is precisely why the president should have served white turkey chili. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 29th, 2013:

HOUSE VOTES TO DEFUND ACORN BECAUSE... UM... ER... YEAH!!!! - Zach Carter: "The House GOP quietly blocked funding for ACORN last week, even though the anti-poverty organization has long since been both defunded and disbanded. The legislative assault on ACORN, which shut down in 2010, was included in a Department of Defense appropriations bill that cleared the House on Thursday... the bill passed by a broad, bipartisan margin of 315-97... language to bar ACORN from receiving any money made the final cut. Section 8097 of the bill reads, 'None of the funds made available under this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries.' ACORN cannot receive any funding from the U.S. government under any legislation, of course, because ACORN does not exist. Similarly, ACORN has no subsidiaries because ACORN does not exist. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) referred questions on the provision to House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing. "I don't believe our response has changed since the last time you asked this question," Hing told HuffPost." [HuffPost]

Attention people who enjoy caption contests: "Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet for breakfast Tuesday morning." [HuffPost]

GREEN PAINT VANDAL STRIKES AGAIN - One more attack and we have to break out the spinning newspaper montage. Arin Greenwood: "Three days after green paint was discovered on the Lincoln Memorial, vandals have hit two more D.C. landmarks with similar attacks. On Monday afternoon, wet green paint was found on an organ in one of the National Cathedral's chapels. Richard Weinberg, the cathedral's spokesman, told The Washington Post that it appears the paint -- inside the cathedral's historic Bethlehem Chapel -- can be removed. Green paint was also found on a statue across from the Smithsonian Castle. According to NBC Washington, it's not clear when the front and back of the Joseph Henry statue was defaced. U.S. Park Police spokesperson Sgt. Paul Brooks told the AP that it appeared something had been drawn on the defaced statue -- which commemorates the first Smithsonian Secretary, a physicist who, according to the museum website, died in his Smithsonian quarters in 1878 -- and that police are investigating. The Washington Post reports that no arrests have yet been made. On Twitter, speculation abounds, meantime, about the motives of the vandals." [HuffPost]

@ethanklapper: WASHINGTON (AP) - Police: Woman arrested in green paint vandalism at Washington National Cathedral.

Important Guantanamo update: "Military officials gave a congressional delegation a tour of Guantanamo's secretive Camp Seven last week and told a visiting congressional delegation that the camp's high-value detainees enjoy the Shades of Grey series, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) told The Huffington Post. 'Rather than the Quran, the book that is requested most by the [high-value detainees] is Fifty Shades of Grey. They've read the entire series in English, but we were willing to translate it,' Moran, who advocates for closing the facility, told HuffPost." [HuffPost's Ryan Reilly]

STICK A FORK IN WEINER, HE'S DONE - Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Anthony Weiner has dropped from the front of the pack to fourth place in the Democratic primary for New York City's mayoral race, a poll released Monday by Quinnipiac University finds, with voters increasingly viewing his personal history as a legitimate issue in the election. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn now leads the primary field with 27 percent of likely Democratic voters, with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson taking 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Weiner, a former congressman, has just 16 percent. In the last Quinnipiac poll, taken just before he admitted to sending inappropriate messages and lewd photos to women as recently as last summer, Weiner had a 4-point lead over Quinn." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Coming to a household near you this November: food stamp cuts. The $668 maximum monthly benefit for a family of four will fall to $643, according to the Center on Budget's Stacy Dean and Dottie Rosenbaum. (The average household's monthly benefit is $287.) "This cut will be the equivalent of taking away 14 meals per month for a family of four, or 11 meals for a family of three," Dean and Rosenbaum wrote in a May report. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - Hope Yen: "Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend. The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality." [Associated Press]

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MCCONNELL TIES SEQUESTER TO SAFETY NET CUTS - Basically he's willing to trade pain for hurt. WSJ: "Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is offering a preview of what GOP demands could look like when Republicans and Democrats go to the mat over government spending this fall, telling National Review that 'a place to talk' is entitlements. 'You want sequester relief?' McConnell says in the interview, referring to automatic budget cuts disliked by Democrats for their impact on social programs and Republicans for hitting the Pentagon. 'Let's talk about a reduction in entitlement spending,' McConnell says. He says that a 'place to talk is on things like chained CPI' - an alternative measure of inflation included in Obama's most recent budget - 'and raising the age for Medicare.' McConnell rules out new revenue, saying 'the tax issue is over.' But in return for chained CPI and raising the age for Medicare eligibility (an idea Democrats don't like), McConnell says: 'We could trade less spending reduction on the discretionary side, because we all know the biggest challenge is actually not on the discretionary side, but on entitlements. To me, that's a better place to go in the fall than signaling you're open to raising taxes.'" [WSJ]

McConnell commented on John McCain's budding bromance with Chuck Schumer: "We don't have any rules that you don't talk to any Democrats," the minority leader said during the same National Review interview. "That's McCain being McCain." Then this: "You know, I was kidding [New York Democrat Chuck Schumer] and McCain the other day, and asked, 'When are you all getting married? It's getting almost embarrassing.'" [National Review]

Harry Reid, in a statement on the Senate floor this morning, opposed tying sequestration relief to entitlement cuts: "If Republicans force us to the brink of another government shutdown for ideological reasons, the economy will suffer. I would suggest to any of my Republican colleagues that has this idea, give a call to Newt Gingrich. He'll return your phone calls. Ask him how it worked. It was disastrous for Newt Gingrich, the Republicans and the country. It didn't work then and it won't work now." [Roll Call]

PRESIDENT TO PROMOTE ECONOMIC AGENDA IN PLACE WHERE THE AMERICAN DREAM GOES TO DIE - No, he won't be giving a speech at the next Gathering of the Juggalos (though we won't rule out Rand Paul doing that at some point in the next decade), he'll be going somewhere way more desperate. Dave Jamieson: "President Barack Obama will visit an Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Tuesday as part of his national jobs tour... A leading theme of the speech will be high-paying jobs... While there are middle-class jobs to be found inside retail warehouses like Amazon's, lawsuits and recent investigative reports have shown that there's a good deal of low-paying and highly unstable temporary jobs, too...Inside modern warehouses, the good, middle-class jobs tend to be the skilled direct-hire positions, like supervisor or forklift operator... But then there are the more common menial positions, like Amazon's 'pickers,' who scurry throughout the massive warehouses plucking item after item for shipment...many temps say this system simply helps the retailers dodge the responsibilities they'd otherwise have as a direct employer, like offering decent wages and benefits, as well as reliable hours and job security." [HuffPost]

If America could vote for "Let all the gays marry" for president, they would. Gallup: "If given the opportunity to vote on a law legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, the slight majority of Americans, 52%, say they would cast their vote in favor, while 43% would vote against it. Across the nation's major demographic, political, and religious groups, support for the proposed law ranges from as high as 77% among self-described liberal Americans, and 76% among those with no religious affiliation, to as low as 23% among weekly churchgoers, and 30% among Republicans and conservatives. Other groups showing at least 60% support for legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide include Democrats, adults aged 18 to 34, those who rarely or never attend a church or other place of worship, moderates, Easterners, and Catholics. Others showing less than 50% support include Protestants, adults 55 and older, Southerners, and men." [Gallup]

OBAMA MEETS WITH HILLARY: WHAT DOES IT MEEEAAANNNNNNNN - Folks were even wondering why both pols were given their own salt and pepper shakers. Politico: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived at the White House just before noon Monday for lunch with President Obama. Cameras staked out outside the West Wing caught a brief glimpse of Clinton entering the building, but the meeting is closed to the press. Though the meeting comes as her successor oversees the start of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the White House said the lunch is more casual....Obama invited Clinton for the meal, [Deputy Press Secretary Josh] Earnest added.... The menu included grilled chicken, pasta jambalaya and salad." [Politico]

ROMNEY TRYING TO EXPLAIN AWAY '47 PERCENT' COMMENT - Mitt Romney, who is what happens when you combine Thurston Howell and the Professor and whoever the guy was that owned the port the Minnow set sail from, is doing a little historical revisionism. Luke Johnson: "His infamous 47 percent remarks were taken out of context, Mitt Romney told The Washington Post's Dan Balz in an interview published Sunday. Asked about the oft-cited quote that 47 percent of Americans can't be persuaded to take personal responsibility, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee said, 'Actually, I didn't say that ...That's how it began to be perceived, and so I had to ultimately respond to the perception, because perception is reality.' But Romney told Balz that the focus of his remarks was on swing voters, not on those who were already in President Barack Obama's camp. '[I]t was saying, 'Look, the Democrats have 47 percent, we've got 45 percent, my job is to get the people in the middle, and I've got to get the people in the middle,'' he said." [HuffPost]

All the news that's fit to print (so long as the pre-interview terms are adhered to): "Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear's interview with President Obama packed in enough news to fill three New York Times articles and one media story: "It was the paper's first exclusive chat with the president in nearly three years," The Huffington Post's Jack Mirkinson writes...But Calmes and Shear showed what must have been superhuman forbearance by not asking Obama about his administration's pursuit of reporters' phone records, prosecution of leakers, or its insistence that Times reporter James Risen should testify in a leak case." [Poynter]

CONGRESS IS GETTING BETTER AT NAMING BILLS - One not-awful thing about the 112th Congress, a new study by a University of Michigan postdoctoral research fellow finds, was that its bills had less inane names (We're looking at you, Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections [DISCLOSE] Act). "[S]ver the past few decades, short titles have become more frequently used, longer, and more likely to employ acronyms or personalization; they have also increasingly used evocative words while they have decreasingly used technical, descriptive language... Evocative wording peaked in the 110th Congress but has noticeably dropped in the last two sessions... This could mean that lawmakers are finally wising to the fact that, through short titles, their laws are promising much that rarely, if ever, materializes." [University of Michigan]

Up for consideration this week: "H.R. 2769 - Stop Playing on Citizen's Cash Act."

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a turtle bothering a cat.

Good new from Congress (really, we swear): "Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), and her husband Daniel Beutler, on Monday announced the birth of their first child -- a baby girl that doctors say is likely the first known survivor of a rare pre-natal condition that is almost always fatal. In May, Herrera Beutler announced that she was pregnant. Days later, she released devastating news, saying that her unborn child had been diagnosed with Potter's Syndrome, or bilateral renal agenesis...After extensive treatment at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., Abigail Rose Beutler was born in Portland, Ore. on Monday, July 15 at 3:13 a.m., delivered pre-term at 28-weeks." [HuffPost]


- A supercut of "Saturday Night Live" actors and actresses breaking character. [http://chzb.gr/12R18Ft]

- A short documentary about a 97-year-old who paints with Microsoft Paint. [http://bit.ly/17N9TUf]

- LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" video remade with Legos. [http://bit.ly/13rShJr]

- A map showing the use of New York's SUPER CONTROVERSIAL Citi Bike program. [http://bit.ly/1c3WzzQ]

- If Apple and Google actually went to war -- and we're talking ::bang ::bang:: suppressing fire!!! war here -- who would win? [http://slate.me/1c5EotN]

- HuffPost Entertainment's list of 1,990 things from the 90s might well be the be-all-end-all 90s nostalgia list. [http://huff.to/1c6OhY5]

- An infographic showing how much certain websites are used in a single minute. [http://bit.ly/1cfZ2pB]


@PLFino: In an alternate universe Philip Roth wrote one more book and it was about Anthony Weiner.

@daveweigel: In 2 days, it will be the one-year anniversary of "What about your gaffes?" politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/31/rom... How will you celebrate?



6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Kelly Ayotte welcomes a veritable Travelling Wilburys of fundraiser guests to her campaign function. John Thune, Marco Rubio, Rob Portman and Rand Paul all are scheduled to make appearances.

8:00 pm: Tim Kaine, Bob Casey and John Shimkus each get their Sasha Fierce on at Beyonce's concert at the Verizon Center. [601 F Street NW]

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