In a shocking turn, Alabama's GOP won't punish someone for supporting gay marriage and a conservative congressman wants to reinstate the Voting Rights Act -- next thing you know Steve King will become self-aware. The Deep Throat parking garage will be demolished, so anyone hoping to visit the site and contemplate the sanctity of our Constitution might do so in a Qdoba Mexican Grill. And Pat Leahy will ask Eric Holder about his response to state marijuana laws. Put another way, a Vermonter wants to know where the weed at. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 26th, 2013:
U.S. SHAKES FIST AT SYRIA - A case study in "Why I oughta!!!" diplomacy. AP: "Secretary of State John Kerry says chemical weapons were used in Syria and is accusing President Bashar Assad of destroying evidence. Ratcheting up criticism of Syria's alleged chemical weapons use, Kerry called last week's attack a 'moral obscenity' that should shock the conscience of the world. He says the U.S. has additional information about the attack and will make it public in the days ahead. Kerry says shelling the affected area afterward was not the action of a government trying to cooperate with U.N. investigators trying to assess what happened. The alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds has moved the U.S. closer to military action against Syria than at any point during the bloody civil war. Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied launching a chemical attack." [AP]
@AaronBlakeWP: Carney on Syria: "There is not a military solution to that conflict; there has to be a political solution."
Try not to speak too loudly, you might hurt the War Powers Act's feelings: "Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Monday that he hoped the Obama administration would come to Congress to authorize airstrikes in Syria but that such authorization was not necessary to conduct the strikes. 'They do not need an authorization but I do hope they will come for one,' Corker, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe.' 'If you look at foreign policy over the last long period of time, Congress has gotten a pass on all of these issues and the debate in Washington to me can be almost sophomoric and silly because we're not taking ownership over these decisions.'" [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]
The Onion: "Let Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance Was Our Top Story This Morning, By Meredith Artley, Managing Editor Of CNN.Com" [Onion]
'DEEPTHROAT' PARKING GARAGE TO BE RAZED - Because if you follow the money these days, you'll end up at a 75-unit condo complex in Arlington. Rebecca Shapiro: "The garage that was the setting for secret meetings between the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and famed Watergate source Deep Throat will cease to exist pending a planned redevelopment project. The Arlington garage, which carries a permanent historical marker, will be demolished as developers tear down two office buildings. According to ARL Now, the demolition is between 1-4 years away, as the development project will have to go through the city's site plan process. The location was given a historical marker in 2008 with a placard appearing outside the garage in 2011. According to ARL Now, the marker will remain at the site even when the garage is torn down." [HuffPost]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST CONNECTS THE DOTS - HuffPost Hill's senior neurotic government relations professional-slash-moral crusader, the Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, is worried at the simultaneous collapse of America's political and family values. "Almost exactly one year after Aurora, Senator Leahy endorses Ben Affleck for the new Batman movie on his Twitter account," writes PSLGOPL, who is still trying to decipher the morse code embedded in Miley Cyrus' twerks. "I'd rather he endorsed less violent PG-13 movies. I guess Ben is a pretty good donor." Thanks, PSLGOPL!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Email Of People On Food Stamps: "I'm on SSDI. I have spinal problems, tiring cardiac problems and severe depression (PTSD). I only get $115.00 a month in food stamps. I'm diabetic and need to be on a strict diet but can't afford healthy much any more. Produce and fresh meats are expensive. Even for a single person with no kids this is not enough." [Hang in there!]
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LOUIE GOHMERT REALLY NOT HELPING THE EGYPT SITUATION - In the annals of things Americans do to exacerbate problems in the Muslim world, this one falls somewhere between "Naming the Afghanistan invasion 'Operation Infinite Justice'" and "George W. Bush." NYT: "But now anti-American sentiment is being stoked by an outpouring of dubious pronouncements from both state and private news media. Anti-Americanism has even been given the ultimate imprimatur of state tolerance: billboards. One next door to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for instance, shows President Obama with a beard like those worn by the Brotherhood...The origin of the idea of a terrorist-friendly America is opaque. Many cite money given to the Brotherhood, but what they are referring to is the $1.5 billion in American aid to the government of Egypt...Many Egyptians refer to YouTube clips played repeatedly by the pro-military news media, quoting Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, who recently equated giving $1.5 billion in aid to the Morsi government with support for terrorists." [NYT]
GOP LAWMAKER WANTS TO RESTORE VOTING RIGHTS ACT - If any of you want to make a record screech noise, do a spit take or let out a dumbfounded "WuuuHHHH???" now would be the time. Washington Post: "Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said Monday that he will attempt to replace, by the end of the year, the portion of the Voting Rights Act that was struck down by the Supreme Court. Sensenbrenner’s comments came Monday at an event hosted by the Republican National Committee, commemorating the March on Washington. Sensenbrenner said he wants to fix the law so that it is immune to court challenges. 'The first thing we have to do is take the monkey wrench that the court threw in it, out of the Voting Rights Act, and then use that monkey wrench to be able to fix it so that it is alive, well, constitutional and impervious to another challenge that will be filed by the usual suspects,' Sensenbrenner said." [WaPo]
CONTROVERSIAL POLITICAL ISSUE TABLED - You can practically smell the blue ribbon commission. Kate Sheppard: "A decision on the fate of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will likely be delayed until after the release of an inspector general investigation into conflict of interest complaints, a process that will take at least until early 2014, The Hill reported Friday. The Office of Inspector General is looking into complaints that Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the contractor that prepared the most recent environmental impact statement on Keystone XL, failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest. ERM had previously done work for TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, and other oil companies that could stand to benefit from it. The connections prompted environmental groups to call for an IG investigation." [HuffPost]
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS ACTUALLY LEAD TO FEWER ABORTION CLINICS - Tragic causality update of the day: "More than 50 abortion clinics across the country have closed or stopped offering the procedure since a heavy wave of legislative attacks on providers began in 2010, according to The Huffington Post's nationwide survey of state health departments, abortion clinics and local abortion-focused advocacy groups. At least 54 abortion providers across 27 states have shut down or ended their abortion services in the past three years, and several more clinics are only still open because judges have temporarily blocked legislation that would make it difficult for them to continue to operate. Nebraska and Massachusetts have each added one clinic since 2010, and the other 21 states and the District of Columbia, most of which have not passed new anti-abortion laws since 2010, were unable to accurately count their clinics because their health departments do not license abortion providers separately from other kinds of medical providers. " [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]
Carl Paladino is back and he's just as baseball bat brandishing-y as ever. John Celock: "Former New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino says he may run for governor next year -- and remove the GOP as a major party in the state in the process -- if Republicans are unable to put forth a worthy challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Paladino, a tea party favorite who now serves on the Buffalo Board of Education, told the Buffalo News that he may seek the Conservative Party nomination for governor next year if Republicans do not unseat state Senate Co-President Dean Skelos (R) and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R)." [HuffPost]
BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE JEWS? SEQUESTRATION EDITION - Short answer: No it isn't, bubby. Forward: "Nancy Volpert [is] the director of public policy for the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, the oldest charity in L.A. and one of the largest, an organization dedicated to caring for the frail, poor and elderly...'We are directly impacted by sequestration,' Volpert said, speaking by phone with the Forward. Her agency, which provides 1,000 meals a day to low-income seniors and homebound adults with disabilities, lost $44,000 in the last quarter of the 2013 fiscal year, from April through June...Fortunately, Volpert said, the L.A. City Council 'decided that allowing seniors to starve was not an appropriate budget-balancing choice' and redirected city money to the meals program for this year only." [Forward]
When it comes to Colorado and Washington's marijuana laws, the White House is moving slower than a "Das Boot" screening in a hotboxed theater: "Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has invited Attorney General Eric Holder to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next month about the Justice Department's planned approach toward the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, Leahy's office announced Monday. The announcement came exactly six months after Holder said the federal response was coming 'relatively soon.'... Leahy, who chairs the committee, has also invited Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify at the hearing, which is scheduled for Sept. 10." [HuffPost's Ryan Reilly]
THERE'S HOPE FOR YOU YET, REPUBLICAN PARTY - With all apologies to Borat, Alabama might actually be the gayest place in America. BuzzFeed: "Alabama Republicans voted Saturday to reject an amendment aimed at punishing the head of the state’s college Republicans for publicly defending same-sex marriage... Stephanie Petelos, president of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, enraged some members of the state party earlier this summer when she gave an interview criticizing her party’s religious rhetoric in the wake of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision, and suggesting the fire-and-brimstone approach was alienating younger voters. As a result, some Alabama Republican leaders introduced an amendment to the party bylaws that would have removed any member of the steering committee who voiced opposition to the GOP’s national platform... Amid an onslaught of negative headlines, the party voted down the amendment in a Saturday afternoon meeting." [BuzzFeed]
Important First Amendment news: "Trips to the DMV don't typically elicit genuine smiles, but from beneath a metal pasta strainer, Texas Tech student and practicing Pastafarian Eddie Castillo flashed the 'biggest, cheesiest' one he could muster last week. Castillo told KLBK that the triumphant moment came after a lengthy fight with the state's Department of Public Safety that the unusual headgear was protected as part of his religious beliefs. He worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a deity created by an atheist in 2005 in protest of the Kansas School Board's defense of teaching intelligent design." [HuffPost's Nick Wing]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a puppy climbing stairs.
JOHN LEWIS: NERD HERO, ALSO REGULAR HERO - The Georgia representative and civil rights icon may well be the only person in American history to both march on Montgomery and Comic-Con. Roll Call: "Rep. John Lewis’ debut graphic novel, 'March,' is a bona fide hit, landing in the top spot on multiple best-seller lists — including the coveted Gray Lady’s. The book is currently No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list for paperback graphic novels and leads The Washington Post’s entire nonfiction section... The critically acclaimed comic, which the Georgia Democrat shared with the animation-obsessed at this year’s Comic-Con, chronicles his devotion to the philosophy of nonviolence opposition and how he put it into practice during the civil rights movement." [Roll Call]
- Space: The Final Meme-tier. [http://bit.ly/1c6XsFs]
- Aaron Paul's audition tape for the role of Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad." Good thing they didn't go with Ben Affleck. [http://bit.ly/19SUHKo]
- If you're going to get a tattoo, and you're going to post a picture of it on Instagram, and you're going to be a professional athlete with thousands of Instagram followers, make sure the tattoo is spelled correctly. [http://usat.ly/17dd1tO]
- A new Samsung ad, which the company says was only intended for internal use, features the most unenthusiastic spokespeople in history. [http://cnet.co/17U6uT4]
- Cat is caught red-pawed. [http://huff.to/1c6VDYU]
- The Atlantic's Derek Thompson explains what money is, beside being the key ingredient to your Farmville addiction. [http://bit.ly/1dFo9CQ]
- Stock photos of women with desserts looking guilty. Your church newsletter's Weight Watchers announcement needs to get some art from somewhere, you know? [http://huff.to/19HXuml]
@DavidMDrucker: Secretary of Late John Kerry.
@GrahamDavidA: Man, 1971 John Kerry would probably feel pretty weird watching 2013 John Kerry pave the way for a military intervention.
@indecision: Donald Trump claims Obama is behind the Trump University lawsuit. For once he doesn't require proof about something involving Obama.
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