POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Confederate Flag Down: You're Next, Cracker Barrel

President Obama will visit a federal penitentiary next week, hoping that his stirring performance of “Folsom Prison Blues” will revive his lagging second term. The New York Times alleges that HarperCollins quantitatively eased sales of Ted Cruz’s book. And with debate over the Confederate battle flag mostly over, Democrats are looking for new wedge issues to divide southern and establishment Republicans -- we might suggest some kind of “DRAFT PAULA DEEN FOR SENATE” whisper campaign. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, July 10th, 2015:

PAUL RYAN SAYS GOVERNMENT WILL REMAIN OPEN - All. Summer. Long. Mike McAuliff: "Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is confident there will be no government shutdown this fall because Republicans are in charge on Capitol Hill, he said Friday. 'I’m not worried about that because we control both sides of the rotunda, the House and the Senate,' Ryan, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a briefing with reporters. Ryan is optimistic despite the fact that the House has only passed about half of the 12 appropriations measures that are required to keep the government running through September, the Senate hasn't passed any yet, and Congress is on vacation for most of August." [HuffPost]

On this week's HuffPost Politics podcast we asked Tucker Carlson to explain why anyone would like the Grateful Dead.

PRESIDENT FINALLY GOING TO JAIL - No, they said, you can't make a citizen's arrest over Benghazi, they said. WELL LOOK WHO'S LAUGHIN-- oh. Dave Boyer: "Mr. Obama will become the first president to visit a federal prison when he travels Thursday to the El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma, the White House said Friday. The president will visit the medium-security prison near Oklahoma City to talk about criminal justice reform, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. While there, he’s expected to commute the sentences of dozens of federal inmates who are in jail on drug charges...The president’s visit will be recorded for an HBO documentary to be aired later this year, according to VICE Media. Mr. Obama and VICE founder Shane Smith, host of the special, will tour the facility and meet with prisoners, prison staff, and law enforcement officials, the company said." [Washington Times]

Today's Eliot's last day before book leave. Arthur will take the helm for the next few months with some input from Eliot. For more info on said book, check out Tuesday's HPH.

@MaeveReston: LA pinata maker told me it was tricky (but fun) to replicate @realDonaldTrump hair in paper mache @CNNPolitics

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Nobody could tell Audrey Webster of Clinton Township, Michigan, why her monthly food stamps went down from more than $100 to just $16 in February. The letter she received didn't say much. "It said they would be cut, that's all," Webster, 63, told HuffPost. She said she didn't get much more information when she called the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "They just told me that it was cut for the government's reasons," she said. The culprit is Washington. The farm bill President Barack Obama signed into law last year came with small reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Republicans pushed for steep cuts, arguing that food stamps were going to too many able-bodied adults who didn't have children and didn't have jobs. They pointed to a San Diego surfer who used his benefits for lobster and refused to get a real job. Democrats agreed to more modest cuts. Webster had paid attention to the debate and didn't think it would affect her. After all, she's nothing like that guy. "From what I was understanding when I heard the talk of it was that they were going to take it from people who were able to work, and could take care of themselves otherwise," Webster said. [HuffPost]

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OPM DIRECTOR RESIGNS - Still no apology from Katherine Archuleta for all of the random jet ski purchases on your credit card originating from Vladivostok. Julie Hirschfeld Davis: "Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, will resign effective Friday, according to a White House official, one day after it was revealed that sweeping cyberintrusions at the agency resulted in the theft of the personal information of more than 22 million people. Ms. Archuleta went to the White House on Friday morning to personally inform Mr. Obama of her decision, saying that she felt new leadership was needed at the federal personnel agency to enable it to “move beyond the current challenges,” the official said. The president accepted her resignation. Beth Cobert, the deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget, will step in to temporarily replace Ms. Archuleta while a permanent replacement is found." [NYT]

Quiz: "Can you tell the difference between a super PAC ad and a candidate's ad?"

HOUSE ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING FOR SCIENCE - As opposed to introducing bills attributing the cause of global warming to God leaving His F-150 in the sunny part of the Party City parking lot for too long. Sam Stein: "Science advocates scored a major legislative victory on Friday -- a rarity in recent politics -- after the House of Representatives passed a bill directing billions to agencies that promote biomedical research. The 21st Century Cures Act sailed through the chamber by vote of 344 to 77, a startling show of bipartisanship for a body that has done remarkably little of that. It now awaits movement on two fronts: the Senate, where similar legislation is under consideration, and, ultimately, the appropriations committees, which must take the directives of the bill and turn them into hard dollars. Should they do that -- and indications from the House Appropriations Committee are positive -- it would mark a reversal of financial fortune for a corner of the federal government that's been fretting about budget shortcomings since the last dollars of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package ran out." [HuffPost]

SOUTH CAROLINA LOWERS CONFEDERATE FLAG - Every time a southern icon is destroyed, an angel loses its wings *ill-fitting Wrangler jeans.* Jon Schuppe and Elizabeth Chuck: "Cheers and applause erupted as the Confederate battle flag was removed Friday from the South Carolina Capitol, ending a decades-long fight that was reignited after the murders of nine members of a historically black Charleston church. 'Take it down! Take it down' the crowd chanted as an honor guard from the South Carolina Highway Patrol marched toward the flag pole. Two troopers reeled the flag down and folded it as onlookers took photos and broke out in song, while others bellowed, 'USA! USA!' They handed the flag to a black trooper, who brought it to the steps of the Statehouse and handed it to a state archivist." [NBC News]


Thank you, South Carolina! But our institutional racism is in another castle!

BACKGROUND CHECK GOOF ARMED ROOF - Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt: "The man accused of killing nine people in an historically black South Carolina church last month should not have been able to buy a gun, the F.B.I.said Friday in what was the latest acknowledgment of flaws in the national background check system. A loophole in the check system allowed the man, Dylann Roof, to buy the .45-caliber handgun despite his having previously admitted to drug possession, the bureau said. 'We are all sick this happened,' said the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey." [NYT]


News from abroad: "New Greek Finance Minister's Signature Looks Like A Penis"

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some bulldog puppies on a slide.

TIMES/HARPERCOLLINS AT ODDS OVER CRUZ BOOK SALES - We're siding with the Times on this one, if only because it has allowed far dumber things to reach the number-one spot. Dylan Byers: "The publisher HarperCollins is disputing the New York Times' claim that Ted Cruz’s new book was disqualified from its bestseller list because its sales had been driven by 'strategic bulk purchases.' The On Media blog reported Thursday that the Times was keeping Cruz's "A Time For Truth" off of its forthcoming bestsellers list, despite the fact that the book has sold more copies in its first week than all but two of the Times' bestselling titles. In an email, Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy attributed that decision to an 'overwhelming preponderance of evidence... that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases.' But on Friday, HarperCollins issued a statement declaring that it had found 'no evidence' of bulk purchases." [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a dead raccoon, create some viral content.

- Would it be considered a lesser form of regicide to suggest that Prince Philip wash his mouth out with soap?

- Teaching a seagull to dance.

TWITTERAMA

@TheRickWilson: If an eccentric billionaire causes the Clintons to win the White House for a second time, God has a sick sense of humor.

@JohnDingell: A fun thing to do at the DCA Hudson News is just read the A section of your favorite newspaper without paying for it.

@RobDelaney: .@Cosmopolitan my boyfriend farts in a jar every morning & makes me take it to work with me. Is that weird? I am a Supreme Court justice

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