Morning Briefing: June 16, 2011

Yesterday, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) once again held a hearing singling out the American Muslim community as a group that is prone to terrorist acts. King argued Muslims are being radicalized in U.S. prisons. Rep. Louise Richardson (D-CA) said, “I actually believe that the focus of one particular group on the basis of race or religion can be deemed as racist and as discriminatory.”

Democrats beat back GOP efforts to “deepen already-stringent cuts to domestic and foreign food aid — and even breastfeeding assistance — in an annual spending bill.” Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) told House conservatives that if their measures were enacted, they would “harm millions of people in the world. Millions of children will die because of this amendment.”

Pushing back against congressional criticism that the U.S. conflict in Libya is violating the War Powers Act, the White House sent a 38-page report to lawmakers arguing that “the limited American role did not oblige the administration to ask for authorization.” “We are acting lawfully,” said State Department legal adviser Harold Koh.

The Center for Public Integrity alleged in a new report that the Obama administration has engaged in a pay-for-play scheme, rewarding big donors with high-level positions in the administration. Reacting to the report, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “Being a supporter does not qualify you for a job. But it also does not disqualify you.”


Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee criticized Tim Pawlenty’s performance at the last GOP debate. “He’s over-coached, over-consulted,” Huckabee said. “Americans can live with leaders if they make mistakes. What they can’t live with is a leader who doesn’t know where his own compass is pointing.”

By a 80–63 vote, the New York Assembly passed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in that state. Rep. Danny O’Donnell, who sponsored the resolution, said, “When push comes to shove, this is about equality.” The measure will now face a vote in the State Senate.

“The security relationship between the United States and Pakistan has sunk to its lowest level” since 9/11. House intelligence chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), who recently returned from Pakistan, said “there are elements of both the military and intelligence service who in some way…provided some level of assistance to Osama bin Laden.”

And finally: “Switch seats with me,” Keith Olbermann told a New York Times reporter recently while the two attended a Yankees game. “I want to be in the Fox Sports shot of home plate. They usually cut it off right here,” he said, indicating the arm of the seat between us. “It’s fun to mess with them.”

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