At World Cup, Biden joins U.S. players in their locker room to celebrate victory over Ghana

After its big win over Ghana, Team USA had a special locker room visitor.

And it’s hard to tell who was more excited: the players or Vice President Biden.

The White House posted video of the veep palling around with the team after its first World Cup match. In it, Uncle Joe is visibly thrilled to be hanging with the boys. At one point, a player says he appreciates Biden’s visit. “Are you kidding me?” Biden says. “This is a kick, man.”

“Hey, Timmy,” Biden says when he sees goalie Tim Howard. Howard, all smiles, asks Biden how he is. “Not as good as you are, man,” Biden says. “You played one helluva game, man.”

“I tried,” Howard says. “You did more than try, man,” Biden responds. The vice president then introduces his granddaughter to Howard, telling him she’s a soccer goalie, too. Things are great, Biden says, but “better today.”

Biden attended the World Cup game while in Brazil, the first leg of a visit to Latin America this week that will include stops in Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. In the early minutes of the game in Natal, a crowd shot focused on Biden in the stands for all television-watching fans to see.

After netting the ball 29 seconds into the game, the United States didn’t score again until the last several minutes. A recurring joke on Twitter during the scoreless middle of the game was to “Put Biden In.”

After that, it was on to Brasilia on Tuesday for a little business: Reassuring President Dilma Rousseff that she no longer had to worry about that unpleasantness involving the NSA hacking her personal communications — news of which led her to cancel a state visit to Washington last year.

A TTIP jar full of cash

Some folks in Europe — farmers, consumer groups, enviros, privacy advocates and others — have strongly opposed the U.S.-E.U. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is now being negotiated.

Opposition in France and Italy has been strong. And now it seems the Germans are looking increasingly askance at the treaty. But the Obama administration and free-trade and business groups are pushing hard for an agreement.

So the U.S. Embassy in Berlin is enlisting treaty-supporting Germans — even offering cold, hard cash.

“Are you pro-TTIP and angry at the negative coverage it’s been getting? Send us your ideas and we’ll support you!” the embassy, or “Botschaft,” said in a tweet in German on Friday.

That’s right, the embassy’s public affairs section has launched project “T-TIP: Get Informed! Get Involved,” “soliciting proposals” and offering grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 to German nonprofits, “non-governmental organizations, think tanks and academic institutions” to get out the real “facts and figures” to “combat misinformation.”

The embassy suggests things like “short documentaries on
T-TIP” or an “Expert Speaker Tour with proposed name(s) for travel (including per diem and honoraria).” You might want to set up a “T-TIP conference . . . that can be live-streamed” or create “digital posters in German” or set up a “website devoted to T-TIP.”

The initial reader tweets included a couple that were supportive, some who thought the tweet was a joke and several negative ones, such as: “Your PR for TTIP won’t save this project, no matter how much money you pay,” from Maritta Strasser, and a rather caustic one from “Unimpeachable,” who tweeted: “TTIP cancels out democracy! This is an attack on all mankind and the environment.”

Unready for humor

Ready for Hillary took its cue from the National Security Agency.

No, the activists who would love a Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy didn’t collect your phone data, but they are just as humorless as the spy agency when mocked.

In November, we reported that the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security weren’t pleased about parody products sold online using an altered image of their logos. A T-shirt example: “Peeping while you’re sleeping” displayed inside the NSA seal, then under that, “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.”

The federal agencies demanded that Web stores Zazzle and CafePress, which sell user-generated and customizable items, take down the parodies. Then Public Citizen sued the government on behalf of Minnesotan Dan McCall, who designed and sold the NSA and DHS T-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and other such memorabilia, for infringing on freedom of speech.

The government relented and retracted the take-down letters. All was, as Public Citizen lawyer Paul Levy put it, “hunky dory.”

Now McCall, whose slogan is “freedom products for liberty lovers,” is back with a new line that riffs on the Ready for Hillary logo, using the PAC’s three-starred flag and the same font with the words: “I’m Ready for Oligarchy.”

The Hillary people were not amused and sent Zazzle and CafePress letters on June 1 alleging copyright infringement and demanding that the products be removed. The sites obliged. Now Public Citizen is back on the case. Levy wrote to them, and last Wednesday, CafePress agreed “to reinstate the designs at issue.” Zazzle would not.

Levy also sent a letter to lawyers for Ready for Hillary early last week asking that they retract their take-down demand by the close of business Thursday. “Absent a retraction, we will file an action for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement, seeking damages for lost sales and an award of attorney fees” for a frivolous takedown, Levy wrote.

“It’s absolutely mind-boggling. You’d think folks supporting a candidacy for president, you’d think they’d know better,” Levy told the Loop. “I feel badly, but I’m not going to let them take this protected expression off the market.”

At almost midnight Thursday, Levy heard from Ready for Hillary that it was retracting its demand that the parody items be taken down. Good thing, he says, because he had a complaint drafted and ready to file Friday in federal court.

We reached out to the Ready for Hillary spokesman but did not get a response. Of course, they are busy being roadies on Hillary’s book tour.

With Colby Itkowitz

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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