Afternoon Reading List 06.04.13.

Government not helping relationship with AP — The US government and the AP haven’t been on the best terms recently. But The Atlantic Wire’s Connor Simpson reported that the rocky relationship didn’t stop the Labor Department from attempting to bill the news organization more than $1 million for a FOIA request. The AP filed the request for secret email addresses of appointed administration officials. Because of the amount of work it took (50 people working for almost a month) to compile the email addresses, the Labor Department asked the news org to cover the cost. The alternate email accounts were being used to keep the employees’ inboxes from being flooded with “unwanted messages.” The addresses were requested after an EPA administrator admitted to using separate accounts for work. Alternate email addresses for 11 government agencies were finally surrendered to the AP, which did not pay $1 million or any amount for them. HHS initially refused to give up the secret addresses for Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, but ultimately obliged and requested that AP not disclose her private account. Not surprisingly, the AP gave HHS the middle finger and did just that. Sebelius’ previously secret account, by the way, is KGS2 [at]

See our remaining two story picks.

China censors “big yellow duck” memes — Meme’s have been a popular way to waste time at work, but now some are being censored by the Chinese government. Alec Hill of The Daily Caller reported that intense censorship went into effect today to prevent Chinese citizens from accessing any information about Tiananmen Square protests, which occurred 24 years ago today. Weibo, the Facebook of China, blocked any phrase that could possibly be associated with the protests or date, such as “64” for June 4 or “black shirt” in response to an online movement encouraging citizens to wear black shirts to memorialize the events, among other more obvious phrases. Weibo also banned the term “big yellow duck” in response to the now-internet-famous meme that makes use of a giant rubber duck placed in unsuspecting photographs. The popular meme began to appear online after a massive yellow duck appeared in Hong Kong harbor during May as part of a traveling art installation.

Citizens now allowed to sponsor bills — Private citizens who have always wanted to co-sponsor bills introduced in Congress but didn’t want to go through the trouble of getting elected can now do just that, reported The Hill’s Russell Berman. The House GOP has launched a website,, that Maj. Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday would help engage citizens with the legislative process by allowing users to “co-sponsor” bills being discussed inside the Capitol. Cantor said the site is “yet another example of our trying to live up to the commitment of transparency, the fact that this is a government that belongs to the people, and they ought to know what’s going on.” In addition to allowing users to be more involved in the legislative process as they track bills, lawmakers can see which bills are more popular among citizens. Cantor said the site will include bills introduced by both parties. How incredibly bipartisan of him.