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HUFFPOST HILL - America Drops Mic In Afghanistan

First Posted: 02/ 1/2012 5:41 pm Updated: 02/ 1/2012 6:01 pm

Like a good house guest, the American military will leave Afghanistan the way it found it. When it comes to a 9-11 museum, Tom Coburn wants Americans to never forget ... that money doesn't grow on trees. And if corporations are indeed people, then Mitt Romney's statement that he's "not concerned about the very poor" is false. Mitt spent his career at Bain helping the "very poor" out of "poverty." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 1st, 2012:

TROOPS LEAVING AFGHANISTAN JUST IN TIME TO SUPPORT ISRAEL'S IRAN BOMBING CAMPAIGN - Benjamin Franklin once said that "fish and visitors smell after three days... unless your visitor is a predator drone -- in which case it won't stink but will stay for twelve years." Wise words. AP: "U.S. and other international forces in Afghanistan aim to end their combat role next year and switch to training and advising Afghan forces through 2014, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday. Panetta's remarks to reporters traveling with him to a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels represented the Obama administration's most explicit portrayal of how the foreign military role in Afghanistan is expected to evolve from the current high-intensity fight against the Taliban to a support role with Afghans fully in the lead. Panetta called 2013 a critical year for the Afghanistan mission that has dragged on for more than a decade with little sign that the Taliban will be decisively defeated. He noted that NATO and the Afghan government intend to begin a final phase of transitioning sections of the country to Afghan security control in mid-2013." [AP]

Bright side: the government will now be able to redirect war funding to cover legal fees arising from the wars. MoJo: "The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Wednesday seeking not only the legal justification for America's targeted killing program, but the process by which US citizens suspected of terrorism are placed on its so-called "kill list." The ACLU is also seeking the evidence the US government used to determine that radical American preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in September, was actually a terrorist." [MoJo]

GOP: WE'RE ENDING A WAR, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO CUT DEFENSE SPENDING - Jen Bendery: "On Thursday, Republican Sens. Jon Kyl, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn and Kelly Ayotte will unveil a proposal to replace impending cuts to defense spending with more cuts to domestic spending. The automatic defense spending cuts, due to take effect in Jan. 2013, are a result of the Joint Select Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction failing to reach a deficit reduction deal last fall. Three of those senators voted for those same defense spending cuts in December, however, when they passed the debt deal cut by President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders. Kyl, McCain and Cornyn voted for the deal, while Graham and Ayotte voted no."

OREGON ENFRANCHISING PEOPLE: GOP NOT UPSET FOR SOME REASON - Running in tomorrow's Roll Call from Nathan L. Gonzales: "Since 2000, elections in Oregon have been conducted entirely by mail, so there is no one to check IDs at a polling place because polling places do not exist. Ballots must be received (either by mail or at a drop site) by 8 p.m. PST on Election Day. Voters aren't required to have photo ID to register to vote either. They can supply the last four digits of their Social Security number and a utility bill to get added to the voter rolls at least 21 days before the next election. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has been outspoken about the voter ID issue, but Oregon doesn't appear to be a big concern, or any concern at all. 'These voter integrity initiatives are a state-by-state issue, and it's up to any given state to determine what is best for them," RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski told Roll Call. "In general, the RNC strives for as much transparency as possible in the process to ensure the integrity of our election process is protected.' If Oregon were more of a battleground state, it would likely get more attention."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Struggling families will no longer be allowed to withdraw welfare funds at automated teller machines in liquor stores, casinos or strip clubs if Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives get their way. Bill sponsor Charles Boustany (R-La.) told HuffPost the whole idea is to preserve the integrity of welfare. "These abuses erode public confidence in the program, and we want to make sure that that doesn't happen," he said. Nice welfare program you've got there. I'd hate to see the erosion of public confidence in it. [HuffPost]

Boustany said he's confident his efforts will uncover many more examples of welfare ATM withdrawals at naughty establishments. Seems unlikely: Keep in mind that 90 percent of welfare beneficiaries are women.

DOUBLER DOWNER - Andrea Stone: "A lesbian National Guardsman -- who is fighting Stage IV breast cancer and who fears time is running out for overturning the Defense of Marriage Act in her lifetime -- learned today she can meet with staff of Speaker of the House John Boehner. Concerned that survivor benefits would be denied her wife if she dies, she hope to convince staffers that Boehner should drop his plan to defend the law in court. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charlie Morgan, a 17-year full-time member of the New Hampshire Army National Guard, has tried for weeks to get a meeting with Boehner or his staff only to be rebuffed. In a letter and a series of emails shared with The Huffington Post, Morgan, 47, stressed that "time is of the essence," given her medical prognosis." [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

BOEHNER SURPRISED THE HOUSING CRISIS IS STILL A THING - Thank goodness they changed it from "Life, Liberty and Property," amirite???? Mike McAuliff: "House Speaker John Boehner thinks it's about time for the government to stop trying to aid people with underwater mortgages. Responding to a plan President Barack Obama unveiled Wednesday to help homeowners refinance, Boehner scoffed at the idea and then suggested government should get out of the way of increasing foreclosures and falling prices. 'One more time? We've done this. We've done this at least four times where there's a new government program to help homeowners who have trouble with their mortgages,' the Ohio Republican told reporters on Capitol Hill." [HuffPost]

MITT ROMNEY: I AM NOT CONCERNED ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE, BY DEFINITION, LACKING - Mitt Romney may not feel your pain, per se but he's pretty positive he read about it in a report somewhere. Weekly Standard: "Fresh off his big win in Florida Tuesday night, Mitt Romney made the most stunningly stupid remark of his campaign. 'I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there,' Romney said in an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien this morning. 'If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.' 'There are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, 'That sounds odd,'' O'Brien replied. 'Well, finish the sentence, Soledad,' Romney said. 'I said I'm not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them.'" And to think that Mitt's campaign is cagey about media appearances! [Weekly Standard]

@mviser: Romney just got glittered in Minnesota. "This is confetti!" he says. "We just won Florida!"... Romney: "Ah, I've got glitter in my hair. That's not all I've got in my hair. I glue it on in the morning whether I need to or not"

@ZekeJMiller Watch "glittered" Romney j.mp/zA0YoN

ROMNEY AND SUPER PAC GOING DUTCH ON MEDIA SPENDING - Sam Stein: "According to an examination of files submitted to the FEC on Monday, the Romney campaign spent $2,712,760 on 'placed media' between October and December of 2011. 'Placed media' is, as the campaign confirmed, just another word for 'bought media' or advertising purchases. $13,000 of that total was spent on print advertising, while the rest appears to have been spent on television ads. The majority of the money went to American Rambler Productions, LLC, the consulting firm that houses some of Romney's top aides. By comparison, during that same time period, the Romney campaign spent $2,423,242 on direct mail and an additional $180,215 on telemarketing...According to data compiled by the Wall Street Journal, between Dec. 8, 2011 and Jan. 31, 2012, Restore Our Future PAC spent more than $17.5 million on campaign activities. Just under $15 million of that total was devoted to 'media production' or 'media buys.' By comparison, $2,138,355 was spent on direct mail, $10,424 was spent on "print ads" and $102,582 was spent on email advertising." [HuffPost]

@samsteinhp: Romney received $117,00+ in donations from employees of "Bain" or "Bain Capital" or "Bain and Company" in q4

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS DELEGATE HIPPIE PUNCHING TO CAPITOL POLICE - Shoving one's palm at a documentary filmmaker's camera is an American tradition that goes back decades. Today, however, House Republicans took it to a whole new level. Zach Carter: "House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice. Republicans also denied the entrance of a credentialed ABC News news team that was attempting to film the event. Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary 'Gasland' was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing. The meeting of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had been taking place in room 2318 of the Rayburn building. Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, is currently seeking to secure a procedural maneuver that would allow the detained film crew to re-enter the hearing, which is open to the public. Miller's motion is not expected to succeed. It is unclear at the time of this writing whether the journalists will face charges." [HuffPost]

Wherein John Boehner calls Luke Russert a "loudmouth."

THE 9-11 MUSEUM: COBURN'D - Politico: "Sen. Tom Coburn is blocking legislation that would provide $20 million a year in federal funding for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at ground zero, demanding that co-sponsors of the bill come up with cuts to pay for the spending, his office confirmed to POLITICO.' Our debt is our greatest national security threat, and Dr. Coburn makes no apologies for forcing Congress to make choices and avoid unnecessary borrowing,' said John Hart, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Republican. 'If providing federal funding for this effort is a critical national priority, the sponsors should pay for this effort by reducing spending on lower-priority programs...It is also important to question why we need a $20 million earmark for a 9/11 memorial when private and patriotic Americans across the country are generously supporting this noble cause,' Hart added." [Politico]

REP. SEAN DUFFY: OH WAIT, I CAN FEED MY FAMILY - TPM: "Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) has come a long way since a town hall meeting last year where he said he was 'struggling' to get by on his $174,000 congressional salary. In fact, Duffy is doing so well that he introduced a bill last week to extend a current pay freeze for federal employees -- and freeze salaries for members of Congress. The military is not included in the pay freeze...Duffy insisted his worry over making ends meet was in reference to the time after he resigned as Ashland County District Attorney and before he got on the congressional payroll. 'I went seven months without a paycheck,' he said. 'I have six kids and a wife. That time was difficult.'" [TPM]

The Annie E. Casey foundation might want to think twice before funding any "have you thought about keeping it?" campaigns. Laura Bassett: "Stacey Tillman, a 47-year-old woman from Sandusky, Ohio, says she has donated over $300 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure each year for the past nine years. The issue is close to her heart, she says, because her aunt had breast cancer. This year, however, following the news that Komen has pulled breast exam funds from Planned Parenthood for political reasons, Tillman is sending her money straight to the family planning provider instead...Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) both criticized and revoked their support for Komen on Wednesday... The Connecticut affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure said in a statement on Wednesday that it 'shares' people's frustration over the decision and that it will continue funding Planned Parenthood of New England...Komen has faced a massive social media backlash since announcing the decision, with angry people flocking to its message boards and Facebook wall to announce that they will no longer donate to the breast cancer charity. [HuffPost]

DEAR POLITICO: LET HIM GO, HE'S GONE - Politico won't update Ben Smith's bio, won't link to BuzzFeed, and won't let Ben Smith use his own name on his own website. Erik Wemple: "Per his exit agreement with his old/current bosses, Smith reportedly cannot put the words 'Ben Smith' on top of his frequent postings on BuzzFeed. The oddity gives his pieces an Economist-island feel on a site that otherwise uses bylines on its material. This drives me nuts. I often alight on BuzzFeed content and end up snooping around for a byline. If I don't find one, did Smith write it, or did I just miss something? [Erik Wemple Blog]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Yet another political metaphor you don't want.

ON HUFFPOST DC - The battle over nationalizing D.C.'s local World War I memorial could end in a stalemate.

Washington is still very segregated: The conservative Manhattan Institute has a study out that describes the 'end of the segregated century.'...And, more than that, D.C. is desegregating more slowly than other cities.Based on Census data, neither the larger black tracts nor D.C.'s whiter neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park are integrating very much." [WCP]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!!!

- How do you explain something really awful? With something similarly awful. [http://bit.ly/wcsBwG]

- Remember that VW ad with the kid using the Force? Sequel. [http://bit.ly/ydijJN]

- Here is a LEGO contraption that sorts LEGO pieces. [http://bit.ly/w4hXvF]

- Jesus is the "Paul the Octopus" of the Superbowl. [http://bit.ly/yZFGGV]

- We're not racist, but... [WhenIsWhiteHistoryMonth.tumblr.com]

- Film noir photo essay about Swiss banks. Oh internet, what crazy medium will you introduce us to next? [http://bit.ly/zLvMwa]

- Leave it to comedy writers to demonstrate the importance of data retention. [http://bit.ly/zVKKCu]

- What's the deal with Downton Abbey? [http://bbc.in/xiq2Wr]

TWITTERAMA

@AndrewBreitbart: 43. Ugh. Now it's OFFICIALLY creepy I loiter outside of the UCLA dorms.

@ByronTau: Obama says "It is great to be back in Falls Church." PoliFact says: FALSE. Nobody wants to be in Falls Church.

@TomBevanRCP: Romney offers $10,000 bet to anyone who can prove he's not concerned about the poor. #badspinideas

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

5:00pm: Sen. Richard Blumenthal's UCONN basketball fundraiser would be a lot cooler if Blumenthal hadn't graduated from Yale. #whiffofcharity [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW]

6:00pm: Sen. Patrick Leahy (who was in a few "Batman" movies) presents the Smithsonian Bicentennial Medal to Clint Eastwood. And yeah, it's gonna make Pat's day. [National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Ave. NW]
7:00pm - 8:30pm: Heather and Tony Podesta throw open their sterile art gallery humble home for an A-list DSCC fundraiser. Because after a long day of fighting for the 99 percent, it's still good to party like a king. [If you don't know the address, you're not invited]


TOMORROW

5:30pm - 8:30pm: Environmentally-minded Hill types host a "Happy Hour," and cry into $5 Dogfish 60 min IPA Draft specials [Top of the Hill, 319 Pennsylvania Ave SE]
5:30pm - 7:00pm: All 11 remaining centrists in the House GOP caucus hunker down at a fundraiser for their Tuesday Group PAC. Elsewhere on the Hill, fellow Republicans plot their demise. [Sonoma, 223 Pennsylvania Ave, SE]

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