POLITICS
04/09/2012 05:24 pm ET Updated Jun 09, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Trayvon Martin: Congress Does Non-Binding Nothing


David Axelrod made a semi-stale joke on Twitter, so don't be surprised if President Obama's top campaign guru starts tweeting Double Rainbow jokes soon. Our corporate parent made a cool billion after it sold a bunch of patents to Microsoft (we can't wait to use the money to buy stuff for our Macs!). And Mitt Romney will appear before the NRA where we suspect he'll tout his Second Amendment credentials, criticize President Obama... and awkwardly steal material from Larry the Cable Guy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, April 9th, 2012:

TRAYVON MARTIN'S TRAGIC DEATH STUNS NATION, CONGRESS PROMISES SWIFT NOTHING - In Congress' defense, it's kinda stunned, too! Jen Bendery and Sam Stein: "Few interest groups are better at affecting the legislative process than the gun lobby. Within months of pushing back against legislative responses to the Giffords' shooting, its members were once again on the offensive, shepherding legislation that would require the various states that allow the concealed carrying of guns to recognize each other's permits through the House of Representatives. Their success has been even more pronounced on the state level than on the federal level, and it hasn't been restricted to matters of Second Amendment rights. Over the past few years, the National Rifle Association has altered the trajectory of campaign finance legislation, voter ID laws and state-based immigration reform. The shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida more than a month ago has started that proverbial clock once again. At issue are the so-called 'Stand Your Ground' laws present in Florida and roughly 30 other states that allow people to use deadly force if in self-defense. Martin's killer, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman, has invoked the law in his defense. Gun-rights advocates are moving as swiftly as possible to get those laws and others changed, organizing a major Capitol Hill push for April 16 and 17th. And yet, if the time seems ripe for legislative action, the going bet, even among the sympathetic-minded, is that Gross and allies won't encounter much success."

KINDA SWISS-LOOKING REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO BE ATTACKED OVER HIS SWISS BANK ACCOUNT - OK, maybe Mitt Romney doesn't look Swiss (we're not entirely sure what that looks like) but he certainly feels Swiss, y'know? Sam Stein: "A conference call organized by President Barack Obama's presidential campaign on Monday to push for higher tax rates for millionaires quickly descended into an attack on Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney for his secretive Swiss bank account, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) declaring that no presidential aspirant has ever had such an exotic financial portfolio. 'I asked Warren Buffett in a meeting we had recently, 'Have you ever had a Swiss bank account?' He said, 'No, there are plenty of good banks in the United States,'' Durbin said... It was the most direct the campaign has been on the topic of Romney's offshore funds. The issue arose during the heart of the GOP primary, when Romney released 2010 tax returns and 2011 estimates. Recently, the Obama campaign has tried to revive the charge that the former Bain Capital executive is playing loose with the tax code." [HuffPost]

ROMNEY ALSO TO BE ATTACKED OVER A TAX LOOPHOLE - Dan Froomkin and Mike McAuliff: "A tax dodge that millionaire hedge fund managers use to slash their income taxes could soon become a major election issue, as congressional Democrats and the White House gear up for a fight to close the loophole. What makes it a real hot-button issue is that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is this particular loophole's poster child. Under current tax law, certain kinds of financiers, including private equity investors and some managers of hedge funds, are allowed to treat bonuses like long-term investment income, called carried interest, taxable at the maximum 15 percent capital gains rate. Others have to pay up to 35 percent taxes on their labor income. The cost to the U.S. Treasury is more than $1 billion a year." [HuffPost]

A LIST OF THINGS THAT ANNOY OUR PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST ABOUT THE BUFFETT RULE - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist -- apparently tired of surfing WebMD for diseases he doesn't have -- sent us a partial list of objections to the Obama administration's campaign to tax rich investors at the same rate as their middle class secretaries. Here's the list: "1. Claire McCaskill not paying jet taxes 2. Tom Daschle not paying limousine taxes 3. Al Gore's heated pool 4. Where John Kerry parks his yacht 5. NetJets tax liability 6. Harry Reid's condo in the Ritz Carlton 7. Nancy Pelosi's investment portfolio." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - When she first lost her job, Jennifer Sunseri -- who has a master's degrees in technical communications and Slavic linguistics as well as a Ph.D. -- wasn't worried. "I thought for sure my skills as an educator and writer would see me through," Sunseri said. "I am still in shock at how many applications for writing instructor at the local community college, for GED tester, for office manager, for adjunct this and that at the local university, even for substitute teacher resulted in naught ... I am astonished when I hear that those with college education are faring better than those without." The unemployment rate for workers with college degrees is 4.2 percent. For workers who graduated high school, it's 8 percent, and for those with less than a high school diploma, it's 12.6 percent. But advanced degrees can lose their talismanic power. Once they become unemployed, college-educated workers are just as likely as high school grads to wind up unemployed for an extended period of time. During the year ending last June, 12.4 percent of jobless workers with high school diplomas had been out of work 99 weeks or longer, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Among unemployed Americans with a bachelor's degree, 11.3 percent had been jobless 99 weeks or longer -- a statistically insignificant difference. [HuffPost]

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WILLARD 'MITT' ROMNEY TO APPEAR IN FRONT OF THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION - "I love the NRA! All its gun barrels are the right length!" etc. ABC News: "Mitt Romney will address the National Rifle Association's annual meeting later this week, a speech that comes at a crucial time for the candidate who is working to appeal to the conservative base of his party as he inches closer to clinching the Republican nomination. Romney, who tells voters on the campaign trail that he believes 'we have all the laws we need' in regard to gun control, revealed for the first time just over a month ago that he owns two shotguns. When asked about his stance on gun control during a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in February, Romney said, 'I believe in the second amendment, I'll protect the second amendment. I have guns myself.'" [ABC News]

David Axelrod, keeping fresh on the Twitters! The Hill: "After a GOP senator called President Obama 'stupid' in a tweet last week, the campaign's top adviser retaliated by calling the senator's tweets 'foolish.' Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod tweeted that a six-year-old must have taken over Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) Twitter feed due to the 'foolish' tweet Grassley sent last Friday. 'Heads up, Sen. Grassley. I think a 6-year-old hijacked your account and is sending out foolish Tweets just to embarrass you!'" Zing! [The Hill]

ELIZABETH WARREN RAISES A LOT OF MONEY - Which must be tremendously difficult for the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau what with her obvious allergy to UNREGULATED AMERICAN SUCCESS (she must be breaking out in socialist hives!). Mike McAuliff and Luke Johnson: "Former consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren (D) raised $6.9 million in the first quarter of 2012 in her bid to unseat Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), her campaign declared Monday. The nearly $7 million appears to be the largest quarterly haul of the election cycle for a nonpresidential candidate and shows off the national star appeal of Warren, the architect of President Barack Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Campaign manager Mindy Myers focused on Warren's Bay State strength, however, in an email to supports that announced the eye-popping figure. 'That's more than double the amount raised by our opponent,' said Myers, acknowledging that Brown still has about $4 million more than Warren has in the bank." [HuffPost]

Dave Obey, who couldn't represent Wisconsin's Democratic base more if he married a block of cheddar, has given his endorsement in his state's recall election. Amanda Terkel: "Former Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.) endorsed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) in Wisconsin's gubernatorial recall race on Monday morning, saying he believed he was "by far the strongest candidate" to defeat Gov. Scott Walker (R). So far, the Democratic primary has been dominated by Barrett and former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, the other frontrunner, who are trying to prove their pro-labor credentials. Falk has the backing of at least six unions, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). EMILY's List, the Sierra Club and Young Progressives of Wisconsin also endorsed her." [HuffPost]

PRESIDENT OBAMA POSSIBLY NOT BORN HERE, YET ANOTHER MEMBER OF CONGRESS STRONGLY IMPLIES - MoJo: "Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) [Ed. note: Who??] won election to the House in 2010 in part by arguing that the longtime Democratic incumbent she was challenging was insufficiently anti-gay. (Never mind that her opponent, Ike Skelton, was the architect of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.) In Congress, she's distinguished herself mainly by comparing gay marriage to handing out drivers' licenses to third-graders (she's against it), and proposing to modify Don't Ask, Don't Tell by forcing gay soldiers to live in segregated barracks...At a townhall in her district on Thursday, Hartzler was asked for her thoughts on the President Obama's birth certificate, in light of Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio's investigation into the Commander-in-Chief's citizenship. Hertlzer's response: 'I don't know, I haven't seen it. I'm just at the same place you are on that. You read this, you read that. But I don't understand why he didn't show that right away. I mean, if someone asked for my birth certificate, I'd get my baby book and hand it out and say 'Here it is,' so I don't know. I have doubts that it is really his real birth certificate, and I think a lot of Americans do, but they claim it is, so we are just going to go with that." [Mother Jones]

GLORIOUS NEWS FROM MISSISSIPPI! - America's worst *best*-run state! AP: "Mississippians will soon be able to buy stronger beer, which supporters say will allow beer lovers to sample more kinds of suds and increase business opportunities for breweries. The law signed by Gov. Phil Bryant on Thursday takes effect July 1. It allows the professional brewing and sale of beer with alcohol content of up to 8 percent by weight, above the current 5 percent limit. The law was supported by a group called Raise Your Pints, which has been lobbying for the change for three years. The law was supported by a group called Raise Your Pints, which has been lobbying for the change for three years." [AP]

It's halftime in America... still: "Ford Motor Co (F.N) is recalling 140,310 Focus cars from model year 2012 in the United States to repair a potential problem with the passenger-side windshield wiper motor, according to U.S. safety regulators." [Reuters]

NORTH CAROLINA UNSURE ABOUT DUDES TYING THE KNOT - In case you forgot, North Carolina is much more than Bank of America and Chapel Hill (which you heard has amazing bars). It's also, um, the south. Lila Shapiro: "Next month, North Carolinians will vote on a constitutional amendment that its supporters say will simply define marriage as between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in North Carolina. But the measure's proponents are hoping North Carolina will join the 12 other Southern states with a constitutional amendment formally defining marriage as being between a man and a woman...Opponents of Amendment 1 are also worried about possible side effects that they say could affect all unmarried North Carolinians -- gay or straight -- if it is approved. For example, unwed victims of domestic violence could find themselves with fewer legal resources for protection. The extent of this is unknown since it would depend on how courts would interpret the language of the amendment." [HuffPost]

Meanwhile, President Obama continues his molasses-slow 'evolution': "President Barack Obama's Minnesota campaign announced Monday that Obama opposes a state ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. 'While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,' Kristen Sosanie, spokeswoman for Obama's Minnesota campaign, said in a statement. "That's what the Minnesota ballot initiative would do -- it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples -- and that's why the President does not support it.'" [HuffPost]

WOMEN'S HISTORY MUSEUM PROCEEDING SLOWLY - How slow, you ask? So slow that it now has its own history. Andrea Stone and Christina Wilkie: "Yet 16 years after organizers began in 1996, there is still no National Women's History Museum (NWHM). Its leaders have failed to secure -- or even identify -- a location for a building, and sometimes have downplayed the very idea that they need one. Interviews with NWHM staff, board members and advisers reveal that the museum organizers have developed little in the way of educational programming or connections within the academic community that would help them realize their goal. Instead, they have made misleading claims about the content of their website and failed to share with the public the few, but in some cases very valuable, historical artifacts they do possess...In addition, internal museum documents and public records obtained by The Huffington Post show a history of mismanagement and potential conflicts of interest that, according to nonprofit watchdogs, may violate Internal Revenue Service guidelines." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Lemur, meet rope. Rope, lemur.

BUILDING A BETTER MALL - HuffPost DC: "New proposals were released today 'on how to redesign parts of the National Mall.'"

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- "9 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Bill Murray" [http://bit.ly/Hva3qN]

- This baby tiger playing in the BuzzFeed office makes us question everything about our newsroom. [http://bit.ly/Hv7FQN]

- Yo dawg, I heard you like drawing machines, so I put drawing machines in your drawing machine... [http://bit.ly/IbLlqQ]

- Easter-related cuteness lingers like awful green plastic grass. [http://chzb.gr/IbJkeg]

- Passover-related humor lingers like that box of matzah in your pantry. [http://bit.ly/Hv7oNz]

- Text From Dog. [dot tumblr dot com]

- RIP Mike Wallace. Here is part one of his 1958 interview with Salvador Dali. [http://bit.ly/Ibm0BM]

TWITTERAMA

@dceiver: @travismorrison: aol just sold me to microsoft for $1 billion / RETAIN RIGHTS TO THE MASTERS, TRAVIS!

@nealbrennan: Obama 2012: Vote for me if you want to live.

@elisefoley: 1,062,040 people became legal permanent residents last year. Congrats,1,062,040 people!

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

7:00pm: David Axelrod headlines an Obama 2012 fundraiser at the home of DOMA repeal advocates, and adoptive fathers of five, Jon and Robert Cooper. [Lloyd Harbor, NY]

TOMORROW

6:00pm: The long-awaited re-opening of the historic Howard Theatre features kick-ass live performances by Trombone Shorty and George Clinton. See you there. [620 T St. NW]

6:00pm: "Bully," Harvey Weinstein's no-longer R-rated film (it's now PG-13), premieres at the National Education Association. We'll miss all the swearing, but it's probably still worth seeing. [1201 16th St., NW]

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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