Counterproductive national dialogues about women and race.. North Korea acting all insane.. a lot of Mitt Romney news -- like you, we're REALLY, TRULY, DEEPLY upset that this week is ending. The bears who chased Vermont governor Peter Shumlin around his property are now Vermont's most famous residents -- except for Vermont's lieutenant governor... who we're 90 percent certain is also a bear. And incontrovertible evidence that Newark's bad days are a thing of the past: Brick City residents are celebrating a house fire that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with arson. Damn, Cory Booker is good. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, April 13th, 2012:

WILLARD, A FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR, IS JUST CRAZY ABOUT GUNS - Can't get enough of 'em! Mike Sacks: "Speaking at the NRA national convention in St. Louis on Friday, likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney warned that re-electing President Barack Obama would lead to an 'unrestrained' assault on freedom with decades of repercussions. Romney, whose record on gun rights is hardly rock-ribbed, tried to convince a skeptical audience that he would fight for its interests upon entering the Oval Office. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney in 2004 extended the state's ban on assault weapons and small handguns. Less than a year later, however, he designated May 7 "Rights to Bear Arms" day in Massachusetts and became a lifetime member of the NRA. 'The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it,' Romney said." [HuffPost]

Barack, a former resident of Chicago's South Side, is just CRAZY about guns, too! "Responding to the landmark 2008 case that first articulated the individual right [to keep and bear arms for self defense in the home], Obama applauded the ruling. 'As president, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen,' he said in a statement just as his campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was heating up." [Ibid.]

The Romney campaign put a lot of stock in this speech. From a CNN preview: "Mitt Romney's speech Friday to the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting in St. Louis will be mark the launch of the general election campaign against President Barack Obama, his advisers said Friday." Just wondering, how many times can the general election campaign launch? [CNN]

Delta Airlines has completely ditched the Tea Party in its fight against the Export-Import Bank. Its position now, basically, is that its okay with whatever, as long as it doesn't benefit Boeing. [Aviation Week]

LOUISIANA CATCHES RECALL FEVER - John Celock: "Two teachers have launched a recall drive to oust Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and state House Speaker Chuck Kleckley (R-Lake Charles) from office. Angie Bonvillain and Brenda Romero, teachers in Calcasieu Parish, have launched recalls for both over the education reform policies recently passed by the legislature. The policies include relaxing teacher tenure rules, increased power for school administrators to fire teachers, tying test scores to teacher performance and the promotion of school vouchers, along with the creation of new charter schools." [HuffPost]

The Nativemakers, Carl Hulse's neighborhood dad band, will be jamming at 18th Amendment on Saturday night. HuffPost Hill will be there.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Out of work for eight months, Carol Murchie sought a novel escape from unemployment: elected office. Murchie, 54, lost her job as an archivist for a sports equipment maker in April of 2011. This year, she became a candidate for a part-time position with the city of Fairhaven, Mass. "In this bad economy, I finally thought maybe politics was a way to go because I've tried everything else," Murchie said. In January, she took out nominating papers and began collecting signatures so she could run for tree warden in Fairhaven, a town of 15,000 on the Bay State's southeastern edge. The town's website says the job involves clearing diseased and dying trees as well as planting new ones throughout town. Did Murchie win her election? CLICK THE LINK TO FIND OUT!!! [HuffPost]

Above the Law weighs in on Murchie's gambit.

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

SANTORUM: STILL STUBBORN. ROMNEY: STILL DOESN'T NEED SANTORUM - And the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'. Political Wire: "Although Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have back-to-back speaking appearances at the annual NRA convention today, The Note reports that there are no plans for a meeting between the candidate and former candidate. Said a source close to Santorum: 'Not gonna happen.' 'Next week could be a more likely time for a get-together between Romney and Santorum, however it's also possible the meeting could be put off until after the Pennsylvania primary'" [Political Wire]

NEWT GINGRICH BROKE, PART 141 - Ahhhh Newt Gingrich schadenfreude: It's life's 2,312nd most pleasurable thing (2,311: ice cream sandwiches; 2,313: Spiro Agnew schadenfreude). Politico: "Scrambling to dig himself out of a $4.5 million hole, the former House speaker has resorted to renting his presidential campaign's most valuable asset - its donor list - for as much as $26,000-a-pop. It's a risky move for an active presidential campaign to give outsiders access to his best supporters and possibly donors who could be easily turned off -- just as he says he's trying to mount a comeback. Diminishing his best asset looks more like a sign of surrender, rather than a genuine effort to challenge Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination. Campaign insiders attribute the problems partly to Gingrich and his wife Callista's, asserting that the couple was unwilling to downgrade from private jets and security details even as the campaign floundered. Insiders say Callista Gingrich required an entourage of at least two staffers - including one who dressed in an elephant costume to promote her children's book - and a contracted security guard who followed her even on non-campaign trips." [Politico]

OUR SOCIALIST, MAYBE COMMUNIST, BUT DEFINITELY ANTI-COLONIAL PRESIDENT IS FILTHY RICH - AP: "President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has re-released years of his old tax returns in an attempt to pressure the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, to do the same. Romney has released his tax return for 2010 and an estimate for 2011. The Obama campaign is making an issue of the fact that he hasn't released more and accusing him of hiding information from the American people. The Obama campaign posted 12 years of tax returns for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. All of those records had been released already except for the new 2011 returns... President Barack Obama and his family paid more than $160,000 in federal taxes last year on earnings of $789,674, the White House said Friday." [AP]

Also this: "President Obama has been making a big political push for the 'Buffett Rule,' which would require millionaires to pay a minimum of 30% of their income in taxes...President Obama's secretary, Anita Decker Breckenridge, makes $95,000 a year. White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage tells ABC News that Breckenridge 'pays a slightly higher rate this year on her substantially lower income, which is exactly why we need to reform our tax code and ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share.'" Also, Joe Biden still gives close-to-zilch to charity, cementing his actual regular-guy thing. [ABC News]

Drudge banner: "OBAMA DOESN'T QUALIFY FOR 'BUFFETT RULE"

Iran is entering nuclear talks. What does that mean? Does it mean Iran is talking to nuclear weapons? We don't know! We're political reporters! We don't know things. Josh Hersh and Nico Pitney discuss.

COMMIE HUNTER ALLEN WEST RAISING A LOT OF MONEY FOR HIS ANTI-COMMIE QUEST - Jen Bendery: "Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is hoping to make some money off the fact that he said up to 81 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party. 'You know I am not afraid to speak the truth. That's why I'm the number one target of liberals and their friends in the media who are going completely nuts about my comments at a recent Townhall meeting,' reads a West campaign email sent out Friday to supporters. 'I need your help to fight back and stand up against the corrupt liberal media as they attempt cover for their left-wing allies.' The freshman Republican landed himself in hot water for telling constituents at a Tuesday town hall that he 'believe[s] there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party.'" [HuffPost]

Everyone is fundraising off of this! The Hill: "The Florida Democratic Party released a video Friday titled 'Sh** Allen West Says,' in the style of the viral YouTube trend, slamming the Florida congressman for his controversial comments. The video is set to the Gnarls Barkley hit single "Crazy" and features television anchors and reporters commenting on West's past remarks." [The Hill]

VERMONT GOVERNOR CHASED BY BEARS - But, before you feel bad for the guy, his popularity among Vermont's bear voters has never been higher. Valley News: "Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin rarely backs away from a fight, but he had to beat a hasty retreat Wednesday night when he found himself outnumbered by four black bears that were feasting on bird feeders in the backyard of his Montpelier home... The 56-year-old Vermont native said he had returned to his house in the state capital around 10:30 p.m. and went to bed. The rental home, located in a suburban neighborhood about a 10-minute walk to the Statehouse, backs onto a field and woods. 'I hear something banging on the porch, and I've just fallen asleep, and I look out at this tree... and there are four bears on my bird feeders,' said Shumlin, who said they included a sow and two cubs." [Valley News]

POLITICIAN DOES HONEST-TO-GOD GOOD DEED, NATION STUNNED - Bloomberg: "Newark Mayor Cory Booker said he 'felt terror' as he shook off his bodyguards and rescued a next-door neighbor from her bed last night in a burning, smoke- filled apartment. 'I did not feel bravery,' Booker, the 42-year-old head of New Jersey's largest city, said at a news conference this morning, his burned right thumb and forefinger bandaged. 'I felt terror.' Booker said he arrived home from a television interview about 9 p.m. to flames shooting from the second-floor kitchen window of his neighbor's house on Hawthorne Avenue. He ran in with two members of his security detail, and one, Newark Police Detective Alex Rodriguez, tried to restrain him by his belt...Booker said he ordered Rodriguez to let him go and he obliged. The mayor continued through a flame-filled hallway, dropped to the floor to avoid smoke and heard the woman call. He followed her voice as he heard explosions and saw 'sparks flying everywhere.' When he reached the bedroom, it was completely engulfed in flames and Booker said he could barely breathe. He grabbed the woman and dragged her out of the house." [WaPo]

SCORE ONE FOR THE 'TWITTER IS A MENACE TO SOCIETY' PEOPLE - Fox News: "Almost from the moment Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Hilary Rosen made her controversial comments about Ann Romney, the story spread like wildfire through Twitter, the Internet and network TV, with rapid-fire reaction that has barely slowed since...Twitter traffic mentioning Romney spiked from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday from essentially zero to 3,000 tweets, then soared Thursday morning from less than 1,000 to about 6,800 before leveling off in the afternoon, according to analytic.topsey.com. The firm reports that Romney-Rosen tweets crush those about Justin Bieber, Twitter's most popular subject. Rosen, sensing the firestorm she had touched off, fired off three tweets at about 10 p.m." Even at a peak of 6,800, that's a really small number. But don't worry, we won't let that stop us from obeying it. [Fox News]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - We're inviting this dog to our next party. Because we party with jumpropes.

Shut up, humanity: "Political pop star and professional provocateur M.I.A. has teamed up with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, composing music for his new talk show, which premieres next week. The World Tomorrow will air Tuesday on RT (previously known as Russia Today) and features a 'top-secret guest list,' according to the network, including those 'who normally simply would not be given a voice on TV at all.'" [NY Mag]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Here is a kitty watching Pixar birdies. [http://bit.ly/HDXU1H]

- We must defend our Chinese restaurants from this army of waving cats. [http://bit.ly/IigS8t]

- BASE jumping. Indoors. In a church. [http://bit.ly/Iih5bP]

- Foto Friday: This food looks delicious, but the portions...? [http://bit.ly/IigpDf]

- Jimmy Fallon classes up Studio 6B in "Downton Sixbey." [http://chzb.gr/HDYvjY]

- Dog training for the olympics? [http://bit.ly/HDYAUZ]

- Foto Friday: Cocoa lives in NYC, is a goat. [http://reut.rs/HDYMDH]

TWITTERAMA

@lizzieohreally: Seriously, Roger? RT @politicoroger: Be honest: How many of us ever heard of the Lily Ledbetter act before this week?

@pareene: Obama advisor Cory Booker refuses to allow mom to stay at home

@daweiner: Is it a surprise North Korea's rocket didn't work? It's code name was Ann Romney.

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

THIS WEEKEND

Friday 8:00pm - 12:00am: Clowns Without Borders plans to transform a Dupont mansion into a Clown Circus Party with a house DJ and fire eaters. This could be awesome or horrifying, depends on a lot of factors. [2017 I St. NW]

Saturday 7:00pm: For the yuppie Georgetown social set, the Fashion for Paws human/canine runway show benefit (get it?) is an annual can't miss. For those who prefer not to dress up dogs or people in haute couture, well then, you've got your answer right there. [401 F St. NW]

Sunday 9:00pm: We're pretty psyched about the opening of the newly restored Howard Theatre, not least of all because The Roots are playing there on a school night. [620 T St. NW]

All Weekend: GOP Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) hosts a luxurious weekend fundraiser on Sea Island for his PAC, Citizens for Prosperity. Expect to see only citizens who already enjoy ample prosperity. [The Cloister and The Lodge at Sea Island, Ga.]

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