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HUFFPOST HILL - Happy 4/20! We Hope You Enjoyed Staying Home 'Sick'

Posted: 04/20/2012 5:05 pm Updated: 04/20/2012 5:39 pm

Vice President Biden proved that he's much more than a dude who breaks ties in the Senate and inspires Tumblr accounts. Today marked the two years since the Deepwater Horizon spill -- we will always remember where we were when Mother Earth suffered her most environmentally devastating bout of acid reflux. And just in time for 4/20, a new study finds that Congress should retain the services of Mary & Jane LLP if it's serious about deficit reduction. This is HuffPost Hill for Friday, April 20th, 2012 (and stop groping your smartphone! It's not *actually* "soooooo s-o-o-ft"):

Are you celebrating 4/20 right now? Happy 4/20! Here's something fuzzy and cute... and here's a Phish track!

HAPPY BP OIL SPILL ANNIVERSARY(?) - It's been two years since Unbridled Capitalism vomited in the Gulf of Mexico. Lynn Peeples: "It was the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, though for much of the nation, it remained a worrying but distant drama...[Gulf residents] who have developed ailments [suspect] that relentless exposure to burning oil fumes, wafting chemical dispersants and other environmental insults tied to the spill and its aftermath have compromised their health. Complaints range from the general -- confusion or persistent exhaustion -- to the specific: headaches, stomach pains, chronic, heavy coughs. Not everyone is convinced -- and for good reason. Monitoring and research so far on the Gulf Coast has yet to make clear scientific links between health concerns and the oil spill, whether exposure to the crude oil, vapors, contaminated seafood or the chemical dispersants used to break the oil apart. A dearth of long-term studies on previous oil spills doesn't help." Unbridled Capitalism loves profit but isn't ready to drop the L bomb for workers' safety or environmental protection. Unbridled Capitalism feels, uh, deep affection for those two things. [HuffPost]

POT: IT CAN HELP YOUR GLAUCOMA AND YOUR COUNTRY'S TROUBLESOME DEFICIT PROBLEM! - Lucia Graves: "The federal government could save as much $13.7 billion annually if it were to legalize marijuana, according to a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron. More than half of the savings, $7.7 billion, would come from not having to enforce the current prohibitions against the drug, while an additional $6 billion per year would come from taxing marijuana at rates similar to tobacco and alcohol. Since the paper was first published in 2005, more than 300 economists, including three Nobel laureates, have signed a petition to call attention to the work and initiate a debate among people on both sides of the issue." [HuffPost]

Why is 4/20 'Weed Day'? Grim's explanation from 2009.

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN CONTINUES HISPANIC OUTREACH - This can only end with an embarrassing visual of Mitt in a sombrero or Mitt making a totally ill-advised Speedy Gonzalez joke (for future reference, we classify that kind of racially-charged gaffe as a "'Who let the dogs out?? Hoot! Hoot!' Freudian slip"). Elise Foley: "The Romney campaign released an infographic Friday on poverty and unemployment among Latinos, giving a glimpse into its overall pitch to Hispanic voters. Romney is trailing President Barack Obama among Latino voters. But Republicans see something of an opening in the bad economic trends among Latinos, such as higher-than-average unemployment. The infographic points out several grim facts about Latinos in the current economy. Latinos make up about 15 percent of the population, but 20 percent of the unemployed and 30 percent of those in poverty, according to the graphic." [HuffPost]

@ethanklapper: Carl Paladino is on MSNBC right now. The chyron says "Mad Man?" but with a picture of Newt Gingrich...

Jason Linkins: " Last Night A Marist Pollster Saved My Life"

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The unemployment rate in Georgia is 9 percent, down from 9.8 percent this time last year. Congress rigged federal unemployment insurance so that benefits phase out automatically -- the assumption being that long term unemployment typically subsides -- but don't tell that to the authors of this report. "There are 15,000 Georgians who are losing extended unemployment pay this weekend," gpb.org reported. "The loss of the extra benefits comes because the state's jobless rate is dropping. And some of those workers are also losing hope they will find a job." [gpb.org]

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

THE BATTLES FOR WOMEN, LATINOS AND DOG OWNERS ARE ALL SO YESTERDAY, THE BATTLE FOR YOUTH VOTERS IS SO TODAY - A poll released yesterday -- finding that less than 50 percent of youth voters would vote for President Obama -- has likely spooked the buhjesus out of the Obama campaign and embolded the buhjesus out of the RNC. Here's the poppin' fresh RNC getting hip-to-the-hop to The Facebook! Political Wire: "The RNC 'is preparing to launch a new Facebook tool that lets users share news, talking points and the latest updates about the presidential campaign with their friends,' CNN reports. 'Republicans using the application will be able do the work usually reserved for campaign offices simply by logging into Facebook from their personal computers... They can fill out and submit absentee ballot applications, see early voting deadlines, donate to the party or inform their friends about upcoming campaign events... all while never leaving Facebook. And simply by clicking a button, a user's phone will ring and automatically re-connect them, via RNC headquarters, to targeted voters in key states.'" [Poltiical Wire]

The Obama campaign to America's kids: HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT?!?! WaPo: "President Obama will travel to college campuses in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa next week to urge Congress to keep interest rates low on student loans, the White House announced Friday. Obama will also appear for the first time on 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,' which will be taped Tuesday on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to NBC. According to a White House fact sheet issued Friday, student loan rates for 7.4 million Americans will double on July 1 without congressional intervention to extend current rates. Without action, the higher rates would translate into $1,000 in additional debt each year for the average student, the fact sheet said." The Romney campaign might wanna think about getting it some Chicago-style politics. [WaPo]

Heh. 4/20. Heh.... Heh. @SpeakerBoehner: The West Wing's Week: 4/20/12 or "Increasingly Isolated" bit.ly/HVlXcS #KXL @whitehouse

#Clickbait: " Palin Hammers Ousted Secret Service Agent for Gawking at Her"

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN UNLOADS THE WEAKEST OBAMA ATTACK THAT OUR POOR, BELEAGUERED EYES HAVE EVER HAD TO READ - The former Massachusetts governor told National Review that President Obama's vacations are partially responsible for the GSA scandal. Wow. Look, Romney campaign, we know that it's Friday and half of the reporters along the I-95 corridor are stoned out of their minds because of 4/20, but step it up a bit. PLEASE. For our sakes. Elise Foley: "Mitt Romney said on Thursday that President Barack Obama is partially to blame for a recent scandal over excessive spending at the General Services Administration because he takes 'elaborate vacations.' 'I think the example starts at the top,' Romney told National Review Online in an interview published Friday. 'People have to see that the president is not taking elaborate vacations and spending in a way that is inconsistent with the state of the overall economy and the state of the American family.'" Don't use this one in October, Team Romney. [HuffPost]

Friendly reminder that Willard Mitt Romney is from Massachusetts. ABC News: "The Romney headquarter operation will see its staff quadruple in the coming weeks as it shifts into general election mode. As they transition from the primary to the general election, Mitt Romney's campaign staff will grow by more than four times -- from the current level of 87 to more than 400. The staff changes were first reported by the New York Times, and later confirmed by ABC News." [ABC News]

VICE PRESIDENT DOES THIRD RESPONSIBILITY WELL - 1. Break votes in the Senate. 2. Be alive. 3. Perform odd jobs on the campaign trail. Yesterday was number three: he exploited a slow news cycle by floating a test balloon about winning Arizona -- which is one of those kinda/maybe/possibly longshots for POTUS and VPOTUS (think Indiana/Virginia/North Carolina in 2008). Politico: "Vice President Joe Biden told a raucous Phoenix crowd Thursday that the Obama campaign believes they have a real shot at winning the usually conservative state of Arizona. 'We think we have a real shot at winning the presidential race here in Arizona,' Biden said, telling supporters that the campaign was not accepting the conventional wisdom that the Grand Canyon State was going Republican." And now us media types are all talking about it! Never change, Mr. Vice President! [Politico]

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are continuing their annoying veep-speculation-smoke-screen thing where they both suggest each other for the job

Joe Manchin will be up for reelection in 2016, right when President Obama will be finishing out his second term with a -42% approval rating in West Virginia. CNN: "As a Democrat in conservative West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin has sought to make his independence clear. And that independence might just extend all the way to the November voting booth, as the senator - who is up for re-election - said in a report published Thursday that he might not cast a ballot for the top name on his party's ticket, President Barack Obama. 'Right now in West Virginia, these first three and a half years haven't been that good to West Virginia,' he said of the Obama presidency this week, according to a report in National Journal. 'So, then you look [at] what the options will be, who will be on the other end.'f" [CNN]

ROMNEY RAISED A LOT OF MONEY IN MARCH... - Reuters: "Mitt Romney raised nearly $12.6 million in March, his best fundraising month yet, even before the Republican front-runner and outside backing groups began to amass cash in earnest for the costly fight to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama. Romney had nearly $10.1 million in the bank, his campaign said on Friday, as he sought to wrap up the nomination and focus on raising money for the November 6 election. The $12.6 million came at a time when Romney was still facing stiff competition from his last big conservative challenger, Rick Santorum, who has since dropped out of the race." [Reuters]

...SO DID RON PAUL - The Republican National Convention is going to be SO MUCH FUN!!! CBS News: "Ron Paul may be far behind in the delegate count for the Republican presidential nomination, but his presidential campaign is still going strong financially. The Paul campaign announced Friday that it raised nearly $10.4 million in the first quarter of 2012, which ended March 31. The campaign has nearly $1.8 million in cash on hand and no debt -- leaving it well positioned to continue campaigning, even though Mitt Romney's delegate lead has made him the presumptive nominee." [CBS News]

"Obama Fundraising Yields 10-To-1 Cash Advantage Over Romney"

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a 45-year-old anti-pot PSA, narrated by Sonny Bono for some reason.

(Hilarious) Wisconsin recall update. Paige Lavender: "Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett compared the Democratic primary leading up to the recall election of Governor Scott Walker (R) to speed dating. 'It's like political speed dating because everything is so short,' Barrett told Politico. Barrett, who will face off against former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and Secretary of State Doug La Follette to be Walker's Democratic challenger, said Wisconsin is currently in an 'ideological civil war.' Despite his Democratic challengers, Barrett says he's 'focusing on Scott Walker.' 'I think it would be a grave mistake for Democrats in this historically unique situation to spend one ounce of energy attacking each other,' Barrett said." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Flavorpill lists "The 10 Best 21st-Century Stoner Anthems." [http://bit.ly/IX383l]

- BuzzFeed Animals lists "The 60 Cutest Tumblrs In The World." [http://bit.ly/IX4mLT]

- Sneak peak inside the High Times offices. [http://bit.ly/IX383l]

- "Pictures To Stare At For Hours On 4/20." [http://bit.ly/IX3rLD]

- "Facts About Marijuana Presented By Dogs Who Look High." [http://huff.to/IX3HdF]

- Head to the Discovernator to learn a bunch of useless interesting things. [http://bit.ly/IX3TcG]

- "12 Animals That Are More Stoned Than You Are." Doubtful, but worth a click to make sure. [http://bit.ly/IX487y]

- Foto Friday: These things live in the ocean, or, Why we don't go in the ocean. [http://bit.ly/IX6jIq]

TWITTERAMA

@KagroX: Props to the time travelers who planted both the Honolulu birth announcement AND the dog meat story to prove Obama's not Muslim.

@mmcauliff: Why does John Boehner's press release on 4/20 use words like "pot shots," "boxed-in" and "increasingly isolated?"

@daveweigel: If they go "viral," why are they called "memes"? Why not just "viruses"?

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

THIS WEEKEND

Friday 6:00pm: The saddest best little Democratic Senate candidate in Texas, Paul Sadler, hopes to raise some cash at a hometown fundraiser. We're not going to tell you where to put your money, buuuuut... [600 E. 6th St., Austin, TX]

Friday 7:00pm - 11:00pm: The very swanky National Museum of Women in the Arts will be completely gunked up with cheesy casino decorations for the Medstar National Rehabilitation Network's Las Vegas Gala. At least it's a good cause. [1250 New York Ave. NW]

Friday 7:00pm - 11:00pm: High society benefit season kicks off with the 57th Annual Corcoran Ball, a black-tie affair at the cavernous art museum, in which rich people eat dinner and get drunk and fall over next to priceless artwork. Cheers, dahling. [510 17th St. NW]

All Weekend: Jim DeMint is apparently conducting his own VP search, so naturally he's got to spend the weekend at a resort with a bunch of rich donors. Happy hunting! [Kiawah Island Sanctuary, Kiawah, S.C.]

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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