Todd Akin's pollster compared the beleaguered candidate to David Koresh, though we're not sure if that's worse than his Phyllis Schlafly endorsement. The government has significantly increased its monitoring of Americans' internet activity, which we think explains the spotty delivery of HuffPost Hill. And a poll finds Mitt Romney is less popular than George W. Bush, which make sense when you realize that Romney *enjoys* firing people and Bush simply fired people because he was a terrible businessman. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, September 28th, 2012:
ADMINISTRATION TO JOURNALISTS: GO FOIA YOURSELF - We never thought we'd get to write this but, here goes... What is President Obama's transportation department hiding? Bloomberg: "On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama ordered federal officials to "usher in a new era of open government" and "act promptly" to make information public. As Obama nears the end of his term, his administration hasn't met those goals, failing to follow the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, according to an analysis of open-government requests filed by Bloomberg News. Nineteen of 20 cabinet-level agencies disobeyed the law requiring the disclosure of public information: The cost of travel by top officials. In all, just eight of the 57 federal agencies met Bloomberg's request for those documents within the 20-day window required by the Act." [Bloomberg]
THE FBI THINKS YOU SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON FACEBOOK - ACLU: "Justice Department documents released today by the ACLU reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans' electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability. The documents, handed over by the government only after months of litigation, are the attorney general's 2010 and 2011 reports on the use of 'pen register' and 'trap and trace' surveillance powers. The reports show a dramatic increase in the use of these surveillance tools, which are used to gather information about telephone, email, and other Internet communications. The revelations underscore the importance of regulating and overseeing the government's surveillance power." Also, Field Agent McNally really thinks you should stop messaging your ex... it sends the wrong signals. [ACLU]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Researchers have confirmed something that might have been obvious to unemployed people for a while: The longer a person is out of work, the less likely it is he or she will find a job. Pamala Plastock of Highland Park, N.J. had a clue something like this might be happening. A clinical psychologist, Plastock lost her job when the New Jersey government under Republican Gov. Chris Christie closed several residential treatment centers for delinquent youth last year. "When I was first unemployed I had a number of interviews, and I went to them, and for some reason or another it wasn't the right position," Plastock, 57, told HuffPost in an interview. "After around six months, suddenly I wasn't getting calls for interviews at all, even though I was still sending out my resume. They just dried up. I was sending them out and sending them out and nothing and nothing and nothing." Plastock said it's "validating" to see research confirming her personal experience. After 15 months of unemployment, she said she finally found a new job as a psychologist with a state agency, though she has not yet received a start date. She's grateful to have work, but her long jobless spell still burns. She used three words to describe how she felt as her callbacks dwindled. "Hopeless. Horrible. Worthless." [HuffPost]
Reminder from Harold Pollack: "We're all vulnerable."
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ROMNEY LESS POPULAR THAN BUSH II... SOMEHOW - Rarely is the question asked: is our Mitt Romneys less popular than George W. Bush? Well now we know. Sabrina Siddiqui: "If Mitt Romney was hoping to distance himself from former President George W. Bush, a new poll has some news that might trouble the Republican presidential nominee: Bush posted higher favorability ratings than Romney. The national survey, conducted by Bloomberg News and released Wednesday, found that Bush received a favorable rating of 46 percent, while Romney's favorable rating was 43 percentw. Forty-nine percent of respondents gave Bush an unfavorable rating, compared to 50 percent of respondents who gave Romney an unfavorable rating. Bush's favorability ratings also bested those of the Republican Party at large (41 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable) and Vice President Joe Biden (42 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable)." [HuffPost]
ROMNEY'S HEALTH PLAN: OVERQUALIFIED DOCTORS FOR EVERYONE! - We all had a few laughs at the expense of Mitt Romney's doctor, Randall Gaz, last week. His report on the GOP presidential contender adopted a prose style more suited to Harlequin bodice-rippers than the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Gaz declared what we've all been thinking about Romney but were afraid to express, writing that he's "a healthy appearing, energetic, strong, physically fit male. He appears years younger than his age." No doubt. There may be an explanation for Gaz's ardent support of Romney (which also included an endorsement of his candidacy). Turns out, Romney pays for a whole lot more physician than he needs, which is kind of like asking a structural engineer why your Honda makes that squealing sound on left turns. Chances are he'll have no idea. Gaz isn't a regular family doctor you might see when you've got the flu. No, Romney's family doctor is a world-class surgeon who specializes in "hyperparathyroidism and parathyroid and thyroid surgery" at Massachusetts General Hospital's cancer center. Romney doesn't have any of those problems but it's pretty clear Dr. Gaz is more than qualified to tap one of those little hammers on the ex-governor's knees. Also, here's a video of some other guy named Randall Gaz getting mildly electrocuted at what appears to be a Dave & Busters.
PAINT YOUR PARENTY QUESTIONS TO MITT - Laura Bassett: "The Planned Parenthood Action Fund announced on Friday that it plans to launch a large, multimedia campaign in Colorado in the days leading up to the first presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 3. As part of its campaign blitz, PPAF has scheduled a rally in Denver for Tuesday, as well as airing a 30-second ad on local Colorado television stations and launching two 15-second mobile/tablet ads. The Colorado campaign, part of PPAF's national voter engagement effort called"Ask Mitt," has also bought ads in the politics section of the Denver Post online all day Tuesday and Wednesday. The campaign will also feature an 'Ask Mitt mobile chalkboard" at various locations around the city on which Denver pedestrians can paint their questions to the Republican candidate. The campaign directs voters to post questions for Mitt Romney about his positions on birth control access, family planning and women's health care." [HuffPost]
As pointed out in today's Playbook, and relayed to us by Jason Linkins, Mitt Romney is very rich. "Both Mitt and I have summer places up in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee. And a few summers ago I was taking my grandchildren and children to town in the boat for ice cream," Marriott International Chairman Bill Marriott told the crowd last night at Mitt Romney's DC fundraiser. "And we got into the docks and they were all full and I looked around, there was no place to park, so we stopped at the end of a dock. They all jumped off and ran up the dock. And I realized there was nobody in the boat to help me dock the boat, handle the ropes, do anything -- they just left me out there at sea. So I finally found a place to park after about 20 minutes, and I pulled in, I said, 'Who's going to grab the rope?,' and I looked up and there was Mitt Romney. So he pulled me in, he tied up the boat for me. He rescued me just as he's going to rescue this great country." Never change, Willard! [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]
CORNYN: NO NRSC FUNDING FOR AKIN - Following a statement from the NRSC earlier this week that the organization was "monitoring" Todd Akin's campaign, speculation swirled that it might restore funding to the controversial lawmaker's Senate bid. Then, about five seconds later, Akin said Claire McCaskill was behaving in a less ladylike manner than previously. Now, the NRSC's chairman, John Cornyn, is singing a much different tune. "We have no plans to do so," Cornyn said in an interview with the Courier-Journal "I just think that this is not a winnable race," he added. "We have to make tough calculations based on limited resources and where to allocate it, where it will have the best likelihood of electing a Republican senator." Seeing as how Akin is probably a day away from drawing a connection between the 19th Amendment and venereal disease, we can't blame Cornyn for his less than optimistic assessment. We also can't blame Senator Akin if he votes against Cornyn next year in a leadership race. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
OH C'MON: "Referring to the Republican Party's attempts to 'smoke' Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-Mo.) out of the race following his 'legitimate rape' remarks, Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway compared Akin, her longtime client, to notorious cult leader David Koresh in a radio interview on Thursday." [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]
FLORIDA'S ELECTION ISSUES, PT. 198,211 - Janell Ross: "Two days after Florida reignited the fight to purge suspected noncitizens from the state's voter rolls and announced plans to refer 36 noncitizens who have allegedly voted to prosecutors, outside groups are preparing for an intense battle. At least two voting rights groups and the Justice Department have lawsuits pending against the state. But one organization, The Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project, has a date with Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and a federal judge Monday. The National Voter Registration Act bars states from engaging in certain types of voter purges 90 days before a federal election. On Monday, the Presidential Election will be just 36 days away." [HuffPost]
Speaking of Florida election shenanigans, Allen West hit A, B, A, A, Y, A on his election gamepad and summoned a SUPER EPIC OPPONENT TAKEDOWN. Elise Foley: "Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) released a tough ad on Friday, going after Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy's 2003 arrest for disorderly intoxication and possessing a fake driver's license, and including his nine-year-old mugshot next to a picture of West in a suit. The ad says on Feb. 16, 2003, West 'had just received deployment orders and prepares his men to go to war.' It then goes to a map of Florida, where Murphy was attending college at the University of Miami. 'That night, South Beach, Miami: Patrick Murphy is thrown out of a club for fighting, covered in alcohol and unable to stand,' a voiceover says. 'Murphy then confronts and verbally assaults a police officer.'" [HuffPost]
A new Public Opinion Strategies poll finds West leading Murphy 52 percent to 41 percent, Jen Bendery reports.
This happened: "If you think President Barack Obama is a baby murderer who has a lot in common with Adolf Hitler and serial killer Ted Bundy, Kentucky has a congressional candidate with just the ad for you. His name is Andrew Beacham, an independent candidate running for Kentucky's 2nd Congressional District. He has no real chance of winning, but that's just fine by him, because that's not what his campaign is actually about. He admitted as much in a recent interview with the Associated Press. Instead, Beacham, an Indiana resident and cohort of anti-abortion crusader Randall Terry can use his infeasible candidacy to skirt the Federal Communications Commission's indecency regulations and run graphic ads depicting such things as dismembered fetuses. [HuffPost's Nick Wing]
NOT EVERYTHING IS HOPELESS AND/OR POINTLESS - Change you can
believe in not be deported by. Elise Foley: "Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that she will instruct immigration agents to consider same-sex relationships the same as heterosexual ones in determining whether an individual should be deported, a victory for advocates and members of Congress who worried verbal instructions could be ignored. Although the administration had previously told reporters and others that same-sex relationships will be taken into account when making deportation decisions, putting it in writing for field officers is considered to be an important change." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Bill Nye the Science Guy meets "Gangnam Style." Cut it out, internet.
- Your daily dose of EPIC: Sean Connery read C.P. Cavafy's poem "Ithaca," set to Vavngelis and time-lapse videos. [http://bit.ly/RnMq5A]
- Shiba Inus, along with being fabulous webcam subjects, are very talented, as this one demonstrates. [http://huff.to/P2cAqt]
- Lighting strikes a moving SUV because God is really upset with with our carbon footprints. [http://bit.ly/V5w6I7]
- Gifs with sound is the internet on ecstasy...or maybe bath salts. You decide. [http://bit.ly/Pqwo8g]
- In case you're feeling frustrated by your iPhone's less-than-stellar maps app, let this vide of a guy frying his iPhone 5 with lasers be your catharsis. [http://bit.ly/QvoYnn]
- Sure Halloween is a month off, but it's never too early to assemble a bunch of pictures of man's best friend in costumes. [http://bit.ly/OtEphd]
- Guy sketches the 50 states from memory because he is just that patriotic. [http://bit.ly/PKIiuX]
@pourmecoffee: Paul Ryan struggling. Reads Ayn Rand till the Ambien kicks in, sleeps till noon, and just doodles sketches of himself in Congress all day.
@joshgreenman: I think you mean "more ladylike" RT @thehill: Study finds faces of GOP congresswomen more feminine than Democrats'
@indecision: Mitt Romney asking a crowd to chant "Romney-Ryan" is the political version of "Please RT."
Tonight, 5:30 pm: Because nobody gives a damn about the news on a Friday night, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan sneak off to Massachusetts for big-dollar fundraiser at the home of Reebok CEO Paul Fireman. [Chesnut Hill, MA]
Tonight, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: George Allen takes a trip to the Washington area's Republican redoubt, McLean, for some handshaking, photos and yuks. [McLean, VA]
Today - Sunday: Nothing could be more gloriously autumnal than a weekend in New Hampshire. We rarely say this here, but the $1,500 for Kelly Ayotte's New Hampshire getaway fundraiser. Foliage for the win. [Bretton Woods, NH]
Tomorrow, 5:45 pm: Todd Akin, fresh off his declaration that Claire McCaskill needs to be more demure, takes his supporters to a Cardinals game. Nothing could be more American than baseball... except flagrant sexism, of course. [St. Louis, MO]
Tomorrow, 5:30 pm: It's a conservative smorgasbord in the Grand Canyon State. Jeff Flake's fundraiser features appearances from Jon Kyl and Cheney progeny Liz Cheney. [Phoenix, AZ]
Sunday: Paul Ryan makes good use of his time by spending the day in the hotly contested battleground state of Connecticut. His first stop is a roundtable discussion fundraiser in West Hartford and then an afternoon reception in Darien. [Connecticut....really???]
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