POLITICS
01/25/2013 05:38 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL, sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute - Sarah Palin Can Now Catch Up On Her Reading

Joe Miller says he might run for Senate again, presumably on a "my personal security detail won't arbitrarily arrest you" platform. Speaking of Alaska, the newly unemployed Sarah Palin can now see her entire day unfold from her front porch. And Mitt Romney was in Washington today, telling people that "we lost, but I'm not going away." If only Seamus could have said the same. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 25th, 2013:

BIDEN TALKS GUNS, LEAVES OUT MUSCLE JOKES AND ANY MENTION OF ASSAULT WEAPONS - Jen Bendery: "Vice President Joe Biden pushed several pieces of President Barack Obama's gun violence package on Friday, particularly the need for universal background checks -- one of the few items with a chance of moving through Congress. But during his remarks after a two-hour roundtable with cabinet heads and Virginia officials, Biden noticeably omitted the two most ambitious, contentious pieces of Obama's package: an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity gun magazines. His silence on those fronts comes amid signs that neither stands a chance of becoming law, despite some Democrats -- and the president -- forging ahead anyway. Talking to reporters, Biden ticked off a range of recommendations the group discussed in the meeting: federal gun trafficking legislation, better access and resources for mental health services, more funding for law enforcement positions, better research into violent behavior and possible ties to violent video programming." [HuffPost]

Reason has a video commemorating 20 years of congressional grandstanding about things like Mortal Kombat and the Nintendo Super Scope. FATALITY!

More Wayne LaPierre awkwardness comin' atchya: "Witnesses at the first Senate hearing on gun violence since the Newtown, Conn. school shooting will include a cross-section of advocates for and against more federal legislation to control the sale and manufacturing of certain firearms. But the guest list suggests the panel tilts slightly in favor of those opposed to stricter gun laws. The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Friday that Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) -- who was shot and seriously injured in a Jan. 2011 assassination attempt -- and Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, will headline a panel of five witnesses." [WaPo]

Fix the Debt is in Dah-vos, its natural habitat.

JOHN WILL GIVE YOU EVERYWHERE ABORTION - Speaker John Boehner would probably rather be playing poker in his fantasy finished basement -- the green felt soft on his tired, orange hands; the cigar store Indian standing at attention in the corner; someone's daschund munching on spilt cashews -- than pacifying irate constituents about a politically toxic issue, but such is life. Laura Bassett: "As hundreds of thousands of people braved sub-freezing temperatures in Washington, D.C., on Friday to join the anti-abortion protest March for Life, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took the opportunity to reiterate his commitment to banning abortion in America for good. Addressing the crowd at the National Mall via video broadcast, Boehner said it's time for anti-abortion activists to 'commit ourselves to doing everything we can to protect the sanctity of life.' Step one, he said, is making permanent the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape or incest...Boehner said he will make it a national priority to 'help make abortion a relic of the past.'" [HuffPost]

JOE MILLER MAY RUN AGAIN, CHALLENGE GROVER NORQUIST FOR WASHINGTON THIN BEARD SUPREMACY - National Review: "Joe Miller, a former Republican Senate nominee in Alaska, is seriously considering a return to politics. This week, in a series of meetings with Republican officials on Capitol Hill, Miller signaled his interest in challenging Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat, who is up for reelection next year. According to several sources, Miller huddled with Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He also stopped by the office of Senator Lisa Murkowski. It was the pair's first encounter since Murkowski, running as an independent, beat Miller in 2010." [National Review]

Sarah Palin, who was made famous by being a human being with functioning vocal cords, unobstructed air passageways and a mouth, has parted ways with Fox News.

PROGRESSIVE DEMS READY TO PUNCH CHAINED CPI - A passing reference to chained CPI in a thorough budget story by The Hill newspaper's Alexander Bolton triggered a full-throated denunciation from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. (The chained CPI is the alternate measure of inflation that would save $100 billion by reducing Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. Economists says chained CPI rises more slowly than regular CPI because it accounts for the way consumers switch to pet food when the price of people food rises.) "Using the chained CPI to reduce cost of living adjustments is a benefit cut that middle class Americans cannot afford," said a statement from the CPC, which is led by Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison. "Whether pursued through the budget process or any other means, we will do everything in our power to oppose these cuts. The American public has been clear -- they want us to defend and strengthen Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security."

@FLOTUS: Bo in #snow! Photo: The Obama family dog plays in the Rose Garden of the @WhiteHouse: bit.ly/VnEMwH

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Lawmakers seeking to abolish income taxes and stymie unions in Kansas think it might also be worthwhile to make the poor and unemployed pee in cups to prove they're not wasting taxpayer money on drugs. A favorite policy of Republican legislators across the country, the latest drug-testing proposal has gathered support from leaders of Kansas's conservative-dominated statehouse. Kansas lawmakers say people who want unemployment insurance or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits would have to undergo the testing, and if they are found to have drugs in their system would be required to receive treatment or have their benefits suspended. "It adds credibility to the system," state Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) told The Huffington Post. "People are putting their hard-earned tax dollars into the program to help folks and lift them out of poverty. It makes sense that they are drug-free or are going to rehab to become drug-free." [With HuffPost's John Celock]

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WHITE TURKEY HAS LUNCH IN WASHINGTON - Luke Johnson: "Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney did not attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama Monday, but he was in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
The Romneys attended a celebration in their honor held by Catherine Reynolds and Bill Marriott Jr., the executive chairman of Mariott Hotels, where Romney serves on the board of directors. 'We lost, but I'm not going away,' he told the crowd, according to Politico. 'I will continue to help.'" [HuffPost]

OBAMA PLANNING IMMIGRATION PUSH NEXT WEEK - Or, the week when Republicans provided Democratic activists with enough inflammatory soundbites to turn Texas blue for the next ten cycles. Elise Foley: "President Barack Obama announced after a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Friday that he will lay out some of his plans for immigration reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas. Members of the caucus who were present at the meeting said Obama assured them that he shares the group's basic beliefs about immigration reform, most notably that making a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants -- which some Republicans oppose -- is an absolute must as they push for legislation...Seven members of Congress were present at the meeting, including Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Immigration Task Force Chairman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Chairman of the Democratic Caucus Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). The members of the caucus said in statements after the meeting that they laid out their principles and were told by the White House that the ideas align with the administration's planned policies." [HuffPost]

INAUGURAL POLL: MAJORITY OF AMERICANS UNAMERICAN - Mark Blumenthal: "President Barack Obama's inaugural address may have irritated conservatives as much as it thrilled liberals, but opinion polling shows that most Americans agree with both the rhetoric and the substance of the most potentially combative lines in the speech...A review of recent polling as well as a set of questions asked on a new HuffPost/YouGov online poll show that more Americans agree than disagree with the president on key issues -- in most cases, by large majorities. The inaugural speech opened, for example, with a defense of a progressive approach to both market regulation and social insurance programs (like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) -- what conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer called 'an ode to the collectivity.' Polls both new and old show that between 59 percent and 63 percent of Americans agree with Obama on three passages in which he defended activist government most clearly." [HuffPost]

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COSPLAY: OBAMA INTRODUCES NEW CHIEF OF STAFF - Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama announced Denis McDonough as the new White House chief of staff on Friday afternoon, along with a mix of other staff promotions... McDonough, who is currently Obama's deputy national security adviser, will replace Jack Lew, who the president has tapped to be his Treasury secretary. In a statement, an official described McDonough as one of Obama's 'closest and most trusted advisors for nearly a decade, dating back to when he helped set up then Senator Barack Obama's Senate office.' The official also praised McDonough's role on Obama's national security team, and his experience in working with Congress." [HuffPost]

OBAMA'S WAR ON BIKES ROLLS ON - First the inaugural motorcade disregarded Pennsylvania Avenue's bike lanes, now this. Mark Blumenthal: "President Barack Obama may have gained a new chief of staff, but Washington has apparently lost what would have been its most powerful bike commuter. In announcing the appointment of Denis McDonough as White House chief of staff on Friday, Obama addressed McDonough's children about the added demands of their father's new job. 'Dad will probably have to stop riding his bike to work,' Obama joked. 'As chief of staff, I don't think that's allowed.'" Mr. President, your love for hippie-punching knows no bounds.. [HuffPost]

COURT RULING SALTS ADMINISTRATION'S RECESS APPOINTMENT GAME - Between Elizabeth Warren and now this, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has become the "Chinese Democracy" of government agencies. AP: "In an embarrassing setback for President Barack Obama, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that he violated the Constitution in making recess appointments last year, a decision that would severely curtail the president's ability to bypass the Senate to fill administration vacancies. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said Obama did not have the power to make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board because the Senate was officially in session - and not in recess - at the time. If the decision stands, it could invalidate hundreds of board decisions made over the past year... The ruling also threw into question Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray's appointment, also made on Jan. 4, 2012, has been challenged in a separate case. The court's decision is a victory for Republicans and business groups that have been attacking the labor board for issuing a series of decisions and rules that make it easier for the nation's labor unions to organize new members." [AP]

DOJ is not impressed: "The Justice Department is standing by President Barack Obama's recess appointments...'We disagree with the court's ruling and believe that the President's recess appointments are constitutionally sound,' a Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement. The statement did not indicate whether the administration would appeal the decisionto the Supreme Court, but it is expected to do so." [HuffPost's Ryan Reilly]

SAXBY CHAMBLISS TO RETIRE: NO LABELS' HEADQUARTERS INUNDATED IN TEARS - Unless he's replaced by a state senator who was named by a cat walking on a typewriter ("For Georgia, For America: Vote Ho,i1u3t+4 Christopher"), America's most oddly named senator is on the way out. "Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is announcing Friday that he will not run for re-election in 2014, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Two Republican Georgia House members, Paul Broun and Tom Price, have been thinking of primary challenges to the Georgia senator, who has been in the Senate since 2003. Chambliss criticized anti-tax activist Grover Norquist in November, saying he cared about his country more than him. 'Norquist has no plan to pay this debt down. His plan says you continue to add to the debt, and I just have a fundamental disagreement about that and I'm willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves,' he said at the time." [HuffPost]

The Massachusetts Senate race is getting way more complicated: "US Representative Stephen F. Lynch said this afternoon that he hasn't yet made up his mind about running for the US Senate in the special election to fill John F. Kerry's seat. Just a day earlier, the strong message from the Lynch camp was that he would definitely be announcing his campaign next week. The Globe and other news outlets reported today that he was running for the seat. The Globe story was based on interviews with people who had direct knowledge of Lynch's decision making." [Boston Globe]

It's an uphill slog if Scott Brown enters the race. Political Wire: "A new MassINC poll in Massachusetts finds former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) leads a generic Democrat in a general election match-up for U.S. Senate, 44% to 36%. However, when matched up against Rep. Ed Markey (D) specifically, Brown leads 53% to 31%. The poll was conducted prior to news about Rep. Stephen Lynch's (D) potential entrance into the race, and does not include a head to head match-up between Brown and Lynch. [Political Wire]

RON JOHNSON'S SHIFTING VIEWS ON DIPLOMATIC DECORUM - Emily Post never got around to a guide on post-terrorist attack niceties and now the Wisconsin senator is twisting in the wind. Luke Johnson: "Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) made headlines this week for his heated confrontation with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday during her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Johnson alleged that the Obama administration had 'purposefully misled' about the nature of the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012 that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But the 2010 Johnson disapproved of criticizing foreign policy publicly when there are troops in the field. 'There's an appropriate way of opposing a policy and an inappropriate way,' he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. 'The appropriate way if I'm a U.S. senator is going to be not public. If I'm opposed to something, I'll make those views known very, very well, but privately with the administration.' Johnson was running against then-Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), a vocal critic of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and the quote was a shot at him for speaking out." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Puppy windmill

COMFORT FOOD

- Fabio teaches aspiring Fabios how to be, um, Fabio. [http://bit.ly/W7niSX]

- True facts about the tarsier, which looks like Yoda's twin fetus that he reabsorbed in the womb. [http://bit.ly/WV9skO]

- Classic movies from the perspective of Google Street View. [http://gaw.kr/W2Tjwr]

- The ewoks weren't the only thing that ruined "Return of the Jedi." This super incestuous scene absolutely destroys it. [http://chzb.gr/YqwTrl]

- Her Majesty the Queen's castle guard don't give a damn. [http://huff.to/VjFbAn]

- Miniature football stadiums made out of snacks. Do those receive corporate sponsorship? "The Barclays Doritos and Pretzel Stick Dome." [http://bit.ly/Uoj3lJ]

- Internet Explorer makes a hard play for millennial users. [http://bit.ly/WV9jwa]

TWITTERAMA

@dceiver: John Kerry would win the internet right now if he sent a Deadspinesque message to Donald Trump.

@elisefoley: Obama says in his nanny state his chief of staff cannot ride a bike to work. TYPICAL.

@FakeJimVandehei: Women: Onto our battlelfields, off our mastheads!

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