POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Guantanamo Bay: I'm Lovin' It

02/04/2013 05:29 pm ET | Updated Apr 06, 2013

There is a vibrant restaurant scene in Guantanamo Bay, but sadly there are no Yelp reviews ("The wait was really long…"). Maine Governor Paul LePage is afraid of newspapers, maybe because he took the "black and white and read all over" riddle as a threat. And ex-FEMA Director Michael Brown's Super Bowl tweets proved that Shannon Sharpe's blackout commentary actually wasn't the worst of the night. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, February 4th, 2013:

GUN REFORMS TAKING SHAPE - Sam Stein reports that lawmakers will have to kill an assault weapons ban... because not enough things have died yet: "Barring an unexpected turn of legislative affairs, a ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons will not make it into law, top Hill aides and gun policy advocates say. The ban will get a vote. But the purpose of that vote will be in part to facilitate its demise. The expectation is that there won't be 60 members of the upper chamber to support the bill's inclusion in the final legislative language. The likelihood that an assault weapons ban ends up in the legislative scrapheap is hardly unexpected -- the Wall Street Journal also reported on the issue on Monday morning. The ban is the most controversial of four major components of the gun control platform that the Obama administration introduced and that congressional Democrats have touted. The other three -- a universal background check for firearms sales, a federal trafficking law, and a ban on high-capacity magazines -- are likely to be part of a final bill, Democratic aides say, though there is growing concern about whether a ban on high-capacity magazines can make it into law." [HuffPost]

@counterparties: America has had, on average, one mass shooting per month for the last 3 years wapo.st/VFtT9E

SECRETARY OF AMERICA'S LEAST FAVORITE AGENCY MULLING PRESIDENTIAL BID - We're still assigning dark horse status to Rebecca Blank (look it up). Washington Post: "Napolitano is quietly making it known that she is considering the race, and there is reason to take her seriously. Before coming to Washington, Napolitano was a highly regarded and very popular governor in Arizona, a state not known as a hospitable one for Democrats. In 2005, Time Magazine named her one of the nation’s five best governors, noting: 'Positioning herself as a no-nonsense, pro-business centrist, she has worked outside party lines since coming to office in January 2003 to re-energize a state that, under her predecessors, was marked by recession and scandal.' While in Arizona, she was criticized for not being aggressive enough in dealing with the influx of illegal immigrants. But her more recent job gives her an opportunity to change that image. This week, for instance, finds her on a high-profile tour of the southwest border, where she will highlight the stepped-up resources that the Obama administration has been devoting to reducing the flow of illegal entrants to this country." [WaPo]

The Rapiscan candidate will feel your pain in ways you can't even begin to imagine.

TEA PARTY MOUNTING PRIMARY CHALLENGE TO CHRIS CHRISTIE - The New Jersey governor, a known greeter of the president (the nerve), is not exactly the far-right's favorite politician right now. John Celock: "Former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman (R-Atlantic City) told PolitickerNJ.com that he is considering a challenge to the popular one-term governor in the June Republican primary. A Tea Party leader and radio show host from South Jersey who hasn't run for elected office in over two decades, Grossman indicated he might be willing to take on the governor, who has been playing up his alliance with President Barack Obama on Hurricane Sandy relief in recent months...Grossman is allied with former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R), whom Christie defeated by roughly 40,000 votes in the 2009 Republican gubernatorial primary. Lonegan now heads the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-backed group." [HuffPost]

Aaron Swartz Memorial At 7:00 PM in Cannon's Caucus Room. Zach Carter: Aaron's friends, family and allies are meeting to remember him and advocate changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Ron Wyden, Darrell Issa and Alan Grayson will be there. HuffPost will be taking attendance, and we have long memories (thanks to Google Docs). The venue has changed on this one a couple of times, but it's definitely in the Caucus Room.

@lebassett: Rep. Raul Labrador tweeted "Me likey Broke Girls" from his Congressional account last night and then deleted it. #oops http://bit.ly/11CURke

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Poor people's piss, coming to a cup near you! "State and social services officials say a proposal to require drug testing for certain recipients of public assistance in North Dakota might be unconstitutional. Rep. Dennis Johnson is the prime sponsor of the bill that also would require the needy to pay for the testing to ensure public money isn't funding an addiction problem. The Devils Lake Republican told the House Human Services Committee that the bill is intended to provide an incentive to keep people off drugs." [Associated Press]

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THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH IS TERKING YER JERB - Next thing you know they'll stop thanking our troops. Jen Bendery: "Congress has a lot on its plate these days. Immigration reform and gun control have taken center stage in the Senate, and House Republican leaders are ramping up their calls for a balanced budget. But the one issue that Americans routinely say matters the most appears to have taken a back seat: jobs. Gone are the days of party leaders demanding action on 'jobs, jobs, jobs.' When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently outlined the top 10 priority bills for the year, just two of them were directly related to job creation. (A third one has jobs in the title, but the 'Agriculture Jobs Bill' is actually just the farm bill). House GOP leaders, meanwhile, emerged from their annual party retreat last month with their members fired up about one issue: their 'No Budget, No Pay' proposal, which would temporarily withhold lawmakers' pay if they don't pass a budget." [HuffPost]

SENATE'S KEEBLER ELF MIGHT LEAVE THE TREE - At which point we assume he'll take a job at a government relations firm with deep ties to the Kellogg Company. The Hill: "Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) raised $13,000 in the last three months of 2012 and has just $233,000 in the bank, a sign that he may be leaning toward retirement at the end of his term. Levin, the chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, has not said publicly whether he'll run in 2014. His office has said previously he'd make a decision early this year. While Levin would be unlikely to face a serious challenge if he did decide to run again, his lack of fundraising indicates he may not be not gearing up for another campaign. The six-term senator will be 80 years old by the time of the next election. His seat could be in play for the GOP if he does choose to step aside, though the state leans Democratic." [The Hill]

Jennifer Granholm: Glad she didn't take that Al Jazeera job...

HECKUVA TWEET, BROWNIE - Man, that blackout sure was something! -- @MichaelBrownUSA: Someone just told me there was fighting going on in the NOLA Superdome. #shocked

Did you know that Michael Brown was for a time David Sirota's boss at the Clear Channel station in Denver? We're not making that up.

LINDSEY GRAHAM POSSIBLY CHALLENGED BY PROPONENT OF PALMETTO DISNEY BUCKS - We look forward to whatever the Cross of Gold speech would be for state-based currency. CNN: "Saying that Graham has betrayed a number of conservative principles, state Sen. Lee Bright told CNN Monday that he is still in the process of making a decision, but the chances of him entering the Senate race are 'definitely better than 50 percent.' 'I was a huge fan of Lindsey's for the six years he was in Congress,' Bright said in a phone interview. 'Since he got into the Senate he has gone off the reservation in terms of the conservative ideals I believe in. I don't feel like that can go unchallenged.' Bright, who has represented Spartanburg in the state Senate for four years, called himself a 'liberty-minded candidate' with a 'bulletproof voting record.' He has been regularly backed by the South Carolina Club for Growth since his first election in 2008. His conservative posture has also been the subject of some criticism, especially when he proposed in 2011 that South Carolina examine creating its own currency. 'If folks lose faith in the dollar, we need to have some kind of backup,' he said at the time." [CNN]

@StateDept: #SecKerry will start tweeting from @StateDept. Tweets from him will have his initials -JK

GOP TO EAT ITS OWN TO PREVENT ITS OWN FROM EATING ITS OWN - Got it? Nick Wing: "American Crossroads, a super PAC backed by GOP strategist Karl Rove, has launched a new effort to combat the recent trend of fringe Republican candidates who have won primaries with the help of outside groups, only to lose otherwise winnable elections. Named the Conservative Victory Project, Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, told the New York Times bluntly over the weekend that the program was mounted in response to 'broad concern' about unviable candidates who had ultimately 'blown a significant number of races.' The project will effectively serve as a foil to the organizations that have helped produce failed Senate candidates like Missouri's Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, Sharron Angle, who lost a Nevada Senate election in 2010, and Christine O’Donnell, who similarly lost in Delaware in 2010." [HuffPost]

Tagg Romney will not run for John Kerry's old Senate seat. That's an awful shame, as Romneyfreude is our fifth favorite type of schadenfreude, between Tombradyfreude and Santorumfreude. ABC News:"Boston Herald reported today that the eldest son of Mitt and Ann Romney is considering a run in the special Senate election in Massachusetts now that former senator Scott Brown decided against a run last week. Two sources close to both Tagg and his father Mitt tell ABC News it’s not going to happen. One consideration for Tagg Romney may be that his father lost the Bay State in last year’s presidential election by 23 points." [ABC News]

GUANTANAMO BAY: DELICIOUS - We couldn't confirm whether the "Waterboard" will be a gastropub specializing in British ales and cheeses. Ryan Reilly: "Journalists visiting Guantanamo Bay for the military commissions are now allowed to roam around many parts of the island on their own, as long as they can figure out a way to get there. Guantanamo has a McDonald's, two Subways, a KFC, an Irish pub, a jerk house and multiple bars with decent selections of cheap beer. There's a Starbucks to satisfy your caffeine needs and even a food truck that sits outside the courtroom if you need to grab a quick bite during a military commissions hearing." Nothing works up an appetite like torturing a bit player in an organization that is somehow or other vaguely associated with Al Qaeda, maybe. [HuffPost]

Ron Paul should join Dennis Kucinich on Fox News for a late night talk show: "Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) took to Twitter Monday to respond to this weekend's fatal shooting of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The suspect who allegedly shot Kyle and another man is Eddie Ray Routh, a veteran who authorities believe may have a mental illness related to his military service. Paul wondered what Routh was doing at the Texas shooting range: 'Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword." Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby monkey and Bernese mountain dog have a rip-roaring good time.

BROADSHEETS: AMERICA'S SILENT KILLER - Amanda Terkel: "Nothing scares Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) more than ... newspapers. 'My greatest fear in the state of Maine: newspapers,' said LePage on Friday, according to the Central Maine Morning Sentinel. 'I'm not a fan of newspapers.' Last week, LePage spoke to 100 schoolchildren in Winslow, Maine. Afterwards, he told a reporter that he dislikes newspapers because there is a 'lack of objectivity.' TV and radio, he said, are better because they don't 'spin' the news. He added that newspaper circulation is dropping because 'people have finally realized that what they read might not be the truth.'" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Robots are terking yer jerb: this animatronic dude takes over sign flipping duty outside a Little Ceasars. [http://bit.ly/XDj8AP]

- Video of neurons forming a thought in a zebrafish's brain. [http://chzb.gr/W9kOT5]

- Video from 1972 of opening act performer Bruce Springsteen strumming out "Growin' Up." [http://bit.ly/UltBEw]

- The latest skirmish in the ongoing puppy versus kitten wars. [http://bit.ly/14My70D]

- The latest skirmish in the ongoing, er, babies vs baby goats wars. [http://bit.ly/VzmovQ]

- The latest skirmish in the ongoing ... screw it. Here's a pooping dog interrupting a baby's first steps.

- To the shirtless man hugging a porcupine in the snow, please help us assign a metaphor to this situation. [http://bit.ly/WpEIeF]

- If you're ever playing ping pong and your opponent hits a 900 mph serve, don't even try. [http://bit.ly/VLbULG]

TWITTERAMA

@anamariecox: If you wanted to choose "common sense" as your gun-legislation-drinking-game word, you'll be ironically buzzed by now.

@delrayser: Massachusetts: the Romneys will keep making 4-letter-named males until you elect one to the Senate, so you might as well get it over with.

@daveweigel: Surprised that none of the people mocked by Nate Silver after the election are pointing at his string of wrong Super Bowl calls.

ON TAP

TOMORROW

8:00 am: DSCC Chair Michael Bennet continues his quixotic mission to add to the Democrats' Senate majority in 2014 with a roundtable briefing fundraiser. [Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Avenue NW]

6:30 pm: John Cornyn celebrates his birthday with a small circle of friends and family at home by throwing a $500-a-plate fundraiser. [Hill Country, 410 7th Street NW]

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