Scott Brown insisted he butt tweeted those "Bqhatevwr" messages -- we applaud him for courageously coming clean about his pocket's drinking problem. David Axelrod is joining NBC and MSNBC as a contributor, a reversal from when MSNBC was a David Axelrod contributor. And lawmakers in Mississippi said "Lincoln" reminded them to ratify the 13th Amendment banning slavery. We're checking the legislative archives to see what "Jurassic Park III" inspired. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, February 19th, 2013:
WHITE HOUSE TRYING TO OUT-GROVER THE SEQUESTER- Sam Stein: "In a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, a senior administration official insisted that the main roadblock to a deal was the Republican Party's refusal to move on revenues. But when pressed if that meant, by extension, that the White House would refuse to sign a bill that did not have a revenue component, the official demurred. A replacement bill must be balanced, the official stressed. The same official specified that the White House was not pushing for an increase in tax rates, but instead, revenue hikes through the closure of loopholes and new limits on deductions. A second official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the so-called Buffett Rule, which would set a minimum tax threshold of 30 percent on income above $1 million, would not violate that promise. The Buffett Rule is the central revenue component of congressional Democrats' plans to replace sequestration for the remainder of the fiscal year." [HuffPost]
SEQUESTRATION STILL IN CHICKEN RUN PHASE - During an appearance in the press briefing room, the president tried to present himself as the reluctant Jim and Republicans as the Buzzes: "As I said in my State of the Union address last week, our top priority must be to do everything we can to grow the economy and create good, middle-class jobs. That's our top priority. That's our North Star. That drives every decision we make. And it has to drive every decision that Congress and everybody in Washington makes over the next several years. And that's why it's so troubling that just 10 days from now, Congress might allow a series of automatic, severe budget cuts to take place that will do the exact opposite. It won't help the economy, won't create jobs, will visit hardship on a whole lot of people." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]
Mitch McConnell is quite certain that the president is playing the role of Buzz: "Today's event at the White House proves once again that more than three months after the November election, President Obama still prefers campaign events to common sense, bipartisan action."
John Boehner: also not Buzz (Plato maybe?): "Today the president advanced an argument Republicans have been making for a year: his sequester is the wrong way to cut spending...Just last month, the president got his higher taxes on the wealthy, and he's already back for more."
@si_golf: Tiger on playing with President Obama: "He's just a wonderful person to be around. And we won."
MITCH MCCONNELL FALLS FOR FAKE NEWS ITEM - Or, that time the Senate minority leader believed we were being provided college assistance while chained to a pipe in Guantanamo. Wired: "A must-read for national-security nerds, [The Duffel Blog] provides pitch-perfect military parody online, such as this piece about Syria hosting Iraq War reenactors (bylined by 'G-Had') or this one about a Google Street View Prius getting blown up in Kandahar...On November 14, 2012, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote to Elizabeth King, the Pentagon's congressional liaison, with a an unusually credulous query. 'I am writing on behalf of a constituent who has contacted me regarding Guantanamo Bay prisoners receiving Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits,' McConnell wrote in a letter acquired by Danger Room. 'I would appreciate your review and response to my constituent's concerns.'... that's from the Duffel Blog, as McConnell's constituent clearly states, complete with the reference URL. Said constituent even notes that he or she can't find any information about the alleged government payouts to suspected insurgents and terrorists." [Wired]
SIMPSON AND BOWLES BACK FOR ANOTHER GO AT GREEDY GEEZERS - Remember Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson? They're back.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A 14-month unemployment spell gives Lynn Ehrlicher a knot in her stomach when she gets out of bed in the morning. "I don't have a job to wake up to," she said. "What is the point? What is the point of my life?" She applied for a copy editor job even though it was more than an hour from her house in Atlanta, and two weeks ago they interviewed her. "I thought I had the job. I was really kind of looking for an acceptance on that because they were saying [things like], 'When you start, when you start,' and they gave me a tour of the office." Unfortunately, the company took someone who could do one thing Ehrlicher couldn't. "I wasn't familiar with Quark." But it was the second interview in recent weeks, so hopefully she'll get 'em next time. [Hang in there!]
DOUBLE DOWNER - PCIP, we hardly knew ye. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar: "Citing financial concerns, the Obama administration Friday began quietly winding down one of the earliest programs created by the president's health care overhaul, a plan that helps people with medical problems who can't get private insurance. In an afternoon teleconference with state counterparts, administration officials said the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will stop taking new applications." [Associated Press]
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SUPREME COURT TO TRY AGAIN TO DESTROY ELECTIONS - As if our elections weren't already proxy wars for megalomaniacal casino magnates and titans of high finance, the Supreme Court will soon decide whether Rubio2016 will be straight up brought to you by Exxonmobil. Paul Blumenthal: "The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear a case challenging the per-biennial cycle limit on campaign contributions from individuals. The case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, argues that the limit on what individuals are allowed to give candidates ($46,200 per two-year cycle) and parties and PACs ($70,800 per two-year cycle) is an unconstitutional violation of the individual donor's free speech rights. The U.S. Court of Appeals already ruled in favor of keeping the biennial limits, which have been in place since 1971 and were upheld in the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo case... If the court rules against the two-year limits, it would mark the first time a court has overturned a part of the landmark Buckley ruling that deals with campaign contribution limits. This is not terribly surprising as the court has been hostile to campaign finance laws ever since Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a supporter of campaign finance regulation, was replaced by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court's conservative bloc who is opposed to campaign regulation." [HuffPost]
WHITE HOUSE ENGAGED IN WEIRD 'MY PEOPLE WILL CALL YOUR PEOPLE' TIFF WITH MARCO RUBIO - Elise Foley: "White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the Obama administration has been engaged with the offices of members of Congress working on immigration reform, despite claims from Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) staff that they have had no contact. 'We have been in contact with everybody involved in this effort on Capitol Hill,' Carney told reporters at a briefing. A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks, said later Tuesday that White House staff met with the offices of the 'gang of eight' -- including a Rubio staffer -- five times in the past few weeks. Alex Conant, a spokesman for Rubio, said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that the senator's staff hasn't spoken to the White House on immigration, but that they didn't necessarily want to anyway. 'Senator Rubio's office has never discussed immigration policy with anyone in the White House,' Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said. 'To be clear: That's fine with us -- we actually think Congress should write the policy; not the White House.'" [HuffPost]
The president called Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Marco Rubio today, Elise Foley reports.
If you really want to waste a home invader, take the vice president's advice and get yourself a shotgun. Or you could take our advice and rig up a "Home Alone"-style system of marbles and scalding hot doorknobs. Jen Bendery: "Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that there's no reason that people should need to own an assault weapon... During a Facebook Town Hall hosted by Parents magazine... One questioner named Kate asked how gun owners would be able to sufficiently protect themselves if Congress passed a bill banning certain weapons and high-capacity gun magazines. 'Kate, if you want to protect yourself, get a double barreled shotgun,' Biden responded. 'I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that's wooded and somewhat secluded. I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put [up] that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.'...'You don't need an AR-15,' he said. 'Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!'" [HuffPost]
LIFE GIVES MARCO RUBIO LEMONS, HE MAKES LEMONADE, AWKWARDLY DRINKS LEMONADE, FUNDRAISES OFF OF LEMONADE - Lisa Miller: "Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) political action committee took an awkward incident and turned it into a money-making venture with signature 'Rubio' water bottles, which have brought in $125,000 since Wednesday. Rubio's PAC, Reclaim America, debuted the water bottles after the senator's awkward lunge for a Poland Spring bottle during his State of the Union rebuttal. 'So far we've sold over 4,200 water bottles in the last five days, bringing in over $125,000,' a spokesperson for the PAC said, according to NBC Miami." [HuffPost]
Ryan Reilly on America's sunny Cuban getaway: "Obama's Guantanamo features energy-efficient light bulbs, openly gay members of the military and the indefinite detention of [already cleared] detainees."
GOP REP: GIRLS ARE MADE OF SUGAR AND SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE... BOYS CAN TAKE A BEATING - Rep. Jimmy Duncan Jr. is not sure whether he'll vote for for VAWA reauthorization, saying "Every bill is given a motherhood-and-apple-pie title," and therefore shouldn't be taken at face value (this might also explain his opposition to the Violence Against Apple Pies Act). This is nowhere near as offensive as what he also said: "Rep. John 'Jimmy' Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said he doesn't know if he will vote for a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, a bill the congressman said has a nice name -- while also arguing that men can handle violence better than women...But constituents would be mistaken to think that Duncan's uncertainty over whether he will support the reauthorization this year means he isn't concerned with the issue of violence against women. He said it's an especially big problem because women are not as well equipped as men to handle violence. 'Like most men, I'm more opposed to violence against women than even violence against men,' Duncan said. 'Because most men can handle it a little better than a lot of women can.'" [HuffPost]
David Axelrod is joining NBC and MSNBC as a contributor, senior charity wager correspondent. MSNBC is just straight-up dropping the pretense. USA Today: "The long-time strategist for President Obama and former White House senior adviser is joining NBC News and MSNBC as a "senior political analyst," the networks said Tuesday. Axelrod "will contribute frequently across all broadcasts and platforms of both networks," said the announcement. This basically means Axelrod can't appear on competing networks. Lest we forget: Axelrod was a very good reporter at the Chicago Tribune back in the day, before he got involved in professional politics." [USA Today]
SCOTT BROWN COMES CLEAN ABOUT HIS DRUNK POCKET - If you give an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite amount of time an infinite number of typewriters, they will recreate Shakespeare. Same thing with Scott Brown's pocket, apparently: "Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who decided against running in the special election for U.S. Senate to replace Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), broke his silence about a series of late-night tweets that turned heads. 'Anyone ever hear of pocket tweet, pocket dial? I mean it was pretty simple. I have an iPhone 5. If anyone has iPhone 5, the keys are small. It's very, very sensitive. Ayla was teaching me how to get on Facebook and Twitter, and there were some areas I didn't really understand,' Brown said to a local Fox station. 'After her concert, we were here in the living room and responded to a couple of people and then put it in my pocket.'" [HuffPost]
We've reached out to Chuck Grassley's' pocket to see if the deer is actually dead.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR In this action packed tour-de-force, two dogs do battle with a mechanical spider.
YOU WILL NOT BE ENSLAVED IN MISSISSIPPI... REALLY - In case you missed it, Mississippi, cradle of freedom and equality, did this: "Mississippi lawmakers have officially ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery in 1865. One hundred forty-eight years after three-fourths of the states voted to approve the amendment, Mississippi's legislature finally took steps to fix the glaring oversight last month. According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the decision was inspired by the Oscar-nominated film 'Lincoln,' which depicts the 16th president's efforts to enact the amendment... Mississippi was the last state to approve the amendment. Kentucky, the second-to-last holdout, ratified it in 1976." [HuffPost]
- The Nationals' racing presidents took a tour across the United States. [http://wapo.st/W1G8xH]
- Various types of food grouped off into 200 calorie servings. [http://bit.ly/TVNqx]
- Video of a Chinese hacker doing their hacking thing. [http://wapo.st/Y604vG]
- A new documentary looks at the life and times of D.C.'s hot dog vendors. [http://bit.ly/Y2naoR]
- BuzzFeed tried out some of the domestic life hacks circulating on the web. [http://bit.ly/XiMI0E]
- Turning iconic paintings into Emoji texts. [http://bit.ly/153qulO]
- Seven writing tips from
HuffPost Blogger author Ernest Hemingway on [http://bit.ly/13afNv0]
@samyoungman: How did potus ever get off the phone with Graham? Senator, I'm...tunnel...losing you...ghazi...primary...
@daveweigel: POOP-COVERED CRUISE SHIP JOINS CNN AS SENIOR ANALYST
@evanmc_s: "butt tweet" is my favorite phrase to imagine explaining to a 1950s DC reporter who fell into a timewarp
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