Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - The Sequester Will Murder An Aardvark

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Chuck Schumer might spend the weekend sending "Snitches get Stitches" tees to Congressional Republicans now that the GOP is warming to tax hikes on private equity honchos. The New Yorker reports that Ted Cruz has no decency, at long last he has no sense of decency. And John McCain has no problem throwing the parents of shooting victims under the Straight Talk Express. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 22nd, 2013:

SCHUMER'S LAST STAND - Someone buy New York's senior senator a Schumwich -- the guy is going to need to do some serious hobby eating after reading this. Roll Call: "Pressed by President Barack Obama to support more revenue increases, congressional Republicans may relent on the carried interest loophole that tends to benefit wealthy Wall Street investors. Despite the party's long-standing resistance to tax hikes -- particularly after compromising on the fiscal-cliff deal that allowed rates on higher earners to go up -- some GOP sources say Republican members might agree to eliminate carried interest deductions because it would primarily affect wealthy Democratic campaign donors. The likely stiff resistance from New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer and other Senate Democrats would be a bonus. Republicans, sources say, are not motivated to protect contributors who have donated millions to their opponents." [Roll Call]

The sequester is killing our precious precious zoo animals. WaPo: "Under the terms of the sequester, the Smithsonian will take a $40 million budget cut in 2013. Among the programs run by the Smithsonian? The National Zoo...'I have a very ill anteater right now,' said Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo, which has a $50 million budget and employs 450 people. 'I have tigers that are breeding; I have tigers that are being shipped out; I have Andean bears with cubs fresh on the ground.'" [WaPo]

Thanks Gawker: "Kate Upton and Ryan Gosling Explain the Sequester"

HOUSE JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN OPEN TO GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION - Roll Call: "House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte said Friday that his chamber will take legislative action to curb gun violence. 'The Congress is going to act on this issue,' Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a telephone interview with CQ Roll Call. 'The Senate is at work on it, and we are as well. Our goal is to do anything we can do keep firearms out of the hands of people who should not have them.'...Goodlatte... said the administration's recent enforcement of gun laws has been 'pathetic.' He noted that the Justice Department rarely prosecutes those who attempt to buy firearms illegally by lying on federal forms that ask prospective buyers to assert that they are not among a group of prohibited purchasers. He pointed to statistics, cited in the Judiciary Republicans' letter to Obama, that the Justice Department prosecuted just 62 of more than 76,000 such cases in 2010. But Goodlatte also said that the committee's emphasis on stronger enforcement of current gun laws should not be interpreted to mean that it is not willing to take up new legislation. Until Friday, House Republican leaders had said only that their chamber is willing to look at whatever gun-related legislation is passed by the Democratic-led Senate." [Roll Call]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST BEARISH ON GUN CONTROL - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP lobbyist -- who earns income on the side by leasing out his basement rec room as a CIA black site -- thinks powerful industry interests will sink any major gun control legislation, just not the ones you think. "Prediction: the MPAA will kill gun control to preserve their right to sell violence to children. Reminds me of flavored cigarettes except grosser," PSLGOPL writes. Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Jason Saine received unemployment compensation for more than a year before he landed a part-time job as a state legislator in North Carolina. This month, he joined his fellow Republicans in supporting a bill that slashes unemployment insurance in the state. Saine says he wrestled with the decision to support the bill right up until the final moment before he cast his vote. "I know some will try to frame it as hypocritical but I see it from all sides and there are no easy answers right now," Saine told The Huffington Post. "It's not a glorious vote by any measure." [HuffPost]

He's right: Some will try to frame it as hypocritical, that thing he did.

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HOUSE REPUBLICANS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH GIVING BATTERED WOMEN TOO MANY HANDOUTS - Just another day that ends with everyone in the Log Cabin Republicans' office drunk and in tears. Jen Bendery: "House Republican leaders quietly unveiled their Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill on Friday, a proposal that differs from what the Senate passed last week in a handful of ways... No author is listed, but Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) has been floated as the likely sponsor...a cursory look reveals some notable changes from the bipartisan VAWA bill that cleared the Senate last week. The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the bill removes 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' from the list of underserved populations who face barriers to accessing victim services, thereby disqualifying LGBT victims from a related grant program. The bill also eliminates a requirement in the Senate bill that programs that receive funding under VAWA provide services regardless of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, the bill proposes compromise language aimed at helping Native American victims of violence...The House bill also grants that new authority -- a major change from their VAWA bill in the last Congress -- but adds a caveat that would allow those people to move their case to a federal court if they feel their constitutional rights aren't being upheld." [HuffPost]

OLD MAN MCCAIN TO MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: QUIT YER BELLYACHIN' - On HuffPost Hill's patented Curmudgeon Scale 5000, this one falls between James Earl Jones in the middle of "Field of Dreams" and Stetler on an off night. That comes to four-and-a-half Walter Matthaus out of five. Impressive. TPM: "The mother of a young man killed in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre told TPM on Thursday she was appalled at the way Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) handled her question about an assault weapons ban at a town hall event in Phoenix. 'I was very surprised that a senator, who has been in office for over 30 years, would address a grieving mother, who just lost her son exactly seven months prior -- yesterday was the 20th, I lost my son on 7-20-2012 -- to tell me that I needed 'some straight talk,'' Caren Teves said by phone. At Wednesday's town hall, Teves told McCain that her son, Alex, was killed in the massacre, and she urged the senator to support a ban on assault weapons. McCain responded: 'I can tell you right now you need some straight talk. That assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States.' The crowd, many of whom appeared to be pro-gun, burst into cheers and applause at McCain's comments. But Teves said she wasn't fazed by that, and those cheers, as captured by a local TV news crew, were only part of the story." [TPM]

TED CRUZ GETTING HIS HUAC ON - Ted Cruz wants to know if you are now, or have ever been, a member of the Democratic party. New Yorker: "Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there. Cruz attended Harvard Law School from 1992 until 1995. His spokeswoman didn't respond to a request to discuss the speech...Cruz made the accusation while speaking to a rapt ballroom audience during a luncheon at a conference called 'Defending the American Dream,' sponsored by Americans for Prosperity...He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him,'would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School.' The reason, said Cruz, was that, 'There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.' 'We are puzzled by the Senator's assertions, as we are unaware of any basis for them,' Robb London, a spokesman for Harvard Law School, told me." [New Yorker]

POLL: NATION OF TAKERS IS A NATION OF TAKERS - A shocking new survey indicates that most American's don't want to die old and penniless on the sidewalk, scraping together food money by letting drunk privileged college students tweet compromising vines of them. Pew: "As the March 1 deadline for a possible budget sequester approaches, a new national survey finds limited public support for reducing spending for a range of specific programs, including defense, entitlements, education and health care. For 18 of 19 programs tested, majorities want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels...Yet the survey also finds higher percentages support increases rather than decreases in spending for education, veterans' benefits, entitlements and other programs. Six-in-ten (60%) say they would increase education funding, while 53% want funding for veterans' benefits and services to grow and 41% say the same about spending on Social Security." [Pew]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby red panda takes a move from Macho Man Randy Savage and bodyslams its brother from the turnbuckle.

Texas Republicans are bracing themselves for that embarrassing moment in 2016 when they have to make a Spanish language ad buy in San Antonio. RealClearPolitics: "While the knee-jerk reaction among many Republicans would be to dismiss the idea that the state could be competitive in 2016 -- just four years after Mitt Romney carried it by 16 points over President Obama -- Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri is in no mood to sneer. In an interview with RCP, Munisteri said that he has long taken seriously the possibility that Texas could become a battleground as early as 2016, particularly if Clinton becomes the Democratic standard-bearer. 'If she's the nominee, I would say that this is a "lean Republican" state but not a "solid Republican' state," he said. 'I don't know anyone nationally who's scoffing at this. The national party leadership is aware and tells me they're taking it seriously.'" [RCP]

COMFORT FOOD

- Cute toddler is totally captivated by the moon. All hail Artemis. [http://bit.ly/13aQUUl]

- Two gentleman discuss the "Harlem Shake" phenomenon in two years. [http://chzb.gr/XsvSts]

- One of Michael Jackson's dance routines recreated with LEGOs. [http://slate.me/YerNMC]

- Video of Eric Clapton toying around with some of his guitars and talking about his life and times with music. [http://bit.ly/W8gaZe]

- Google unveiled the latest iteration of its Chromebook laptop. Looks interesting. [http://bit.ly/YEYiBw]

- Four-year-old receives guitar, immediately performs Randy Newman cover. [http://bit.ly/13tVHfi]

- A map of the United States with each state labeled with its most common Craigslist "Missed Connection" spot. [http://bit.ly/YdP5QH]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: Twitter is basically the world's largest blog comments section.

@FakeAPStylebook: CORREX: "Husband" or "wife" is correct in all references to married same-sex individuals. Hetero couples are now "Brood Unit 1 and 2."

@mollyesque: Hungry zoo animals thanks to sequestration cuts. A few miles away, Congress sits idle. Solution seems obvious, no?

ON TAP

Tonight, 6:30 pm: Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of Stephen, heads to her brother's stomping grounds in New York City for "A Special Evening With Stephen Colbert." We want that evening. [New York, NY]

Tonight, 7:30 pm: Mike Enzi has a romantic dinner in the Tetons with John Barrasso and whoever is willing to give him a few grand. [Teton Village, WY]

Today - Tomorrow: John Barrasso hosts his "Sixth Annual Winter Snow Fling," which we guess is some kind of swingers event in a chalet somewhere. [Jackson Hole, WY

Tonight - Sunday: The NRSC holds its annual retreat in a place that's about as far away as you can possibly get from the liberal schmoozefest that is the Oscars, Palm Beach. [Palm Beach, FL]

Tomorrow, 4:00 pm: Elizabeth Colbert Busch continues to barnstorm the Big Apple with her brother with a reception and bowling outing with her brother, Stephen. Again, there is nothing we wouldn't do to bowl with Stephen Colbert... except sacrifice our journalistic integri--HAHAHAHA. No really, we'd do anything. [New York, NY]

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