POLITICS
02/25/2013 05:35 pm ET | Updated Apr 27, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - America Readies For Totally Unnecessary And Avoidable Crisis, Part 25,381

Seth MacFarlane may have missed the mark as an Oscars host, but the NRSC would love it if he ran for Senate in Missouri. As punishment for his association with a popular politician, an unpopular political group will not associate with Chris Christie. And a poll finds Republicans enjoy Olive Garden but Democrats don't, maybe because of that "When you're here, you're a one-man-one-woman family" tagline. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, February 25th, 2013:

BUY GUNS, GOLD, SEEDS, ETC - Dave Jamieson has found the ultimate sequester freakout weirdo: "Advocates for everything from early education and law enforcement funding to workforce training and national park programs pleaded with lawmakers on Monday to hash out a deal to avoid the looming $85 billion 'sequester' cuts set to kick in Friday. Much like the White House, boosters for a host of programs dependent on federal dollars are now trying to make clear to the public the real-world effects of the across-the-board cuts: laid-off teachers, reduced unemployment insurance for jobless workers, shuttered park offices, furloughed law enforcement officers and on and on....John Adler, the president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association...said Congress was essentially willing to endanger Americans through political games, given that federal law enforcement officers could be furloughed if the sequester kicks in. 'The road to a lawless society is currently being paved by the Congressional sequester,' Adler declared, claiming that budget cuts would make it more difficult for the feds to capture terrorists and child molesters. 'What they're going to do is amputate the long arm of the law.'" [HuffPost]

SEQUESTER: BOEHNER THROWS 'BOWS - The House speaker -- a supporter of a president who landed on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit to announce the end of a war that wouldn't be over for another decade -- says the president is inappropriately invoking the military in his arguments against the sequester. "The president says we have to have another tax increase in order to avoid the sequester," Boehner told reporters on the Hill today. "Well, Mr. President, you got your tax increase. It's time to cut spending here in Washington. Instead of using our military men and women as campaign props, if the president was serious, he would sit down with [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and begin to address our problems. The House has acted twice. We shouldn't have to act a third time before the Senate begins to do their work." [Politico]

@jbendery: ! RT @johnrobertsFox: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) says Boehner likely to lose speakership if House Republicans cave on sequester.

During a speech at the National Governors Association today, the president leaned on the country's state executives to lobby against the sequester. "Unfortunately, in just four days, Congress is poised to allow a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts to kick in that will slow our economy, eliminate good jobs, and leave a lot of folks who are already pretty thinly stretched scrambling to figure out what to do," he said. "So, while you are in town, I hope that you speak with your congressional delegation and remind them in no uncertain terms exactly what is at stake and exactly who is at risk...These cuts do not have to happen. Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little bit of compromise." [Roll Call]

CHRIS CHRISTIE SNUBBED BY CPAC - Though if there were ever a politician who could crash a political conference, shove the speaker off the stage and berate everyone in attendance... and not have his reputation change one bit, it'd be Chris Christie. NBC News: "At least eight potential presidential contenders will be speaking at CPAC: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania... One potential 2016 hopeful who won't be there, however -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Despite being the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention and having a sky-high approval rating in the Garden State, CPAC officials told First Read Christie was not invited. Christie rankled some on the right with his public support for President Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy in the weeks leading up to the 2012 election." [NBC News]

The Senate will hold a cloture vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination tomorrow, a Senate aide tells The Hill, with a final vote coming in the evening or Wednesday.

@HuffPostPol: C. Everett Koop, anti-smoking surgeon general who spoke frankly on AIDS, dies in NH at 96. -@AP

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Ken Goike of the Michigan legislature knows drug use is a problem among the unemployed because of a story he heard from a guy. "Rep. Goike said his brother-in-law is a plant manager in Macomb County and was set to hire 100 employees. Rep. Goike said his brother-in-law told him that half of the applicants couldn't be hired because they failed the drug test necessary to run the equipment." Where have we heard this story before? [MichiganCapitolConfidential.com]

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WHITE HOUSE DENIES PAY FOR PLAY - The White house is pushing back on a New York Times report that Organizing for Action sent envelopes filled with money and threatening messages involving Franki Valli and the Four Seasons to New York-area radio stations will facilitate quarterly meetings with President Obama for donors who give over $500,000. "The White House is pushing back on suggestions that it is participating in a pay-for-access scheme, in which big-dollar donors to a pro-Obama PAC get a quarterly audience with the president... The funding setup was designed to give the new group the capital it needs to begin its advocacy efforts, which consist primarily of helping advance the administration's agenda...On Monday morning, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was questioned about those old quotes during a press briefing: 'The fact is, there are a variety of rules governing interactions between administration officials and outside groups, and administration officials follow those rules. White House and administration officials will not be raising money for Organizing for Action, and while they may appear at appropriate OFA events in their official capacities, they will not be raising money.'...The president may not be standing in the room asking potential OFA donors for cash; but if his presence is the prize offered in exchange for a large check, he is still helping to facilitate the fundraising process." [HuffPost]

Here is Joe Biden's new official portrait. He's (maybe) leaning on a table. Whadda guy.

SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION - The Second Amendment Foundation has been flooding the zone with lawsuits, basically making it the Cochran Firm of the gun rights crowd. Christina Wilkie: "In the insular world of gun rights groups, Alan Gottlieb is a man on the make. Over the past five years, his Bellevue, Wash.-based nonprofit, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), has raced to expand gun rights, building on one of the most significant court rulings in decades. Now, Gottlieb is hoping to open the legal floodgates by litigating dozens of cases nationwide... Much of the SAF's reputation in the courtroom can be attributed to a Northern Virginia-based litigator, Alan Gura, who is best known for successfully arguing District of Columbia v. Heller before the Supreme Court... the SAF's strategy has been offensive, swinging for the fences and often making very broad constitutional arguments. 'Our feeling is strike while the iron is hot and build as much case law as you can,' Gottlieb said in an interview with The Huffington Post. 'Then weave [the case law] into a spider web that's strong enough so our opponents can't get through it.'" [HuffPost]

@ppppolls: Republicans consider Olive Garden to be a 'quality source of authentic ethnic food,' Democrats do not

SEQUESTER: DEFENSE CONTRACTORS FEEL BETRAYED - Rich, successful people who are paid to support the government are somehow surprised that politicians lie. Anyone named in this article should be fired. Sabrina Siddiqui: "During the 2012 campaign, politicians paid plenty of attention to defense contractors... with hopes of conveying concern for the impending slate of defense-spending cuts that are part of sequestration. Today, some of those same defense contractors feel frustrated and ignored. Retired four-star Gen. Dan McNeill, who now serves as the president of The Logistics Company, sat on the panel at [Paul] Ryan's [2012 campaign] roundtable. McNeill said it was not an endorsement; he would have done the same for the president's reelection campaign... Six months later, he and other potential victims of sequestration are left discouraged. The alarm expressed by Ryan and other Republicans has been replaced with something closer to nonchalance. House Republicans insist they don't want the sequester cuts to take effect. But they're also upfront about their comfort in not replacing the cuts with other means of revenue, such as taxes." [HuffPost]

John Yarmuth is convinced that Ashley Judd will run: "She hasn't announced yet, but her biggest supporter in Kentucky, Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, told ABC News, 'I would be surprised if she doesn't run at this point... My impression is this is something she wants to do, and she is now taking the time to make the contacts she needs to make throughout the state to try and generate commitments of support and in some cases fundraising,' Yarmuth said. 'She is certainly acting like a candidate, a potential candidate.'...Yarmuth, the only Kentucky Democrat in Congress, said he expects the decision to come soon." [ABC News]

GOVERNORS TOLD TO HAVE SEX - [BEGIN RODNEY DANGERFIELD VOICE] I tell ya, talk about constituent relations! [END RODNEY DANGERFIELD VOICE]. John Celock: "The nation's governors closed their conference here Monday following a call from Dr. Mehmet Oz for them to have more sex. Oz, speaking to the National Governors Association's winter meeting, laid out a series of steps that governors could implement in their states to increase lifespans and reduce health costs... Noting that increased sexual activity leads to longer lifespans, Oz called on all governors to start having sex twice a week. No governors responded to Oz's suggestion about their sex lives. (Oz spoke to governors' spouses on Sunday about healthy lifestyles.)" [HuffPost]

Stephen Colbert campaigned with his sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who is running to represent South Carolina's First Congressional District, this weekend. Recap here.

Tell us how you really feel, Walter Jones: "Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), an outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan, said at a conference Saturday that former Vice President Dick Cheney would probably end up in hell for the Iraq War. 'Congress will not hold anyone to blame. Lyndon Johnson's probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War, and he probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney,' Jones said at a Young Americans for Liberty conference in Raleigh, N.C." [HuffPost]

The International Herald Tribune will be renamed The International New York Times. In a statement, New York Times Mark Thompson more or less said that IHT sounds less like an actual newspaper than a fake one that appears on newsstands in superhero movies. "The digital revolution has turned The New York Times from being a great American newspaper to becoming one of the world's best-known news providers," he said. "We want to exploit that opportunity." On that note, we are now filing the paperwork necessary to rename HuffPost Hill "The International Herald Tribune." We're really trying to break into the Parisian expat market. [Times]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - And the Oscar for most racoon cozying up with a kitten-y video goes to... this video of a racoon cozying up with a kitten.

CONGRESS' THERAPY DOG DIES - It belonged to Kent Conrad and sadly it just missed the Oscars "In Memoriam" window. Luke Johnson: "Dakota, the bichon frise of former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) who was a fixture around Capitol Hill, died Wednesday of complications from lymphoma, according to the Fargo-based newspaper The Forum. The dog apparently played a role in some crucial negotiations on the Hill. 'In some of our (budget) negotiations, colleagues would call and ask if I could bring Dakota,' Congrad told the paper. 'He calmed everyone down.' 'I think he will be missed perhaps more than I am as I leave the Senate,' he said of the dog when he left the Senate in December 2012. Conrad adopted the dog in 2009 from a rescue shelter when he was about 10, according to the AP." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- The most badass only badminton video you'll see this week. [http://bit.ly/W8ckjf]

- Another f***in' tour of an even bigger f***in' cruise ship. [http://bit.ly/15BR6f1]

- Jack Nicholson interrupts Jennifer Lawrence's post-Oscars interview in the most skeevy way possible. [http://bit.ly/W84lCK]

- For some reason or another, teens have taken to going to supermarkets, slamming gallons of milk on the ground and tripping on the spilt liquid. Let's just go ahead and FedEx China all of our jobs. [http://huff.to/13JQu39]

- A profile of the man behind Siracha, which a become a kind of the ketchup for people whose favorite Beatle is George. [http://buswk.co/VQaF1x]

- COMMENCE TEAR SECRETION: A high school basketball player purposefully turned over the ball to a developmentally disabled opponent so he could score. [http://bit.ly/UZCjrl]

- As if making minimum wage weren't bad enough, this pizza guy did not need to run into a secret society meeting. [http://bit.ly/ZEot0d]

TWITTERAMA

@jess_mc: Found Seamus! RT @KagroX Somebody help me with this Swedish Meatball Dressage Team joke.

@Neda_Semnani: sounds so gross MT @Brendan_Buck @PressSec be honest, did I upset you with the crack about sequesting down the length of your briefing?

@mkady: 5th grader at my kid's school, upon getting popcorn in a plastic bag instead of fancy white/red stripes: "Is this b/c of sequestration?"

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