Huffpost Politics

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President Obama said he can't use a "Jedi mind meld" to fix sequestration, though we're pretty sure "Jedi mind meld" is something that happened in the Choomwagon. Marco Rubio is planning to film a "Harlem Shake" video, which means his O RLY? presidential campaign posters are just around the corner. And even though the government will be weakened by spending cuts, we're confident Congress will be OK as long as Rep. Adam Kinzinger's kegerator remains off-budget. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 1st, 2013:

OBAMA HAS NO SPECIAL SAUCE, NOT A JEDI... ALSO POSSIBLY GOING INSANE - AP: "A combative President Barack Obama blamed Republican lawmakers Friday for failing to stop automatic spending cuts that were to begin kicking in later in the day, calling the cuts 'dumb, arbitrary.' Republicans said the fault was his, for insisting that increased taxes be part of the resolution. The president said the impact of the cuts won't immediately be felt, but middle class families will begin to 'have their lives disrupted in significant ways.' He said that as long as the cuts stay in effect, Americans will know that the economy could have been better had they been averted...Obama, pressed on whether he bears some of the responsibility for the stalemate, expressed frustration. 'Give me an example of what I might do,' he challenged reporters. 'I am not a dictator. I'm the president,' he said. He added that he can't do a "Jedi mind-meld" or use any 'special sauce' to get Republicans to negotiate. 'I can't force Congress to do the right thing,' Obama said." [AP]

@sabrinasiddiqui: You can actually visit whitehouse.gov/jedimindmeld (redirects you to the president's plan to avert sequestration).

At least there's this? "President Barack Obama and congressional leaders said Friday that they expect to advance a straightforward continuing resolution that would set federal spending through the rest of the current fiscal year without addressing the automatic cuts under sequester and other potentially contentious questions. Obama said he would not veto a stopgap funding bill that complies with the discretionary spending level of $1.043 trillion set in the debt reduction agreement of 2011, signaling there won't be a showdown between Democrats and Republicans that could lead to a government shutdown. 'If we stick to that deal, then I will be supportive of us sticking to that deal,' Obama said at a White House news conference." [Roll Call]

The president pardoned 17 people. Happy Friday news dump!

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST GOES DOES PRO BONO WORK FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who still feels threatened by Gene Sperling's email to Bob Woodward -- and by all emails, for that matter, has some thoughts on the White House's strategy going forward. "Unsolicited advice to the White House," PSLGOPL writes. "1. Carney stops talking about Woodward at the podium. 2. Burton raises some extra campaign cash and cuts a check and advertises for a year in HPH and Playbook. 3. Problem solved. 4. Do it before Woodward does! You guys think I can get a finders fee from the advertising dept?" Thanks, PSLGOPL!

PSLGOPL adds: "I watched Woodward and Axelrod argue on Morning Joe. And all I could think about was how rich and one percentery they seemed."

@marcorubio: If I put #HarlemShake video 2gether in Senate who should be in it?Taking suggestions now. http://bit.ly/ZJbQgF

Courtesy Ezra Klein, further evidence that people who seek public office are sociopaths who delegate the hard work of understanding policy to the people who drive them around. "Would it matter, one reporter asked the veteran legislator, if the president were to put chained-CPI -- a policy that reconfigures the way the government measures inflation and thus slows the growth of Social Security benefits -- on the table? 'Absolutely,' the legislator said. 'That's serious.' Another reporter jumped in. 'But it is on the table! They tell us three times a day that they want to do chained-CPI.' 'Who wants to do it?' said the legislator. 'The president,' replied the reporter. 'I'd love to see it,' laughed the legislator." Ezra charitably deems this a "failure to communicate." [WonkBlog]

Who wants to bet the veteran lawmaker -- supposedly "one of the most respected Republicans in Congress" -- is Paul Ryan?

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - California apparently mailed this message to unemployed people: "If you don't have access to a computer with Internet connectivity, visit your local One-Stop Career Center where you can find computers available for your use. To find an office near you, visit www.edd.ca.gov/Office_Locator. [Reddit]

DOUBLE DOWNER - "They can't detain me en route to or from the capitol," Claeys said. "Not even to pee in a cup." [HuffPost]

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THIS NEWS NOT ACTUALLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA - Rosie Gray: "A range of mainstream American publications printed paid propaganda for the government of Malaysia, much of it focused on the campaign against a pro-democracy figure there. The payments to conservative American opinion writers -- whose work appeared in outlets from the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner to the Washington Times to National Review and RedState -- emerged in a filing this week to the Department of Justice. The filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act outlines a campaign spanning May 2008 to April 2011 and led by Joshua Trevino, a conservative pundit, who received $389,724.70 under the contract and paid smaller sums to a series of conservative writers....Trevino's subcontractors included conservative writer Ben Domenech, who made $36,000 from the arrangement, and Rachel Ehrenfeld, the director of the American Center for Democracy, who made $30,000. Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary, made $5,500.... Brad Jackson, writing at the time for RedState, made $24,700. Overall, 10 writers were part of the arrangement. 'It was actually a fairly standard PR operation,' Trevino told BuzzFeed Friday." [BuzzFeed]

PEOPLE GETTING FURLOUGHED, YO - Right now, in countless government offices across America, bureaucrats are sighing heavily as they read their office managers' "10 tips on how how to make your furlough a FUNlouh" email. Amanda Terkel: "Federal employees began receiving furlough notices on Friday, as the deep budget cuts known as sequestration went into effect. More than 1 million federal employees face the possibility of unpaid time off due to the across-the-board spending cuts. While some notices are going out on Friday, the furloughs will not actually take effect until April, as the government is required to give employees 30 days' notice. The Democratic staff of the House Oversight Committee released a furlough notice sent to an assistant U.S. attorney on Friday, which read, "This memorandum notifies you that the Department of Justice (DOJ) proposes to furlough you no earlier than 30 days from receipt of this notice.' 'We recognize the difficult personal financial implications of any furlough, no matter how limited its length. We will make every effort to keep you informed as additional information regarding agency funding becomes available,' the letter added." [HuffPost]

JIM CLYBURN IS NOT PLEASED WITH ANTONIN SCALIA - The number-three Democrat in the House, whose distinctive low country accent we've been trying to master for years now ("Well Andreuua, I'm happy teu be here with yeuu..."), was angered by Justice Antonin Scalia's characterisation of the Voting Rights Act. Jen Bendery: "Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Friday that he was 'absolutely shocked' to hear Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia describe a key piece of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most significant achievements of the civil rights movement, as a "perpetuation of racial entitlement" earlier this week. 'I'm not easily surprised by anything, but that took me to a place I haven't been in a long time,' Clyburn said of Scalia's comments, during an interview with HuffPost. 'What Justice Scalia said, to me, was, "The 15th Amendment of the Constitution ain't got no concerns for me because I'm white and proud."' Now the third most powerful Democrat in the House of Representatives, Clyburn's work on civil rights issues goes as far back as the age of 12, when he was elected president of his local NAACP youth chapter. He organized civil rights demonstrations in college, and even met his wife in jail after a protest." [HuffPost]

MITT ROMNEY REEMERGES, CRITICIZES OBAMA FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE - Marriott board member and idea merchant Willard "Mitt" Romney is not pleased with the way the president is handling the current round of fiscal squabbling. "Well, no one can think that's been a success for the president. He didn't think the sequester would happen. It is happening," Romney said in an interview to be aired in full this Sunday on Fox News Sunday. "But to date, what we've seen is the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country, and berating Republicans. And blaming and pointing. Now what does that do? That causes the Republicans to retrench and then put up a wall and fight back. It's a very natural human emotion." [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE STOP BEING POLITE AND START GETTING TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUNDS? - Sean Duffy, America's second-favorite reality-star-turned-politician (Lackawanna County Comptroller is a close first), did something offensive. Luke Johnson: "Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) answered a town-hall question about his position on transvaginal ultrasounds by joking that he hadn't had one, according to audio posted by Wisconsin Democrats Wednesday. A questioner asked Duffy about his position on transvaginal ultrasounds on Feb. 21, and a GOP bill in the Wisconsin legislature requiring women to undergo ultrasounds before getting an abortion. 'I don't know what a trans-vaginal ultrasound is?' Duffy said. 'You don't?' asked the questioner. 'I haven't had one,' Duffy said. The crowd in the room laughed. The questioner asked him if he would support legislation on the federal level. 'I haven't heard of it. And just like I told you, I'm pro-life, and I know that you are too, but I'm not willing to say I support what you're talking about because I haven't seen the bill, even though we're probably in agreement on that issue,' said Duffy." [HuffPost]

Delta Kappa Congress: "Most House and Senate members and staffers have to reach into the office mini-fridge to pass around a long-neck bottle, or else they have to throw on their coats and make the multiblock trek to the nearest bar for a draft. Unless, of course, you're Rep. Adam Kinzinger and his Longworth Office staff. Recently, the 35-year-old Illinois Republican allegedly installed a kegerator in his Washington office. This draft-beer-dispensing appliance may have been the inspiration behind several 'after-hours parties.'" [Roll Call]

AL QAEDA DOES NOT LIKE YOUR LIBERAL, SAN FRANCISCO VALUES - MoJo: "Al Qaeda says the United States has another crime to add to its litany of atrocities: support for same-sex marriage. In the latest issue of Inspire, the Al Qaeda-produced English-language magazine that teaches readers how to cause traffic accidents, torch parked cars, and 'make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,' the terrorist group goes after President Barack Obama for "evolving" on marriage equality. In an infographic titled 'The Nation Standing on 'No Values,' the magazine also goes after 'gay congressman' Barney Frank, who is no longer a congressman. It also cites statistics showing American Catholics are less likely to attend Mass and are increasingly supportive of same-sex marriage." [MoJo]

DICK CHENEY DOES NOT LIKE CONDOLEEZA RICE'S LIBERAL, SAN FRANCISCO VALUES - The former vice president took a break from using photosynthesis to process the blood of young children into the dark matter that keeps his heart from dissolving into sand and dust to take aim at the former secretary of state. Nick Wing: "In an interview given for the Showtime documentary, 'The World According to Dick Cheney,' which is set to air on March 15, Cheney spoke about the administration's deliberations over how to handle reports that Syria was developing a nuclear reactor in 2007. Cheney wanted to bomb the site. Rice opted for a diplomatic route that involved taking the issue before the United Nations. The reactor was eventually destroyed by an Israeli air strike. Here's what Cheney said of the incident in the film, via Foreign Policy: 'I thought [destroying the reactor] would reassert the kind of authority and influence we had back in '03 when we took down Saddam Hussein and eliminated Iraq as a potential source of WMD. Condi was on the wrong side of all those issues so we had significant issues.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - News anchor is tickled by video of swimming cat.

COMFORT FOOD

- Otter pup ::cups hands over mouth, squeals:: sneezes! [http://bit.ly/VSHh8x]

- Korean man performs super intricate a capella version of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish." [http://bit.ly/Z2qr4m]

- People suffering from post-traumatic Harlem Shake disorder need no longer live in pain. [http://chzb.gr/VevZMw]

- Video of how rope used to be made before the rise of the machines. [http://bit.ly/YNrJUn]

- Ducks are given a tour of Washington. [http://huff.to/Z1d5p2]

- What happens when Mary Poppins meets Felix Baumgartner? This guy jumps out of a plane and [http://bit.ly/Vi0f9k]

- Why your couch sucks. [http://nyti.ms/12c1VW4]

TWITTERAMA

@FakeAPStylebook: By no means confuse "sequestration" for "Seacrestation."

@pourmecoffee: Don't play Words With Friends with Pope Benedict. He keeps making up bullshit words and says he's infallible when you challenge him.

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