POLITICS
03/05/2013 06:11 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - OMG OMG OMG Snow! Also: World Leader Dead

Hugo Chavez is dead; in lieu of flowers we ask that you send a functional state apparatus. Chuck Grassley said he will no longer tweet in his trademark style -- assume Washington sad. And the White House announced that sequestration will prevent low-level executive branch staffers from impressing people they want to sleep with the continuation of tours. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 5th, 2013:

HUGO CHAVEZ DEAD: THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE ... HAPPENING - We're trying to chase down rumors that he bequeathed a million copies of "The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" to President Obama. AP: "President Hugo Chavez, the fiery populist who declared a socialist revolution in Venezuela, crusaded against U.S. influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America, died Tuesday at age 58 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer... Chavez repeatedly proved himself a political survivor. As an army paratroop commander, he led a failed coup in 1992, then was pardoned and elected president in 1998. He survived a coup against his own presidency in 2002 and won re-election two more times...Chavez used his country's vast oil wealth to launch social programs that include state-run food markets, new public housing, free health clinics and education programs. Poverty declined during Chavez's presidency amid a historic boom in oil earnings, but critics said he failed to use the windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars to develop the country's economy. Inflation soared and the homicide rate rose to among the highest in the world." [AP]

@JoseCanseco: hugo is dead

SENATE GOP OPEN TO GUTTING VOTING RIGHTS ACT - With Sabrina Siddiqui: "Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued last week that the court may need to reject the key element of the Voting Rights Act because political pressures would prevent Congress itself from doing so. 'I don't think there is anything to be gained by any senator to vote against continuation of this act,' Scalia said during a Supreme Court hearing. 'And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless -- unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. That's the concern that those of us who have some questions about this statute have. It's a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress.' Whatever Scalia's talents as a jurist, those skills do not include vote-counting in the United States Senate. The Huffington Post asked a sampling of Senate Republicans and found that, contrary to Scalia's presumption, some of his legislative branch colleagues across the street are just as ready as he is to toss out the heart of the Voting Rights Act, its Section 5, which prevents states with a history of racial discrimination from altering their voting laws without federal approval." [HuffPost]

DOJ UNVEILS LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR KILLING THE JONAS BROTHERS - We can't really imagine why drone strikes against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil would be necessary, except maybe that it would've been a lot easier for Johnny Utah to take out Bodhi. MoJo: "Yes, the president does have the authority to use military force against American citizens on US soil -- but only in 'an extraordinary circumstance,' Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter to Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Tuesday...[Holder stated] that under certain circumstances, the president would have the authority to order lethal attacks on American citizens. The two possible examples of such 'extraordinary' circumstances were the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. An American president order the use of lethal military force inside the US is 'entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront,' Holder wrote." [MoJo]

The DJIA closed at a record high 14,254 today. So glad we had that recovery summer.

HOOKERS, HAMAS, AND HAGEL - Michael Calderone writes that there is some great reporting at conservative news sites like the National Review and the Washington Examiner, but too much terrible crap elsewhere else: "And so, while outlets like The Daily Caller, Breitbart News and the Washington Free Beacon have sprouted and, in some cases, prospered during President Barack Obama's administration, concern is mounting that they and others in the conservative media universe are shedding their credibility by focusing more on supposed scandals than reporting the basics of who, what, when, where, why and how. 'There's absolutely no pretense from any of these publications of giving a policy a sort of objective hearing,' Daniel McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative, told The Huffington Post. 'It's very clear that it comes from the same mindset as talk radio and Fox News. This is something that's by and for a particular kind of conservative.' McCarthy hesitated before asking, 'It's a circle jerk, isn't it?'" [HuffPost]

What. An. Asshole.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless: "My husband and I both got laid off in 2008. I was making 23.00 an hour. We had to move from our beautiful home and neighborhood as we couldn't afford the mortgage. We went on food stamps for a short time. Over the past 4 years I had several jobs, nothing permanent though. I started off at 14.00 an hour at one job, went to 12.00, then 10.00 and now my latest job is 8.50 an hour. I have been working steady for the same place for 9 months at 8.50 an hour. For the past 4 years I have had no medical or dental insurance. I just signed up for medical insurance which takes 100.00 a paycheck out of my 8.50 an hour salary." [Hang in there!]

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SENATE INTEL CMTE CONFIRMS BRENNAN IN EXCHANGE FOR WHITE HOUSE DOCS - Times: "The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12 to 3 to confirm John O. Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday, hours after the White House agreed to provide more information on the legal basis for targeted killings of Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat. The vote, in a closed committee meeting, clears the way for Mr. Brennan, a 25-year C.I.A. veteran who has been President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, to be confirmed by the full Senate later this week. In his White House job, Mr. Brennan, 57, has overseen the expansion of targeted killing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. While he is widely expected to win confirmation, senators of both parties have used his nomination to try to pressure the White House into disclosing information it has previously declined to give to Congress." [NYT]

BOEHNER TIRED OF FISCAL BRINKMANSHIP BUT WON'T VIOLATE HASTERT RULE ON CR - Sabrina Siddiqui and Mike McAuliff: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blamed President Barack Obama Tuesday for the remarkable string of fiscal standoffs over the last few years that have tied the government in knots and included the first downgrade of America's credit rating. 'Because of the president's reluctance to cut spending, we've been caught in this battle of having cliffs and having these deadlines,' Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill. He pledged to pass a spending bill to keep the government running after March 27 and to ease defense cuts in the automatic budget cuts under 'sequestration.'... 'I suggested to the president the other day the best thing we could do is find some way to get the Senate to finally do their work, have a large agreement that begins to address the spending problem, puts us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years, and get out of this cliff business,' Boehner said. 'It's not good for the country for us to continue to go through this.'... Boehner insisted the House was moving its spending bill -- called a continuing resolution, or CR -- well before the end of the month to avoid another government shutdown showdown. Yet he all but ruled out the method the House has used to pass three major pieces of legislation this year: letting a minority of Republicans join Democrats to form a majority." [HuffPost]

@michellemalkin: CPAC is dead. RT @michaelpfalcone CPAC Chair Al Cardenas invites Donald Trump back...

JEB BUSH WALKS BACK IMMIGRATION FLIP FLOP - In the span of 24 hours the former Florida governor flip flopped, then flipped back a bit. Let's just say, in snowboarding parlance, that the guy landed a 270. Elise Foley: "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) walked back one of his new book's principles on immigration reform on the same day it was released, telling MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' on Tuesday that he would support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants if it could be done without creating a magnet for more unauthorized immigration. 'So going forward -- we wrote this last year -- going forward, if there is a difference, you can craft that in law where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn't an incentive for people to come illegally, I'm for it,' he said on MSNBC. 'I don't have a problem with that. I don't see how you do it, but I'm not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law.'... 'Immigration Wars' surprised many observers because it explicitly stated that undocumented immigrants should be ineligible for a path to citizenship. The former governor has said in the past that he would support such a measure, but states with Bolick in the book that it should not be included in immigration reform." [HuffPost]

As always, Harry Reid trolls when the iron is hot: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not mince words on Tuesday when asked about former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's (R) stated opposition to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 'Let's wait a few weeks and see how Jeb Bush changes his mind,' Reid told reporters. 'His opinion on immigration is not evolving, it's devolving. He keeps going backwards. I think he's frankly made a fool of himself.'" [Foley]

The White House is canceling tours, citing sequestration. No word on whether they're stopping shipments of the White House themed M&Ms. That could really be the coup de grace that brings this economy down. The Hill: 'The White House announced Tuesday that it was canceling tours of the executive mansion beginning on Saturday until further notice due to "staffing reductions resulting from sequestration.' An email sent to lawmakers from the White House Visitors Office said that it would not be able to reschedule affected tours, which are typically scheduled through lawmakers on Capitol Hill." A Senate GOP staffer, receiving the news, emails: "Time to knuckle under. This sh*t just got serious." [The Hill]

CHUCK GRASSLEY: GO TWEET YOURSELF - Chuck Grassley, exhausted by his experimental "Revolution #9" Twitter phase, has decided to move on to a more straightforward Wings Twitter phase. BuzzFeed: "Everybody's favorite senatorial tweeter, Chuck Grassley, is giving up his signature mix of personal observations, misadventures, and politics for a more staid, policy-focused approach to social media. And it's all your fault. Grassley, who in September will turn 80, has delighted the twitterverse with random observations about life in Iowa, hilariously abbreviated sports scores, and spot-on criticisms of the History Channel's decidedly un-historical programming. But all that is going away thanks to the snarky -- and, occasionally, downright nasty -- responses to his tweets. 'I try to be more policy-oriented now than I used to be, not every little personal thing,' Grassley said in an interview with BuzzFeed. Indeed, the Iowa Republican's last two personal tweets -- about his granddaughters -- were more than a month ago. And you have to go all the way back to the 1st of December to find any hint of Grassley's signature observational tweets, when he noted a dead deer outside his property -- a not-so-subtle hat tip to his infamous 'assume deer dead' Tweet last year." [BuzzFeed]

If Nancy Pelosi has a Steve Buscemi-style lipstick kill list ("Billy Madison?"
Anyone? No?), Rep. Andy Harry is undoubtedly on it now
: "Rep. Andy Harry (R-Md.) thought Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stepped over the line when she thanked Rep. Chris Van Hollen for his work on the budget Tuesday. Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee and a fellow member of Harris' Maryland congressional delegation, had been trying to offer a Democratic plan to replace the sequestration budget cuts, to no avail. When Pelosi, a former speaker of the House, thanked him for his work, Harris, a second-term tea party favorite who was presiding over the chamber, scolded her for turning to Van Hollen and using his name in a technical breach of decorum. 'The minority leader is reminded to address the remarks to the chair,' Harris said, prompting a chuckle of disbelief from Pelosi." [HuffPost]

THAT TIME JOHN KERRY WAS ASKED ABOUT DENNIS RODMAN'S TRIP TO NORTH KOREA - If this were 1998, we'd think "Dennis Rodman Goes to North Korea" was a hastily produced movie meant to break the basketball star into film (or to make people forget about "Double Team"). But no. Luke Johnson: "Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday took a shot at former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman's recent trip to North Korea to visit leader Kim Jong Un. 'Dennis Rodman was a great basketball player," he told NBC's Andrea Mitchell. 'And as a diplomat, he is a great basketball player. And that's where we'll leave it.' The NBA star, who is no stranger to attention -- he once wore a wedding dress and said he was marrying himself to promote a book -- traveled to North Korea with a camera crew to visit with the 30-year-old dictator. He instantly became the most high-profile apologist for the regime with the worst human rights record in the world, with a massive system of prison camps, widespread starvation and no political freedom." [HuffPost]

British man to make snide comments about America, footage at 11: "[Jon Stewart] on Tuesday said he would direct his first film, a drama called 'Rosewater,' from a screenplay that he wrote. The movie -- which will require a 12-week absence from his 'Daily Show' duties -- is an adaptation of the 2011 book 'And Then They Came For Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity and Survival' by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy. Scott Rudin, the Hyatt heiress Gigi Pritzker and Mr. Stewart will produce 'Rosewater,' which is expected to start shooting overseas in June. While Mr. Stewart is off making his directing debut, John Oliver, a 'Daily Show' regular, will guest host." [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Husky puppy howls.

COMFORT FOOD

- True facts about the fruit bat, which spends a lot of its time flashing its friends.[http://bit.ly/101rnZk]

- Audition videos for the band Postal Service... apparently everyone in music tried out for the band. [http://bit.ly/XnXJyu]

- A British mobile company has gifted the world this moonwalking shetland pony. [http://huff.to/Vv6dUq]

- Via Reddit, video from on board a KC-130J (the one that dumps cargo and/or people out its rear end). [http://bit.ly/107OQf1]

- Do you have a pronounced philtrum (the groove between the nose and lip)? Here are some other things that actually have names. [http://bit.ly/XSTnfh]

- Actress Mila Kunis and a tremendously nervous British man deliver 2013's best interview. [http://huff.to/ZlzDCg]

- What 15000 volts of electricity shooting through a piece of wood looks like. [http://cbsn.ws/YPGkgc]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: "This is what makes people hate Washington and the media." - Anybody, about any story

@StephanieWDC: If "Thundersnow" isn't Joe Biden's Secret Service name, it should be.

@nielslesniewski: Overheard: a senator talking about Twitter and "Buzzstuff"

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:30 pm: Ted Cruz solicits contributions to his "Jobs Growth and Freedom Fund," which we guess is too good to add "Puppies" and/or "Children Being Surprised By Puppies." [Sixth Engine, 438 Massachusetts Avenue NW]

7:00 pm: DC is expected to get snow on Wednesday, but at Terry McAuliffe's Florida fundraiser featuring Bill Clinton, you best believe it's going to RAAAAAIIINNNN. [Lake Mary, FL]

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