Today is International Women's Day, which coincidentally falls on International Men's Day (as does Arbor Day, Easter and every Tuesday). John Brennan was sworn-in on a copy of the Constitution missing the BIll of Rights (originalism!), which might be why those drones are trying to quarter themselves in your house. And the long-term unemployment rate rose, despite Mitt Romney's reentry into the workplace after a nearly six-year hiatus. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 8th, 2013:
DON'T DRONE ME, BRO: AMERICANS NOT CRAZY ABOUT DOMESTIC UAVs - A new poll indicates Americans don't want to be blown to smithereens while waiting in line at Papyrus ("Sweetie, look! The heart on this "get well soon" card is made out of actual coat butto---"). Emily Swanson: "[A] new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that Americans are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of drone strikes in the U.S., with half saying that ordering one would be unjustified even if it would prevent a terrorist attack. Only 33 percent of respondents to the new survey believe there should be circumstances in which it is legal for the president to order a drone strike against an American citizen within the U.S., while 47 percent said it should be legal under no circumstances. Majorities of both Republicans and independents said that there were no circumstances under which ordering a drone strike against an American citizen on American soil should be legal, but Democrats were more likely to say that it should be legal under extraordinary circumstances, 43 percent to 32 percent." [HuffPost]
Zach Carter, Clay Arnold and Brian Natwick headed over to the White House to interview the last, post-sequestration White House tour group. :-(
CORNYN VOTES AGAINST VAWA REAUTHORIZATION, PRAISES VAWA REAUTHORIZATION - Jen Bendery: "Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was among those celebrating President Barack Obama signing the Violence Against Women Act into law on Thursday. Except he voted against the bill -- and tried to gloss over that fact even as he praised one of the law's provisions. Shortly after Obama signed the VAWA reauthorization, Cornyn released a statement titled, 'Cornyn Bill to Eliminate Nationwide Rape Kit Backlog Signed Into Law.' He hails the passage of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act, which helps to reduce the number of rape kits in the possession of law enforcement authorities but not yet tested. The SAFER Act was rolled into the VAWA bill before it passed the Senate...The press release goes on to give background on the SAFER Act and all the groups who support it. But Cornyn, who has been a leading voice on the SAFER Act as a standalone issue, never mentions that he actually voted against the measure he had championed when he cast his vote against the VAWA bill." [HuffPost]
@jonward11: WaPo: Sequester punctures DC economy bubble wapo.st/13KjwnB // WaPo: Beltway bubble insulated from sequester wapo.st/13KjAnq
Heresy: "Don't cut Social Security, expand it." Shocking blasphemy from Josh Barro. [Bloomberg]
K STREET MOURNS LEVIN LOSS K Street will remember Carl Levin fondly as an accidental rainmaker for lobbyists and lawyers specializing in corporate crisis response. Levin will give up the gavel of the Permanent Select Committee on Investigations, known in downtown simply as PSI -- "the most feared committee" in Washington, as one lobbyist put it. "If WilmerHale were a publicly traded company, I'd be shorting the shit out of them today because they've probably got partners who've put their kids through college off the billables they've racked up dealing with PSI," joked one Democratic super lobbyist who has made enough PSI money himself to put a few kids through school. ("I don't think people think about it that way," Reginald Brown, a leading congressional investigations lawyer at massive law firm WilmerHale, said. "The committee's got a long history that predates Sen. Levin, but he's clearly one of the giants in the oversight community and it's frankly hard to envision what the space looks like without him in it.")
JOHN BRENNAN NEGLECTS THE BILL OF RIGHTS... LITERALLY - Weirdest bit of Washington symbolism since Ted Cruz read a bunch of 140-character tweets during Rand Paul's 12-hour filibuster. Yahoo News: "Hours after CIA Director John Brennan took the oath of office -- behind closed doors, far away from the press, perhaps befitting his status as America's top spy -- the White House took pains to emphasize the symbolism of the ceremony. 'There's one piece of this that I wanted to note for you,' spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters gathered for their daily briefing. 'Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington's personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787.'... The Constitution itself went into effect in 1789. But trouble-making blogger Marcy Wheeler points out that what was missing from the Constitution in 1787 is also quite symbolic: The Bill of Rights, which did not officially go into effect until December 1791 after ratification by states." [Yahoo News]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The national unemployment rate ticked down to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in February as the economy added a relatively impressive 236,000 jobs, the government announced Friday. But the report didn't have great news on the long-term unemployment front. The number of Americans who have been jobless for at least six months inched up to 4.8 million after declining slightly in each of the previous months since October. The percentage of unemployed Americans out of work six months or longer increased to 40.2 percent after dipping below 40 percent in December and January for the first time since 2009. "It's significant," Claire McKenna, a policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, said of the uptick in long-term joblessness. "It's hard to know what really explains the increase this month but obviously the problem of high long-term unemployment persists." It was hard to know, too, whether the recent decline of long-term joblessness was due to an improving economy, or to desperate workers taking bad jobs or just giving up altogether. In February, nearly 300,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force, meaning they had stopped looking for jobs. [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Have a great weekend. For 12 million unemployed Americans, weekends do not exist. (But not in the Dowager-Countess-of-Grantham sort of way.)
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REINCE PRIEBUS AND KARL ROVE SLAP FIGHTING OVER PRIMARY STRATEGY - It really doesn't matter who wins, because this all ends with Steve King running for Senate in Iowa and Priebus and Rove spending all their time explaining that Republicans don't believe that immigrants are a George Soros conspiracy. Nick Wing: "Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus swung through Iowa on Thursday, where he expressed some doubts about a new effort by GOP strategist Karl Rove to weed out unviable Republican primary candidates who have created headaches for the party in races past. Speaking to reporters about the party's notable failures, such as the disastrous Senate campaign of Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who flamed out rapidly after making offensive and inaccurate comments about rape, Priebus defended the GOP's broader ideology and suggested that some people simply suffer from biological stupidity...Priebus went on to say that he supported the right of people like Rove to get involved in GOP primaries, but questioned the actual effectiveness of such efforts...'Personally, as an RNC [Chair], I don't believe in that. I don't think the party should pick winners and losers in primaries and I think, historically if you look at it, it's a bit of a fool's game because you can't actually predict some of the things that go on.'" [HuffPost]
LOCAL TV NEWS LEADING THE WAY ON RAT POOP, SEQUESTRATION - Now if sequestration furloughs the FDA employees who scan federal salad bars for rat poop, your local helmet-haired news anchor will be on cloud nine. Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein: "While the national media has focused on those two questions, local coverage has been more directed at the tangible impact the budget restraints will have. The Huffington Post reviewed dozens of local television news broadcasts, using the service TVeyes.com, to survey coverage of sequestration outside of the Beltway. The local stations didn't ignore the controversy over the White House tours being closed, and several broadcasts featured political analysts arguing that sequestration's impact had been dramatically overhyped by the administration. But they did tend to dig more deeply into the ramifications of the cuts, looking at how people around the country -- besides the lucky Americans who get to tour the White House each year -- will be affected in their daily lives." [HuffPost]
BILL CLINTON ON DOMA: MY BAD - The 42nd president is distancing himself from the Defense of Marriage Act so intensely you'd think it was Al Gore. Bubba in a Post Op-Ed: "When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that 'enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.' Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned. [WaPo]
Latino voters strongly approve including LGBT provisions in any immigration reform package. Elise Foley: "Nearly two-thirds of Latino voters support allowing same-sex couples equal immigration rights, according to a poll released Friday, contradicting the often-repeated line that those voters are more socially conservative than average. The poll was conducted by polling firm Latino Decisions for the group Immigration Equality... When asked whether same-sex partners should be allowed to petition for legal residency for a spouse, 64 percent of Latino voters said they would support such a policy, while 24 percent said they would oppose it. A strong majority -- 92 percent -- of those who support inclusion in immigration law said it was important that it be made part of reform. Most Latinos who self-identified as Catholic or evangelical also supported provisions for same-sex couples." [HuffPost]
AL FRANKEN'S REELECTION JUST GOT A LOT EASIER - Duluth News Tribune: "Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman will not run for office in 2014, meaning there will be no rematch with Al Franken that many Republicans wanted. In a series of Tweets late Thursday, Coleman said he wants 'to mentor a new generation of optimistic, limited government focused leaders who aren't afraid to find common ground to solve problems.' Many Republicans had hoped that Coleman would get into the race as Democrat Franken seeks election to a new six-year term next year or challenge Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton... Coleman's announcement leaves Republicans looking for a Senate candidate. U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen have been considered possibilities. They said they will make up their minds later this year." [DNT]
GALLUP'S PRESIDENTIAL POLLS: WHY THEY SUCKED - The pope of polling, Mark Blumenthal, has an in-depth look at how the venerable polling outfit dropped the ball in the last cycle: "What went wrong in 2012? One possibility is that Gallup set its cutoff point too low, including too few people. While Gallup's final poll gave Romney a 1 point edge among likely voters, the results from the same poll for all registered voters gave Obama a 3 point lead (49 to 46 percent), very close to the president's actual margin of victory of 3.9 points. Gallup was not alone on this score...One theory as to why the pool of self-described registered voters so closely resembled the actual electorate is that many non-likely voters were, in effect, already screening themselves out -- by opting out of the survey...the effort to reduce weighting is also partly why Gallup chose to increase the percentage of calls placed to cell phones again, in October 2012, to 50 percent -- a larger percentage than used by most other media pollsters last year... The Democracy Corps data indicate that those voters who said they used their unlisted landline for most calls were as heavily pro-Obama as those who had only an unlisted landline." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cat meows under water. This is the sound of giving up.
JUAN WILLIAMS IS SORRY THAT HIS GHOSTWRITER PLAGIARIZED A CAP REPORT - Maybe this will set in motion a domino effect that results in senators apologizing when their ghostwriters fail to express love of country sufficiently. Salon: "In a case of apparent plagiarism, Fox News pundit Juan Williams lifted -- sometimes word for word -- from a Center for American Progress report, without ever attributing the information, for a column he wrote last month for the Hill newspaper... In a phone interview Thursday evening, Williams pinned the blame on a researcher who he described as a 'young man.'... Hugo Gurdon, the editor in chief of the Hill, told Salon on Thursday evening that: "CAP drew the similarities between Juan's column and their report to my attention and I spoke to Juan about it. He went back and looked at the two and spoke to me having had a look and acknowledged there were unacceptable similarities." [Salon]
- 14 of the best short (and we mean short) films made using Vine. [http://bit.ly/ZuyvMU]
- Things hungover 20-something women say (but not the show "Girls"). [http://huff.to/Y05Ikb]
- The way we embalm now: "A photographic guide to the world's embalmed leaders." [http://wapo.st/ZmJ2vC]
- Chinese snow leopard has an "o hai!" moment with a documentary filmmaker's camera. [http://nowth.is/Zm15lI]
- The Bay Bridge has gone all Eiffel Tower on us and is flashing its lights all purdy. [http://bit.ly/10qUVn4]
- In the time it takes to build a 400,000-piece LEGO model of Hogwarts, you could probably take a serious stab at learning a second language... or build a 400,000-piece LEGO model of Hogwarts. [http://chzb.gr/Z3dPf8 ]
- Concert footage of The Band from 1970. [http://bit.ly/13KfjjW]
@jdickerson: If you're not a part of the solution you're part of the problem. Unless the problem is cliches, in which case I'm the problem.
@pourmecoffee: Jeb Bush will be on all five Sunday shows. Usually when a Bush is on all the networks like that we're invading the wrong country.
@elisefoley: "WhiteHouseDrone followed you" is a sort of scary message, Tweetdeck.
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