As if LGBT Americans needed more incentive to not live in Idaho, the Supreme Court is poised to grant them federal benefits if they move east. Mitt Romney, a man who can afford a dancing horse, says he looks forward to living "a normal life." And Louie Gohmert dared the New York Times to expose his soundproofed office when he threw an egomaniacal tantrum in front of Park Service policemen. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 27th, 2013:
OVERSIGHT: ISSA AND CUMMINGS NOT GETTING ALONG WELL - Things are getting cold between the chairman and ranking member, like Issa cream cold. Roll Call: "It's only been about three months, but the tentative truce between House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., is already facing its first big test. At issue is whether Issa will provide copies of whistle-blower documents to Cummings. According to Issa, the person who provided the material to the committee is that afraid Cummings' staff will give the Obama administration a heads up on what's been shared and leave the whistle-blower open to retaliation. In a March 21 letter, Cummings asked for copies of documents provided to the committee by Time Wise Management Systems CEO Rod Rodrigue relating to contracting irregularities at the Commerce Department. Issa, in a March 26 reply obtained by CQ Roll Call, said, 'while Rodrigue's identity is known, he reasonably believes information contained in the documents may expose him to retaliation for blowing the whistle on waste and mismanagement at' Commerce...The letter is a clear shot across the bow from Issa and a sign his truce with Cummings, hatched in the wake of the November elections, is being stretched. However, Issa did note he would ask Rodrigue's lawyer whether the CEO had changed his mind about allowing the documents to be shared with Cummings." [Roll Call]
JUDD WON'T RUN FOR MCCONNELL'S SEAT - The GOP has spent the last few months highlighting -- nay, jamming down the nation's proverbial throat -- Ashley Judd's shortcomings. Now, even if Kentucky Democrats run a Bluegrass version of Creigh Deeds, s/he'll still seem like the political second coming. "Dear Friends, Thank you for these months of remarkable support & encouragement, for your voices, exhortations, & prayers. I have decided," the actress tweeted. "After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family." Wynonna Judd for comptroller can still happen. [HuffPost]
NRSC's Brad Dayspring: "The hollow DSCC spin that Kentucky will be competitive still hasn't made its way to the Bluegrass State. The Democrats' top ten choices to run against Senator McConnell have now walked away from the race. Perhaps number eleven might be a lucky charm?"
Mealtime for America's leaders: "President Barack Obama will continue his congressional charm offensive at a second dinner with Senate Republicans next month. The April 10 dinner will include a dozen GOP members invited by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Republican aides said Wednesday. The location is yet to be determined. A White House spokeswoman said Obama would attend the dinner. In an interview with POLITICO, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised the president's outreach efforts." [Politico]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST: A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL GOVERNMENT RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, tired of silently trolling prepper subreddits and trying to make a fedora out of tinfoil, thought he'd email us about liberal shortsightedness. "Every time liberals try to make life tougher for business, unregistered lobbyists like Tom Daschle get richer and more shadow lobby-like," PSLGOPL writes. "It's like bizarro collateral damage." Thanks, PSLGOPL!
PSLGOPL was also upset by an article about President Obama's withdrawing Caitlin Halligan's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals. "Miguel Estrada isn't quoted," PSLGOPL notes, "so he must've declined comment on Democrat's shameless hypocrisy." Quite the throwback, PSLGOPL!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Womp womps in Michigan: "Michigan residents won't be able to collect as many weeks of emergency unemployment benefits since the state's jobless rate dropped below the level required by the federal government. That's on top of a recently announced decrease in the dollar amount of benefits available to those on emergency unemployment because of the federal government's sequester cuts....Starting April 21, the last tier of EUC, which includes up to 7 weeks of benefits, will be eliminated because Michigan's jobless figures fell below a federal threshold. The state's three month average total unemployment rate has to remain at 9 percent or more to be eligible for all four tiers of the program, according to Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency." [mlive.com]
UPSIDE DOWNER - Instead of doing layoffs, maybe someday America will do this instead: Ohio lawmakers are poised to make it easier for struggling state businesses to reduce workers' hours instead of firing them. New legislation will allow the state's unemployment insurance system to compensate some workers for reduced hours under a layoff prevention program called SharedWork Ohio. Wisconsin and New Mexico are also considering "work sharing" bills, and similar legislation is on the books in 25 other states; Michigan and Pennsylvania created programs last year... But the policy isn't just inexpensive, it's also humane. "The appeal is that employees don't have to have the conversation with their families that [they are] laid off," [Ohio State Sen. Bob] Peterson said. [HuffPost]
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SUPREME COURT CONSIDERS GAY MARRIAGE 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO - If the conventional wisdom is correct -- and when isn't it? -- the high court my soon precipitate a mass exodus of LGBT Americans to the Northeast. Ryan Reilly and Mike Sacks: "A majority of Supreme Court justices on Wednesday morning appeared skeptical of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as between a man and a woman. Whether the justices believe they have the power to make any decision in this case, however, remained murky. It was the second day in a row that the high court heard arguments dealing with same-sex marriage. At issue Wednesday in United States v. Windsor was whether it was constitutional for the U.S. government to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that had been recognized by the states. Justice Anthony Kennedy... seemed troubled by the fact that DOMA refuses to recognize even those same-sex unions that are already recognized by states... Judging from Wednesday's first 50 minutes of oral arguments, the case may instead be decided on whether the justices have the power to hear the case at all." [HuffPost]
The chief justice hasn't forgotten about that Citizens United swipe at the State of the Union: "Roberts also wondered why, if President Barack Obama believes DOMA is unconstitutional, he continues to enforce it. 'I don't see why he doesn't have the courage of his convictions,' the chief said. Kennedy chimed in later, saying he didn't 'understand why they continue to enforce' DOMA." [Ibid.]
@jbendery: Law students for DOMA repeal: "5, 6, 7, 8! Strict scrutiny would be great!"pic.twitter.com/OKIWN3KsWG
KAY HAGAN FLIPS ON GAY MARRIAGE - We still have no idea why the hell Bill Nelson and Tom Carper are holding out. Sabrina Siddiqui: "Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) became the latest Democratic senator to endorse gay marriage, announcing her switch Wednesday as the Supreme Court hears the first oral arguments for the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. 'I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions,' Hagan told the News & Observer...'After conversations I've had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I've come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry,' she added... As the News & Observer points out, voters in North Carolina voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment that declared marriage as between a man and a woman." [HuffPost]
RICK PERRY RICK PERRIES - Famous haircut with a body attached to it Rick Perry, also known for hunting for years at a place called "ni--erhead," is worried that America's turning its back on civil rights with the surge of support for gay marriage. Nick Wing: "Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) stood before conservatives gathered at a Faith and Family Rally in Austin on Tuesday and spoke about what he perceives as a sustained attack on their values by gay rights activists. 'This is a very unsettling time in our nation's history,' Perry said, according to the Associated Press. 'These are the days when a person is vilified when they state that they believe fundamentally that marriage is between one man and one woman.' Perry spoke just hours after the Supreme Court heard arguments on Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban. On Wednesday, the justices will consider a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act." [HuffPost]
Mike Huckabee's flock might have to find another pasture to graze in. Huckabee didn't mince words when asked by Newsmax if evangelicals will leave the GOP over gay marriage. "They might," he replied. "And if they do, they're going to lose a large part of their base because evangelicals will take a walk." Huckabee then went on to say "And it's not because there's an anti-homosexual mood, and nobody's homophobic that I know of," which leads us to believe he was just in a joking mood. [Newsmax]
KEY DEMOCRATS SUPPORT BACKGROUND CHECKS - Harry Reid could not afford to have North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, who we mentioned earlier is up for reelection, and accidental Senator Joe Donnelly (Brought to you by America's misogynistic patriarchy) defect on this."I want to make sure that people with, say, a felony or dealing with mental illness cannot get their hands on weapons that can cause so much destruction," Donnelly told a business roundtable in Fort Wayne. A spokesperson for Hagan said the North Carolina senator tentatively supports the measure. "U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan likes the idea of expanding background checks for gun purchases, but her vote on legislation nearing the Senate floor will depend on the details, her office said Tuesday." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
Democrats still withholding support background checks: Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Heidi Heitkamp and Mark Begich.
Dick Durbin, now less likely to take that call from the Public Accountability Initiative: "America's Natural Gas Alliance, which includes Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) and Devon Energy Corp. among its members, today named Marty Durbin as chief executive officer. Durbin, 47, is the nephew of Richard Durbin, the second-ranking U.S. Senate Democrat... Durbin became executive vice president of government affairs for the American Petroleum Institute in December 2009. He joins the gas group, which represents 27 independent natural gas producers, on May 1." [Bloomberg]
POLL: LATINOS' SUPPORT FOR CONGRESS UPGRADED FROM 'DISDAIN' TO 'AMBIVALENCE' - Elise Foley: "Favorability ratings for Congress are still in the tank, but among Latinos it has gained some support as immigration reform talks take place there, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday. A majority of Latinos -- 56 percent -- had a favorable view of Congress, up from about 35 percent who held such a view in November 2011. That could be in part thanks to work on immigration reform, an issue most Latino voters support and place high on their list of priorities. The public as a whole is closer to the stance of Latinos in 2011: As of Wednesday's poll, only 30 percent of Americans saw Congress in a positive light." [HuffPost]
YOU COME AT THE LOUIE GOHMERT, YOU BEST NOT MISS - "Oversight of Park Service is my job!" might be the least intimidating threat we've heard in a long while. It'd take two-and-a-half of those to reach the menace levels of Major Garrett's "shirty business." Politico: "Shortly after 11 p.m. on March 13, officers wrote Rep. Louie Gohmert a citation for parking his black Ford SUV in a spot reserved for National Park Service vehicles, according to a Park Police report obtained by POLITICO. But Gohmert wasn't having it: He told the Park Police that his congressional parking placard allows him to park in that spot, and he's on the committee that oversees the agency. Gohmert took the ticket off his windshield and placed it on a police car along with his business card with a written message: 'Oversight of Park Service is my job! Natural Resources Thus the Congressional Plate in window' He was 'rude and irate,' one officer reported. Another wrote that Gohmert was 'ranting.' Gohmert's communications director, Kimberly Willingham, told POLITICO... 'He parked his car in one of several empty park service parking spaces, which a member of Congress is allowed to do with his Congressional plate in the front window as required. When he returned to the car fifteen minutes later, he had a ticket under his windshield wiper right above the Congressional plate,' Willingham said." [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - It's here! The Washington Post's annual Peeps diorama contest.
We suspect Mitt Romney will enjoy his normal life in one of his many homes: "Mitt Romney may have previously likened campaign life to the thrill of riding a roller coaster, but on Wednesday the former Republican presidential candidate said that 'it's good to live a normal life again.' Speaking with conservative radio pundit Dennis Miller, Romney explained that while campaign life was 'exciting,' he's fine with being outside of what he called 'the bubble.'" [HuffPost's Chelsea Kiene]
- The best local news bloopers from March. [http://huff.to/YCqvLW]
- Segments of Buzz Bissinger's article "My Gucci Addiction," but with the word "leather" replaced by "tweed." [http://bit.ly/10edMMh]
- A New York-based artist posted street signs across the city marking the locations mentioned in rap lyrics. [http://bit.ly/nK1T7f]
- Pet crow takes a bath, also doesn't need to poop in a litter box. [http://bit.ly/11MUR1z]
- What the internet looked like in 1995 -- or, should we say, what the information superhighway looked like in 1995. [http://bit.ly/YGetOw]
- Apparently the internet has been blogged down by history's most extensive cyber attack. [http://huff.to/Zx0TQ9]
- Artistic photos of cell phone towers shoddily disguised as trees. [http://bit.ly/YfJ0WJ]
@anamariecox: I wish he'd apply this reasoning to his hair. RT @AntDeRosa: "The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals" - Bill O'Reilly
@libbyanelson: Best thing someone's said to me so far today: "Off the record, I happen to like the media."
@mollyesque: First gay marriage, now this MT @robportman: Reds Opening Day next week vs. Angels. How do you feel about starting w interleague play?
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