Rhode Island, the only state small enough to be hot boxed, has decriminalized marijuana. Mike Lee compared background checks on gun purchases to telling the government what you had for breakfast, even though Michelle Obama is already working closely with DARPA and the NSA to find out what you ate for breakfast. And the party that helped popularized the term "illegals" is very sorry one of its members used an offensive slur for undocumented immigrants. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 29th, 2013:
BUSINESS AND LABOR NEARING IMMIGRATION AGREEMENT - Soon they can go back to designing highly stylized websites featuring stock image models that are being hurt/helped by unions. Times: "The nation's top business and labor groups are nearing agreement on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants, a final sticking point that had stalled negotiations late last week on a broad immigration overhaul, and are closing in on a deal that could come as early as Friday, according to officials involved in the talks. An agreement between the labor and business communities would clear one of the last hurdles for an overall deal on immigration legislation in the Senate, which the bipartisan group hopes to introduce early next month. 'We are very close, closer than we've ever been,' said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a member of a bipartisan group of senators working on comprehensive immigration legislation. 'We are very optimistic, but there are a few issues remaining...One of the last sticking points in the business-labor negotiations has been the specific type of jobs that would be excluded from the program. The nation's construction unions, officials in the talks said, have succeeded in persuading the negotiators to exclude certain types of higher-skilled jobs -- including crane operators and electricians -- from the guest worker program." [NYT]
TERROR OF ROSSLYN HEADED TO NATIONAL JOURNAL - Tim Grieve, the man who helped shape Politico's culture as much as anybody else, is headed to National Journal to run their web operations. VandeHarris, in their note to staff, couldn't resist taking a pot shot at their apparently non-juvenated rival. Internal email: "Team, Tim Grieve has told us that he is leaving POLITICO to help rejuvenate the National Journal. In five years here, Tim has proven himself to be an uncommonly gifted editor and a formidable organizer. Those skills were put to use in many capacities, most notably the launch of the policy teams and POLITICO Pro subscription services. We value his contributions and wish Tim well. Given that he is leaving for another leadership position, we mutually decided that it was in everyone's best interests to make his departure from the team immediate. John/Jim." Stay classy, POLITICO!
Good shepherds: The House GOP gave way more taxpayer money to its staffers in the form of end-of-year bonuses than Dems did, notes Legistorm.
K STREET IS COMMITTING INSECT GENOCIDE - What a buzzkill, amirite? Amirite? AMIRITE?!? Christina Wilkie: "The chemical pesticide lobby is waging a multi-million dollar battle to prevent regulation of chemicals linked to the dramatic escalation in the deaths of pollinating bees over the past year. CropLife America, the trade association that represents more than 90 of the world's biggest agro-chemical manufacturers, spent nearly $2.5 million last year lobbying against bills that sought to increase oversight of chemical manufacturing and transfer, strengthen drinking water standards and fund research into the effects of pesticides on humans. The lobbying expenses are part of an ongoing lobbying blitz launched in 2010 by the pesticide industry to fight any efforts by the Obama administration to regulate pesticides. Since 2008, Croplife America has poured $11.2 million into lobbyists, and another $643,000 into a PAC that backs congressional candidates sympathetic to the chemicals industry." [HuffPost]
DON'T PANIC, BUT SEQUESTRATION MIGHT CAUSE SOMEONE TO ACCIDENTALLY DROP A NUKE ON NEW ORLEANS - Look at it this way, it's like we're giving Kim Jong-un North Koreans a head start in our impending war with North Korea. Dave Wood: "From the aircraft commander's seat of a nuclear attack-capable B-52 bomber known as Lucky 13, Lt. Col. Eric Sikes sees trouble. Thanks to political gridlock in Washington D.C., unplanned and indiscriminate across-the-board budget cuts caused by congressional sequestration have hit the bomber pilots and crews in Sikes' squadron. For a month now, they've been flying one-third less missions than they need to maintain the skills to fly B-52s with precision. Those missions are critical. When President Barack Obama tells Iran or North Korea that "all options are on the table" to force a halt to their nuclear weapons programs, he means that airplanes like Lucky 13 are ready to attack with conventional or nuclear weapons. When the president orders B-52s to fly to South Korea in a show of force against North Korea, as he did in mid-March, the bombers and crews have to be razor-sharp ready." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The kitchen floor is curling up at Carol Rood's house. She and her partner removed the edging when they redid the cabinets last year, and now there's nothing to hold down the white-and-green linoleum where it meets the walls. "This floor is nasty," Rood, 47, said during an interview in her kitchen. "That was the plan this year, was to do the floor. That's not happening now." They're not fixing it because Rood's partner, Karol Sebastian, is facing at least two weeks' worth of unpaid days off from her job fixing helicopters for the U.S. Department of Defense. Sebastian, 45, is one of 90,000 civilian defense employees in Virginia expecting furloughs thanks to budget cuts known as sequestration. This is the best-possible scenario for people directly affected by the cuts: Rood and Sebastian will stay solidly middle class, but their lifestyle will get just slightly shabbier at the edges. You might not even notice unless they told you about it. How sequestration cuts trickle down from the middle class, tomorrow morning on HuffPost!
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THAT TIME -- YESTERDAY -- ALASKA CONGRESSMAN DON YOUNG CALLED MIGRANT WORKERS 'WETBACKS' - Legitimate rape was starting to get lonely in the 21 Century's pantheon of most wildly offensive things said by members of Congress. WaPo: "Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), in an interview with a local radio station released Thursday, referred to Latinos working on a ranch by using the derogatory term 'wetbacks.' 'My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 or 60 wetbacks and -- to pick tomatoes,' Young said in the interview with KRBD. 'You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine.' The term 'wetback' is a slur often used to refer to illegal Mexican immigrants. Merriam-Webster defines it as 'a Mexican who enters the United States illegally,' 'from the practice of wading or swimming the Rio Grande where it forms the U.S.-Mexico border.' In a statement released late Thursday, Young said that during the KRBD interview, 'I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in central California. I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.'" [WaPo]
Boehner: "YOUNG!!!! MY OFFICE!!! NOW!!!!! ::chugs merlot, takes long drag of Marlboro::" Elise Foley: "Multiple Republicans strongly condemned Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) on Friday... 'Congressman Young's remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,' Boehner said. 'I don't care why he said it -- there's no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.'. [Texas Sen. John] Cornyn issued a similar comment. 'Migrant workers come to America looking for opportunity and a way to provide a better life for their families,' Cornyn said. 'They do not come to this country to hear ethnic slurs and derogatory language from elected officials. The comments used by Rep. Young do nothing to elevate our party, political discourse or the millions who come here looking for economic opportunity.' Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Young's words 'emphatically do not represent the beliefs of the Republican Party.'" [HuffPost]
Young's apology: "I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska. There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words. That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century, and I'm sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform."
NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN GOV CLOSES LATINO OUTREACH OFFICE -- BECAUSE THAT'S PRECISELY WHAT THE GOP NEEDS - Jesus. Why not just replace it with the Bureau of Man, That Don Young Sure Does Really Get It, Don't He? Luke Johnson: "North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) suddenly closed the state's Latino affairs office, according to an article published in the Charlotte Observer Friday. 'We are committed to serving the needs of all of North Carolina's citizens,' said Thomas Stith, the governor's chief of staff, in a statement. 'We don't segment our constituents by race or cultural background, any more than we separate them by age or gender.' The closing of the office comes as the Republican Party is trying to revamp its efforts to reach out to Latinos following the 2012 election, when, according to exit polls, 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Barack Obama. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that he would talk regularly with minority groups and 'spend time in their communities.'" [HuffPost]
MIKE LEE LOOKING OUT FOR BACKGROUND CHECK VICTIMS - Utah's junior senator said in an interview that background checks on gun purchases are akin to the government knowing what Americans ate for breakfast. For the record, if you're eating your gun for breakfast, you shouldn't have a gun. "The concern with those is that background checks in and of themselves aren't going to work unless they are accompanied by some sort of registration system," Lee said during a Fox News hit. "But the American people when asked about that are far less comfortable...They are not really comfortable with the idea of the government knowing exactly what firearm they purchase any more than they would be comfortable with the government knowing when or how often they go to church or what they eat for breakfast or what books they are reading from the library." Actually, the gun seller would check the purchaser against a database and keep a record of the sale, not register what the person purchases. [HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui]
SARAH PALIN STARTS POLITICAL CONSULTANT CHARITY - Perhaps you've seen the ads, featuring the erstwhile Alaska Governor somberly walking through the offices of the Akin Gump, carrying a senior partner in her arms and beseeching the viewer to donate a dollar a day, so Mr. Huxtable can have a Brioni suit. Daily Beast: "Seen through the lens of the invaluable Center for Responsive Politics, Palin's PACs pent $5.1 million in the last election cycle (more than it raised in that time period, raising some questions about Palin's claims of fiscal responsibility). But the real news comes when you look at how donors' money was actually doled out: just $298,500 to candidates. The bulk of the rest of it, more than $4.8 million, went to -- you guessed i t-- consultants. That's some seriously hypocritical overhead. In total, Palin's PAC spent $980,000 on campaign expenses, $1.3 million on administrative costs (including almost a million dollars on postage), and three-quarters of a million on fundraising. Hidden in all of this--amid the direct mail and the media buys -- is consultants' cut of every dollar spent." [Daily Beast]
How the mighty have, er,
fallen anger management issues and a tendency to down a sixer of Schaefer after a bad day: "Former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks has been arrested in California on charges including resisting arrest and throwing objects, just hours after he became the first lawmaker ever expelled from the Nevada Legislature. Jail records show Barstow police arrested Brooks, 41, at about 7 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 15 at Stoddard Wells... The Nevada Assembly voted Thursday morning to oust Brooks, after Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, called him 'potentially dangerous' and said lawmakers didn't feel safe with him in the building...This is the third time Brooks has been arrested since January. He's accused of making threats toward his colleagues, including Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Police said Brooks had a gun and ammunition in his car. No charges have been filed." [AP]
RHODE ISLAND TO SMOKE WEED EVERYDAY - Matt Sledge: "This is not a prank: Rhode Island will officially decriminalize less than an ounce of marijuana on April 1, as a law signed last year by independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee goes into effect. Decriminalization means that holding onto less than an ounce in Rhode Island will be punishable only by a $150 fine. Rhode Island's move makes it the fourteenth state in the nation to do away with criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. In Colorado and Washington, meanwhile, marijuana is legal. Legislators elsewhere are also considering loosening up on pot with decriminalization bills under active consideration in Maine, Maryland and Vermont. Indiana, however, is thinking about going the other way, with a proposal by Gov. Mike Pence (R) to bump possession of between a third of an ounce and 10 pounds from a misdemeanor to a felony." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Adorable child plays in field with 14 German shepherds. This little girl must give us the directions to Doggie Heaven.
- Stuffing butter into your roommate's deoderent is just one awful way to prank people on April Fool's Day. [http://huff.to/Xp2o4k]
- Gone are the days of Tupac and Dr. Dre riding around the California desert in dune buggies. A band made their music video using Google Street View. [http://bit.ly/XoLHWz]
- "The Hangover" recut as a horror film. Come to think of it, how awesome would a Zach Galifianakis slasher flick be? [http://bit.ly/XMykv6]
- The early filmographies of your favorite "Game of Thrones" stars. [http://bit.ly/11WdT5O]
- A look at the Human Rights Campaign's super successful Facebook campaign (or, Why All Your Friends' Profile Pictures Are Red Equals Signs). [http://dthin.gs/164GsdU]
- On that note, here are the best equal sign parodies. [http://huff.to/10jPDEk]
- The history of G.I. Joe. [http://bit.ly/11VF28Q]
@7im: Elevator pitch: @rickyrozy and @repdonyoung star as odd-couple classmates in "Sensitivity Training"
@SCOTUS_Scalia: FAVORITE JUDGE: Judge Dredd. FAVORITE DECISION: Dred Scott. FAVORITE EMOTION: Dread. FAVORITE HAIRCUT: Not dreadlocks!
@JohnCornyn: Kim Jong-Un has a beef with Austin? Very weird.
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