The president said California's female attorney general is "by far the most attractive" one, so we suspect his press team will soon point out his long track record of identifying our nation's most chiseled comptrollers. John Kerry bravely docked his own pay by roughly 1,300 bottles of ketchup a year. And a new PAC seeks to return beards to the political mainstream. The fundraising advantages enjoyed by our manscaping super PAC will see to it that never happens. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 4th, 2013:
SEQUESTRATION HURTING HEAD START - Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein: "Across the country, administrators of Head Start -- the federal preschool educational, health and nutritional program for disadvantaged children -- have begun taking drastic measures to meet the 5-percent cut as mandated under the sequester. Unlike other agencies that have used budget dexterity to temporarily put off those cuts, Head Start has been forced to deal with budget gaps now because the school year ends this spring...In Palm Beach County, for instance, Head Start has ended its bus service, forcing families for 2,300 children to find their own methods of transportation...That's a relatively minor inconvenience compared to the other challenges Head Start parents now face. Many have been forced to figure out what to do with their children (often 3- to 5-years-old) during the days that the program will no longer be operational -- dozens of chapters have said they will shut their doors weeks early. Others have seen their child thrown off the Head Start rolls entirely. In Wisconsin, 700 families could end up losing Head Start access. In Cincinnati, nearly 200 children are at risk. In Oklahoma City, that number is 100." [HuffPost]
John and Teresa are going to have to have some serious kitchen table conversations now: "In solidarity with government employees facing the effects of the mandatory budget cuts under sequestration, Secretary of State John Kerry will follow President Obama's lead and give 5 percent of his government salary to a charity that benefits State Department employees, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced today." [NBC News]
BILL NELSON SUPPORTS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE - It was a mystery to us why Nelson withheld his support for so long. We can only conclude that he had an oh shit! moment -- you know, the way a college sophomore at a house party realizes he's forgotten about a paper due the next day. "[T]o discriminate against one class and not another is wrong for me. If we are endowed by our Creator with rights, then why shouldn't those be attainable by Gays and Lesbians?" Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times. "Simply put, if The Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn't, and I won't. So I will add my name to the petition of senators asking the Supreme Court to declare the law that prohibits gay marriage unconstitutional." [Tampa Bay Times]
@AdrienneLaF: Just caught up with Hawaii Gov. @neilabercrombie. He says Hawaii would make a great place for diplomatic talks with North Korea.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - HOLY CRAP unemployment claims were terrible last week! "In the week ending March 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 385,000," the Labor Department said today, "an increase of 28,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 357,000." That's approaching the 400,000 level generally regarded as a symptom of the economy going in the totally wrong direction. And yes, we have sequestration to thank for some of those layoffs. Let's see if tomorrow's unemployment rate report totally sucks. After that we can find out if we're getting a new recession. Thanks, Congress! [DOL.gov]
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CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR SIGNS NATION'S STRICTEST GUN CONTROL BILL - Connecticut, not typically known for doing anything bolder than calling subs "grinders," is now home to the nation's most progressive gun laws. Christina Wilkie: "Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed a sweeping new set of gun control reforms on Thursday, less than 12 hours after the Connecticut state legislature approved the legislation in a late-night session... The bill requires background checks for nearly all private gun sales, and bans the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. It also expands the state's assault weapons ban to include scores of new gun models. These provisions will go into effect immediately, Malloy said, while others will be phased in. The bill also includes new registration requirements for those who already own high-capacity magazines, and creates the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry. In a move that many legislators applauded Wednesday night, the bill allocates at least $15 million more for school safety and mental health monitoring programs." [HuffPost]
BUSINESS INTERESTS NOT CRAZY ABOUT IMMIGRATION DEAL - If only Tom Friedman could whip up one of those economic Camp David summits we'd all be set. Politico: "A deal between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor groups on visas for low-skilled workers was supposed to clear a path for an immigration reform package in the Senate. Instead, some business groups are grumbling about the deal and they're gearing up for a lobbying battle on Capitol Hill -- where powerful interests helped doom immigration reform over the same issue before. On Wednesday, the construction industry was the first to go public, saying they are 'deeply concerned' about the temporary worker program and that the cap on construction visas is 'simply unrealistic and destined to fail.' Other industries are expected to make announcements opposing the deal in the coming days. Several business lobbyists told POLITICO that many industries oppose the plan, but are hesitant to put out statements before seeing legislative language. Others have kept their powder dry because they worry about other key provisions -- like employer verification -- that are still under discussion." [Politico]
JAMES CARVILLE JOINS PRO-HILLARY SUPER PAC, CAJUN STYLE - We can't wait for Dick Morris to predict that he won't join and then... wait for it... wait for it... waaait forrr iiitt... join. Boom.WaPo: "Democratic strategist James Carville, a longtime confidant of the Clinton family, is supporting the super PAC devoted to luring Hillary Clinton into the 2016 presidential race. A person familiar with Ready for Hillary PAC's outreach efforts tells Post Politics that Carville has joined the effort and will send an e-mail Thursday asking supporters to do the same. He is thus far the most high-profile and well-known Clinton supporter to lend a hand. 'He is the first of several heavy hitters who will be rolled out by Ready for Hillary PAC,' the person said. In an interview after this item first posted, Carville emphasized he has not joined the super PAC in any official capacity but is happy to lend a hand to promote Clinton." [WaPo]
Taste the speculation: "Longtime Hillary Clinton confidante and former chief of staff Melanne Verveer said in an interview this week that the former secretary of state is in great shape after experiencing health issues but has yet to make a decision about any future political plans." [Yahoo News]
Rick Santorum says he's open for another presidential run, but it's unclear whether his sweater vest will want to leave its six-figure gig at Covington & Burling. "I'm certainly leaving the door open for that," he said in an interview with Newsmax. "I'm making no commitments at this point, but we're not doing anything inconsistent with running in 2016." America' bulwark against man-on-dog fornication also took a swipe at Mitt Romney. "We have not had a nominee that is ready to go out and articulate a unified vision of what conservatism is, what American's first principles are about, and why we're the greatest country in the history of the world. And then we wonder why we don't win," he added. [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]
"30 Animal Doppelgangers of Congress" is probably a better use of your time than 2016 speculation, but that's just our humble opinion.
POLL: AMERICA DOESN'T CARE IF YOU GET HIGH - That sound you heard was Nixon's silent majority spit taking all over its shag carpets. Pew: "For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not... [The survey] finds that young people are the most supportive of marijuana legalization. Fully 65% of Millennials -- born since 1980 and now between 18 and 32 -- favor legalizing the use of marijuana, up from just 36% in 2008. Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly Baby Boomers. Half (50%) of Boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever." [Pew]
WOMENFOLK ARE AWFUL PURTY YUK YUK YUK, PART 1 - WaPo: "Speaking at a fundraiser in Atherton, Calif., President Obama diverged from his prepared remarks to praise the looks of the state attorney general, Kamala Harris. 'She's brilliant and she's dedicated, she's tough,' he said. 'She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general.' 'It's true! C'mon,' he added, to laughter from the crowd. Obama is in California raising money for the 2014 election cycle. This event raising funds for the Democratic National Committee was a garden party at the home of Levi Strauss-heir John Goldman." [WaPo]
WOMENFOLK ARE AWFUL PURTY YUK YUK YUK, PART 2 - Pro tip: If you ever say someone is, "not a bad looking lady," make sure there's a spittoon nearby for you to hock a gigantic loogie into... y'know, for added effect. Nick Wing : "[Elizabeth] Colbert Busch has been favored narrowly in early polling [against Mark Sanford]. But one Republican recently said there was another reason the party should be worried about the Democrat. 'Everybody is really concerned because she's not a bad-looking lady,' Jerry Hallman, chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, told The New York Times, adding that Colbert Busch was also 'a good speaker' and had 'some money.' With issues of gender already emerging at the forefront of the race, comments like this could be making Sanford cringe." [HuffPost]
And then this: "Chris Matthews wondered aloud on Wednesday whether or not 'wife beating' was something that women 'really worry about.' Matthews was speaking to fellow MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell -- who he called "one of the great feminists of our time" -- about the appearance by Joe Biden at an event honoring women's advocates... 'Yeah, but is that something that women really worry about, men being brutal?' Matthews wondered. 'Yes!' Mitchell said." [HuffPost]
RIP ROGER EBERT - Sun Times: "Roger Ebert loved movies. Except for those he hated...Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation's most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago. He had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland. He lost part of his lower jaw in 2006... Ebert let the Internet be his voice. His rogerebert.com had millions of fans, and he received a special achievement award as the 2010 'Person of the Year' from the Webby Awards, which noted that 'his online journal has raised the bar for the level of poignancy, thoughtfulness and critique one can achieve on the Web.' His Twitter feeds had 827,000 followers...He not only won a Pulitzer Prize -- the first film critic to do so -- but his name was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005...The same year Ebert won the Pulitzer -- 1975 -- he also launched a new kind of television program: 'Coming Soon to a Theater Near You' with Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel on WTTW-Channel 11..In 1978, the show, retitled "Sneak Previews," moved to PBS for national distribution, and the duo was on their way to becoming a fixture in American culture." [Sun Times]
Obama statement: "Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert. For a generation of Americans -- and especially Chicagoans -- Roger was the movies. When he didn't like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive -- capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical."
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Puppies play with tiger cubs.
TAKE THAT, EMILY'S LIST! FACIAL HAIR PAC LAUNCHED - If Rep. Al Green isn't worked into this group's logo, they're doing something wrong. National Journal: "Nothing says "America" like a good beard. And yet, so few politicians are wearing one these days. Even as the symbol of good ol' fashioned ruggedness has been embraced by hipsters nationwide, it has fallen out of favor among members of Congress. But fear not, beard aficionados: a new PAC supporting bearded federal candidates seeks to bring political power to wearers of facial hair. The Bearded Entrepreneurs for the Advancement of a Responsible Democracy (BEARD for short--cute) has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission, reports The Hill." [National Journal]
- A hidden camera in a package lets you go for a ride through America's postal system. [http://bit.ly/16xOtKL]
- The Earth's distance to Mars, in pixels. [http://bit.ly/16vzIrF]
- Mark your calendars: "Arrested Development" premieres on May 26th. [http://vult.re/14PPMGB]
- The Tom Friedman Op-ed Generator goes down to the street and really gets a sense of why we need an environmental grand bargain. [http://bit.ly/13UHBcC]
- Huey Lewis and Weird Al reenact the Huey Lewis and the News scene from "American Psycho." [http://gaw.kr/XYmFJG]
- Beyonce encounters Beyonces of Christmas Past in this new ad. [http://nowth.is/16rVrPi]
- Baby terrorizes family with a lightsaber. She would have been even clumsier with a blaster. [http://bit.ly/XODD1r]
@drgrist: Thumbs down, universe. Thumbs down.
@brian_hecht: Binders of hot attorneys general
@cjciaramella: Yeah, but can Kamala Harris make good beef stroganoff?
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