Social media is consumed by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's new song, "Accidental Racist," but no one cares about the Fred Durst/Ani DiFranco collaboration we produced, "Serendipitous Misogynist." Mitch McConnell denounced liberals for employing "Nixonian" tactics, a not-so-subtle reference to the minority leader's time as a diehard George McGovern volunteer. And a group of senators reached a deal on immigration. Those never fall apart. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, April 9th, 2013:
GANG OF 8 REACHES IMMIGRATION DEAL - Politico: "The Senate's immigration Gang of Eight plans to announce a deal within a week but a committee markup is not expected until at least the week of May 6, providing a long period for debate and changes, Senate aides said Tuesday. Aides said the legislative proposal could be released as soon as Thursday, but is more likely to be ready early next week. The schedule outlined by the aides is meant to satisfy Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has said repeatedly that he wants a full debate and amendment process, to maximize the chances that the final vote is an overwhelming majority. A Senate aide told POLITICO: 'The senators had a good discussion with [Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Patrick] Leahy this afternoon. We are optimistic that we will be able to introduce legislation soon. Chairman Leahy has agreed to hold a hearing as soon as possible after the legislation is introduced, and has promised to have unlimited debate and amendments during the committee markup.'" [Politico]
SUSAN COLLINS STILL PROTOZOAN ON GAY MARRIAGE - Jen Bendery: "There's been a lot of speculation that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) may be the next senator to announce her support for gay marriage. As of Tuesday, her position had not changed. 'My view is the same that it's always been,' Collins told The Huffington Post. 'I think this is a matter of state law.' Collins, a moderate Republican up for reelection in 2014, said states have traditionally handled family law and should continue to do so. She noted that she voted twice, in 2004 and in 2006, against federal constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage because, 'I believe it should be left up to the states.' She declined to elaborate on her own personal views about gay marriage, instead reiterating that the matter should be left up to states to decide." [HuffPost]
WE'LL DRONE ANYONE AND ANYTHING AT THIS POINT - McClatchy: "Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified 'other' militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan's rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show. The administration has said that strikes by the CIA's missile-firing Predator and Reaper drones are authorized only against 'specific senior operational leaders of al Qaida and associated forces' involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks who are plotting 'imminent' violent attacks on Americans... Copies of the top-secret U.S. intelligence reports reviewed by McClatchy, however, show that drone strikes in Pakistan over a four-year period didn't adhere to those standards. The intelligence reports list killings of alleged Afghan insurgents whose organization wasn't on the U.S. list of terrorist groups at the time of the 9/11 strikes; of suspected members of a Pakistani extremist group that didn't exist at the time of 9/11; and of unidentified individuals described as 'other militants' and 'foreign fighters.'... The documents also show that drone operators weren't always certain who they were killing despite the administration's guarantees of the accuracy of the CIA's targeting intelligence and its assertions that civilian casualties have been 'exceedingly rare.'" [McClatchy]
Control yourselves, New York Post headline writers: "As speculation about a political comeback ramps up, former Rep. Anthony Weiner is said to be again polling voters' reactions to a potential 2013 mayoral campaign." [Crains New York Business]
@BuzzFeedAndrew: When I was an intern for Congressman Bob Turner when we moved into Weiner's old office in Kew Gardens we found a crotch shot on a camera. .... We then should it to Congressman Turner who laughed and then we deleted it.
GUN CONTROL BILL MAKES MODEST GAINS - Sam Stein, Jen Bendery and Mike McAuliff: "[Harry Reid] announced on Tuesday evening he would submit for a vote the bill to expand background checks, implement a federal trafficking statute and enhance school safety measures. That would set up a Senate vote on Thursday. At least eight Republican Senators said that they would support bringing the measures to the Senate floor for amendment and debate. A number of others said they had not ruled out voting to clear that first procedural hurdle. Should those numbers hold, Reid will have the 60 votes needed to move forward on gun policy reform. Two members of his own caucus said they were noncommittal on the first procedural vote, but their defections (should they happen) would be insufficient to sustain a filibuster...Among the GOP congressmen set to buck their own leadership on the vote is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who called a filibuster 'incomprehensible.' McCain was joined by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who told CBS' 'This Morning' that the legislation 'deserves an vote up or down.'" [HufPost]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR GENERAL AUDIENCES - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, done emailing story ideas to the creators of "1000 Ways To Die," decided once again to crusade against Hollywood vulgarity. "Morning Joe asked viewers to submit questions for their discussion with VP Biden and PSLGOPL wants to play the game," PSLGOPL writes. "Universal, the corporation that signs the front of Joe and Mika's enormous checks every two weeks, produced 4 violent movies in 2012 that grossed more than half of a billion dollars. Do the really white and mostly male MSNBC prime-time hosts (sorry Rev) feel like hypocrites when they 'forget' to mention their corporate bosses' role in making violent images so cool for children in our media driven culture?" Thanks, PSLGOPL! We hated the new Bourne movie, too.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - South Carolina's unemployment agency will make 150 new unemployed people this year. "The state's unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in four years," the state's Department of Employment and Workforce director, John Finan, said in a statement. "South Carolinians are finding jobs, and this means that there are fewer people claiming unemployment benefits, which is great news for the Palmetto State." Bad news for people who process unemployment claims for the Palmetto State, though. Another reason fewer people are claiming benefits is that both the state and the federal government are offering fewer weeks of benefits. The state's unemployment rate is 8.6 percent. [DEW.sc.gov]
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POLITICIAN WILL DO ANYTHING TO WIN: REPORT - Mother Jones: "On February 2, Mitch McConnell... opened up his 2014 reelection campaign headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky... Later that day, he was huddling with aides in a private meeting to discuss how to attack his possible Democratic foes, including actor/activist Ashley Judd, who was then contemplating challenging the minority leader. During this strategy session--a recording of which was obtained by Mother Jones--McConnell and his aides considered assaulting Judd for her past struggles with depression and for her religious views...the McConnell gang explored going far beyond Judd's politics and policy preferences. This included her mental health. The meeting leader noted: 'She's clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it's been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she's suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the '90s.' In her 2011 memoirs, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, Judd recounts her past bouts with depression, noting that she had considered suicide as a sixth-grader and that as an adult she had checked into a rehab center for depression." [MoJo]
: "McConnell (R-Ky.) ducked questions Tuesday about whether it was appropriate for his campaign to target Ashley Judd's mental health... 'As you know last month, my wife's ethnicity was attacked by a left-wing group in Kentucky, and then apparently they also bugged my headquarters -- so I think that sums up how the political left is operating in Kentucky,' McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill, referring to the group ProgressKY, a poorly funded liberal super PAC that sent a racist tweet about McConnell's wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao...McConnell did not accuse the group directly, saying the recording was 'a quite Nixonian move,' and much like 'Watergate.' ''This is what you get from the political left in America these days,' he added." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff and Luke Johnson]
VIDEO GAME LOBBY INFLUENCING GUN DEBATE - Press up, B, B, down, down, B, left, A, B, up, right to activate Williams and Jensen. Christina Wilkie and Paul Blumenthal: "Nearly four months after Vice President Joe Biden and a half-dozen members of Congress all singled out violent, adult-themed video games as potentially linked to certain types of gun violence, including the Sandy Hook school shooting, three different congressional proposals related to violent entertainment have been effectively shelved... The exclusion of violent video games from the legislation being considered on Capitol Hill reflects in part the growing influence of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the video game industry's chief lobbying arm in Washington. The ESA has spent more than $18 million on lobbying over the past four years. Since the Newtown, Conn., massacre, the trade group has added two more lobbying firms to its payroll, including that of Steve Elmendorf, one of the top Democratic lobbyists in Washington. Elmendorf's firm also recently registered as a lobbyist for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a leading gun control group." [HuffPost]
OBAMA OWNS CHAINED CPI - If President Barack Obama keeps on signaling his willingness to cut Social Security benefits, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned Tuesday, people are going to start thinking he actually wants to cut them. In hopes of achieving a compromise with Republicans on higher taxes, the White House has said it will propose reducing future cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries, a policy Obama has endorsed before. Sanders noted that not even House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) touched Social Security in his austere budget outline last year, meaning Obama essentially owns the proposal. 'Paul Ryan, in the worst budget ever presented in the history of the United States, did not mention Social Security, so of course [Obama] owns it,' Sanders said as he left a rally outside the White House, where he and a handful of congressional Democrats, Social Security advocates, and labor leaders denounced Social Security cuts on Tuesday." [HuffPost]
Harry Reid on Obama's budget: We have our own budget. "It sets our priorities and the priorities of the American people and the Democrats. The president has his budget."
GREENSTEIN COOLS TO CHAINED CPI - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities director Robert Greenstein, whose support for chained CPI has long been a pain in liberals' butts, writes today: "Simply saying... that because the chained CPI more accurately measures inflation, switching to it doesn't constitute a benefit cut -- as I once wrote nearly a decade ago, before I had studied this issue sufficiently -- goes too far." [CBPP.org]
BIDEN SERIOUSLY THINKING ABOUT A RUN: SON - Not a surprise, but we really wanted to use this as an opportunity to raise the prospect of a Barbara Mikulski candidacy, because what primary debate could possibly be better than JOE BIDEN SQUARING OFF AGAINST BARBARA FREAKIN' MIKULSKI?!? Nick Wing: "Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, recently told The New York Times that his father isn't closing any doors, especially with Clinton still maintaining that her career in public office is over. 'It's no secret that he's thinking about this,' the younger Biden said. 'I'm glad he's thinking about this. But he hasn't made up his mind.'...Preliminary polling has Democrats in strong shape if either Biden or Clinton carries the party's mantle into the 2016 elections." [HuffPost]
THE HOUSING CRISIS SUCKED - Shahien Nasiripour: "Nearly a third of all foreclosed borrowers who faced proceedings brought by the biggest U.S. mortgage companies during the height of the housing crisis came to the brink of losing their homes due to potential bank errors or under now-banned practices, regulators have revealed. Close to 1.2 million borrowers, or about 30 percent of the more than 3.9 million households whose properties were foreclosed on by 11 leading financial institutions in 2009 and 2010, had to battle potentially wrongful efforts to seize their homes despite not having defaulted on their loans, being protected under a host of federal laws, or having been in good standing under bank-approved plans to either restructure their mortgages or temporarily delay required payments More than 244,000 of those borrowers eventually lost their homes, government data show. The estimates, disclosed Tuesday, far exceed projections made over the past few years after document abuses known as robosigning gained widespread attention in late 2010." [HuffPost]
SUMMER LOVIN', HAPPENED SO FAST, KIM JONG UN EDITION - We're still waiting on photo of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a production of "Oklahoma" to emerge. The Sun: "Wacky US-hating dictator Kim Jong-un once played an all-American hero -- in a school production of Grease. The North Korean tyrant appeared as a slick-haired leather-jacketed member of 'good' gang the T-Birds as a skinny teen, The Sun can reveal. Our snaps also show the now chubby nuclear despot, 30, in swimming trunks and larking about with fellow pupils at his posh private school. He started at the £16,000-a-year International School of Berne in Switzerland aged 11 in 1994 and stayed until 1997. Kim also loved comics and watching US films such as Jurassic Park. Pals say he enjoyed singing along to hits such as Summer Nights and You're The One That I Want in the school production of Grease -- the musical which became a hit Hollywood film with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in 1978." [The Sun]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - You can't unsee Dogs Wearing Pantyhose.
- Justin Vernon, of Bon Iver fame, has a new side project, The Shouting Matches. Their first album is streaming online. [http://n.pr/ZhblYP]
- Thirty of the world's largest things are large. [http://thebea.st/ZKSMfq]
- In case Richard Branson and/or Elon Musk are reading this, here is how to brush your teeth in space. [http://bit.ly/ZAJ9qD]
- Stephen Colbert's Bill Clinton interview is well worth a watch. [http://huff.to/10FiupB]
- What the internet has been up to: "A Duet Between Taylor Swift and the French President's Dead Camel"[http://bit.ly/YaYNml]
- Behind the scenes with "The Walking Dead"'s visual effects team. [http://bit.ly/YfEdpg]
- How Google Glass actually works. [http://bit.ly/10PIGxq]
@KagroX: OK, who Hitler Socialismed McConnell's underground lair?
@daveweigel: If you've got a recording of a secret meeting, you didn't bug that
@joshrogin: How will sequestration affect the FBI investigation into MotherJonesGate? #cqrollcallpitches
9:00 pm: America's Gold Dust Congressmen, Brett Guthrie and John Shmikus, attend tonight's Fleetwood Mac show with some of their benefactors. [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW]
8:00 am: Sometimes reality does The Onion's work for it: Lamar Alexander's fundraiser is hosted by Mastercard, which is the type of thing you'd expect in a sendup of American politics. Insert "priceless" joke here. [Mastercard, 1401 I Street NW]
8:00 am Shelley Moore Capito passes the conductor's hat at a fundraiser at the Association of American Railroads. [Association of American Railroads, 425 3rd Street SW]
6:00 pm: Dean Heller raises funds for his HellerHighWater PAC, which had us scratching or heads and protesting, in a Mike Birbiglia-style idiot voice "There's no water in Nevada!" before realizing the wordplay. Haha, "Heller high water!" Love it! [The Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW]
6:30 pm: In keeping with his PAC's name, John Thune's Heartland Values PAC invites its supporters to a four-figure fundraiser at a place that serves ahi tuna steaks. [Del Frisco's, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW]
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