HUFFPOST HILL, sponsored by and Alan Grayson - Awful Day Is Awful

04/15/2013 05:56 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2013

At least two died and more than 100 were injured from an explosion in Boston and Twitter was not the worst for once. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, April 15th, 2013:

BOSTON MARATHON EXPLOSION: MASS CASUALTIES - "Two explosions rocked the Boston Marathon near the finish line, causing multiple casualties and sending the city into chaos. Another explosion occurred at the JFK Library, but authorities were unsure if the incidents were linked. The blasts downtown in Copley Square occurred just before 3:00 p.m., according to MyFoxBoston. The number of casualties changed rapidly throughout the afternoon. Two people were killed and ... 100 injured... the Boston Globe reported. The first blast filled a spectator gallery near the finish line with a gray cloud of smoke. Screaming witnesses immediately fled the area. Ten seconds later, a second explosion jolted the crowd. Streets reserved exclusively for runners filled with emergency crews, as first responders climbed fences to reach wounded athletes and spectators. Flags from nations represented in the race were thrown to the ground. Medical tents set up for runners are being used to treat individuals with injuries." [HuffPost Liveblog]

No mention of terrorism in President Obama's statement in the White House briefing room moments ago: "The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight...On days like this, there are no Republicans and Democrats...We still do not know who did this or why... We are still in the investigation stage at this point."

A White House official, via Paul Conner's pool report: "Shortly after being notified of the incident around 3pm EDT, the President received a briefing from Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco and other members of his senior White House staff in the Oval Office. The President called Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to express his concern for those who were injured and to make clear that his administration is ready to provide needed support as they respond to the incident."

Increased security at the White House: "The Secret Service says it has expanded its security perimeter at the White House following the explosions at the Boston Marathon. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan says the measure was taken 'out of an abundance of caution.' He says it is not unusual to expand or contract the security perimeters. Shortly after the explosions Monday, Secret Service shut down Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House, cordoning off the area with yellow police tape. Several Secret Service patrol cars also blocked off the entry points to the road. The White House was not on lockdown and tourists and other onlookers were still able to be in the park across the street from the executive mansion." [AP]

@JonVig4NY: NBC Boston saying youngest victim is 3 years old.

@michaelpfalcone: ABC's @jeffzeleny talks to Senate Intel Chair @SenFeinstein: "It is a terrorist incident"

Wow, even Steve Stockman is talking sense: @SteveWorks4You: Keep in mind no one knows the motives or suspects yet. Any speculations is reckless and self-serving.

@RAGreeneCNN: CNN editorial decision: We will now call what happened in Boston a terrorist attack

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Businesses would rather hire somebody with no relevant experience than hire a person who has been unemployed for a long time, according to new research by Rand Ghayad at Northeastern University. Ghayad, a Ph.D. candidate in applied economics, sent out thousands of fake resumes in response to hundreds of online job postings and tracked the responses from the employers. The dummy candidates with long gaps in their resumes received fewer callbacks than the candidates with shorter gaps -- even if the fictional resume showed no experience relevant to the job. "Once you are long-term unemployed, even if you come from the same industry, even if you have the right skills, it doesn't matter to employers anymore," Ghayad told The Huffington Post. "They prefer to hire someone who's short-term unemployed." [HuffPost]

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BACKGROUND CHECK WHIP COUNT: IT'S CLOSE - Right now there are 52 votes for the bill. Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel: "Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) are reportedly undecided on the bill. Their offices did not return requests for comment. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has not yet decided how he will vote, his office confirmed... Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) is 'reviewing the Manchin-Toomey legislation to ensure we improve our background check system while also protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,' said spokeswoman Elizabeth Shappell. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) all plan to back the legislation. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) are reportedly undecided. Their offices did not return requests for comment. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is 'continuing to review the legislation,' said spokesman Chandler Smith. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is 'is still reviewing the Manchin-Toomey amendment,' said spokeswoman Genevieve Rozansky. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has not yet taken a position on the bill but is 'favorably disposed' to it, said spokesman Brian Rogers." [HuffPost]

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GUN DEBATE SPLINTERING SENATE GOP, HURTING RAND PAUL'S FEELINGS - From the Times overview of the complex politics behind the gun debate, this choice bit: "The Republican conflict came to the fore last week during a closed-door luncheon for Senate Republicans, when Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, eyes blazing, stood up and complained about a series of attack ads that she was facing back home from a gun-rights group with deep ties to Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky...Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, stood to say he had been raising money for Ms. Collins' re-election, only to watch her have to spend it to defend herself against the attack from the gun group, which has been directed at other members as well. Ms. Collins warned.. it could well cost the party her seat. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a freshman ally of Mr. Paul's, jumped in to promise he had nothing to do with the group, according to officials briefed on the event. Then Mr. Paul, feeling attacked, stormed out. (A spokeswoman for Mr. Paul did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)" [NYT]

JOE MILLER FORMS EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE - No one was detained by private security forces in the announcement. Roll Call: "Joe Miller, the tea-party-backed Alaska Republican who lost a 2010 Senate race, announced on Sunday that he is launching an exploratory committee as he considers another Senate campaign. The announcement comes just two days after first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich announced raising almost $1 million in the first fundraising quarter of the cycle. It also comes after a tumultuous week at the state Republican Party, which ousted yet another chairman...In a full statement posted to his website, Miller asks for donations and states that he is attempting to determine whether 'grassroots Republicans' will 'step up and join us in the fight for freedom.'' [Roll Call]

MICHELE BACHMANN DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT THOSE PRESIDENT OBAMA-CONTROLLED DRONES - This is like the "Anderson!" episode but sad because it reminds you that Michele Bachmann is on the Intelligence Committee. Nick Abrams: "During a Thursday House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) asked CIA Director John Brennan and others on the committee panel a number of puzzling questions about drone strikes and other security issues. Bachmann began with a question about the White House's involvement in armed drone strikes in Libya. 'Armed drone strikes in Libya?' Brennan replied. 'I'm unknowing of such, and I would defer to the White House to address your question.' Bachmann scrambled to direct more questions at Brennan and the panel, focusing on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya last September. Brennan continued to be dumbfounded. 'The White House doesn't have a drone capability, responsibility,' Brennan said. 'Again, I don't know what it is you are specifically referring to.'" [HuffPost]

Chuck Hagel is doing away with the joystick medal for joystick gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. Amanda Terkel: "Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has canceled the creation of a controversial new medalthat would have honored drone pilots and cyber warriors, after veterans organizations and members of Congress expressed outrage that it would outrank some battlefield medals like the Purple Heart. The Distinguished Warfare Medal was approved in February by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, intended to honor members of the military for achievements beyond the battlefield since Sept. 11, 2001. The backlash to the medal centered around the fact that it would have taken precedence over several traditional combat awards, which require that the recipient risk his or her life in order to receive them." [HuffPost]

BUSH 43 HAPPY WITH IRAQ LEGACY - Nick Wing: "Former President George W. Bush reflected on his tenure in the White House during an interview with the Dallas Morning News published Sunday, saying that he was comfortable with his decision-making regarding the Iraq War. 'I'm confident the decisions were made the right way,' Bush explained. 'It's easy to forget what life was like when the decision was made.' [Editor's Note: No it's not] Bush's rare interview comes as he prepares to attend a ceremony for the opening of his presidential library next week in Dallas. He'll be there along with President Barack Obama and every other living former president. Speaking to the Morning News of the legacy that the library is meant to honor, Bush suggested he had few regrets. 'I'm comfortable with what I did,' he said. 'I'm comfortable with who I am.'" [HuffPost]

If you haven't already, be sure to read the Times op-ed written by a Guantanamo detainee about the ongoing hunger strike in the military prison camp.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby hates kisses.

PULITZERS ANNOUNCED - Journalism's highest honor was, paradoxically, the catalyst for a lot of journalism fails as journalists tweeted about the news as the Boston explosion story unfolded. AP: "The New York Times won four Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, including the award for investigative reporting for stories that detailed how Wal-Mart used bribery to expand in Mexico. The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was awarded the public service Pulitzer for its reporting on off-duty police officers' reckless driving. The prize in breaking news photography went to The Associated Press for its coverage of the civil war in Syria. AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon called the winners -- Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen -- 'some of the bravest and most talented photographers in the world.' A New York-based online nonprofit news organization that covers energy, InsideClimate News, won in the national reporting category for stories on flawed regulation of the nation's oil pipelines." [AP]


- Cat enjoys being vacuumed... that or it's too lazy to do anything about it. []

- A supercut of all the fake websites featured on "Law and Order." They're pretty terrible. []

- Feline solipsism reaches record levels: cat interrupts soccer match, doesn't care. []

- Psy, of "Gangnam Style" fame, has a video out for his song, "Gentleman." []

- 30 skiers link arms and successfully complete a flip. []

- See where you rank on the list of the world's richest people. Spoiler: You rank higher than you feel. []

- R. Kelly sang with Phoenix at Coachella because Coachella. []


@jeffzeleny: John Eligon of the NYT and @vernonloeb of WaPost both wrote their Boston explosion stories -- after running in the marathon.

@kirstenstubbs: For the love of God, turn off your pre-scheduled tweets, brands.



5:00 pm: Practically the entire House Democratic Caucus, not to mention a healthy slice of the Senate Democratic Caucus, convenes at B Smith's for Stephen Colbert's fundraiser benefiting his sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Tony and John Podesta are co-hosting, naturally. [B Smith's, 50 Massachusetts Ave NE]


8:30 am: Mitch McConnell attends a coffee-centric fundraiser, but don't expect the Senate minority leader to curl up on a overly stuffed armchair, nurse a giant cup of cappuccino and lounge with you for hours and hours. [NRSC, 425 2nd Street NE]

6:30 pm: For $1,000 you can help support the Fund for America's Future. Apparently America's future is Lindsey Graham. Alright, then. [Ruth's Chris Steak House. 724 9th Street NW]

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