HUFFPOST HILL, sponsored by MoveOn.org members fighting for Social Security - World's Derpiest Deliberative Body

04/17/2013 06:32 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2013

Schizophrenics with anger management issues scored a huge victory when the Senate voted not to expand background checks on gun purchases. Between terror attacks and reports of poisonous mail, it's starting to feel like 2001, though we don't expect another SUMMER OF THE SHARK. And Texas' attorney general believes President Obama is a greater threat to America than Kim Jong-un, even though Kim Jong-un is WAY better at getting his own party to pass legislation. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, April 17th, 2013:

In the wake of the Senate's fail-o-rama, Harry Reid has pulled the final gun control bill from consideration to keep it on the legislative calendar.

BACKGROUND CHECK AMENDMENT FAILS IN SENATE - America's most powerful lobby -- a few thousand people in Minot, North Dakota who think individuals who see The Great Gazoo on their shoulders can own TEC9s -- scored a win today. Mike McAuliff: "The amendment failed 54 to 46, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster of the measure, even as victims of the Sandy Hook shootings and other shooting watched from the Senate gallery and activists at a vigil outside the Capitol read the names of people slain since then, hoping to prompt action. 'Shame on you!' shouted two women in the gallery after the vote. One was Virginia Maisch, who grabbed the third clip from the gunman who opened fired at then-Rep. Gabby Giffords in the Tuscon., Ariz., shooting in 2011. The other was Lori Hass, whose daughter was injured in the Virginia Tech shootings nearly six years ago." [HuffPost]

John Cornyn's amendment to let people with concealed carry permits cross state lines got *more* votes than the background check measure, failing with 57 "aye" votes. America, ladies and germs.

@jbendery: Awkward: Mitch McConnell just smiled and waved at press gathered to talk to teary families of Newtown/Tucson/Aurora victims.

Pat Leahy and Susan Collins' bill to stem the tide of gun trafficking failed because we have no idea. The Hill: "The Leahy-Collins amendment clarified language on lawfully buying a gun from a licensed dealer as a gift so that was not viewed as straw purchasing under the law...Leahy said the Senate bill would give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to prosecute straw purchasers -- people who legally buy a gun but then sell it to someone who would not be able to pass the background check." [The Hill]

Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban failed, 40 against and 60 for.

@streitfeldcnn: Sen. Blumenthal hugs two crying Newtown family members just off the floor. "We're not done," he said.

OBAMA PISSED... REALLY PISSED - HuffPost/AP: "Obama spoke on the failed measure Wednesday evening in the White House rose garden. He took to the podium after Mark Barden, the father of a Newtown victim...'The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,' Obama said. 'There are no coherent arguments for why we didn't do this,' Obama said. Obama's anger was apparent during his remarks, which were given as families of shooting victims and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) -- a shooting survivor -- stood behind him. 'All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,' Obama said." [HuffPost]

@fschouten:And it begins: @BoldProgressive announces full-page ads against Pryor, Begich, Baucus& Heitkamp over bkgrnd check votes

The Times' investigation into online gun markets is frightening, but in an informative kind of way. Also in the regular kind of way.

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS MET WITH PROGRESS KENTUCKY STAFFERS - For the right, this is like fast and furious, Solyndra AND Benghazi rolled into one. It's like conservative turducken. BuzzFeed: "The head of a group accused of illegally taping private meetings of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign visited the White House days before the group's twitter account began actively attacking the Kentucky Republican, according to White House visitors logs. White House logs and the twitter feed of Shawn Reilly, one of two men at the heart of the McConnell wiretapping scandal, show he met with White House officials on December 5, just days before his organization Progress Kentucky began a messaging blitzkrieg against the Republican leader. Reilly and Curtis Morrison are currently under investigation by the FBI for illicitly taping a campaign conversation between McConnell and a handful of his advisors. During the conversation McConnell and his aides discussed the potential candidacy of actress Ashley Judd -- including using her mental health problems against her." [BuzzFeed]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Work doesn't cure poverty. In 2011, more than 10 million Americans worked but nevertheless had annual incomes below the federal poverty line. One-third of them worked in the service industry. Always tip your server! And if you don't, DDD will join forces with renown tipper Paul Ryan and we will punch you. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

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BOSTON BOMBER ARRESTED: ERRONEOUS REPORT - Framed another way, CNN may have been performing some kind of deconstructed version of the Benny Hill theme using movement and the spoken word. Jack Mirkinson: "CNN and other outlets found themselves with egg on their face when they reported that an arrest had been made in the Boston bombings and were then forced to walk that news back. Though it was not alone, CNN took the brunt of the blame for its faulty reporting. It was the first and most prominent outlet to tout its scoop. The network's John King, citing multiple sources, said that an arrest had been made. Fran Townsend, a contributor to the network, also said it had been made. The Boston Globe agreed. Fox News also reported an arrest. The Associated Press did so as well. Leading the way in its dispute of that story was NBC News. Citing multiple federal sources, the network's Pete Williams said, 'No arrest has been made.' 'The FBI is looking for someone. They have a face. They don't know where he is,' Williams said. CBS News also tweeted that no arrest had been made. Some minutes later, CNN suddenly appeared to be walking back its story." [HuffPost]

RICIN ATTACKS CONTINUE, CAPITOL LOCKED DOWN TEMPORARILY - Listen, God, if you're going to make us all relive 2001, at least make the Strokes good again. Chicago Tribune: "A letter addressed to President Barack Obama contained a substance that preliminarily tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, authorities said on Wednesday...a package caused the temporary evacuation of parts of two Senate buildings and set nerves on edge in Washington Law enforcement authorities reopened the Hart and Russell Senate buildings near the Capitol after tests on various items showed there was no threat...Capitol Police earlier investigated a suspicious package delivered to Senator Richard Shelby's office in the Russell building, but had determined there was no threat, said Jonathan Graffeo, a spokesman for Shelby. 'Senator Shelby and staff are unharmed,' he said by email. Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said one of his Michigan regional offices had also received a suspicious-looking letter, but it was not opened. Authorities are investigating, Levin said. On Tuesday, authorities intercepted a letter addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) tested positive for ricin at a Senate mail processing facility in Maryland..." [Tribune]

Suspicious packages were also sent to the state offices of John McCain, Jeff Flake and John Cornyn. PSA: There are a lot of affordable generic anti-anxiety meds on the market.

HOUSE IMMIGRATION GROUP MAKING PROGRESS - Elise Foley: "House members in a secretive group working on immigration reform made their first joint public statement on Wednesday, praising the Senate 'gang of eight' bill and promising to have their deal soon... 'We believe we will soon agree on a reasonable, common-sense plan to finally secure our borders and strengthen our economy, with a tough but fair process that respects the rule of law so immigrants can contribute to our country,' they said in a statement. Early Wednesday morning the Senate group of four Democrats and House Republicans put out the full text of its bill, the 'Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.'...Such a bill, which provides a path to citizenship, may be a tougher haul in the House, where a number of Republicans view legalization as 'amnesty.'..HuffPost's Jon Ward reported on Tuesday that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is considering a piecemeal approach at the urging of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and other influential Republicans." [HuffPost]


MoveOn.org's 8 million members are mobilizing to stop Democrats from cutting Social Security and harming seniors. MoveOn.org


BACHMANN TARGETED BY ANOTHER ETHICS INVESTIGATION - Once again, the all-powerful vaccine lobby is trying to silence its most coherent critic. Star Tribune: "Congressional ethics investigators are examining whether top staffers in Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign played an improper role in the 2011 tour to promote her personal memoir, two former Bachmann aides have told the Star Tribune. Federal election and House ethics rules generally bar candidates from using campaign funds or resources to sell or promote their own books, which are considered outside business activities. The two former staffers, speaking confidentially because the matter is under investigation, said they have been questioned about the book tour by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which has been looking into separate allegations of campaign finance violations. The new questions about the promotion of Bachmann's autobiography, 'Core of Conviction,' suggest that the ethics review has widened beyond initial allegations that Bachmann improperly mixed funds between her campaign and her independent political organization, MichelePAC." [Star Tribune]

@BuzzFeedBen: Ted Cruz looks exactly like the owner of Chicago Cubs. bit.ly/15m8ANY

NRSC PULLS FUNDING FOR SANFORD - Don't be surprised when we report tomorrow that Sanford tripped over a banana peel right after he stepped on a rake. Politico: "National Republicans are pulling the plug on Mark Sanford's suddenly besieged congressional campaign, POLITICO has learned ... Blindsided by news that Sanford's ex-wife has accused him of trespassing and concluding he has no plausible path to victory, the National Republican Congressional Committee has decided not to spend more money on Sanford's behalf ahead of the May 7 special election...Sanford is facing Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a Clemson University administrator and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, in a race that has grabbed the national spotlight. The NRCC's move comes hours after Tuesday night's report by the Associated Press that Sanford's ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, filed a court complaint accusing him of trespassing at her home in early February - which would be a violation of the terms of their divorce agreement. Republicans said they were caught off guard by news of Jenny Sanford's complaint. They worry other damaging revelations about Mark Sanford's personal life that they aren't aware of could come out in the coming weeks." [Politico]

Yeeeeeeeeeesh: "[T]ensions within the family flared up as recently as April 2, at the celebration of Sanford's runoff election victory when the former governor thrust two of his sons on-stage with the Argentine woman who was at the center of the spectacular sex scandal that broke up his marriage. For Sanford's teenage son Bolton, that very public moment marked the first time he had ever been in the presence of Maria Belen Chapur. Sanford's former wife Jenny confirmed in a text message: 'That was indeed Bolton's first intro and both boys were quite upset and visibly so.'" [WaPo]

NEW HAMPSHIRE LAWMAKER CALLS WOMEN 'VAGINAS' - Look, if you're that uncomfortable with the gender continuum, show some class and use "y-chromosome challenged." Laura Bassett: "A Republican New Hampshire lawmaker referred to women as 'vaginas' in an email to colleagues on the official legislative electronic mailing list earlier this month, drawing outrage from his own party. State Rep. Peter Hansen (R) made the comment, first reported by New Hampshire political blogger Susan the Bruce, in an April 1 email debate with colleagues about a "stand your ground" gun bill. Hansen's colleague, Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R) had delivered a lengthy floor speech about the benefits of retreating instead of using deadly force, to which Hansen replied in an email: 'What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina's of course. While the tales relate the actions of a solitary male the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims.'" [HuffPost]

Elsewhere in statewide politics: "Texas Attorney General Greg 
Abbott told a Waco audience Monday he would sue the Obama administration to protect individual gun rights if the U.S. joins a United Nations global arms treaty...Abbott, speaking at the John Knox Texas Rangers Memorial Center, said a U.N. arms trade treaty overwhelmingly approved by the General Assembly this month presented an 'incredible danger' to the constitutional right to bear arms. Obama is expected to sign the treaty, but it would need a two-thirds majority vote to pass the U.S. Senate, where it faces considerable
opposition... 'One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new 
assault, an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons,' Abbott said. 'The threat that we're getting is the threat from the Obama administration and his political machine.'" [Waco Tribune]



- Soap opera music is so terrible someone had their cat score a scene with little . [http://bit.ly/wVStP2]

- Patton Oswalt proposes a plot for the upcoming seventh installment of the "Star Wars" franchise. [http://bit.ly/14wnYIb]

- Rainy Cafe simulates the sounds of a cafe on, you guessed it, a rain day. [http://rainycafe.com/]

- Thieving orangutan steals t-shirts, puts it on. [http://bit.ly/Z3DFlW]

- An RSS reader that presents articles in the style of the "Star Wars" opening sequence. [http://bit.ly/11fdC8b]

- A compilation of talking cats because internet. [http://bit.ly/113hdaw]

- Puppy has difficulty de-bowling. [http://bit.ly/13iJgZ3]


@azi: looming large. @Quinn4NY getting a barrage of questions about @repweiner. one reporter says "I have a non-Weiner question."...

@daweiner: Not sure what the FBI announcement is, but the New York Post says a guy has already been arrested, tried and convicted.

@delrayser: Boston police have allegedly made an arrest, so everybody stand by to use Facebook to ruin someone's life just b/c they have the same name.



6:00 pm: What with HellerHighWater and a bevy of other creatively named PACs, we're disappointed that Roger Wicker's PAC is simply named RFWPAC. C'monnnnn. [Bibiana Osteria Enoteca, 1100 New York Ave NW]


8:30 am: Rand Paul fights the man in the only place a rebel can: The offices of Covington and Burling, LLP. Abolish the Fed! [Covington and Burling, LLP, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW]

12:00 pm: Lindsey Graham celebrates the defeat of gun legislation supported by 90 percent of the population at a restaurant accessible to the one percent, Charlie Palmer Steak. Just once we want to see a fundraiser held at Golden Corral. [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW]

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