Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - GOP: The President Took Away Your Airplane Pretzels

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Sharron Angle might run for the Senate again, employing "second campaign remedies" to fix her political woes. The market fell after a hacked Twitter account tweeted fake news about President Obama, not unlike that time we re-pinned a photoshopped image of Joe Biden and the DAX plummeted. And Williams-Sonoma is pulling pressure cookers from its stores in the wake of the Boston bombings. On that note, we suggest you pull that Bridgestone golf cap from your head, mostly because it makes you look like a tool. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013:

GOP'S MILE LIE CLUB - Mike McAuliff: "Senators moved Tuesday to give President Barack Obama options to ease growing air travel delays sparked by Congress' budget sequestration, charging that allowing the slowdown to hit the public is largely a political move. The Federal Aviation Administration began furloughing flight controllers Monday to help save its share of the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts mandated by 2011's Budget Control Act, and delays have started spreading across the nation. On Tuesday, the FAA issued a statement that 'more than 1,200 delays in the system were attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough,' as compared to about 1,400 delays resulting from weather or other factors. Republicans charged Tuesday that the delays were unnecessary and that the White House wants the public to feel the pain of the congressional budget cuts. 'As a result of the administration's poor planning and, I would argue, political motives, thousands of people were stuck on tarmacs over the past few days,' said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 'The FAA's mismanagement of this issue is a source of bipartisan frustration. Our goal here shouldn't be to score political points on the backs of weary travelers, it should be to fix the problem.'" [HuffPost]

ALSO: "McConnell spoke on the Senate floor shortly after Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Republican Sen. Jerry Moran (Kansas) rolled out a bill to deal with another part of the FAA sequestration: looming cuts that would close nearly 150 air control towers at smaller landing fields in June. The bipartisan pair wants the administration and the FAA to shift some money from one account to another to pay for the more vital services. And while they contend the White House already has the authority to do so, the administration has said it does not." [Ibid.]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS DONE WITH LEGISLATING - In fairness, they weren't sent to Washington to pass legislation, they were sent to Washington to hold press conferences in the Capitol Visitor's Center and sneak off to the Capitol Hill Club a few times a day. You know, the people's business. Salon: "[M]ajority parties in the House of Representatives have taken to reserving the very first bill numbers for their party's agenda. Normally, bills are just numbered in order.. But that's just custom, and at some point a new custom evolved to save H.R. 1 through H.R. 5, and then through H.R. 10, for important party agenda bills. Which leads to the embarrassing fact that no one seems to have noticed about this year's House Republicans. Over 100 days into the current Congress, their agenda is ... almost completely empty. In fact, of the 10 reserved slots, there's only one bill filed. That's H.R. 3, a bill to force the building of the Keystone XL pipeline...And even that took until March 15 to introduce... Beyond that, Republicans have announced that H.R. 1 is reserved for a tax reform bill. There is, however, no bill, at least not so far. For the rest of them, and for that matter for H.R. 1, nothing. All you get is 'Reserved for the Speaker.'...Now, to be fair, Democrats in the 111th Congress only used two of the 10 spots. But both were introduced in January, and in fact both (the stimulus and S-CHIP expansion) had become law by this point." [Salon]

RAND PAUL SOFTENS ANTI-DRONE STANCE, NOW OK WITH POLICE DRONES - We strongly oppose anything that shortens car chases on Fox News. Luke Johnson: "Marking an abrupt shift in tone from his epic March filibuster, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said late Monday that he would be fine with a drone killing a run-of-the-mill armed robber. 'Here's the distinction: I have never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on,' Paul said on Fox Business Network. 'If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don't care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him. But it's different if they want to come fly over your hot tub or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone, and they want to watch your activities.'" So Rand Paul doesn't want a background check before you can buy a gun, but if you walk out of a store with that gun and $50, he's ok blowing you the f*** up. Got it. [HuffPost]

SENATE DEBATES INTERNET STATE SALES TAX - Dick Durbin loves retailers, and retailers love Dick Durbin. And Mike Enzi. The duo's effort to force online companies (with revenue above $1 million) to pay state sales taxes was the subject of lunch meetings today and debated on the floor. As one aide whose boss opposes it said defeatedly: "It's basically ebay vs the world, the world being Amazon, Walmart, Labor, and state and local governments that have sales taxes." In the House, Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) have been the main sponsors, with Womack taking the lead role in getting votes in the House. Welch told HuffPost's John Celock on Monday that Womack has been reaching out to House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders in an attempt to push a floor vote following the Senate's likely passage this week. Womack outlined the message he was delivering to Republicans during a presentation to the National Conference of State Legislatures when they lobbied the Senate for the bill in December. The main opposition in the Senate comes from Oregon's Ron Wyden, joined by other senators whose states don't have a sales tax. Wyden portrays it as a fight over internet freedom and innovation. "What this is about, especially relevant for HuffPost readers, is what really has encouraged the social media and digital economy are two principles. One, voluntary approaches and two, non-discrimination. And the bill as written now violates both those principles," he said, adding that he has talked to Durbin multiple times today and thinks he can work something out.

TSARNAEV FESSES UP, DISCUSSES BROTHER'S RADICALIZATION - Boston Globe: "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev admitted to authorities Sunday that he and his brother were behind the Marathon bombings, according to a senior law enforcement official...He had not yet been given a Miranda warning. Tsarnaev's attorneys are certain to challenge the legal admissibility of those admissions, and other information he gave them, such as claiming that he and his brothers acted alone, and that his brother was radicalized in an extreme form of Islam in part because he opposed US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan... a senior police official said authorities are not worried about the initial admission to authorities being thrown out, because they have a strong witness: the man who was abducted by the Tsarnaev brothers last Thursday night. Police sources told the Globe that the carjack victim has told police that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother pointed guns at him and, in an apparent effort to intimidate the victim and dissaude him from trying anything foolish, Tamerlan Tsarnaev told him, 'We just killed a cop. We blew up the marathon. And now we're going to New York. Don't [expletive] with us.'" [Boston Globe]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - There's nothing Deidre Duffy would rather do than host a backyard barbecue for a few friends. "I don't want anything fancy," Duffy, 53, said in an interview next to her black Weber grill. "Give me some charcoal and I'm going to shoot those flames about six feet high, and when they come down -- it's my favorite thing." Not long ago, she imagined she'd be watching from the hammock with a belly full of grilled food as the sun set over her new back fence, and then in the darkness she'd keep warm by the fire pit with classic rock from the den wafting through the screen door. But now Duffy's broke, thanks to insufficient work. She is one of the 7.6 million Americans involuntarily working part-time. Plans to put up the fence are on indefinite hold, and she sold the fire pit and the hammock and other belongings on eBay to keep the lights on inside the two-story home where she lives with her 17-year-old son. She feels she's as likely to lose the home to foreclosure as she is to host her dream barbecue. "This has been the biggest nightmare of my life," she said. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - From a professor at GMU, bastion of free-market economics: "I know hundreds of free-market economists. They're friends of mine. Indeed, I'm a free-market economist myself. It saddens me to say, then, that our critics are often right. While some free-market economists merely doubt the efficacy of policies intended to alleviate unemployment, the average free-market economist doesn't take the unemployment problem seriously." [EconLib.org]

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CHUCK GRASSLEY REALLY ON A ROLL - Last week he speculated that the boston bombings could delay immigration reform. This week he barked at Chuck Schumer as if the New York senator had changed channels during a "Murder She Wrote" marathon. Now he's believing everything he reads on the internet. Elise Foley: "A Saudi national briefly reported last week to be a person of interest in the Boston bombings was quickly cleared as an innocent bystander, but that didn't stop Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday from questioning whether the man was on a terrorist watch list. 'Before the brothers became the focus of the investigation, authorities questioned a Saudi student who reportedly was on a terrorist watch list,' Grassley said to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a Senate Judiciary hearing on immigration...Napolitano said the man wasn't on a watch list before coming to the United States and isn't now, although he was very briefly added last week while he was being questioned." [HuffPost]

MAX BAUCUS TO RETIRE, SENATE LOSES LEADING ADVOCATE OF MAX BAUCUS - The news comes almost a week after Baucus voted against expanded background checks on gun purchases, making this the legislative equivalent of when departing White House staffers glue things to their desks. AP: "'I don't want to die here with my boots on. There is life beyond Congress,' the 71-year-old Baucus said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. Baucus, who arrived in Washington as a member of the 1974 Watergate class in the House and has been a fixture in the Senate since 1979, said the decision was hard. A Democrat with an independent streak, Baucus supported the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and Obama's signature 2010 health care law. He broke with his party this year to oppose both the Senate Democratic budget blueprint and a hotly fought effort to beef up background checks for gun purchases. Baucus, who helped write Obama's health care law, stunned administration officials last week when he told the president's health care chief that he thought the law was headed for a 'train wreck' because of bumbling implementation." [AP]

Remember when Baucus put forward his girlfriend to be US Attorney? Or when he voted against the DREAM Act? Or how he pushed the Bush tax cuts? Or how his office makes the term 'revolving door' seem inadequate? Thanks for everything, Max!

SCHWEITZER LEANING TOWARD SENATE BID - Maybe he ordered some polling and found out America isn't ready for its first gun-friendly, bolo-tied president? (Actually, he can't be the first, right?) WaPo: "With Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) opting not to run for reelection in 2014, all eyes turned Tuesday to former governor Brian Schweitzer (D), who sources said would be a likely option to run for Baucus's seat. A person familiar with Schweitzer's thinking tells Post Politics that the Democrat is leaning toward running. There had been chatter that the bolo tie-wearing former governor, who left office earlier this year after two terms, might even challenge Baucus in the primary. He also is viewed as a dark horse 2016 presidential candidate, though few voters outside his home state know much about Schweitzer. Karl Struble, a Democratic strategist who used to work for Schweitzer, said he thinks the former governor will make a bid for Baucus's seat. "He's the best chance Democrats have," Struble said." [WaPo]

Just last week, Baucus announced he had $5 million cash on hand for reelection. Let's say the obvious: He saw he was going to lose a primary to Schweitzer and took the graceful way out.

COMMITTEE MUSICAL CHAIRS: ARE LEFTIES MOVING UP? - We were interviewing Wyden in a Dirksen hallway today and a man walked by and said: "Congratulations, Mr. Chairman." Wyden didn't know quite how to respond. With Baucus out as Finance Chair, that leaves vacancies at both Finance and Banking. Much hangs on the decision of Chuck Schumer who could go for either of them -- but he can't go for both. So that means it's likely that progressives will either get Sherrod Brown at Banking or Wyden on Finance.

POLL: SCOTT BROWN WOULD BE A LOUSY CARPETBAGGER - Well, there's always Montana? Politico: "If Scott Brown is looking to make a political comeback, New Hampshire may not be the right place and 2014 might not be the right year. The former Massachusetts senator -- who is publicly toying with a cross-border challenge to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen -- trails his could-be opponent by double digits in a new poll conducted for the League of Conservation Voters. According to a polling memo shared with POLITICO, Brown trails Shaheen by 11 points, taking 41 percent to the incumbent's 52 percent. Seven percent of voters in the poll were undecided.... Asked whether Brown should run for Senate in New Hampshire or not, 54 percent answered in the negative. Though Brown has not served in office in New Hampshire, he has family ties to the state and his 2012 race largely played out in the Boston media market, which overlaps heavily with New Hampshire." [Politico]

SHARRON ANGLE CONSIDERING 2ND SENATE RUN - Preston Maddock: "Sharron Angle is keeping the door open to another run for the U.S. Senate, according to the Elko Daily Free Press. Appearing as the guest speaker at a county Republican Party meeting in Elko, Nevada on Saturday, Angle... [said] that 'it's a possibility' that she would run for the Senate again. 'Certainly, we need to replace Harry Reid's leadership and it would be nice to have a different person representing our state as well,' she said. 'I encourage you all to run for office. I wouldn't encourage you to do anything I haven't done myself and wouldn't do again.'" [HuffPost]

HuffPost Hiccup: Yesterday we said Chuck Grassley is the junior senator from Iowa when he is, in fact, the senior senator. Apologies. Here are two ducklings.

AP'S TWITTER ACCOUNT HACKED, CAUSES MARKET DIP - Twitter has not had the best couple of weeks, at least when you consider its contribution to the greater good. HuffPost: "The Associated Press' Twitter account was hacked on Tuesday. Moments later, the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the attack. Just after 1:00 p.m., the news organization tweeted: 'Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured'... CBS News reported that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed that 'the president is fine,' in response to the AP's Twitter feed...The false alarm sent the Dow plunging 145 points between 1:08 p.m. ET and 1:10 p.m. The market quickly bounced back to roughly where it had been before the hack." [HuffPost]

The terrorists have won: Williams-Sonoma is temporarily pulling pressure cookers from its shelves.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Wiglet the Piglet hangs out with dogs.

GAY MARRIAGE LEGALIZED IN FRANCE, HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE SURRENDERS UNCONDITIONALLY - AP: "France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate and protests that flooded the streets of Paris. Legions of officers and water cannon stood ready near France's National Assembly ahead of the final vote, bracing for possible violence on an issue that galvanized the country's faltering conservative movement. The measure passed easily in the Socialist-majority Assembly, 331-225...In recent weeks, violent attacks against gay couples have spiked and some legislators have received threats... One of the biggest protests against same-sex marriage drew together hundreds of thousands of people bused in from the French provinces - conservative activists, schoolchildren with their parents, retirees, priests and others." [AP]

COMFORT FOOD

- A parody of indie film trailers, complete with fuzzy shots of airports. [http://bit.ly/14ME1BP]

- A ten-minute animated film about Miami Heat center Chris Bosh's adventures in the multiverse. [http://deadsp.in/ZKmrqi]

- Windshield dirt used as the canvas for art. [http://bit.ly/14IrPSz]

- Quite the opposite of comfort food: This McDonald's hamburger is 14 years old... and it looks unchanged. [http://bit.ly/11A6oxa]

- A meteor fell over Argentina and produced a light burst that was as bright as the sun. [http://bit.ly/17UPVIx]

- A supercut of puppies trying to climb stairs. Awwwwwww.[http://huff.to/14Kg3XR]

- Computer graphics engines are now capable of simulating water, something that heretofore had been near impossible. [http://bit.ly/ZMrjds]

TWITTERAMA

@elisefoley: Source (my brain): Newt Gingrich in talks with CNN for "Brian Fellow's Safari Planet" reboot.

@FakeAPStylebook: USE APOSTROPHE'S EVERYWHERE #Hacked

@EvanMcSan: Dr. Von FakeTweet's scheme to skim $100b off the stock market is going to make for a really lame plotline in the next Bond flick

ON TAP

TOMORROW

6:30 pm: Pat Toomey, fresh off the resounding victory crushing defeat of the background check bill, numbs the pain with a boatload of new campaign cash. [Acqua Al 2, 212 7th Street Southeast]

6:30 pm: Amy Klobuchar heads over to fancy shmancy Kalorama for a fancy shmancy fundraiser (that's the insider industry term, FYI). Hey, remember those whispers about a possible presidential bid? Heh. [2233 Bancroft Place NW]

6:30 pm: Marco Rubio is the man of the hour at a "Young Professionals Reception" There will be young people. They will be professional. There also might be food. [Oracle Townhouse, 27 D Street SE]

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