Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi weren't invited to the opening of George W. Bush's presidential library, but they could still be invited to the christening of Dick Cheney's eponymous cryogenics lab. Mark Sanford tried to alleviate his political woes by giving out his phone number to strangers, though we're pretty sure that's what got him in trouble in the first place. And Barbara Bush generously gave Maureen Dowd fuel for her next 5,000 columns when she told NBC News that her son, Jeb, shouldn't run for president. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 25th, 2013:
ENDA REINTRODUCED IN SENATE - Dave Jamieson: "Hoping to get a lift from the changing tides on gay marriage, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Thursday that would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, has been introduced in Congress regularly since the mid-1990s without ever being passed. But given the public discussion on gay rights over the past year, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a co-sponsor, told HuffPost he thinks the bill has about as good a shot as ever in the Senate... Gay marriage now has support from all but three Democratic senators -- Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) -- as well as Republican Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Rob Portman (Ohio). ENDA would bar companies from factoring sexual orientation or gender identity into employment decisions. Employers are already prohibited by federal law from discriminating over race, religion, age, gender or disability. The proposal exempts businesses with fewer than 15 employees as well as religious organizations." [HuffPost]
Today in "Because it's Barbara Mikulski...": "Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said on Wednesday that the women of the Senate had a productive meeting with President Barack Obama this week, telling an audience of female entrepreneurs, 'Boy, did we dish it up.'" [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
RICH LIBERALS SLUMMING IT IN LAGUNA BEACH - What is to be done? How can we hasten the revolution? And do you have Domaine Leroy Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru in the cellar? Or something similar? These are the tough questions progressive donors and liberal groups have been hashing out at Montage in Laguna Beach, the resort hosting the secretive Democracy Alliance gathering. If our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist takes in photos of the place and its ocean view, he just might seize up on the spot.
SENATE VOTING ON INTERNET SALES TAX - As we speak, the Senate is voting on cloture on a bill that would allow states to collect sales tax on stuff sold over the Internet. It's making K Street rich. It's not at swipe fee levels, but it's quite the shakedown. Background here. By agreement, a vote on final passage will take place May 6.
FORMER ABRAMOFF LOBBYIST PISSED AT THINGS PISSED AT OBAMACARE - "I like how Congress wants to exempt itself from Obamacare," PSLGOPL writes, referencing a controversial Politico story. "These assholes usually know when something is bad and almost always make sure it doesn't impact them. Personally, I don't know how I feel about the ACA. If it pays for my gin and Super Beta Prostate I am in. If it doesn't, I am out." The story is bunk, but thanks, FALPAT!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Florida violated federal civil rights law with its new and unusual requirement that unemployment claimants file online and take math and reading tests before they can receive benefits, the U.S. Labor Department determined this month. The department's Civil Rights Center's initial determination lays out the problems some non-English speakers and people with disabilities have encountered seeking benefits. For instance, details omitted from translated material "constituted a failure to provide meaningful access" to vital information, the department found. And when people called for help, they couldn't get through. "A broken phone system coupled with no meaningful alternative to the online processes left many unemployed Floridians effectively shut out from much needed unemployment insurance," Valory Greenfield, an attorney with Florida Legal Services, said Thursday. Greenfield's group filed the complaint on behalf of the Miami Workers Center, a nonprofit that advocates for low-income and minorities in Florida. [HuffPost]
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U.S.: SYRIA USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS - AP: "U.S. intelligence has concluded with 'varying degrees of confidence,' that the Syrian government has twice used chemical weapons in its fierce civil war, the White House and other top administration officials said Thursday. However, officials also said more definitive proof was needed and the U.S. was not ready to escalate its involvement in Syria beyond non-lethal aid, despite President Barack Obama's repeated public assertions that Syria's use of chemical weapons, or the transfer of its stockpiles to a terrorist group, would cross a 'red line.' The White House disclosed the new intelligence Thursday in letters to two senators, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, traveling in Abu Dhabi, also discussed it with reporters. The letters were sent in response to questions from members of Congress who are eager for the administration to arm the rebels or get involved militarily." [AP]
HOUSE UNVEILS PIECEMEAL IMMIGRATION REFORM PROPOSAL - Prediction: This ends with no actual immigration reforms being passed but a profound loosening of concealed carry laws. Mike McAuliff: "House lawmakers rolled out a piecemeal approach to passing immigration reform Thursday, even as senators warned that a go-slow, incremental effort would likely fail. Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, would unveil a series of measures aimed at fixing the immigration system one piece at a time... The House Republicans intend to start this week by introducing one bill to establish a guest worker program for agricultural laborers and another to set up an 'e-verify' type program that would track people who enter and leave the United States. Goodlatte and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) announced their plan even as the two lead senators in the immigration reform effort[,Chuck Schumer and John McCain,] told reporters that piecemeal will not work." [HuffPost]
a true lion of the Senate a guy who is a senator, might try his luck with a gubernatorial bid. Roll Call: "Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is considering a bid against GOP Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. 'I'd say that's true, that he's considering it,' said Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin. 'An awful lot of people have contacted him and asked him to do so. But -- and as he's said a number of times -- he presently doesn't have any intention of running. He's got a job to do as a senator.' Privately, top Florida Democrats described Nelson's consideration as 'fairly serious,' as Abby Livingston reported in Roll Call's weekly Farm Team column." [Roll Call]
OFA ENTERS CLIMATE CHANGE FRAY - While the president will resign himself to making remarks at the UN about the urgency of climate change and refusing to don a hard hat while touring renewable energy plants. Lucia Graves and Sam Stein: "Organizing for Action, the advocacy arm pushing the Obama administration's agenda, will begin its next big policy push on Thursday with a focus on climate change. The group, which was formed using the 2012 Obama campaign's machinery, will begin what organizers view as a potential multi-year effort to lay the groundwork for legislative action on climate change. The first steps will come in the form of an email blast to the group's reported 20 million subscribers Thursday morning featuring a 'greatest hits' video compilation of what it calls the climate deniers in Congress...OFA is not advocating any specific policy prescription, nor does its campaign address the lingering question of whether the president will sign off on the construction of the lower part of the Keystone XL, the controversial pipeline that would carry heavy crude oil from Canada to refineries in Oklahoma. Instead, OFA's goal is simply getting lawmakers to acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic climate change." [HuffPost]
GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES ESCALATION OF GUANTANAMO HUNGER STRIKE - Guantanamo Bay, America's own version of the scary murder weapon room from "American Psycho," continues to be super awful. Ryan Reilly: "The number of Guantanamo Bay detainees officially recognized as hunger strikers by the military rose to 94 on Thursday, a spokesman said Thursday. Seventeen of the detainees are being force-fed and three of them are in the hospital with non-life threatening conditions, the spokesman said. Lt. Col. Sam House also said that no detainees had tried to commit suicide since April 14, the day after guards raided Guantanamo's Camp Six and forced detainees who had been living in a communal environment back into their individual cells. There were two suicide attempts over a two-day period earlier this month." [HuffPost]
BARBARA BUSH TIRED OF HER PROGENY RUNNING THINGS - Sadly this didn't end with the former first lady urging Americans to "Draft Warren." AP: "Amid the celebration surrounding the opening of son George W. Bush's presidential library, former first lady Barbara Bush is brushing aside talk of a Jeb Bush run for the White House. Appearing in an interview Thursday on NBC's 'Today' show, Mrs. Bush was asked how she felt about Jeb, the former governor of Florida, seeking the presidency in 2016. Mrs. Bush replied, quote, 'We've had enough Bushes.' She went on to say she thought there were many worthy candidates, telling anchor Matt Lauer, 'There are people out there' who are qualified. Mrs. Bush, who had a reputation for bluntness when her husband George H.W. Bush was president, spoke from the site of the presidential library. On Wednesday, George W. Bush told CNN he thought Jeb Bush should run for president." Bush's dig was intended, we think, as a subtle jab at Hillary. She's always been the brains of that operation. [AP]
PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES, LIKE MOST PRESIDENTS, KIND OF SHADY - Paul Blumenthal, on how that fascinating exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Library on global AIDS might be funded by Kim Jong un, for all we know: "The George W. Bush Foundation had raised $415 million in private funds for the [library] through 2011, according to tax filings... Those donations are not required to be made public and can come from any source, including foreign governments...Bills to force presidential libraries to disclose their donors have received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate... President Obama supported this legislation when he served in the Senate and during his first presidential campaign. In fact, he used the issue of presidential library disclosure to his benefit during the divisive Democratic primary with Hillary Clinton, when he argued that President Clinton should have to disclose the identity of donors to his library. On Tuesday, however, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked whether the president supported legislation to disclose presidential library donations, deflected the question by stating, 'I'm not even aware of the legislation.'" [HuffPost]
Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer were not invited by Bush, Capitol Hill sources told HuffPost. Hoyer complained privately to colleagues about the slight earlier Thursday, HuffPost was told. A second House source confirmed the lack of an invitation to Pelosi and Hoyer, and a Reid aide said that the Senate majority leader was not invited. The snub is a reminder of the tense relationship that Bush had with Democrats as president. Reid famously called him a "liar," and Pelosi made no attempt to conceal her contempt for him. Bush, for his part, showed little interest in a relationship with congressional Democrats, preferring to marshal only Republican votes on behalf of his agenda. [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Red Panda does more pull-ups than you have done in the last five years combined.
MARK SANFORD DOES MISGUIDED THING - Sadly, this didn't end with a bunch of people in South Carolina getting to listen to their former governor's "Yakkity yak, I'll call back!" novelty voicemail message. Nick Wing: "Over the weekend, GOP congressional candidate Mark Sanford gave voters his personal cell phone number and asked them to call him in a full-page ad in a South Carolina newspaper. Democrats have been obliging his request en masse over the past few days, Columbia Patch reported on Thursday. Not all of the calls have been hostile, Sanford told Patch, saying some people were willing to engage in honest policy discussions. A Democratic super PAC also included the number in a recent fundraising email, encouraging donors to call the former governor with questions about his previous spending on 'luxury travel.'... Andy Stone, the communications director of House Majority PAC, said the decision was simple for the group. 'He took out a full page ad in the newspaper and published his phone number for anyone to call him. And that's what we did,' he told Patch." [HuffPost]
- Helmet camera of guy riding a 14-foot tall bicycle for 20 miles. [http://bit.ly/11D3cSH]
- Seven websites you should be wasting time on right now, including "Deep Sea Fauna... With Googly Eyes." [http://huff.to/11BPeR9]
- The evolution of the $100 bill, which just got a fancy new redesign. [http://bit.ly/17UZsg6]
- Six animals that know how to dance. The entry for six-and-a-half -- "some humans" -- was nixed. [http://bit.ly/XXgQ2l]
- Elephants enjoy the rain because YOLO. [http://bit.ly/12nDjqa]
- According to Reddit, this is the Miracle on Ice of competitive console gaming. Got it. [http://bit.ly/ZPD6rG]
- A decidedly sloshed Jimmy Kimmel delivered an amazing speech at the Time 100 gala. [http://vult.re/11nrpL9]
Special Twitterama #FF: @HuffPoSpoilers
@moneyries: In 30 mins @HuffingtonPost is going to vague-tweet a story re @HuffPoSpoilers, which will then RT it w/ a joke, and Internet will shut down.
@delrayser: Somewhere, Mike Dukakis, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, and Mitt Romney just cut the ribbon at the grand opening of a Dennys.
@dceiver: Apparently I'm supposed to be impressed that a handful of super-wealthy and powerful Americans are all bros w/ each other in public.
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