Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Lindsey Graham Places The Lotion In The Basket

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Republicans want Congress to oversee scientific research, which is bad news unless you think remote prayer can generate non-embryonic stem cells. NBA free agent Jason Collins became the first major team sport athlete to come out of the closet, though the New York Post is now reporting he is 12 heterosexual men (CNN confirmed). And Joe Biden said he will rip off Lindsey Graham's skin, but didn't say whether it rubs the lotion on the skin or else it gets the hose again. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, April 29th, 2013:

GOP WANTS TO REGULATE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH - The party that thinks global warming is caused by God putting too much sriracha on his burrito is playing to its strengths. With Mike McAuliff: "Republicans on the House science committee are making an unprecedented move to require oversight of the scientific research process, pushing a bill that would in effect politicize decisions made by the National Science Foundation, according to a draft of the legislation acquired by The Huffington Post. As part of the same effort, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, sent a letter to the NSF Thursday demanding that it provide supporting materials to justify research that its panels of independent scientists have approved. The bill, titled the High Quality Research Act and authored by Smith, would require the director of the NSF to certify in writing that every grant handed out by the federal agency is for work that is 'the finest quality, is ground breaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large; and ... is not duplicative of other research project being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies.'... The measure would also require federal officials to report back to Congress on how the NSF was implementing the new regulations. Additionally, the bill solicits recommendations for how to place similar restrictions on other federal science agencies." [HuffPost]

Good news for all you Francis Bacon fanboys/girls out there: "President Barack Obama promised on Monday to ensure that scientific research is insulated from partisan politics, as government-funded projects come under attack from Republicans in Congress. He made his remarks at the National Academy of Sciences, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary. 'I will keep working to make sure that our scientific research does not fall victim to political maneuvers or agendas that in some ways would impact on the integrity of the scientific process. That's what's going to maintain our standards of scientific excellence for years to come.'" [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - William McCormick remembers from his working-class upbringing in Covington, Va., that neighbors took care of neighbors. "Both my parents worked in the mill," he said. "For people in the neighborhood who were hungry we'd make up two or three bags of groceries, put $5 or $10 in it, set it on the porch, knock on the door and leave. We wouldn't tell 'em who did it." Now McCormick is 70 years old and living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in a six-story building. Only about 40 of the building's 144 units are occupied. The parking lots are barren and the hallways are dingy with torn carpets. McCormick considers the building "spooky." He's lived here since 2005, and for most of that time he has benefited from food charity every week day -- not left at his door anonymously, but brought to him by Meals On Wheels volunteers. Since 1972 the Administration on Aging has provided federal funding for senior nutrition, and today volunteers from some 5,000 Meals On Wheels affiliates across the country distribute a million meals a day. But federal funding for senior nutrition has been reduced by budget cuts known as sequestration, meaning less food for old people here and elsewhere. [HuffPost]

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BIGGER SNIP FOR SNAP - Jerry Hagstrom scoops more cuts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: "House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., told Capital Press on April 26 that he is planning a farm bill that will cut $38 billion in spending over 10 years, with $20 billion coming from the food stamps account and $18 billion from the rest of the bill. Those cuts would be $3 billion more than those included in a farm bill passed by the committee last year." []

OBAMA NOMINATES CHARLOTTE MAYOR FOR TRANSPORTATION POST - WaPo: "Calling him possibly the best transportation secretary in history, President Obama bid goodbye to Ray LaHood on Monday and nominated Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to take his place. Foxx, a Democrat, replaces a Republican in the White House, but in his brief speech in the East Room of the White House he made an appeal for bipartisanship. 'We must work together to enhance this nation's infrastructure,' he said. Obama also used the announcement to press for infrastructure spending, saying that putting Americans to work repairing the nation's roads and bridges was one of the best ways to boost the economy." Not that anybody cares, but we scooped this on Sunday. [WaPo]

PSLGOPL, ETERNAL OPTIMIST, HOPES FOXX'S NOMINATION GETS PEOPLE UPSET ABOUT THAT $10 MILLION DUKE ENERGY GAVE OBAMA - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist likes nothing less than mega corporations giving millions of dollars to fund a convention touted as not taking any corporate money. "PSLGOPL wonders if there is a Republican Senator who might ask about Duke Energy's $10mil favor to the DNC Foxx may have been at the very least aware of," he wonders, referring to himself in the third person again.

The Times' 2009 profile of LaHood remains our favorite look at any first term cabinet member: "I don't think they picked me because they thought I'd be that great a transportation person... They picked me because of the bipartisan thing... and the Congressional thing, and the friendship thing...I've never been passionate about any particular issue... I'm not going to sit around agonizing [about whether he'd disagree with President Obama]. The answer is, probably not." [NYT]

SENATORS FACING BACKLASH FOR BACKGROUND CHECK VOTE - Jeff Flake has passed (fallen behind?) Mitch McConnell as the country's least popular senator. Lying to the mothers of shooting victims can do that. PPP: "After just 3 months in office Jeff Flake has already become one of the most unpopular Senators in the country. Just 32% of voters approve of him to 51% who disapprove and that -19 net approval rating makes him the most unpopular sitting Senator we've polled on, taking that label from Mitch McConnell. 70% of Arizona voters support background checks to only 26% who are opposed to them... [Lisa Murkowski's] approval is down a net 16 points from that +21 standing to +5 with 46% of voters approving and 41% now disapproving of her...[Mark Begich] was at 49/39 in February and now he's at 41/37...60% of Alaska voters support background checks to just 35% opposed, including a 62/33 spread with independents... Portman's approval has dropped a net 18 points over the last 6 months from +10 (35/25) in October to now -8 (26/34) in April... 72% of Ohio voters support background checks, including 87% of Democrats, 73% of independents, and 56% of Republicans." [PPP Polling]

MCCONNELL PUSHING GOP FOR IMPROVED DATA COLLECTION - Until now, the GOP identified trends in the electorate by asking an elderly man on a rocking chair atop a dilapidated front porch if his knees were acting up. No longer, it seems. Jon Ward: "McConnell's aides have noticed that the Republican conversation about catching up to Obama's data-driven, clinic of a campaign in 2012 is mostly focused on doing so by 2016. That doesn't help McConnell, who is up for reelection in 2014...McConnell is bringing some relatively new blood into an establishment campaign. He has hired a small firm called Crowdverb to run his campaign's data operation. For digital strategy, McConnell is turning to Vincent Harris, a 24-year-old digital specialist who worked for Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) campaign and on the presidential primary runs of Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga). Throw in Benton, the 35-year-old former campaign manager for former Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) 2012 presidential campaign, and the message is clear: McConnell may be 71-years-old and look the part of a local chamber of commerce president, but he is taking an approach to personnel that embraces outsiders and innovation." [HuffPost]

In response to President Obama's joke during the Correspondents' Dinner that he didn't want to get a drink with Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader got MEME-y. "@BarackObama @Eastwood_ Greetings from coal country! Hazard, KY -MM" the Kentucky senator tweeted. Attached was a photo of McConnell seated at a bar with a pint of beer. Beside McConnell was an empty chair and a glass of wine, a reference to Clint Eastwood's empty chair rant from the RNC and, we guess, the president's highfalutin tastes. If Senator McConnell REALLY wanted to pander to rural Kentucky voters AND convey his knowledge of stale cultural phenomenons, he should have done a "Harlan Shake" video. Thank you. Thank you We'll show ourselves out. [Twitter]

PETERS ENTERS MICHIGAN SENATE RACE, FAVORITE FOR DEM NOMINATION - Roll Call: "Rep. Gary Peters will announce his campaign for Senate on Wednesday, giving Democrats a top candidate to run for the open seat in Michigan. Peters will make the announcement in his hometown of Rochester Hills, a top Democratic aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call. However, the surrounding area in Oakland County has also proved pivotal for victory in recent statewide victories. Democrats have the advantage to hold retiring Sen. Carl Levin's seat. Peters is not expected to face a primary, and Republicans are still looking for a candidate. CQ Roll Call Contributing Writer Stuart Rothenberg rates this race as Safe Democrat...Republicans have yet to field a recruit for this seat. But former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and Reps. Justin Amash and Mike Rogers continue to consider campaigns." [Roll Call]

PETRAEUS QUIETLY REHABILITATING IMAGE - Though it doesn't look like a tell-all memoir is on the agenda, so save your "All Out" jokes for another day. BuzzFeed: "[H]e's barely visible, working with the ubiquitous Beltway fixer Bob Barnett, though he has no book project or paid speaking tour in the works. He has been quietly, formally welcomed back to the town's high society, arriving as the guest of honor one recent evening at the home of Atlantic publisher David Bradley with such eminences as Walter Isaacson, Andrea Mitchell, and Alan Greenspan; at the dinner, a person familiar with the conversation said, the sex scandal was mentioned only obliquely. Crucially, his wife Holly -- who was present at the Bradley dinner -- appears to be on board for his rehabilitation... He has told associates he'll be going to London this summer to receive the prestigious Chesney Gold Medal from London's Royal United Services, a presentation that was postponed last fall amid the scandal. He accepted a visiting professorship at the City University of New York. Petraeus has not been giving interviews, and Barnett didn't respond to a request to speak to his client... But one close friend told BuzzFeed he expects the former general to keep his public focus on veterans and education and to offer military advice behind the scenes." [BuzzFeed]

SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR ON IRREVOCABLY CHANGING THE COURSE OF HISTORY: WHOOPS - Remember Bush v. Gore? It was that thing that happened before Summer of the Shark and after Y2K. Luke Johnson: "Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor expressed doubt Friday about the decision to take the 2000 Bush v. Gore case that resulted in the election of President George W. Bush. 'It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,' O'Connor told the Chicago Tribune editorial board in an interview. 'Maybe the court should have said, "We're not going to take it, goodbye."' 'Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision,' she said. 'It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Boston Terrier drives around Brooklyn.

JOE BIDEN PANDERS TO ZOMBIE LOBBY, VOWS TO EAT LINDSEY GRAHAM - Or just turn his skin into some kind of discolored and semi-translucent LIndsey Graham costume. Roll Call: "Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. offered Sen. Lindsey Graham his support for re-election -- including a pledge to 'rip your skin off for you' if it helps the South Carolina Republican's 2014 prospects. 'I told him I'll come to South Carolina and campaign for him or against him, whichever will help the most -- I know which it'll be,' Biden said at an April 26 forum hosted by The McCain Institute for International Leadership. 'I'm going down there to to the JJ next weekend, Lindsey, and I assure you I will rip your skin off for you, and I expect a thank-you note.'... Biden is scheduled to be the featured speaker at the South Carolina Democratic Party's May 3 Jefferson-Jackson dinner at the convention center in Columbia." [Roll Call]


- Leopard gets festive, tears apart pinata. []

- A short documentary about Harvey Kurtzman, a cartoonist and one of the founders of MAD Magazine. []

- Cockatoo enjoys getting down to Daft Punk. []

- Then-and-now screen captures of popular websites including HuffPost. []

- NBA free agent Jason Collins became the first major American professional athlete to come out of the closet. []

- Weasel behaves in decidedly weasel-esque fashion. []

- Chart shows the breakdown of global GDPs. Americans produce a lot of things we don't need. []


@dceiver: Lanny Davis is on MSNBC, probably looking to do crisis PR for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

@jmhattem: Secretary Foxx sounds like a porno

@stefanjbecket: How will this develop any further RT @DRUDGE_REPORT: NBA PLAYER COMES OUT AS GAY... DEVELOPING...

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