POLITICS
05/17/2013 05:27 pm ET | Updated Jul 17, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Benghazi, IRS, DOJ Subpoenas And STILL NO WHITE HOUSE TOURS (Impeach)

The Daily Caller is upset the president made a marine hold up an umbrella, but it'll be FURIOUS when it learns the IRS granted the umbrella 501(c)(4) status. Out of the blue, Scott Brown tweeted "It was very tasty," which sadly wasn't the beginning of his Proustian magnum opus (title: "This Madeleine Is Wicked Awesome"). And outgoing IRS Commissioner Steve Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, but refused to answer why he thought recording "Abracadabra" was a good idea. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, May 17th, 2013:

REID CONTEMPLATING ANOTHER GO AT FILIBUSTER REFORM - WaPo: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is increasingly focused on the month of July as the time to exercise the so-called 'nuclear option' and revisit filibuster reform, and he has privately told top advisers that he’s all but certain to take action if the Senate GOP blocks three upcoming key nominations, a senior Senate Democratic aide familiar with his thinking tells me. Reid has privately consulted with President Obama on the need to revisit filibuster reform, and the President has told the Majority Leader that he will support the exercising of the nuclear option if Reid opts for it, the aide says, adding that senior Democrats expect the President to publicly push for it as well. 'If Senator Reid decides to do something on nominations, the president has said he’ll be there to support him,' the aide says." Reid is eyeing a change to the rules that would do away with the 60-vote threshold on all judicial and executive branch nominations, the aide says, on the theory that this is a good way to immediately break an important logjam in Washington -- without changing the rules when it comes to legislation." [WaPo]

They're here: "After weeks and weeks of buildup, people in the Washington area are beginning to spot cicadas - those gigantic flying bugs that make an appearance every several years. The brood on its way now appears once every 17 years. One woman named Shawna of Fredericksburg, Va., snapped a few photos for WUSA9 in Washington, but she had to stop because the cicadas started to fly around and she had to run inside." [USA Today]

I'M ERICA ELLIOTT, AND I'M A HUFFPOST HILL-O - We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a testimonial from one of our high-profile, insider-y readers. Cue soft piano music and black-and-white stock footage of the Capitol: "As a PSLGOPC (Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Communicator), I know that in Washington, it's vital to have your finger on the pulse of what opinion leaders are saying. That's why after I've read POLITICO's Playbook, POLITICO's Huddle, POLITICO's Morning Money, POLITICO's Influence, NBC's First Read, ABC's The Note, Hotline's Wake-Up Call, Hotline's Last Call, The Daily Beast's Cheat Sheet, Roll Call's Heard on the Hill, FishbowlDC, FamousDC, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, CityPaper and Street Sense, I always read HuffPost Hill. Nobody knows better than HuffPost Hill what David Axelrod's staff assistant is thinking. When hero worship of Elizabeth Warren's latest wealth transferring policies is the only thing that will brighten my day, I know all I need to do is wait for that 6pm email from Eliot, Arthur and Ryan. And when I want to know what Vice President Biden is "literally" doing right now - the gang at HuffPost never fails me. It's also the best way to find out what the "liberal media" is writing without the DOJ subpoenaing your phone records. Plus, they keep me up-to-date on all the latest internet memes and hipster jokes -- just this week they highlighted "Rickrolling." Because you've read this far: I'm Erica Elliott and I'm a HuffPost Hill-er...HuffPost Hill-ist? HuffPost Hill-o? Whatever." Thanks, Erica!

Erik Wemple explains what the hell this is. [Vimeo]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (R-Tenn.) had a clever response to Democrats talking about Jesus Christ's pretty clear instruction to take care of poor people: "The Bible says lots of things." [HuffPost]

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First Karina Newton, now Catil O'Neill. Nancy Pelosi is losing all her longterm ladies. O'Neill (yes, that O'Neill) is headed to Facebook's DC operation.

ISSA SUBPOENAS BENGHAZI AUDITOR BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH BENGHAZI ANSWERS - The Hill: "The lawmaker leading the charge to investigate the Benghazi, Libya, terror attack on Friday subpoenaed the co-author of a report that slammed the State Department but didn't interview Hillary Clinton. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) formally demanded that retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering submit to being deposed by the committee next Thursday. The subpoena comes in the wake of a series of acrimonious public exchanges this week between the two men. Issa didn't issue a subpoena to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who co-authored the Benghazi report with Pickering." [The Hill]

IRS CHIEF STEVE MILLER SPEAKS OF THE POMPITOUS OF LOVE TESTIFIES - He's a joker, he's a smoker, he's a disgraaaced bureaucraaaaatt. Mike McAuliff: "The Internal Revenue Service took a bipartisan drubbing Friday morning over its targeting of conservative political groups, even as its acting director apologized and denied the activity was partisan. 'I want to apologize on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the mistakes that we made and the poor service that we provided,' said IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller, who resigned on Wednesday. 'The affected organizations and the American public deserve better.'... The inspector general, Russell George, repeated the findings Friday, noting that even after the abuses were first revealed and halted, the local agency resumed screening again before it was finally stopped. Miller, though, insisted the screenings were the result of mistakes, not, politics." [HuffPost]

Miller, btw, pushed through the IRS's whistle-blower program, one of its greatest successes in taxing rich tax cheats, so he does leave that legacy, and had plenty of haters happy to see him take the fall for this.

THE IRS FALSE FLAGS - Jon Ward: "The origins of the IRS scandal over its targeting of tea party groups aroused curiosity and suspicion from the beginning. A senior IRS official, Lois G. Lerner, was speaking on a panel at an American Bar Association conference in a ballroom at the Grand Hyatt in Washington. She was asked a question by a member of the audience, and disclosed then that IRS agents had 'used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title.' A few days ago, Kevin Williamson at National Review reported that the person who asked the question of Lerner, Celia Roady, was a tax lawyer who had served on IRS-formed advisory committees that dealt with issues of organizations applying for nonprofit status. Williamson wrote that sources on Capitol Hill said the question was 'planted' and that 'the IRS has informally admitted as much.' On Friday, the acting commissioner of the IRS admitted publicly that the question was planted." [HuffPost]

@AP: Woman says Berlusconi's disco had girls performing strip acts as nuns while some cross-dressed as Obama: apne.ws/111URnX

REPUBLICANS MIXED ON MEDIA SHIELD BILL - Really, they have to decide on sticking it to the Obama administration or sticking it to the press, and that's like asking a kid to choose between LEGOs and sugary cereal. Sabrina Siddiqui: " Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Thursday he would co-sponsor a media shield bill with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) after the Justice Department secretly seized two months of Associated Press phone records. The two senators penned a letter urging their 98 Senate colleagues to support the bill granting legal protections to journalists engaged in newsgathering activities...Amid the outrage over the Justice Department probe, few Republicans have indicated they are committed to reporter protection. Many avoided taking a position on media shield legislation, saying they would have to see it first. They either reiterated their stance that the administration's actions were inappropriate, or deflected the issue entirely. Democrats in both the House and Senate have shown broad support for similar shield law measures in the past." [HuffPost]

At this point, if Max Baucus superglues all the Senate dining room's silverware to the tables on his last day, we won't be surprised: "Senior Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who recently slapped Obamacare as a 'train wreck,' believes that the IRS scandal is just beginning and that "a lot more" damaging information will be revealed, likely at congressional hearings. 'I have a hunch that a lot more is going to come out, frankly,' Baucus, whose pending retirement seems to have freed him up to speak bluntly, told Bloomberg Government's 'Capitol Gains' TV show. 'It's broader than the current focus. And I think it's important that we have the hearings, and I think that will encourage other information to come out that has not yet come out. I suspect that we will learn more in the next several days, maybe the next couple three weeks which adds more context to all of this,' added Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee." [Examiner]

POLL: AMERICANS DON'T THINK BENGHAZI IS WATERGATE - Unless you're the treasurer of a conservative 501(c)(4) who also works for AP and Ambassador Chris Stevens' cousin. Then this is a pretty intense week for you. Gallup: "Slim majorities of Americans are very or somewhat closely following the situations involving the Internal Revenue Service (54%) and the congressional hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and its aftermath (53%) -- comparatively low based on historical measures of other news stories over the last two decades... Republicans are much more likely to say they are following these news stories closely than are independents or in particular Democrats. There is a 21-percentage-point gap between Republicans and Democrats in terms of following the Benghazi story closely, and a 27-point gap on the IRS story." [Gallup]

NOT A SINGLE DAMN, JAY CARNEY EDITION - Times: "Mr. Carney, 47, has fully embraced the sort of semantic jujitsu that might have made his reporter self choleric, 'appreciating' tough questions, dodging others as 'wholly inappropriate' to answer, boasting about an 'unfettered' respect for the press that was being spied upon and generally splitting hairs, obfuscating and testing his turbulent ties with the members of his former tribe. If the incoming mortar fire is leaving wounds, Mr. Carney, the bespectacled, baby-faced press warrior, does not feel them. 'Honestly, I find it enjoyable,' Mr. Carney said. 'I find it challenging. It’s hard, but it’s better than 45 to 60 minutes of calling on reporters who are kind of sleepy and disinterested. For me personally, it has been a good week.'... The day after Mr. Obama’s victory, Mr. Carney called his old friend Antony J. Blinken, a deputy national security adviser and a member of Mr. Carney’s garage band, to inquire about a job in the administration. He was eagerly accepted into the vice president’s press office, where he served as communications director, and later chief spokesman, for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr." [NYT]

At long last Allen West has a home: "Former U.S. Rep. Allen West has a new job as a Fox News contributor, the cable channel announced Thursday. West, a staunch and vocal Republican tea party favorite, will offer political commentary across various daytime and prime-time programs, said Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming for the network. 'Representative West's congressional and military experience along with his fearless approach to voicing key issues will provide a valuable point of view to the FOX News lineup,' Shine said." [Sun-Sentinel]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dog sings along to Adele.

PRESIDENT OBAMA TOTALLY GOT A GUY COURT MARSHALLED: DAILY CALLER - The worst part was when the president made the Marine hold the umbrella over Bill Ayres. Daily Caller: "The commander in chief of the American armed forces today forced a violation of Marine Corps regulations, so he wouldn’t get wet. According to Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, a male Marine is not allowed to carry an umbrella while in uniform. There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella. Nevertheless, during a press conference under a light drizzle with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this morning, President Obama allowed the First Head to be protected from the elements by an umbrella held by a male Marine corporal." [Daily Caller]

COMFORT FOOD

- Obscene hand gestures from around the world. Know how to tell someone to eat it next time you're in Milan. [http://bit.ly/16CHP8O]

- Like books in Hebrew, GIFs are best consumed in reverse. [http://bit.ly/16mDdEg]

- "Game of Thrones" houses reimagined as corporations. [http://bit.ly/10VnmcS]

- "The Simpsons" take on "Downton Abbey." [http://huff.to/111JUm5]

- History's greatest ground rule double. [http://bit.ly/19A3Wti]

- How much would it cost to build the Starship Enterprise? [http://bit.ly/12gP3cK]

- If your friends who hated sports hated everything else like they hate sports. [http://bit.ly/13p6TcB]

TWITTERAMA

@ScottBrownMA: It was very tasty

@pourmecoffee: Reminder: Don't get the Powerball tickets marketed by Goldman Sachs. They just bundle up losing stubs and sell them to suckers.

@arishapiro: Overheard outside the White House, a segway tour guide tells her wards: "These are the barriers we DO NOT fit through. You WILL get stuck."

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