POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Saxby Chambliss: Boys Will Be Boys, Rapists

06/04/2013 05:45 pm ET | Updated Aug 04, 2013

Saxby Chambliss blamed the scourge of military sexual assaults on hormones -- though we're pretty sure men actually do have ways to shut that whole thing down. Some House Republicans think God is on John Boehner's side, but if that were true, cigarette taxes wouldn't be so high. And House Republicans want to defund ACORN -- an organization that no longer exists -- so you better believe the Obamacare repeal votes will keep on comin'. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 4th, 2013:

SEQUESTRATION TOTALLY RUINING OUR SEARCH FOR THE UNKNOWN - Slashing government spending and stymying scientific research: Republicans are really killing two birds with one stone AR-15 bought at a gun show. Sam Stein: "The National Institutes of Health released an updated projection of the cuts it must make to deal with spending reductions put in place by sequestration, and the picture isn't pretty. While the National Cancer Institute received $5.06 billion in FY 2012, it is budgeted to receive only $4.77 billion in FY 2013. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences' budget will fall from $2.42 billion to $2.29 billion, meanwhile, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences' budget will fall from $574 million to $542 million. Overall, the NIH's discretionary budget authority will go from $30.7 billion to $29 billion. Removing $1.7 billion from a budget in a matter of months -- sequestration passed in March 1 and will be felt through the end of September -- is a dramatic exercise in spending reduction. Doing so requires harsh choices. According to the agency, 750 fewer patients will be admitted into the NIH Clinical Center and 700 fewer competitive research grants will be issued in FY 2013 than in FY 2012. Existing grants will be paid out as scheduled but their amounts will be reduced by an average of 4.7 percent." [HuffPost]

RYAN REILLY ONCE HAD CLASS - Ryan Reilly: "In what was almost certainly the first time the Obama administration subpoenaed a journalist to testify before a grand jury, federal prosecutors wound up letting the reporter off the hook. The reason: I had class. Back in 2009, when I was a senior at Catholic University in D.C., I was subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. A few months before the subpoena was issued, in November 2008, I had written a story for the school's student newspaper about students being assaulted at a now-defunct bar that was popular with underage students. In a Jan. 22, 2009 letter addressed to the student newspaper's office, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maia Miller wrote that I 'may have knowledge or information relevant to the Grand Jury's investigation' into the assault. She wanted me to testify." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Budget cuts are stealing meals from elderly Americans all across the country, according to a new survey by the Meals on Wheels Association of America. The association represents about 5,000 local senior nutrition groups in every state, coordinating volunteers who deliver a million meals a day to poor senior citizens. Since 1972, the federal government has helped pay for the meals through the Administration on Aging, which did not escape the 5.1 percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending this year, also called sequestration. Meals On Wheels surveyed 640 of its local member organizations on how they've coped since the cuts took effect in March. Forty percent of programs have eliminated staff positions. Seventy percent are putting more people on waiting lists, increasing the number of those on waiting lists by an average of 58 seniors per list. And programs have cut an average of 364 meals per week. "The real impact of sequester is that our programs don't have the ability to expand to meet the growing need," association president Ellie Hollander said in a statement. "We should be investing in these programs to ensure our seniors have the nutritious meals they need to remain healthy and independent." [HuffPost]

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CHRIS CHRISTIE SET SPECIAL ELECTION TO FILL LAUTENBERG'S SEAT - The thinking is that having Cory Booker on the ballot in 2014 would help down ticket Democratic candidates. Also, "The Down Ticket" sounds like a really great Asbury Park bar/music venue. John Celock: "Christie announced that a special primary election will be held on Aug. 13 with an Oct. 16 general election to fill the seat, ending a debate over conflicting state laws and the possibility that the Senate election would be the same day as the November 2013 election. A nonpartisan analysis puts the cost for the special primary and general election at almost $24 million...Christie said that politics did not factor into the decision to call the October special election. But scheduling the special election for November would have set up the possibility of popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), a potential Democratic Senate candidate, running statewide at the same time that Christie faces presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono (D) for the governorship. Christie is leading Buono by 30 points in recent polls, but the presence of the popular Booker on the ballot could have helped Buono and helped Democratic state legislative candidates." [HuffPost]

MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT HEARING BEGINS IN SENATE, SAXBY CHAMBLISS PULLS A TODD AKIN - The Georgia senator attributed the appalling number of sexual assaults in the military to hormones, but thankfully didn't say wemitigate the negative effects of those "hormones" by "urging stoicism, hard work, marriage, prayer and personal initiative, and by stigmatizing unemployment and passivity." Amanda Terkel: "'The young folks who are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we've got to be very careful how we address it on our side,' Chambliss told top military officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. 'But guys, we are not doing our job. You're not doing yours, and we are not doing ours with the rates we are seeing on sexual assaults.'" [HuffPost]

Jeff Sessions got in on the hypothesizing: "A culture 'awash in sexual activity' contributes to the challenge of combating sexual assault in the military, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Tuesday. In the midst of questioning commanders on their ability to and the protocol for dealing with reports of assault in their ranks, Sessions lamented what he saw as a broader societal problem. 'We live in a culture that's awash in sexual activity,' he said. Sexual images, he said, are sold on bases or off base but nearby. 'It creates some problems, I think.'" [WaPo]

HOUSE GOP CONFERENCE FRACTURED, RECEIVING MESSAGES FROM GOD - Just more instances of situations that led John Boehner to clench his eyes shut and dream of some salty harbor bar somewhere with lax smoking rules. WaPo: "[I]nterviews with nearly three dozen GOP lawmakers and senior aides revealed plenty of doubt. The majority is 'adrift,' according to a longtime conservative. The top five leaders hail from blue states that voted for President Obama, making them out of step with a conference dominated by red-state Republicans. A junior Republican called it a 'fractured' conference when it comes to the biggest issues...Barely 36 hours after the caustic New Year's Day vote, Boehner faced a coup attempt from a clutch of renegade conservatives. The cabal quickly fell apart when several Republicans, after a night of prayer, said God told them to spare the speaker. Still, Boehner came within a few votes of failing to secure his speakership on the initial vote....This is the price of remaining in charge in today's House: Boehner must always appear to be working from the bottom up, never seeming to impose his will. This bottom-up approach and the indecision it has spawned is nothing like the 2011 debt ceiling showdown..." [WaPo]

A $50 MILLION GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE AIN'T NO THANG - Fortunately, no videos of HHS employees twerking have emerged. Sam Stein and Paul Blumenthal: "[A] Treasury Inspector General report [showed the IRS] had spent close to $50 million on 225 employee conferences from 2010 through 2012... the IRS was hardly the most fiscally irresponsible conference host; other agencies were far worse... Take the Department of Defense. In FY 2012, it spent $89 million on 295 conferences. The vast majority of these conferences were standard fare: leadership seminars at National Harbor, Md., ($3.7 million for 1,985 attendees), for example, or an education symposium in Las Vegas ($1.27 million for 1,759 people). But others could raise eyebrows in the current political climate. From April 25 through April 27, 2012, the Defense Department hosted a conference for commanders, command chiefs and their spouses at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. The conference cost $204,671 with 151 people attending the "once-a-year opportunity" to "come together in a face-to-face environment to communicate, collaborate, and learn from the experiences of all attendees." [HuffPost]

HOUSE TO DEFUND ACORN, THAT THING THAT DOESN'T EXIST - Everyone knows that the only way you can ward off ACORN is with garlic, a cross and/or a spike to the heart. Zach Carter: "House Republicans are scheduled to vote on two separate budget bills this week, each of which would reject funding for the poverty activism group ACORN, despite the fact that ACORN disbanded three years ago...But in the fall of 2009, Congress banned federal funding for ACORN using broad language that applied to 'any organization' that had been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws or campaign finance laws or with filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. The funding ban also extended to any employees, contractors or others affiliated with any group so charged. Struggling with the bad publicity and loss of federal funds, ACORN dissolved in early 2010. Just to be sure, however, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) included this language in a government funding bill introduced on May 28 of this year: 'None of the funds made available in this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors.'" [HuffPost]

OBAMA TO PUSH CIRCUIT COURT NOMINEES - Just how Chuck Grassley plans to respond to this egregious attempt to pack the court is unclear, but assume nominations dead. Roll Call: "President Barack Obama Tuesday nominated a slate of judges to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, an aggressive move that is likely to spark swift resistance from Senate Republicans who say the court is underworked and does not need additional judges. The president's simultaneously nomination of the three judges for the D.C. Circuit, first reported by CQ Roll Call on May 10, sends a strong message that he intends to push for the nominees in a way that he has not lobbied for his other lower-court choices. Obama had never appeared alongside a judicial nominee other than for the Supreme Court, according to advocates." [Roll Call]

This is going to come as a shock, but Mississippi's governor has some antiquated views on gender equality: "Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that America's educational troubles began when women began working outside the home in large numbers. Bryant was participating in a Washington Post Live event focused on the importance of ensuring that children read well by the end of third grade. In response to a question about how America became "so mediocre" in regard to educational outcomes, he said: 'I think both parents started working. And the mom is in the workplace.'" [WaPo]

Yahoo News has a fun new widget that allows to gauge how tweetable the president's speeches are. You can also plug in any text of your own.

GALLUP RELEASES REPORT ON ITS FAULTY 2012 POLLS - Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy: "[I]t pointed out one big issue in 2012: that many Obama voters said they hadn't given much thought to the election, removing them from the likely voter pool even though they intended to cast a ballot. Gallup is researching whether it needs to majorly overhaul or even replace the way it identifies likely voters...Gallup also weights its data by a variety of factors, including broad geographical regions such as the Midwest and the South. But each region contains several time zones... Gallup didn't interview enough people in certain time zones within some regions, effectively undersampling states that vote more Democratic. Gallup in recent years has used an unusual method to ask about race that distorted the racial composition of its samples when the data were weighted...Gallup made a significant change in 2011, when it dropped the [random digit dialing] methodology for its landline sample...The listed sample turned out to be older and more heavily Republican than the RDD sample." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - History's most American border collie learns how to play baseball.

ATTENTION K STREET EXECS LOOKING FOR A DEAL - Duke Cunningham is out of jail and ready to build up your government relations team! NPR: "Former California Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham is a free man today, after spending more than seven years in prison on bribery and other charges. A distinguished Vietnam War veteran and former Navy pilot, Cunningham's 15-year career in Congress ended abruptly when he admitting to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and evading taxes." [NPR]

COMFORT FOOD

- Otter is either juggling a bunch of rocks or having a seizure. [http://huff.to/10Wa3UY]

- Guy plays Eiffel 65's "Blue" using nothing but two Nokia phones. [http://bit.ly/11Vt9zs]

- David Lynch has taken to Vine and naturally it's incredibly WeirdAwesome. [http://bit.ly/1aSLxbK]

- Photos of the world's biggest ship graveyard in the southern Pacific Ocean where a fleet of Japanese warships were sunk during World War II.[http://dailym.ai/14rKkVp]

- State senator's wife is tired of people soliciting her husband for sex over Facebook. [http://bit.ly/11fyuf9]

- Drones finally find a peaceful purpose as Dominos delivery copters. [http://bit.ly/17lCS4E]

- An electrical storm filmed from an airplane window. Not for the aerophobic. [http://bit.ly/11zW85S]

TWITTERAMA

@jess_mc: Hey - we got Erickson, Dobbs, Bryant, AND Chambliss' sexist bizarro science, and none of them said rape! Those sensitivity trainings worked!

@jesseberney: Jeez I step away for a little while and Chris Christie takes over No Labels.

@chrislhayes: And why the frack is this NJ special election on a Wednesday? Was Thursday morning from 2am to 6am taken?

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Mary Landrieu staves off electoral defeat with American politics' most potent weapon: crawfish. The Louisiana senator hosts her annual "Crawfish Fest" fundraiser. [444 North Capitol Street NW]

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: John Thune and his Heartland Values PAC join forces with flyover country's most American institution: Google. The web behemoth's NetPAC hosts a fundraiser for the senator. [Google, 1101 New York Ave NW]

7:05 pm: And here you thought beers on the Red Porch were expensive: For $1,000 or more, you can go to the Nationals/Mets game with Richard Blumenthal. Proceeds go to his Nutmeg PAC. Heh. [Nationals Park]

TOMORROW

5:30 pm: Even though Stuart Smalley is actually serving in the Senate now, Tim Scott has what is easily the most vomit-inducingly feelgood PAC name: Tomorrow Is Meaningful (TIM). [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE]

6:30 pm: Chairman of the Still-In-Congress Caucus, David Vitter, visits Washington's greasiest New York import that isn't Shake Shack. [Carmine's, 425 7th Street NW]

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