A giant system of smug Midwesterners boasting that no one else knows how to handle cold weather has descended on much of the United States. Months after moving to Wyoming, Liz Cheney is dropping out of the Senate race, despite her assumption that she'd be greeted as a liberator. And Jay Carney grew a beard, but as for that question about whether he uses a cartridge or electric, he'll get back to you. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, January 6th, 2014:
The Senate's voting on unemployment benefits tonight. Outlook not so hot, if you know what I'm saying.
JANET YELLEN POISED TO BE NEXT FED CHAIR, HOW WOMEN KEPT LARRY SUMMERS OUT OF THE JOB - Laura Bassett and Grim: "It was more than a year before he withdrew his name from consideration for chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, and the former Treasury secretary was up for the presidency of the World Bank. In less than 24 hours, a brand new progressive women's group called Ultraviolet had collected more than 37,000 signatures demanding that President Barack Obama spike his former economic adviser and choose 'a nominee who believes girls have the same potential as boys.' Obama named Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim for the position instead... On Monday, the Senate is expected to confirm economist Janet Yellen as the first woman ever to head the Federal Reserve...Yet Yellen was never the president's first choice. The position had long been promised to Summers in exchange for his agreeing to serve during Obama's first term as economic adviser, rather than as Treasury secretary, the role he held in the Clinton administration...At first quietly, and then not so quietly, women went to work organizing opposition to Summers, based jointly on his failed economic track record and his history of sexist and insensitive remarks...Women's groups argued that Yellen was the most qualified candidate, and the fact that her nomination would break a glass ceiling was just a bonus. But as one WDN donor pointed out, nominating her turned out to be a smart political move for other reasons, allowing Obama to avoid a nasty confirmation fight over Summers at the height of Obamacare's troubled rollout. 'The White House should send a gift basket to the women's groups for what they did,' the donor said." [HuffPost]
GA SEN: REPUBLICANS RALLYING AROUND DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE - Pour one out for Zell Miller. Bloomberg: "A political fund linked to former Sen. Richard Lugar, the Indiana Republican unseated in 2012 by a Tea Party-backed challenger, made campaign contributions to a prominent Democratic Senate candidate and to Republican senators facing primary challenges similar to his. Lugar’s leadership political action committee, The 19th Star PAC, sent $5,000 on Dec. 12 to Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee for an open seat in Georgia, according to a filing the PAC made today with the Federal Election Commission. Nunn’s father, former Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn (1972-97), worked closely with Lugar on nuclear non-proliferation issues. (For more on that and Lugar’s career, read this story by Bloomberg’s Laura Litvan). Michelle Nunn, who also got a donation from former Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, will face the winner of a crowded Republican primary for the seat of retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss. Lugar’s PAC also made donations in November and December to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Pat Roberts of Kansas. " [Bloomberg]
Bloomberg pointed out in October that a number of Romney donors are also spurning the tea party by supporting Nunn: "Nunn’s donors include Jim Cox Kennedy, the chairman of Atlanta-based communications company Cox Enterprises Inc., who contributed $2,600 to her candidacy, after giving $30,800 to the Republican National Committee and $5,000 to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. She’s also got support from Tom Cousins, former chief executive officer of Cousins Properties Inc. (CUZ:US) and a developer who helped shape downtown Atlanta in the 1970s and 1980s, who has given her $5,200. Cousins donated $50,800 to the RNC and $5,000 to Romney. Both Kennedy and Cousins declined to comment on their donations." [Bloomberg]
STATES STRUGGLING TO OVERHAUL NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND - Rarely is the question asked, is our education reformers learning? Joy Resmovits: "Some states are having trouble keeping the promises they made to get out from under the cumbersome No Child Left Behind Act, according to the Education Department. The department on Monday released results from audits of the way six states -- New York, Delaware, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi and Connecticut -- are replacing No Child Left Behind. The technical reports found that some states, particularly Mississippi and Idaho, are running into trouble when it comes to putting into place federally mandated school overhauls. As a result, some schools might have to spend another year working to come into compliance...Under NCLB, nearly 100 percent of schools were supposed to be proficient in reading and math by 2014 -- a goal Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called utopian. NCLB expired in 2007, but states still have to abide by its requirements until another law replaces it. When Congress failed to rewrite the law by 2011, President Barack Obama and Duncan told states they had another option: If they agreed to certain reforms favored by the Obama administration, such as teacher evaluations that include student test scores, they could ease out of NCLB's strictures. Most states applied, and so far, 42 states, Washington, D.C, Puerto Rico and eight districts in California have received waivers to exempt them from NCLB." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that he's not opposed to unemployment insurance, but the longer benefits last, the lazier unemployed people get. "I'm not against having unemployment insurance," the Kentucky Republican said on ABC's "This Week." "I do think, though, that the longer you have it, that it does provide some disincentive to work and that there are many studies that indicate this." Past studies have shown that unemployment insurance can reduce the intensity of jobseekers' work search, but more recent research has not yielded similar results. Last month, Paul cited economist Rand Ghayad to support his claim, only to have Ghayad say Paul completely misread his work. For the past several weeks, Paul has been one of the only congressional Republicans to talk about unemployment insurance at all. On Dec. 28, long-term benefits abruptly ended for 1.3 million workers. Democrats have been loudly demanding that Congress restore the compensation, but with the GOP in control of the House of Representatives, there's not much they can do. [HuffPost]
Haircuts: Ryan Grim (h/t Iris Grim), Andrew Deutz (h/t/ Joel Paque)
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SUPREME COURT BLOCKS UTAH GAY MARRIAGES - Not for nothing, but "The Beehive" would be a fantastic name for a gay bar. Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday blocked further same-sex marriages in Utah while state officials appeal a decision allowing such unions. The terse order, from the full court, issued a stay 'pending final disposition' of an appeal to the federal appeals court in Denver. It offered no reasoning. The Supreme Court acted more than two weeks after a federal judge in Salt Lake City on Dec. 20 struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying it violated principles of equal protection and due process. Judge Robert J. Shelby of Federal District Court refused to stay his decision while it was appealed, as did the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver." [NYT]
CHENEY DROPS OUT OF SENATE RACE, CITES FAMILY HEALTH REASONS - If it turns out that the illness is her sister's homosexuality, she's dead to us forever. CNN: "Liz Cheney, whose upstart bid to unseat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi sparked warfare in the Republican Party and within her own family, is dropping out of the primary race, she said on Monday. 'Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign,' the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney said in a written statement. Cheney, 47, began telling associates of her decision over the weekend, CNN reported Sunday night. She was not specific about the family health issues she cited...Cheney's surprising decision to jump into the race, an announcementmade in a YouTube video last summer, roiled Republican politics in Wyoming, a state that her father represented in Congress for five terms in the 1970s and 80s...There was little public polling of the race, but two partisan polls released last year showed Enzi with a wide lead, an assessment mostly shared by GOP insiders watching the race." [CNN]
RON JOHNSON GETS LITIGIOUS OVER OBAMACARE - Suing to deny people access to healthcare is like a really twisted version of a John Grisham plot. Mike McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui: "U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) announced a lawsuit Monday to bar members of Congress and their employees from getting any employer-sponsored health insurance, saying it's not fair that the Obama administration is making him decide which of his staffers can keep federal contributions to their plans. Before the Affordable Care Act took effect, lawmakers and staff got their health coverage from the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. As of Jan. 1, they must get that coverage from the new health care exchanges, but the administration's Office of Personnel Management decreed in a rule finalized in September that they could still use their pre-tax employer contributions to cover most of the cost. Johnson, a wealthy businessman who has declined to use the health care exchanges, said in his suit that the ACA does not allow the OPM to make such a change, and noted that its rule directs lawmakers and staffers to the Washington, D.C., exchange for small businesses, called DC SHOP. The federal government is not a small business, he said." [HuffPost]
HOUSE REPUBLICANS SET DUBIOUS RECORD - The "LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA " playbook is indeed a robust tome. Sabrina Siddiqui: "Congress already closed out the year with the least productive legislative session in history. And now, House Democrats pointed out Monday, House Republicans can add another record to the roster: the most closed session in history. While Republican leaders began 2013 with the declaration that regular order would be restored, behind the scenes, the majority adopted 44 closed rules over 12 months -- the highest number on record for any year. A closed rule is a procedural maneuver that prohibits any amendments to bills up for a vote on the House floor, unless they are recommended by the committee reporting the bill. While both parties have used such tactics while in the majority, Democrats will go on the offense Monday to highlight the new records set by Republicans to pursue their own agenda with little input from the minority, according to officials who previewed the strategy for The Huffington Post. The statistics are detailed in a 'Minority Views' article that Democrats will submit to the House record: Republicans adopted 19 closed rules during the government shutdown in October, the most in a single week; the House GOP approved 11 closed rules on Oct. 4, also during the shutdown and the most in a single day; and House Republicans approved 20 closed rules for appropriations bills over the last year, more than any other year on record for the typically open appropriations process." [HuffPost]
HUGE PLATINUM COIN UPDATE - The platinum coin option is to politics what the fake spike is to football: laughable, technically legal and something you wish you could witness at least once for entertainment purposes. Ryan Reilly: "Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee have asked the Justice Department to turn over a memo that spells out the Obama administration's view of whether the so-called platinum coin option could avert a congressional fight over the debt ceiling limit. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Dec. 20, asking DOJ to turn over "all records within the custody and control of DOJ which relate to the coin issuance proposal," as first reported by The Hill. The Huffington Post reported last month that the Justice Department has acknowledged the existence of an official Office of Legal Counsel memo on the platinum coin option. Supporters say the option would allow the Treasury Department to mint a platinum coin in any denomination, which then could be used to meet government obligations without the need for Congress to grant any additional spending powers." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a terrifyingly unconscious dog.
DRUDGE SIREN: JAY CARNEY HAS A BEARD - The D.C. press corps hasn't been this agitated by a White House press secretary's hair since Dana Perino debuted her mutton chops after that Iraqi threw his shoes at George W. Bush. Washington Times: White House press secretary Jay Carney elicited groans and hoots from the press corps Monday as he sported a new beard at his first briefing of the new year. 'Whoa!' several journalists called out when the press secretary emerged from his lair with the new look after a two-week holiday break. 'My wife says she likes it, so there,' Mr. Carney said, smiling. A reporter called out “TMI” (too much information) to more laughter." [Washington Times]
- This collection of 2013's best Vines. [http://huff.to/198r7jW]
- A group of future Nobel Prize winners have figured out a way to erase "millennial" from your web browser. [http://bit.ly/JE2bW3]
- A collection of charts depicting differences in leadership styles from across the globe. [http://read.bi/1cHiNTs]
- A woman created a surpassingly obnoxious online dating profile... and still received entries from interested men. [http://bit.ly/194qhVr]
- This Tumblr tracks down the source of computer codes featured in TV and movies. [http://bit.ly/1a7vWJ9]
- That there are enough videos of dogs with human hands to label this the best video of dogs with humans hands is really a testament to the internet's awfulness/brilliance. [http://huff.to/1bLprrp]
- Siri doesn't like it when you ask about the film, "Her," which features a man who falls in love with his smartphone. [http://huff.to/19MToxh]
@jesseberney: "Coming up on 60 Minutes: was Vince Foster murdered to cover up Illuminati plans to use the Fed to teach our children to be homosexuals?"
@joshgreenman: BOOM. RT @mviser: Obama formally nominates Cambridge attorney Robert C. Barber to be ambassador to Iceland.
@daveweigel: Buy real estate, laugh at all of us folks stuck in DC RT @akmattos: Does anybody have must see/do recommendations for Santa Barbara?
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