POLITICS
02/26/2014 06:08 pm ET Updated Feb 26, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Joe Manchin Takes Aim At Bitcoin, Unsure How He'll Shoot It In A Campaign Ad

Joe Manchin is going after Bitcoin, even though most members of the Senate probably think it's a breakfast cereal. National Review warned against the onslaught of "organized homosexuality," which is either the LGBT movement or a very polite term for a gay orgy. And Michael Grimm said Bill de Blasio isn't "ready for prime time," which might seem ironic, until you remember that prime time audiences LOVE violent and unstable behavior. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 26th, 2014:

ELIZABETH WARREN DIPS TOE INTO FOREIGN POLICY - An excerpt from the senator's speech tonight at Georgetown. Fans of drones will be made nervous: "Do we fully consider the costs of civilian casualties? When military action is on the table, do we fully and honestly debate the risk that while our actions would wipe out existing terrorists or other threats, they also might produce new ones? Do we talk seriously about the price our great nation, built on the foundation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, may pay if others come to believe that we are indifferent to the deaths of civilians? Do we fully take into account the effect on our interests if people around the world are inflamed by such casualties, or if they do not believe that our actions align with our values?... We must begin by establishing training programs that directly address civilian casualties...we need to improve our efforts to track civilian casualties during any military engagement...Finally, we should establish best practices for what to do in the wake of civilian casualties."

TOP REPUBLICAN PREDICTS IRAN SANCTIONS BILL WON'T GET A VOTE - Enterprising local carpenters should be aware of some fist-shaped holes in the walls of AIPAC headquarters. Mike McAuliff: "The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is admitting that the GOP push to attach Iran sanctions to a veterans benefits bill will not succeed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are leading the effort to pass new Iran sanctions, even though the White House has warned that such a move could make war more likely. The Obama administration has little to worry about, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) suggested Wednesday. 'It doesn't look to me like we're going to get a vote,' Corker told several reporters on Capitol Hill. Many Democrats have signaled support for new sanctions, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) backed away from taking a vote, deferring to White House concerns that it could harm ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran. Reid has criticized the Republican attempt to force a vote on sanctions as politicizing the issue. Besides the veterans bill, GOP senators tried earlier in the week to attach sanctions to measures aimed at curbing sexual assault in the military. Corker declined to criticize that effort, saying the matter needs to be debated, but he offered no endorsement of his colleagues' specific tactic." [ target="_hplink">HuffPost]

It was nice of him to try: "The House’s top tax writer rolled out a broad tax reform plan on Wednesday that would pare back tax breaks once thought untouchable and affect practically every part of American life. The nearly 1,000-page plan unveiled by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) would pull back on the cherished deduction for home mortgage interest and embraces some ideas touted by Democrats, like scrapping the “carried interest” tax break used by hedge fund managers...Even before it was released, the top Republicans in both chambers had distanced themselves from the effort, with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) scoffing at the possibility of a vote this year and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) saying it would be better to do tax reform next year." [The Hill]

JOE MANCHIN WANTS TO BAN BITCOIN - Chuck Schumer is going to be so jealous of Manchin's brilliant PR maneuver that it's only a matter of days until he's given a briefing memo about Dogecoin. Roll Call: "The West Virginia Democrat expressed his concerns about the virtual currency in a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and several other key federal officials. 'The very features that make Bitcoin attractive to some also attract criminals who are able to disguise their actions from law enforcement,' Manchin wrote. 'Due to Bitcoin’s anonymity, the virtual market has been extremely susceptible to hackers and scam artists stealing millions from Bitcoins users. Anonymity combined with Bitcoin’s ability to finalize transactions quickly, makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse fraudulent transactions.' Manchin’s letter comes on the heels of a Bitcoin exchange’s apparent collapse. The value of the Bitcoin currency exists only in the virtual universe (there’s no peg to a guarantee in the outside world), meaning that actions by U.S. regulators envisioned by Manchin would cause trouble for the market." [Roll Call]

Haircuts: Eddie Vale (h/t Eddie Vale)

Did you get a haircut in This Town©? Email Eliot: Eliot@huffingtonpost.com

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Delores Lewis became an expert on mouse traps while living in her last apartment. "I used the sticky, I used the old-fashioned, I used the D-Con where they go in and it'll spin and close them in," she said. "I used the pellets for them to eat, I used the little beep thing you get from Home Depot and you plug it into the wall and it sends a beep into the wall to keep them from coming." She killed lots of mice, but they kept reappearing, so she started looking for a different place to live. Then she felt the squeeze of the federal budget cuts known as sequestration. A 26-year-old mother of three, Lewis uses a government housing voucher to pay her rent. Thanks to the cutbacks, the government has less money for vouchers. "They told me they were gonna downsize me," Lewis said. Now the Lewis family lives in a two-bedroom apartment at Jefferson Village, a complex owned by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Her son and older daughter, who are five and four, share a red bunk bed in one room, and Lewis sleeps with her two-year-old daughter in the other. Lewis may have lost a bedroom to the budget battle, but she's one of the luckier ones. Nationwide, housing agencies served 70,000 fewer families in December thanks to spending reductions that took effect last year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal D.C. think tank. [HuffPost]

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DEMOCRATS REVIVING 'WAR ON WOMEN' MESSAGE AHEAD OF MIDTERMS - 'Targeted Strikes Against Females' didn't poll well in focus groups. Politico: "The war on women is back — bigger, broader and more central to White House and Democratic messaging than ever before. Drawing on President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection strategy — and the even larger margins among women that propelled Terry McAuliffe to victory in last year’s Virginia governor’s race — Democrats are rolling out a midterm strategy strongly focused on a pitch to women. And this time, it’s about much more than reproductive rights, access to birth control and funding Planned Parenthood...Democrats are stressing the benefits to women of Obama’s entire income inequality message, whether pushing for pay equity or highlighting the disproportionate number of women who would benefit from raising the minimum wage. At the upcoming Working Families summit at the White House and in speeches around the country, Obama will expand the economic argument focused on women to stress workplace protections, expanded pregnancy leave and strengthening leave policies to allow for care of sick children. The DCCC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are preparing to mount efforts focused on pay equity as the centerpiece of a larger economic argument targeting women." [Politico]

PA GOV: TOM CORBETT TRAILING EVERY DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER - Guess he really regrets resigning as President Walker's vice president. Stephen Calabria: "Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) remains deeply unpopular among voters in the state and trails each of his potential Democratic challengers, in some cases by wide margins, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Corbett’s approval rating is underwater in the survey, with just 36 percent of respondents approving of his job performance and 52 percent disapproving. This finding roughly matches Corbett’s worst showing, when a June 2013 poll found his job approval rating at 35 percent. The governor trails five of his Democratic challengers by margins ranging from 19 points to 2 points. Corbett’s worst numbers come when matched against York County businessman Tom Wolf (D), who beats Corbett 52-33 percent. HuffPost Pollster's chart, which includes all publicly available polling, finds Wolf leading Corbett by an average of nearly 19 points. Another top Democratic contender, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), leads Corbett by about 7 points." [HuffPost]

Good lord, this handshake between Ben Affleck and John Kerry is awkward.

HOW ANTONIN SCALIA HELPED TEXAS' LGBT COMMUNITY - Give yourself some time while you clean up the coffee you just spit all over your Federalist Society application. Ryan Reilly: "When U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of the Western District of Texas struck down the Lone Star State's ban on gay marriage on Wednesday, he cited the words of a man who is normally a friend to conservatives: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.... the federal judge didn't cite just any Supreme Court justice. He chose to quote from Scalia's dissent in the landmark 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the state's anti-sodomy law. In 2003, Scalia was trying to argue that the Supreme Court was wrong to overturn laws based on moral choices. He wrote that the decision in Lawrence v. Texas called into question laws against same-sex marriage (and also, he believed, bigamy, adult incest and prostitution) because other justifications for banning same-sex marriage -- including those that Texas would cite in support of its own ban a decade later -- weren't legitimate. In explaining why tradition alone can't form a rational basis for a law, Garcia pointed to Scalia's argument in the 2003 dissent that the phrase 'the traditional institution of marriage' is 'just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples.' And in explaining why the biological ability of many opposite-sex couples to procreate doesn't justify denying equal rights to same-sex couples, Garcia cited Scalia, too." [HuffPost]

SHAHEEN INTRODUCES BILL GRANTING EQUAL BENEFITS TO GAY VETERANS - On our "GOP military-based homophobia" we're going to give this one two "booing GOP debate audiences" out of four. Luke Johnson and Sabrina Siddiqui: "Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) is set to introduce an amendment Wednesday to sweeping veterans benefits legislation that would extend federal benefits to legally married gay couples. The amendment, known as the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, would help bring the Department of Veterans Affairs' policies in line with the June Supreme Court decision that struck down the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act. The department currently extends benefits to gay couples based on the laws of the state where the military member is currently stationed, not based on those where the marriage took place For example, if a couple married in Vermont and then moved to North Dakota, the veteran could lose his or her spousal benefits. The department denied a home loanto a Texas couple who married in Washington state because it did not recognize the income of the non-veteran spouse in the application. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has said that if Congress changes the spousal benefits definition, the department would change its policy." [HuffPost]

Political theatre: "The Democratic Party of Montana is calling on GOP Rep. Steve Daines, who is running in the state's high-profile Senate race this year, to release his birth certificate -- echoing the 'birther' strategy employed against President Barack Obama. Daines has alternately asserted that he is third-generation Montanan and fifth-generation Montanan, though he was born in California. 'No matter what generation Congressman Daines claims to be, he's a stranger to both the facts and Montana values -- and Montanans deserve the truth,' Bryce Bennett, a Democratic Montana state Representative, said in a statement. 'Montanans can't afford a Washington politician who thinks he can get away with fooling the people he's supposed to represent.'" [HuffPost's Samantha Lachman]

MICHAEL GRIMM LACKS SELF AWARENESS - Inae Oh: "Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) took a swipe at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday, expressing his concern the mayor isn't 'ready for prime time.' Grimm's criticism comes just weeks after he was filmed threatening to break a NY1 reporter 'in half' after being questioned about an ongoing investigation into possible campaign finance violations. Politicker reports the congressman's comments were made during a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera. 'You know, he's prime time, and I'm not sure he was ready for prime time,' Grimm said. 'My thing with de Blasio ... is very simple: He has to make the Sandy victims, especially in Staten Island and the Rockaways where we got crushed, he has to make that a priority and he hasn't done so so far.' Grimm went further, claiming de Blasio's administration has repeatedly avoided meeting with him to discuss Sandy aid." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog and moose messing around.

ARIZONA ANTI-GAY BILL: NATIONAL REVIEW, HERITAGE FOUNDATION TROLLING SO HARD - Shadee Ashtari: "Despite bipartisan opposition to SB 1062, Arizona’s controversial measureallowing businesses to refuse service to LGBT individuals on the basis of religious liberty, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation maintained support for the bill in a blog post on Tuesday. In response to a New York Times editorial criticizing the legislation, The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson wrote. 'What the Times dubs “discrimination” is in actuality simply liberty. Liberty isn’t about acting only in ways that the New York Times approves of. Liberty protects the rights of citizens even to do things we might personally disagree with.' The conservative National Review magazine made similar arguments in a Mondayeditorial, which praised Arizona lawmakers for protecting the state’s faithful from 'organized homosexuality.'" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- What it's like to ride the Goodyear Blimp over Los Angeles. [http://bit.ly/1k9Uc2P]

- "The offense: He filmed himself having sex with a Hot Pocket and a Pop-Tarts box." [http://bit.ly/1bMnRfC]

- First-person view of a person's first ski jump. [http://bit.ly/1fnMyjh]

- Dwight Howard schooled by a child. [http://bit.ly/1fs76r3]

- The entire McBain movie, pieced together from various "Simpsons" episodes. [http://bit.ly/1gCuqm5]

- Do yourself a favor and read Lil' Jon's Reddit AMA. [http://huff.to/1o6Mbcp]

TWITTERAMA

@elisefoley: My angry Facebook friend hasn’t posted a single thing about the Arizona bill. Hope he’s doing ok.

@weareyourfek: First they came for the commenters, and I said nothing. Because they're commenters. And someone should come for them.

@timothypmurphy: Federal Judge Grants Texans One Last Chance to Endorse Marriage Equality Before It Gets Really Embarrassing.

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