POLITICS
02/27/2014 05:56 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - John Boehner Has Heard All The Jokes About His Name... AND LOVES THEM

Mount McKinley is the highest place in America, an honor that will soon go to the storage room of the Fairbanks Radio Shack if Alaskans vote to legalize weed. Bob Corker compared Harry Reid to Vladimir Putin, which is completely unfair and off base -- Harry Reid would've *definitely* killed the guy who messed up the Olympic opening ceremony rings. And Ted Cruz refused to endorse his fellow Senate Texan John Cornyn, a move that would lead to some awkwardness in the GOP cloakroom if either man were capable of feeling. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, February 27th, 2014:

TED CRUZ IS THE BAD BOY OF UNSPOKEN SENATORIAL ETIQUETTE - The man who keeps humble with a large portrait himself in his office won't rule out getting his colleagues fired. Luke Johnson: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) likely gave his GOP colleagues another cause for heartburn Thursday, refusing to promise to stay out of primaries where he could potentially use his conservative clout against fellow Republicans. 'What I have said is that I'm likely going to stay out of incumbent Republican primaries,' Cruz said at a Politico Playbook breakfast moderated by Mike Allen. 'I haven't put that in concrete. But I am likely going to stay out of incumbent Republican primaries.' Allen followed up, 'And why aren't you putting that in concrete?' Cruz responded, 'Because things can change in politics.'" [HuffPost]

Rave review of Dave Camp's tax plan from none other than Jonathan Chait. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on the other hand, is not a huge fan.

BOB CORKER: HARRY REID = VLADIMIR PUTIN - Because we won't let them vote on the Iran war bill, y'know? Sabrina Siddiqui: "Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) likened Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) grip over the Senate to the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Speaking to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday, Corker expressed frustration over Reid's use of the nuclear option and argued that the Senate was 'on a death spiral.' 'If you allow people to just run roughshod over you -- just like we’re seeing right now with Putin in Russia right?' Corker said. 'He’s getting no push-back from the United States, so why not do the things that I’m doing? If you don’t have any push-back, then obviously people will see a way to do even more of those things down the road.'" [HuffPost]

YIKES - Jen Bendery: "An intra-party scuffle over Georgia judicial nominees escalated Wednesday as Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) tore into President Barack Obama for showing 'disrespect' to America by nominating two social conservatives, while White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler defended the president's picks as the best option. 'Do we work with Republican senators to find a compromise, or should we leave the seats vacant?' Ruemmler asked in an interview with The Huffington Post. 'We believe it would be grossly irresponsible for the president to leave these seats vacant.' Months of controversy exploded into public view again when Scott, in an interview on NewsOne Radio with Roland Martin, said it is incumbent on civil rights groups to convince Obama to pull down Georgia district court nominees Michael Boggs and Mark Cohen, and said the president will thank them for it later. Boggs, a former state legislator, has come under intense fire from civil rights leaders, abortion rights groups and those representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people over past votes to keep the confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag, to tighten restrictions on access to abortion and to ban same-sex marriage. Cohen, meanwhile, has taken heat for successfully defending Georgia's voter ID law in court." [HuffPost]
New York state will try to undo the farm bill's food stamp cut for New Yorkers.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Delores Lewis said she's had a hard time getting the local housing agency to respond to her complaints about mold, mice, and people smoking weed in the hallway. The conditions, she said, exacerbate her son's breathing problems. She figures the government doesn't want to make public housing so nice that people don't want to leave. "They're like, 'Hey, you're not going to be able to live rent-free if you don't want to go out and get a job,'" she said. "You have to take care of yourself." … For now, Lewis is waiting -- she said she'll jump back into the job market once her two-year-old starts going to preschool. Her previous job as a medical assistant, which she gave up last July, paid $14 an hour and had an irregular schedule. "Paying for childcare on my own left me not enough money for rent, not enough money for utilities, not enough money for groceries," she said. "If I could afford it, I would be working." [HuffPost]

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CONSERVATISM TOO BIG FOR ITS BRITCHES? - Michael Brendan Dougherty: "When the attendees of CPAC gather in Washington early next month and conduct their presidential straw poll with the self importance of a warning shot, it might profit them to consider whether they intend to elect a new president of their ideological ghetto or one for their nation." [TheWeek.com]

STATES PULLING ANTI-GAY BILLS AFTER ARIZONA BACKLASH - Amanda Terkel: "After a national uproar over controversial 'religious freedom' legislation in Arizona, Georgia and Mississippi have now backtracked on similar bills, joining other states where such measures have failed due to concerns that they would be discriminatory toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. In Georgia, the 'Preservation of Religious Freedom Act' has been tabled and doesn't appear to be going anywhere...In Mississippi, the state House Judiciary B committee discussed the 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' and is considering rewording the bill to address concerns that it would discriminate against LGBT individuals, according to The Clarion-Ledger...Other states have also pulled back on similar bills during the recent debate over the Arizona legislation. In Oklahoma, the lead author of one such bill said he will berewriting it and it likely won't be considered during the current session. On Wednesday, state lawmakers in Ohio also pulled the plug on their legislation after increased pressure from civil rights groups. According to the Northeast Ohio Media Group, the lawmakers plan to draft new language that will protect religious liberties without discriminating against individuals." [HuffPost]

MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT LEGAL STATUS FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: POLL - Most Americans also love avocado on their California rolls and know damn well they're not going to go make that happen. Elise Foley: " While most Americans think undocumented immigrants should get a chance to become legal residents, they're split on whether a recent uptick in deportations is a good or bad thing, according to a poll released Thursday by Pew Research Center...The new poll found broad support for allowing some undocumented immigrants to remain in the country legally, which would in effect stem the tide of deportations. Seventy-three percent of those polled support such a measure, while 24 percent oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to stay. Republicans also favor legal status for undocumented immigrants -- 64 percent said they would support it. But there was more narrow support for allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens -- only 46 percent of Americans said they believe there should be a path to citizenship. Another 24 percent said undocumented immigrants should be confined to legal status only." [HuffPost]

CA-GOV: JERRY BROWN RUNNING FOR REELECTION - Times: "Gov. Jerry Brown, already the longest-serving governor in California history, announced Thursday that he would run for an unprecedented fourth term. Mr. Brown’s re-election bid has been widely anticipated and his announcement came with understated fanfare – in a Twitter posting with a simple picture of him taking out papers in the secretary of state’s office. In an email to supporters, Mr. Brown acknowledged that his latest bid for office would have seemed implausible when he first ran for governor four decades ago. 'At this stage of my life, I can say — without any hesitation — that I am prepared and excited to tackle these challenges and the many others that lay before us. In fact, there is nothing I would rather do,' he said in the statement. 'By the grace of God and habits of perseverance instilled in me by my family, the Dominican nuns and the Jesuits, I am here and ready to go.' Mr. Brown cited his work on repairing the state’s persistent budget troubles. The state had a deficit of more than $25 billion when he took office in 2011 and now has a surplus. The governor has also been working to persuade his fellow Democrats who control the legislature to stock away money for a rainy-day fund." [NYT]

NOT CRAZY, NOT WHITE MALE WOULD MAKE GREAT REPUBLICAN VP, UNIMAGINATIVE PEOPLE REALIZE - Daily Beast: "Ask any two Republicans who their choice is for president in 2016 and you’ll get three answers; but when it comes to the GOP choice for vice president, there’s an emerging sense of agreement, especially in the establishment wing of the party: Senator Kelly Ayotte. The field of potential top of the ticket candidates include a wide range of possibilities: Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Mike Pence, and many more. Any of them could benefit from sharing the spotlight with a conservative woman rising star who has real national security bona fides and hails from the state with the first primary elections in the 2016 cycle...Compared to some of the other prospective candidates, Ayotte’s resume stacks up. Ayotte, who is also up for reelection in 2016, came into the senate at the same time as Paul and Rubio and has two years more experience as a legislator than Cruz. Steve Schmidt, who managed John McCain's 2008 presidential bid, said that the other GOP senators vying for national office all have huge flaws whereas Ayotte does not." [Daily Beast]

"Mitt Little Brony" takes stills from Netflix's Mitt Romney documentary and overlays them with dialogue about My Little Pony. Thanks, zeitgeist.

MARIJUANA INITIATIVE QUALIFIES FOR ALASKA BALLOT - "Last Frontier" would be a great name for a dispensary. Reuters: "Alaska voters will decide this summer whether America's Last Frontier will become the third U.S. state to legalize the sale and recreational use of marijuana for adults under a proposal that officially qualified on Wednesday for a statewide ballot. Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell formally certified that a petition campaign for the measure had gathered more than 36,000 valid signatures from registered voters, nearly 6,000 more than legally required to qualify. The marijuana initiative, and a separate measure to raise the state's minimum wage by $2 an hour to $9.75 by January 2016, will be placed on the state's primary election ballot on Aug. 17. Passage of the marijuana initiative would permit adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana for private personal use and to grow as many as six cannabis plants for their own consumption. It also charts a course for state-regulated commercial sales of pot in a framework similar to systems established by Colorado and Washington state after voters in those states became the first to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012...Under the Alaska measure, the state would collect a tax of $50 per ounce of marijuana at the wholesale level." [Reuters ]

Steve King right about something (sort of): "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that he won't support a proposal offered by a Republican lobbyist to ban gay athletes from playing in the National Football League. 'I think what it amounts to is the locker room in the NFL is full of women reporters, so it’s kind of hard to make an argument against a gay person in there, whatever their gender,' King told The Huffington Post at the Tea Party Patriots' fifth anniversary celebration King's position on the issue might come as a surprise to some of his constituents. In the past, he has declared that same-sex marriage, which became legal in Iowa in 2009, was part of a socialist agenda, and that it would compromise Americans' ability to 'teach our constitutional values.'" [HuffPost's Andrew Perez]

How Republican or Democratic is your name? find out.

KENTUCKY ORDERED TO RECOGNIZE OUT-OF-STATE MARRIAGES - Between this and Governor Steve Beshear's vocal support of Obamacare, we have to wonder if the state is considering switching its state flag to a Coexist bumper sticker. USA Today: "A federal judge on Thursday ordered Kentucky officials to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed out of state. U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn ruled that Kentucky's Constitution and laws banning recognition of such marriages 'violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and they are void and unenforceable.' The decision amounted to a final ruling of his Feb. 12 opinion in the case. Attorney Dan Canon, a lawyer for the four gay and lesbian couples who won the case, said: 'We are cautiously optimistic. The order has been granted without qualification and without a stay.' Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway had asked the judge on Thursday to delay his order by 90 days to give him the chance to decide whether to appeal. The motion says Gov. Steve Beshear, also a defendant, needed time as well to decide how to implement the order if it is not appealed." [USA Today]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a girl playing with a foal.

JOHN BOEHNER MAKING DICK JOKES, CLEARLY RETIRING - Wonder if, on his last day, he'll glue the speaker's gavel to the rostrum and unscrews all the salt shakers in the Longworth cafeteria. Roll Call: "One day after Speaker John A. Boehner was complimented on his tan, the Ohio Republican again found himself joshing with reporters Thursday. After a reporter incorrectly addressed him as 'Mr. Camp,' referring to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and his tax code rewrite, Boehner responded with a candid, 'It’s Boner.'" [Roll Call]

COMFORT FOOD

- The Dalai Lama is on Instagram. [http://bit.ly/1hlg0Wb]

- Husky is introduced to a head massager, achieves nirvana. [http://bit.ly/1eBh0jP]

- The FDA has revised the standards for nutrition facts for the first time in several decades. Here they are. [http://nyti.ms/MxtkuM]

- Someone recreated an Evel Knievel stunt in Grand Theft Auto V. [http://bit.ly/1hrVcvN]

- Banksy's version of a "Simpsons" opening. [http://bit.ly/1bPfcJi]

- This is why you share your Poptart. [http://bit.ly/1dFu7kt]

- Don't, whatever you do, go "snow swimming." [http://huff.to/1lnSqLL]

TWITTERAMA

@LOLGOP: COURT: KENTUCKY MUST RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES, EVEN ONES OF CONVENIENCE LIKE BETWEEN MITCH MCCONNELL & RAND PAUL kingofbacon.com

@JGreenDC: Would I be wrong to guess that the folks most afraid of "the gays" lusting after them are probably not especially attractive to "the gays"

@aburnspolitico: There are no more funny "time for some traffic problems" jokes. Zero.

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