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Michelle Obama came out against mom jeans, inviting serious backlash from the Maternal Denim Association of America. In a blatant bit of racebaiting, President Obama proclaimed March "Irish Heritage Month." And Obama left his impromptu press conference about Russian aggression in Ukraine this evening to begin a Rocky IV-style training montage in the White House barn, replete with wood-chopping and upside-down sit-ups. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 28th, 2014:
UKRAINE SITUATION NOT GOOD - Reuters: "Armed men took control of two airports in the Crimea region on Friday in what the new Ukrainian leadership described as an invasion by Moscow's forces, and ousted President Viktor Yanukovich surfaced in Russia after a week on the run." [Reuters]
PRESIDENT OBAMA JUST NOW: "Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. Together with our european allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, form a broad-based government and move to elections this spring. I also spoke several days ago with President Putin and my administration has been in daily communication with Russian officials. And we have made clear that they can be part of an international community's effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interests of the people of the Ukraine and the international community but also in Russia's interests. However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the russian federation inside of the Ukraine."
2012 DEBATE FLASHBACK: Obama to Romney on Russia: "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years."
GEORGIA JUDGE FIGHT GETS REAL - After White House General Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler went on record to HuffPost's Jen Bendery, pinning blame for a controversial judicial deal to confirm four Republican and two Democratic judges on the so-called "blue slip" rule, opposition among Senate Democrats only seems to have increased. "If the president sends up a nominee, they ought to at least get a hearing, and we will see where we go from there," Leahy told NYT's Carl Hulse. "I am not committed one way or the other...The deal is with the president, not me." For non-Hill readers unaccustomed to the collegial way elbows are thrown around here, that quote is basically Senate profanity being hurled at the White House. Conn. Dem Richard Blumenthal added his own spitting rage, Senate style: "I am strongly considering whether he should be withdrawn because I have very serious concerns about some of the really unwise and inappropriate views he has stated." Earlier, he had only said that a lefty letter had "raised legitimate and important questions" about one of the judges, Michael Boggs. [NYT]
SENATE DEMS NOT DOING A NEW BUDGET THIS YEAR - The last one is still fine if they just rub a dryer sheet on it. "Democrats in the U.S. Senate won't bother with passing their own budget this year, arguing that a deal in December has already set spending levels for the 2015 fiscal year, and 'relitigating' it would create economic uncertainty. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray said in a statement on Friday she would prefer to focus on promoting longer-term budget priorities for the Democratic Party, including measures to boost economic growth. The move will keep Democrats' election-year fiscal message focused on President Barack Obama's own 2015 budget request, due out on Tuesday, which will lay out his plans to shift spending to education, roads and a tax credit for low-income Americans. 'While this budget year is settled and it wouldn't be productive to relitigate it so soon after our two-year deal, I plan to work with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to lay out our long-term vision for creating jobs, boosting the economy, and tackling our deficits fairly and responsibly,' Murray said." [Reuters]
OH GOOD - @ChadPergram: DC Del to Congress Norton says TSA tells her it issued communication to screeners that DC driver's license is valid travel ID.
WHAT HAS MICHAEL PHELPS' BONG PHOTO LAWYER BEEN UP TO? Reforming the criminal justice system, of course. Ryan Reilly: "U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles is testing out a novel approach to dealing with drug-related crime, one that aims to clean up the streets by looking beyond mass arrests and incarceration. Conway is the third city in South Carolina to implement a version of the plan, and federal prosecutors in other states and the Justice Department are watching closely. If the program's success continues in South Carolina, it could become a model for law enforcement across the country. 'What I want to do is to make the people's lives who are law-abiding citizens in this community better,' Nettles said on the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Conway from his office in Columbia last month. 'Incarceration is no longer the goal, but is one of many tools available to allow you to effect your goal of improving their lives. It represents a fundamental shift, a seismic shift in terms of how you're viewing what you're doing.' 'When you declare a 'war on drugs,' the community sees the cops as the occupiers, and the cops see the people in the community as enemy combatants,' Nettles said. "Well, that's not the way it's supposed to be.'" [HuffPost]
HuffPost Haircuts: Shadee Ashtari.
NEWLY RELEASED DOCUMENTS FROM CLINTON WHITE HOUSE - Ken Thomas and Philip Elliott: "The National Archives released about 4,000 pages of previously confidential documents involving the former president's administration, providing a glimpse into the struggles of his health care task force, led by the first lady, and other priorities such as the U.S. economy and the North American Free Trade Agreement…. Top aides wrote an April 1993 memo saying pessimistic cost-savings projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office were 'petrifying an already scared Congress.' 'CBO has the very real potential to sink an already leaking health reform ship,' said the memo…. The meetings also showed that Mrs. Clinton was doubtful that a health care law with a universal mandate — requiring people to carry health insurance — would be approved. 'That is politically and substantively a much harder sell than the one we've got — a much harder sell,' she told congressional Democrats in September 1993. Caputo also proposed the 'wild idea' of having Clinton do a guest appearance on a popular sitcom of the day, 'Home Improvement.'" [Associated Press]
Think "team of rivals" but with Al Borland, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Wilson, the advice-giving neighbor who conceals his face at all times.
@samsteinhp: In which Rahm appears to be advising Clinton to "shove it up his ass" re: Charlton Heston http://t.co/08Op3oAIN7
WALL STREET HAS POOP PANTS OVER CAMP TAX PLAN - Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer & Lauren French: "Wall Street is warning Washington Republicans: The money spigot is turning off. Rep. Dave Camp’s tax proposal — which jacked up taxes on banks and threatens the bottom line of some major private equity players in New York — has infuriated donors in high finance. Private equity and investment firms in New York are telling key Republican players in D.C. that commitments for big-dollar fundraising have been 'canceled for the foreseeable future,' according to one GOP lobbyist with knowledge of the conversations. Lobbyists for Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan and others are meeting privately with lawmakers to explain what the bank tax would cost and how it would function. Big banks want to turn Republicans against the bank tax. The situation puts the party at risk of seeing a reliable source of campaign cash dry up right in the middle of a critical election year." [Politico]
Wahhhhh. Don't worry, Wall Street. Dave Camp's scary tax plan won't get a vote.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Reuters: "The U.S. government slashed its estimate for fourth-quarter growth as consumer spending and exports were less robust than initially thought, leaving the economy on a more sustainable path of modest expansion. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.4 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was down sharply from the 3.2 percent pace reported last month and the 4.1 percent logged in the third quarter." [Reuters]
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THIS WEEK IN JUST-FOR-FUN LEGISLATION - Reuters: "The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to overhaul the U.S. consumer financial watchdog, although the politically charged legislation stands little chance of becoming law." [Reuters]
FishbowlDC Q&A with HuffPost's man in Damascus, Josh Hersh.
CONSERVATIVE DEM JUMPS IN MISSISSIPPI SENATE RACE - "Travis Childers, a conservative Democrat who served just over two years in Congress, says he's running for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi. The 55-year-old Childers told The Associated Press on Friday that he's qualifying for the seat that Republican Thad Cochran first won in 1978. Cochran faces a challenge from two-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the Republican primary. In the Democratic primary, Childers will face Bill Marcy, who has twice run unsuccessfully for the U.S. House as a tea party Republican. Primaries are June 3." [Associated Press]
EPA SAYS NO TO MINE - Kate Sheppard: "The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it is beginning a process that could block a massive proposed gold mine in Alaska from being built. The Pebble Mine is a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine that could be up to 2 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and 1,700 feet deep -- the largest of its type in North America. The proposed site for the mine is at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers, which feed into the Bristol Bay. It is the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, producing nearly half of the world's wild sockeye. The EPA said Friday that it is invoking Clean Water Act protections that would stop its construction, citing concerns about the threat it poses to the bay and the fish that depend on it." [HuffPost]
THREE DAY WEEKEND ANYONE? - @capitalweather: Enough potential for wintry mess Monday a.m. that you may want to be prepared to work from home: http://t.co/OFYELE733j
MICHELLE OBAMA COMES OUT AGAINST MOM JEANS - Has she not seen her husband's pants on weekends? "First lady Michelle Obama has a mom dance, but she just says no to mom jeans. The first lady showed former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager how to boogie like a mom during an interview for NBC's 'Today' show. They were talking about Obama's 'Let's Move' campaign. When Hager asked about mom jeans, the first lady said, quote, 'I'm not a mom jeans kind of mom.' Mom jeans are an '80s style that is widely considered unflattering to women. They have a light wash, a high waist, fit loosely and are tapered at the ankle." Nice description, Associated Press!
HAPPY IRISH HERITAGE MONTH - Barack Obama: "Irish Americans have defended our country through times of war, strengthened communities from coast to coast, and poured sweat and blood into building our infrastructure and raising our skyscrapers. Some endured hunger, hardship, and prejudice; many rose to be leaders of government, industry, or culture." Thanks, Irish people! [WhiteHouse.gov]
POACH ALERT: Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni announced today that Assistant Managing Editor Sara Bondioli is leaving to become Deputy Politics Editor at the Huffington Post.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a piglet descending a staircase.
CLASSIC O'REILLY - In case you were wondering what he was up to. Catherine Taibi: "Well, we know one person who isn't listening to Kanye West's latest album: Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly told Obama's senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on Thursday night that if the White House is serious about implementing their new program to help strengthen minority communities, they need to 'attack' the source of the problem. Which, he said, is obviously Jay-Z and Kanye West, right? 'You have to attack the fundamental disease if you want to cure it,' the Fox News host said. 'You're gonna have to get people like Jay-Z, Kanye West, all these gangsta rappers to knock it off.'" [HuffPost]
- Child at Costco wows customers with his piano skills. [http://huff.to/NbI1EE]
- The company behind Twitter accounts like @historyinpics makes $1 million a month. [http://onforb.es/1kd0H4V]
- Why do we cry -- aside from the crushing nature of existence? [http://bit.ly/1fw2Iaj]
- Jean-Claude Van Damme splits once more... this time in space. [http://huff.to/1oaVurN]
- A mashup of the upcoming "Godzilla" remake and "Breaking Bad." [http://bit.ly/1lp6www]
- Boy with aspergers befriends sea lion. [http://huff.to/1mMkgzI]
@lachlan: "Time for some traffic problems in Crimea." -Putin, probably
@nickconfessore: Never get involved in a land war in Eurasia.
@jamieson: Speaking of mom jeans, my mother still refers to them as 'dungarees'
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