HUFFPOST HILL - President Demands To See Vladimir Putin's Vial Of Anthrax

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Joe Biden paid a visit to D.C.'s Florida Avenue Grill and managed to not make awkward comments about scrapple. Charlotte's mayor is accused of accepting bribes, because waiting a few years to take a six-figure lobbying job is too much to ask of a man. And John Boehner asked if the latest Obamacare delay is some kind of joke, because nothing elicits the lulz quite like administrative delays. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 26th, 2014:

OBAMA TRANSFORMS INTO IRAQ WAR APOLOGIST TO CRITIQUE RUSSIA - It's at this point in the Barack Obama biopic, "Choom," where President Obama (played by a slimmed down Chiwetel Ejiofor) walks off the stage in Brussels, stares into a mirror as audio of his 2007 campaign kickoff speech is overlayed (with heavy echo) and breaks down in sobs. Ryan Grim: "President Barack Obama defended the American invasion of Iraq Wednesday in a high-profile speech to address the Russian takeover of Crimea. Russian officials, Obama noted, have pointed to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq as an example of 'Western hypocrisy.' Obama struggled, however, in his attempt to defend the legality of the invasion. The war was unsanctioned by the United Nations, and many experts assert it violated any standard reading of international law. But, argued Obama, at least the U.S. tried to make it legal. 'America sought to work within the international system,' Obama said, referencing an attempt to gain U.N. approval for the invasion -- an effort that later proved to be founded on flawed, misleading and cherry-picked intelligence. The man who delivered the presentation to the U.N., then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, has repeatedly called it a 'blot' on his record." [HuffPost]

John Boehner gave Nancy Pelosi chocolate for her birthday, hoping she hadn't given it up for lent. She had. He should have followed his gut and purchased the minority leader that coffee table book of sailboats. Better luck next year, John!

One of the major financial houses would do well to create a public official wealth management desk: "A member of Congress who held stocks in Russian companies has requested that her broker sell them 'forthwith' after the investments were revealed on Tuesday by The Huffington Post. Freshman Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) was one of six members of Congress who owned stock in Russian companies, according to HuffPost's analysis of financial disclosure forms. The other five are Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)...As of Tuesday, Frankel had the most diversified Russian stock portfolio of any member, with investments in six different Russian companies. 'The total value of these Russian-related positions is $4276,' Frankel said in a statement emailed to HuffPost, 'and I have requested my broker to liquidate those interests forthwith.' Frankel added that the stocks were 'purchased by a Morgan Stanley Account Manager, for many clients, long before the current crisis [in Ukraine] and are among hundreds of stocks in said portfolio that are managed by that manager." [HuffPost]

@mmcauliff: going a little radical here? Inbox: "GOP Launches New #StopTheIRS Website"

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Ricki Ward says she will either have to sell her car or lose her apartment at the end of the month. Ward, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is one of the 1.3 million Americans who stopped receiving payments when Congress allowed long-term unemployment benefits to lapse at the end of December. Ward, 59, said she had been laid off from her customer service job for a cable provider in March 2013 and, while she had received some help from family members, continued to fall further behind. "I now have to decide if I'm going to sell my car to keep my home, or lose my home and live in my car," she said in an email to HuffPost on Tuesday. "My family is tapped out and can no longer help." [HuffPost's Andrew Perez]

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HOUSE DEMS BEGIN IMMIGRATION GAMBIT - Next up, yelling "hey, look over there!" and then quickly calling a vote. "House Democrats initiated a long-shot maneuver on Wednesday to get a vote on their comprehensive immigration reform bill, and promised to hammer Republicans until they acquiesce. 'Our nation cannot afford to wait any longer for this House to take up immigration reform,' Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), the lead sponsor of the reform bill, said at a press conference. 'We have heard too many excuses and too much empty rhetoric from Speaker Boehner. It’s time for the House to vote.' The move Democrats began Wednesday, called a discharge petition, will require them to win support and signatures from 218 members -- a majority of the House -- in order to make the chamber vote on the bill, introduced by Democrats last year and supported by a majority of the caucus. Even if they don't gain the signatures necessary -- and it looks likely that they won't -- they argue the effort could help to put more pressure on the GOP to restart an immigration effort that has stalled in the House. Despite putting out a set of principles on immigration reform in January, the House GOP has yet to move forward with any bills on the issue. A Republican aide predicted that the discharge petition won't likely lead to a vote." [HuffPost]

WHITE HOUSE TYING MINIMUM WAGE HIKE TO GENDER PAY PARITY - While the GOP is tying it to something approximating District 12 from "The Hunger Games." Dave Jamieson: "Hoping to give Democrats' minimum wage legislation a boost in Congress, the White House released a report on Wednesday making the case that raising the wage floor would benefit women in particular and help close the gender wage gap. The White House report, produced in part by the president's Council of Economic Advisers and the Labor Department, says that about 55 percent of the workers who would see higher wages under the proposal would be women. 'Estimates from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers suggest that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and indexing it to inflation could close about 5 percent of the gender wage gap,' the report states. Democrats' minimum wage legislation has a long way to go before reaching the president's desk. The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to take up the bill sometime next month. House Republicans have shown little interest so far in bringing a House bill to a vote...Like the White House, Congressional Democrats have made a point of framing the minimum wage as a gender equity issue. Last year, Democratic leaders made the wage floor a central plank to their 'women's economic agenda,' which also includes guaranteeing paid sick leave, expanding affordable child care and passing the Paycheck Fairness Act to address the wage gap." [HuffPost]

A Bush always pays his debts: "Former President George H.W. Bush has come out in support of Republican Sally Atwater, a candidate for superintendent of South Carolina's education system, Newsmax reported Tuesday. The endorsement -- rare from the former president -- came ahead of a fundraiser for Atwater, hosted at the residence of Bush's daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch, Tuesday evening. Atwater was married to the late Lee Atwater, who served as a Bush campaign strategist. Bush promoted Lee Atwater to chair the Republican Party following his election in 1988. The former president touted Sally Atwater's experience and dedication in a statement to Newsmax." [HuffPost's Ashley Alman]

CHARLOTTE MAYOR ARRESTED ON BRIBERY CHARGES - The mayor or Charlotte currently makes around $23,000 annually, which is basically an invitation for a U.S. Attorney to poke around. Charlotte Observer: "Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday on public corruption charges after a four-year investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte announced. Cannon was charged with theft and bribery after an FBI sting operation, said Anne Tompkins, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. He was released on an undisclosed bond, pending indictment. Authorities said Cannon took bribes from undercover FBI agents five times – the most recent on Feb. 21 when he took $20,000 in cash in the mayor’s office – and a trip to Las Vegas. Tompkins said Cannon also accepted from the undercover agents more than $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and use of a luxury apartment in exchange for 'the use of his official position,' Tompkins said...At a Jan. 17, 2013 meeting, one FBI agent gave Cannon $12,500 in cash by putting it on a coffee table in front of him. Cannon, according to the affidavit, looked nervously toward a window and covered the money with a folder. After the agent closed the blinds, Cannon put the money to his ear and fanned the bills." [Charlotte Observer]

STUDY: SENIORS WANT LEFTIES OFF THEIR LAWN - But that, Republican Party? What a nice boy. Gallup: "U.S seniors -- those aged 65 and older -- have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010. In 1992, 53% of senior citizens, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned Democratic, while 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican, resulting in a 14-percentage-point Democratic advantage in seniors' party affiliation. Last year, 48% of seniors identified as or leaned Republican, and 45% Democratic, a three-point Republican advantage. The full 1992-2013 party affiliation trends for seniors and younger Americans are shown on page 2." [Gallup]

PRO TIP: DON'T DENIGRATE FARMERS IN IOWA - Iowans value them as much as they value ethanol subsidies. Quad-City Times: "Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley apologized Tuesday for comments at a fundraiser at a Texas law firm in which he said if Republicans took control of the Senate, Sen. Chuck Grassley, a 'farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,' would chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans pounced on the remarks, which were contained in a video posted by America Rising, a conservative political action committee...Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo who is a lawyer, said in the video the 2014 election represented a 'stark contrast.'...Republicans criticized Braley, saying he not only had denigrated Grassley but also farmers. Senate GOP hopeful Mark Jacobs called the remarks offensive. “Bruce Braley’s ignorant remarks are yet another reminder that he only aims to serve one group: trial lawyers nationwide; not Iowans," Jacobs said in a statement shortly after noon. Within an hour of his statement, a conservative advocacy group in the state, a representative of the Republicans' campaign arm in the U.S. Senate and the re-election campaign for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad had all responded to the comments with emails and social media, criticizing Braley and amplifying his statement." [Quad-City Times]

Hey, guy, nice pancakes: "Vice President Joe Biden went out for lunch today, but not just to any old place: he went to the famous Florida Avenue Grill. According to the White House Press Pool, Biden ventured to the Florida Avenue Grill to praise the restaurant and its owner, Imar Hutchins, for paying workers above the tipped minimum wage...During his visit, the Veep sat down at a table next to a small boy in a high chair and gave him a stuffed dog, which the boy then bopped on Biden's face. Biden then ordered the last four slices of apple pie and went on his merry way." [DCist]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a tiny greedy dog.

NLRB: NORTHWESTERN FOOTBALL PLAYERS CAN UNIONIZE - The union, like a solid nickel defense, makes us strong. Chicago Tribune: "Northwestern University football players are employees of the school and are therefore entitled to a union election, Peter Sung Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, said in a ruling released Wednesday afternoon. The stunning decision has the potential to alter dramatically the world of big-time college sports in which the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the universities strike the deals and set the rules, exerting control over the activities of the players known as 'student athletes.' But now they are employees, too, according to the NLRB decision, which will be appealed. In siding with the union, Ohr said the football players primarily have an economic relationship with the university, which controls and directs their daily activities and compensates them in the form of scholarships." [Tribune]

COMFORT FOOD

- "House of Thrones" is a "House of Cards" and "Game of Throne" mashup that is a Quiznos ad for some reason. [http://bit.ly/1hXUpkW]

- The latest installment of "Kid Snippets," which feature adults acting out scripts written by young children. [http://bit.ly/1gYoXAz]

- All male university students in North Korea must get Kim Jong-un's haircut. For real. [http://bbc.in/1fis9Y4]

- A 1979 video of Ian McKellen analyzing a Macbeth soliloquy. [http://bit.ly/1haKHh1]

- NASA is crowdsourcing the next spacesuit. [http://bit.ly/1hVVJ7T]

- Nancy Grace debating Nancy Grace. [http://bit.ly/1l4W9f4]

- The video of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" without the music is uncomfortable. And hilarious. But mainly uncomfortable. [http://huff.to/1dOa6IW]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: Bribes for some, miniature American flags for others. RT @eliotnelson: FALSE: Take bribes RT @timothypmurphy: Don't take bribes.

@dceiver: "A smaller, less rigid, less intrusive government, is preferable unless we're talking about ACA deadlines" --the Federalist Papers, probably

@kristoncapps: March 25: Snow
March 26: Snow
May 17: Snow
August 28: Snow
July 4, 2015: Snow
Stardate 20X6: Snow

Snow Snow Snow

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