In one day, congressional Republicans blocked pay equity legislation AND an anti-discrimination measure -- the bill providing Dickensian ragamuffins more gruel is slated for a vote tomorrow (members are urged to vote "NO"). The U.S. plans to hurl an asteroid at the moon, probably in an attempt to frack it. And Vance McAllister, clearly in need of a crisis management team, wants the FBI to investigate the video leak of him making out with a staffer. Whether he'll dare the cable news networks to develop a specialty chyron for his scandal remains to be seen. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, April 9th, 2014:
JIM MORAN IS JUST UNBELIEVABLE - He is still arguing that members of Congress, who earn $174,000 annually, need a raise. "The House is supposed to reflect the people of this country" -- that is the first sentence of a statement on his website. A statement arguing that members, who earn more than three times the U.S. median household income and have guaranteed employment for life, are underpaid. "Don’t we want it to make financial sense for a 30-something physician, district attorney, city council member, or small business owner, who maybe has a new home mortgage, young children, or unpaid student loan debt, to serve in Congress?" It does make financial sense for those people to serve. Moran's legislation would give lawmakers a housing stipend because they need "relief from the cost of renting a second residence in the Washington Metropolitan area." Hoo boy. Let us tell you, they can afford to rent in any neighborhood they want here. Fortunately, Moran's colleagues aren't listening to him.
RYAN REILLY REPORTS - After defeating an amendment to a military construction appropriations bill that would have given military officials more autonomy to transfer Gitmo detainees, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) unloaded a zinger: "I might, with tongue-in-cheek, say that this issue got a raise out of Mr. Moran," Rogers joked. It took a few seconds, but he got some laughs. Moran said he's been hearing a lot of those kind of jokes. Thanks, Ryan!
SENATE REPUBLICANS ONCE AGAIN CAULK THE GLASS CEILING - We suppose the campaign against gender equality in the workplace would be Rosie the Riveter apathetically surfing through Netflix without any real intention of watching something. Laura Bassett: "Senate Republicans blocked a vote on Wednesday to open debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would hold employers more accountable for wage discrimination against women. The Senate voted 53 to 44 to move forward on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. The bill would prohibit retaliation against employees who share their salary information with each other, which supporters say would eliminate the culture of silence that keeps women in the dark about pay discrimination. It would also require the Department of Labor to collect wage data from employers, broken down by race and gender, and require employers to show that wage differentials between men and women in the same jobs are for a reason other than sex. All Republicans present and one Independent, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), voted against proceeding to debate the bill. All Democrats and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) voted in favor." [HuffPost]
Congress really brought it today: "In a single committee meeting Wednesday, House Republicans voted against considering bills to raise the minimum wage, reform mine safety law and expand equal pay and discrimination protections. They opted instead to move legislation generally seen as unfriendly to labor unions. A procedural maneuver by Democrats put their legislation on the minimum wage and workplace safety and discrimination before Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, who essentially voted against voting on the measures. The move was part of an effort by Democrats to get Republicans on the record opposing raising the wage floor or bolstering workplace discrimination laws. Democrats had proposed amendments to the GOP's legislation on unions that, if approved, would have given the minimum wage, mine safety and discrimination measures a committee vote. Republicans blocked the proposals on the grounds that the amendments weren't germane to the committee vote on the union legislation, which is expected to head to the House floor. In a statement later Wednesday, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), the Education and Workforce Committee chairman, knocked the Democrats for their 'antics.'" [HuffPost]
HuffPost Haircuts: Stefan Becket (h/t Stefan Becket), Randy Heusser (crew cut), Dan Jansen (summer cut) (h/ts Matthew Kravitz), Igor Bobic (h/t Sabrina Siddiqui). Arthur Delaney needs a haircut.
Jason Linkins uses cats in hazmat suits to describe MCHM chemical levels in West Virginia's water supply.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - "If I don't land a job this week or the unemployment bill doesn't pass, I'm going to have to move out of my apartment. I haven't paid rent since March. I've been telling my landlord that this unemployment bill is going to pass, and then I'll pay them rent. Well, she's watching as much as I'm watching and it doesn't look like it's going to pass. Next Friday, I'll be living in my car." [As told to HuffPost's Andrew Perez]
DOUBLE DOWNER - John Boehner has been nice about unemployment benefits, finding marginal reasons not to bring 'em to the floor, but House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp is being pretty mean, saying the benefits just kinda suck. [Hang in there!]
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MCALLISTER WANTS TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT HE CHEATED ON HIS WIFE - Short of making his reelection slogan "Vance Hasn't Slept With Me... Yet!" we can't think of a worse move for the congressman to make right now. The New Star: "U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister’s top aide said the congressman will send a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday morning requesting an FBI investigation concerning the leak of a video from a security camera in McAllister’s Monroe District Office. The video, which was publicly posted Monday, showed the married congressman sharing a passionate embrace and kiss with former staffer Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, who also is married. Peacock has since resigned. 'It’s a serious breach,' said Adam Terry, McAllister’s chief of staff...The video that shows the encounter between McAllister and Peacock, 33, of Sterlington, was released on a weekly newspaper’s website Monday. It came from a surveillance camera at the congressman’s own Monroe District Office. McAllister said he has asked his wife, Kelly, and their five children for forgiveness. The congressman told The News-Star that he is ashamed of his actions but doesn’t intend to resign...Louisiana lawmakers say McAllister must decide for himself what’s best for his family and his constituents as he grapples with a scandal that has put him in the national spotlight. They also said he should make a decision quickly." [News Star]
@MEPfuller: It's almost like David Wu doesn't realize he resigned from Congress. #TigerSighting pic.twitter.com/HmMMsA0dnx
POLL: AMERICANS SUPPORT TORTURE BUT WOULD RATHER WE DIDN'T - A profoundly deep position that basically puts torture in the same category as "grounding the kids" and "taking antibiotics." Emily Swanson: "Most Americans think the government is sometimes justified in using torture to combat terrorism, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows. But Americans are more likely than not to think terror can be fought without torture. The poll showed that 68 percent think there are some circumstances when the government is justified in using torture, including 16 percent who think it's always justified, 33 percent who think it's sometimes justified, and 19 percent who think it's rarely justified. Only 22 percent of Americans think torture is never justified. Democrats who were polled were most likely to say that torture is either rarely or never justified. But even among Democrats, only 34 percent said torture is never justified. By a 49 percent to 28 percent margin, more Americans think it's possible to combat terrorism without torture, the poll showed. Another 23 percent said they weren't sure. Democrats (56 percent to 22 percent) and independents (49 percent to 35 percent) were most likely to say that it is possible. Republicans were evenly split at 40 percent." [HuffPost]
NEW JERSEY VOTERS DOUBT CHRISTIE-APPROVED BRIDGEGATE INVESTIGATION - Wonder if Jeb Bush would think appointing an ally to investigate your administration is an act of love. Quinnipiac: "The investigation clearing New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie of involvement in Bridgegate was a 'whitewash,' Garden State voters say, as the governor's job approval drops to 49 - 44 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. New Jersey voters are divided 48 - 48 percent on whether Gov. Christie is more of a leader or more of a bully, his worst 'bully' score ever. The governor's job approval is down from a 55 - 38 percent score in a January 15 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh- pe-ack) University, in which 54 percent of voters said he was more of a leader while 40 percent said he was more of a bully. Today, men approve 53 - 43 percent of the job Christie is doing, with women divided 46 - 45 percent. Of the 96 percent of New Jersey voters who know something about Bridgegate, September's traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge, 56 percent say the investigation commissioned by the governor and clearing Christie of involvement was a 'whitewash,' while 36 percent say it was a 'legitimate investigation.'" [Quinnipiac]
HOT SHOT LAWYER AHEAD IN IA-SEN - We're still engaged in our whisper campaign to get Chuck Grassley's Twitter account to hop in the race. Suffolk: "In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley leads all five potential Republican opponents by between 6 and 13 points. Republicans aren't faring as well in the U.S. Senate race, though the race is much closer. Braley’s lead over his Republican opponents is buoyed by wide positive margins in his home northeast area as well as in the central counties, including Polk. In the smaller subset of June Republican Primary voters, State Sen. Joni Ernst, who has been tagged the 'castration candidate' due to her TV ad that includes a matter-of-fact reference to growing up on an Iowa hog farm, is leading businessman Mark Jacobs 25 percent to 23 percent. Radio show host Sam Clovis (7 percent), former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker (4 percent), and Navy veteran Scott Schaben (1 percent) trail the front-runners, while 40 percent of primary voters remain undecided. Although within the statistical margin of error, this is the first public poll showing Ernst leading in the GOP Primary." [Suffolk]
It's the very twee ukulele music that really elevates this ad into the stratosphere: "Bob Quast's web ad for his campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) doesn't just feature a baby and a petite dog but also a gun and a knife...The candidate, who says he's running as an independent for the seat, talks about the murder of his sister by her husband in 1999. 'If you are the sexual predator and sociopath who murdered my sister Lynette and you come to my front door to do harm to my girls, I'm going to use my Glock,' Quast says. 'To blow your balls off,' he adds, as he brandishes a gun. Quast then transitions to a discussion of the presumed Democratic candidate for the seat, Rep. Bruce Braley, who has faced criticism for comments he made in January about Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) background as a farmer. 'Liberals like Bruce Braley want to restrict our gun rights,' he says. 'Including this magazine, with 15 bullets.' Quast doesn't just distinguish himself from Braley, however. 'Please do not confuse me with Iowa's Republican candidate for U.S. Senate,' Braley says, as he pulls out a knife." [HuffPost]
NASA LAYS OUT PLANS FOR MARS, HURLING AN ASTEROID AT THE MOON - Jen Bendery: "NASA has some projects in the works when it comes to space exploration, but they're no big deal: Just grabbing an asteroid and throwing it at the moon, sending people to Mars and laying the groundwork for permanent human settlements in the solar system. 'Our architecture is designed for long-term human exploration of our solar system, including the goal of human missions to Mars,' William Gerstenmaier, an associate administrator at NASA, said Wednesday during testimony before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space. The hearing, called "From Here to Mars," focused on intermediate space missions being planned as steps toward long-duration space travel. One possible mission is to a near-Earth asteroid, Gerstenmaier said. Not only is NASA working on sending a manned spacecraft to the asteroid, but then, through the use of robotic technology, scientists are also looking at ways to knock the asteroid -- or possibly a boulder from the asteroid -- into an orbit around the moon to collect samples from it." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are goats singing the "Game of Thrones" theme.
DREAMER EVENT THURSDAY: - Press release: "Define American, FWD.us, and The Atlantic will host immigration reform advocates, undocumented youth (DREAMers) and workers, tech leaders, and community members for a special screening of Jose Antonio Vargas’ film, 'Documented' on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 7:00 PM at The Newseum."
- "Show Nuff" documents the worst theater -- ahem, theatre -- PR photos. [http://bit.ly/1n4yCLw]
- Cat fights while guy rips some serious licks on his axe. [http://bit.ly/1qj1HVi]
- Are Hong Kong and Macau countries? [http://bit.ly/1eldLnE]
- This oddly-shaped beer glass makes stouts taste better. [http://wrd.cm/1eajhJf]
- What if R2-D2 were in all the movies? [http://supportingactorr2d2.tumblr.com/]
- The "Boyfriend Twin" tumblr features dudes who have decided to date themselves. [http://bit.ly/1qhKB8B]
- The best (worst?) one-star book reviews from the web. [http://bit.ly/1imY7n3]
@Elahezadi: "I would like to ask my friend from [insert state] to limit his question to 140 characters." - congressional hearings of the future
@pareene: tweeps, feel like we're real close to cracking this "is there sexism and racism" thing, everyone keep at it
@EvanMcSan: IM of the day: "Also I hate all of Buzzfeed today. Can you guess why?”
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