Drone pilots are increasingly unsatisfied with their jobs, a development that could result in brain drain to the professional World of Warcraft community. Harry Reid and John Boehner hold all of their meetings in Boehner's office because Reid can't stand smoke in his office and Boehner can't stand the sight of human scalps. And the GOP should really try to poach the guy who is doctoring the jobs AND Obamacare reports to do some voter purge work for them. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, April 18th, 2014:
HARRY REID LOVES WATCHING JOHN BOEHNER SMOKE - While discussing the latest negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner on unemployment insurance, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid discussed the speaker's smoking habit. “We kick around John Boehner often, but I have a wonderful relationship with him. He’s the nicest guy… And every meeting that I have with him takes place in his office...You know [the] protocol is you go back and forth. But we decided to do it that way because John Boehner smokes, and he smokes a lot. I don’t want him smoking in my office, so every meeting we’ve had has been in his office. And usually he smokes a cigarette about every ten minutes. I am glad he is able to smoke, it keeps him pacified and we have been able actually to get some things worked out." That is nice. [Roll Call's Humberto Sanchez]
GOP WILL NOT LET OBAMACARE GO - An upsetting amount of Republican distrust in the administration seems to be centered on counting, which isn't terribly surprising coming from a party whose central scientific tenet are 1. That the Earth is warming because God has a sinus infection and 2. That Jesus likely stepped in a lot of stegosaurus poop. Paige Lavender: "The Republican National Committee sent a message to President Barack Obama Friday: the GOP is not moving on from Obamacare. The Republicans' message came in the form of a web video, posted one day after the president announced 8 million people had signed up for private health insurance using the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act...Republicans argued that 'Americans don't think it's time to move on' in the video. Some prominent Republicans personally promised to keep up the fight against Obamacare, with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) saying 'Republicans cannot and will not accept this law.' The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also released a statement, according to NBC: 'If the president is so confident in his numbers, there is no reason not to release transparent and complete enrollment data, and answer the questions, how many enrollees were previously uninsured and how many people had lost their previous plans due to Obamacare.'" [HuffPost]
TEA PARTY CHUCKLEHEADS THROWING JOHN BOEHNER AN UNWANTED RETIREMENT PARTY - John Boehner would like to mow this party like a lawn. John Stanton: "Tea Party activists are sending out invitations for a “surprise retirement party” for House Speaker John Boehner, targeting inside-the-beltway Boehner backers and reporters. The email invites are paid for by the Tea Party Leadership Fund Political Action Committee, a conservative organization that has spent more than $300,000 this cycle supporting 32 year old J.D. Winteregg’s primary challenge to Boehner this year. 'We’re throwing a retirement party for our John Boehner and 1,000 of his closest Beltway buddies are invited. I’ve pledged to get him a shuffleboard set so he can enjoy his new Florida retirement in style,' PAC spokesman Rusty Humphries said Friday." [BuzzFeed]
The Congressional Budget Office released some real pretty infographics today. The CBO's chart game is strong.
GOP UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE POLICY ISN'T MAKING UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE GO AWAY - Andrew Perez: "What's happened since Congress killed long-term unemployment insurance in December proves the jobless aren't lazy, according to one state workforce agency. The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced this week that 86 percent of the state's long-term unemployed were still without work at the end of January, according to a study by the agency. 'This seriously undermines the perception that unemployment insurance discourages workers from finding employment,' Jay Rowell, the Illinois agency's director, said in a press release. 'You should look at this analysis as confirmation that re-authorizing emergency unemployment is a cost-effective way to help families stay in their homes and put food on their tables. But you cannot look at this and say that people don’t want to work.'" [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The latest blog in HuffPost's All Work, No Pay series is by DJ Cook: "I am suffocated by student debt. I am 36 years old, I'm employed, and I live slightly above the poverty line…. I would love to be a spokesperson or an activist for the plights of the indentured servants of student loan debt and/or the working poor, but I already have two jobs (full-time high school teacher and part time economics tutor), I have no savings nor any prospect of savings and with student loan debt being the only debt in this country that you cannot wash away with bankruptcy I can't afford to take off a single day of work to even attempt to organize or be part of an organization that fights for the millions of American who find themselves in the exact same situation." [HuffPost]
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CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S SLEAZY MOVE ON MIN WAGE - Bill Clinton tried to index the minimum wage to inflation but didn't inhale. Dave Jamieson: "Democrats in Congress and a clear majority of Americans would like to raise the minimum wage and tie it to an inflation index so that it keeps up with the cost of living. This concept -- known as indexing -- is something of a holy grail for backers of a strong minimum wage, since it would eliminate the need to constantly re-legislate new increases to the wage floor. The idea isn't new. In the late 1990's, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) had championed legislation that would have indexed the minimum wage and kept it from eroding over time. His efforts failed. And according to newly released documents, they appear to have failed at least in part because the economic team under President Bill Clinton didn't want Democrats to lose hold of a winning political issue. In a January 1998 memo to Clinton, Gene Sperling, then the director of the National Economic Council, laid out all of the reasons why his team couldn't get behind Kennedy's indexing proposal. Part of it, he said, was due to a potential show of hypocrisy, since they'd opposed an indexing proposal related to capital gains in budget negotiations. Another concern was that some Democrats could oppose it on the grounds it would "lock in" a permanently low minimum wage (a concern that still exists today). And they were worried about the logistics of the Labor Department figuring out a new increase each year.
"But then there was this: '[S]ince the minimum wage would automatically rise each year, it would take away a good political issue for those who believe the minimum wage is an important tool to help low-income families.' Here's another way to read that: Keeping the minimum wage somewhat low is helpful politically to Democrats who say it should be higher." [HuffPost]
DRONE PILOTS ARE HAVING A SAD - And not just because of all the carpal tunnel and decreasing number of LAN parties. Amanda Terkel: "The negative attention on drone strikes appears to be taking a toll on the people who control these unmanned aircraft, with a new government report finding that Air Force drone pilots are suffering from low morale. The Government Accountability Office report, released this week, looked at 10 focus groups of active-duty Air Force drone pilots, known as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operators. Investigators found that these individuals feel stressed and overworked as they face uncertainty in their careers, long hours, negative public perception and a prohibition on talking about what they do, which is often classified. Part of their stress comes from that fact that although there has been an 'explosion' in the government's use of drones, as of last December the Air Force had only 85 percent of the drone pilots it needed. Attracting new pilots for these missions appears to be a problem. Every single focus group agreed that there is a negative perception of the work they do. That stigma isn't coming just from the public, but from within the Air Force as well." [HuffPost]
LAWMAKERS TARGETING OVERLY PHOTOSHOPPED ADVERTISEMENTS - Because it should never be cool to have a bicep than skinnier than your wrist. Shadee Ashtari: "In an effort to shield young children and teenagers from the damaging effects of photoshopped images, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Lois Capps (D-Calif.) have co-sponsored legislation to reduce the use of misleadingly altered images in advertisements. 'Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women,' Capps said in April. 'And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops.' While the proposal would not implement new regulatory standards, the 'Truth in Advertising Act' would mandate the Federal Trade Commission to report on advertisements photoshopped to 'materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted.'" [HuffPost]
MAN WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT NOT READY TO HAVE PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION TO HIM - Mitt Romney, noted shy person and possessor of modest goals, is back. WaPo: "Romney has returned to the political stage, emerging as one of the Republican Party’s most coveted stars, especially on the fundraising circuit, in the run-up to November’s midterm elections. He may not direct a high-powered political-action committee or hold a formal position, but with the two living former Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — shying away from campaign politics, Romney, 67, has begun to embrace the role of party elder, believing he can shape the national debate and help guide his fractured party to a governing majority. Insisting he won’t seek the presidency again, the former GOP nominee has endorsed at least 16 candidates this cycle, many of them establishment favorites who backed his campaigns. One Romney friend said he wants to be the 'anti-Jim DeMint,' a reference to the former South Carolina senator and current Heritage Foundation chairman who has been a conservative kingmaker in Republican primaries. Romney’s approach is to reward allies, boost rising stars and avoid conflict.Romney has signed his name to sharply partisan e-mail appeals and headlined recent fundraisers from Las Vegas to Miami to Boston. This week, he appeared in his first television ad: a U.S. Chamber of Commerce spot supporting Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, who faces a tea party challenger in a state where Romney remains widely popular. And Romney’s confidants said he will appear in more ads, record robo-calls and stump at rallies later this year." [WaPo]
Charlie Crist's campaign staff is more erratic than his party affiliation: "Something's weird in Charlie Crist's campaign. His new spokesman, Eric Conrad, just left after less than a week on the job 'to pursue other opportunities,' said de-facto spokesman Kevin Cate. The pro-Crist Saint Petersblog noted the departure first. Cate has said as much before when Bill Hyers, Crist's here-today-gone-tomorrow campaign manager quit before/around the time he started...Crist relies on his own talents. But he resists coaching. He doesn't always take good advice. He acts spur of the moment. His campaign is more of a cult of personality compared to [Gov. Rick] Scott's campaign, which is more like a disciplined business start up." [Miami Herald]
ELIZABETH WARREN SHOWS WALL STREET A THING OR TWO BY, UH, PUKING - YEAH! Mike McAuliff: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren has gotten an awful lot of mileage out of her popular appearances on 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.' But it was something of a revolting experience the first time she prepared to sit across from the sometimes caustic comedian. She had such a bad case of nerves before the 2009 broadcast that Warren threw up. Twice. 'I was miserable. I had stage fright -- gut-wrenching, stomach-turning, bile-filled stage fright. And I was stuck in a gloomy little bathroom, about to go on The Daily Show,' the Massachusetts Democrat recalls in her new book, A Fighting Chance, due out next week. 'I was having serious doubts about going through with this. I had talked to reporters and been interviewed plenty of times, but this was different. At any second, the whole interview could turn into a giant joke -- and what if the joke turned on the work I was trying to do?' 'For the zillionth time, I asked myself why on God's green earth I had agreed to sit down with Jon Stewart,' Warren writes." [HuffPost]
RED FOX WON'T STOP STALKING THE FIRST FAMILY - Meet the Michaele Salahi of the carnivora order. Journal: "There's a new guest at the White House. Unlike most people who pass through the presidential residence, he wasn't invited. But in cutthroat Washington fashion, he saw weakness and took advantage. Now he rests and plays uninhibited at the seat of power. He also has pointy ears and a bushy tail. The little red fox, who hasn't been named, turned up on the White House grounds in the weeks before the government shutdown in October. After many White House groundskeepers were furloughed, the fox settled in. Months later, the furry little conundrum has left officials who sort through some of the world's most complex challenges scratching their heads. The fox lacks the deference typically exhibited by White House guests. He tore through the White House garden when it was left unattended during the shutdown. He graduated to tripping alarms in the middle of the night, napping wherever he pleases and generally living the high life on a campus overseen by dozens of highly trained Secret Service agents. Even President Barack Obama was stunned, aides say, when he looked outside the Oval Office one morning to see the fox running down the same open-air colonnade along the Rose Garden that has been traversed by American presidents and world dignitaries for the past century." [WSJ]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a child hugging a chicken.
PEOPLE WHO PRETEND COLLIDE WITH PEOPLE WHO LIE - A giant group of cosplayers convened on the Mall, yet our dream of seeing Virginia Foxx in a Bane mask remains unfulfilled. Sigh. Roll Call: "Perhaps even superheroes can’t stand the thought of getting too close to Congress. That was one possible explanation for the failure of Awesome Con to secure a world record for assembled costumed players photographed at one time. Promoters had hoped to turn out thousands on Friday at noon for a record-breaking photo in front of the Capitol’s Reflecting Pool. The stage was set. Social media was activated. Commissioner Gordon sent out the Bat signal. There might have been an Aquaman siting in the murky depths of the duck-riddled Reflecting Pool. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. At 11:45 a.m., only a few dozen costumed players were milling around. Guinness World Record officiants were there, folders in hand, to see if D.C. Awesome Con could best China’s World Joyland, which assembled 1,530 crusaders in 2011. As the final calls went out over Twitter as the clock struck close to 1 p.m., explanations were bandied about. Some cosplayers apparently went to the Reflecting Pool connecting the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II Memorial. Apparently, superpowers didn’t include map-reading skills for that bunch. Didn’t matter. Only around 200 or so showed, well short of the record." [Roll Call]
- There exists video of a llama prancing about to DMX. This is that video. [http://huff.to/1jRobub]
- Eleven words that should be dirty but aren't. [http://bit.ly/1f3H7la]
- These two dudes are the Ruth and Gehrig of pen spinning. [http://bit.ly/1jSb1wh]
- Don't drive your car at full speed if its missing a wheel. The More You Know. [http://bit.ly/P7pV7h]
- A board that spews fire in sync with music. Motley Crew's tour staff has some work to do. [http://bit.ly/PcTeFq]
- Pharrell's "Happy" without the music is much more enjoyable... and schizophrenic. [http://huff.to/1jerJok]
- This web app will generate any facial expression from "The Office" that you so please. [http://bit.ly/1kJB9em]
@AndyRichter: Charles Krauthammer does not deserve such a metal name
@ScottWestefield: Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.
@ProffJeffJarvis: What if Judas had never doxxed Jesus?
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