A cowboy, the Homestead Act and the reinstitution of slavery dominated the political news cycle, confirming practically every foreigner's view of America. Conservatives lampooned President Obama for bowing to a robot in Japan, prompting liberals to recall the time President Bush held hands with the Large Hadron Collider. And John Boehner mocked his caucus for refusing to advance immigration reform, teasing, 'Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard.' We're sure people will laugh again when Boehner retells the joke in his K Street office next year. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 24th, 2014:
CONSERVATIVE STAR A GIGANTIC RACIST, ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL LANNY DAVIS STEPS IN - It's like God took Joe the Plumber, mixed in some "Duck Dynasty" characters and made his new creation even less tethered to reality. HuffPost: "Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a tense standoff with federal rangers in a dispute over grazing rights, didn't hide his racism in an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday. The Bureau of Land Management claims Bundy has let his cattle graze on federal land without paying since 1993, saying he now owes more than $1 million in grazing fees. When federal agents came to confront Bundy about the fees, they were met by an armed militia, a move that has fired up conservatives. 'I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,' [Bundy said, proceeding to cite a housing project in North Las Vegas], 'and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do... And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?' [he continued]. 'They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.'" [HuffPost']
Just curious: What's the *first* thing Bundy "know[s] about the negro"?
A number of politicians have forced themselves into a 'that racist has some good ideas!' position: "Bundy's comments, published Wednesday, led Republican lawmakers who had previously shown their support for his cause to back down. A spokesman for Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who had previously hailed Bundy and his supporters as 'patriots,' rebuked the rancher's racist remarks, saying the senator “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.' Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said he supported Bundy in an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren earlier this week, denounced Bundy's racist remarks Thursday, Business Insider reports. 'His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him,' Paul said, according to a spokesman." [Ibid.]
BUNDY HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE AND MADE THINGS EVEN WORSE - This guy could really use some crisis management advice from Lanny Davis. Could somebody call Lanny? Thanks. "Are they better off, are they happier than they was when they was in the south in front of their homes with their chickens, and their gardens, and their children around them….and their men having something to do?" [BuzzFeed]
BOEHNER MOCKS HIS CAUCUS - He is a caucus-mocker. Sheila McLaughlin: "House Speaker John Boehner theatrically mocked his fellow Republican Congressmen for being afraid to reform immigration policy when he spoke Thursday before the Middletown Rotary Club in his home district. 'Here's the attitude. Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,' Boehner whined before a luncheon crowd at Brown's Run County Club in Madison Township. 'We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it's remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don't want to ... They'll take the path of least resistance.'" [Cincinnati Enquirer]
HAWK & DOVE WTF - This bankruptcy gets weirder and weirder. Katy Stech: "Investors who bought several restaurants that fueled the dining boom in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood are accusing the D.C. restaurateur who sold the eateries of sabotaging the restaurants in a scheme to take them back. And they want their scooter back, too. Lawyers for eight restaurants including Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Molly Malone’s and Boxcar Tavern said in new court papers that Xavier Cervera, who became a consultant for the restaurants in August after selling the restaurants in late 2012, intentionally hindered their performance. The investors didn’t specify how Mr. Cervera was able to set the restaurants on a downward spiral…. And there’s the scooter. Lawyers have been trying to recover a black Vespa GTS 300 and artwork that they say Mr. Cervera took after selling the restaurants." [Wall Street Journal]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Oops, too many new unemployment claims last week: "In the week ending April 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 329,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 304,000 to 305,000. The 4-week moving average was 316,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 312,000." Still way below the number of claims indicating higher unemployment, but still oops. [DOL.gov]
Hiccup: We mixed up our Udall cousins yesterday, writing that Tom -- not Mark -- was targeted in Americans for Prosperity's ad that used an image of a post-Aura shooting press conference. It was Mark Udall who was beside President Obama in the press conference. We apologize for the mistake. Here is a contrition puppy.
Turns out AFP used the same image in a tweet last year .
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CAMPAIGNS FLAUNT COORDINATION RULES IN PUBLIC - It's only a matter of time until candidates "accidentally" "drop" manilla envelopes with strategy memos outside of Americans for Prosperity and American Bridge's offices. WaPo: "Welcome to the super PAC era, in which coordination between well-heeled outside groups and congressional candidates is forbidden. But Democrats and Republicans on both sides have found creative workarounds. Candidates post clip reels on YouTube that can be pulled by anyone who wants to run a positive commercial for them. Campaign committees post opposition research that anyone who wants to make an attack ad would find handy...And while neither side will say this is what they are up to, there are some clear examples of give-and-take, regardless of intent. When campaigns flag 'Important' messages online, it eases the burden for super PACs. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pointed out similar 'Important' online messages in recent months about Republicans running in North Carolina and Arkansas that were followed soon after by TV ads from the Democratic super Senate PAC Majority PAC and the Democratic nonprofit Patriot Majority USA attacking those Republicans on the same grounds. Republicans do the same thing. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was widely mocked last month for posting a clip reel of himself on YouTube. Sure enough, footage from the reel found its way into a positive commercial a group supporting himlaunched a week later. Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock tried the same thing in Indiana in 2012. The National Republican Congressional Committee has a Web site with customized opposition research on Democrats sorted by district." [WaPo]
LIBERAL OPPOSITION TO DEPORTATIONS GROWING - Democrats better be mindful of this issue because having a party leader who has deported record numbers of people will make for a lot of awkward interactions with canvassers in Hispanic areas ("So you don't want to give us $10 and receive a free cotton/poly blend American Apparel-designed shirt with Joe Biden's face?"). Elise Foley: "Last Wednesday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) announced a significant change to the city's law enforcement policies. Going forward, Philadelphia officials would no longer acquiesce to the federal government's requests that they hold certain undocumented immigrants for extra time solely for deportation purposes. The change in policy is among the latest acts of rebellion against the euphemistically-titled Secure Communities, a federally-run program launched in 2008 that allows U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to find and pick up immigrants it will eventually deport. The program has played a central role in deportations over the past six years, and, in the process, has raised the ire of immigration reform advocates who argue that not only is it a blunt and costly instrument that forces police officers to play the role of ICE agents, it also tramples on civil liberties. Nutter isn't the only one to grow tired with the program. On Friday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said the Baltimore City Detention Center would stop automatically honoring requests from ICE to hold people it would otherwise release. Meanwhile, more than a dozen counties in Oregon have announcedafter a court ruling on April 11 that they will no longer comply with ICE requests to hold individuals except under certain circumstances." [HuffPost]
GOP senators are upset the president is doing presidential things and not relegating himself to golf matches they can make fun of: "Twenty-two Republican senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday going after the administration's review of its deportation policies, saying the reported 'changes under consideration would represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement.' 'Our entire constitutional system is threatened when the executive branch suspends the law at its whim and our nation's sovereignty is imperiled when the commander-in-chief refuses to defend the integrity of its borders,' they wrote in the letter, which was posted by Politico. The signatories include Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Twenty of the 22 senators -- excluding Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) -- voted against a comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed last year." [Foley]
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND RETURNS IN WASHINGTON STATE - Rarely is the question asked: is our states learning? Joy Resmovits: "Two years after Washington state largely ditched the No Child Left Behind Act, the much-maligned federal education law will be in full effect there yet again for the coming school year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Thursday. Last August, the Education Department placed Washington, Oregon and Kansas -- and later Arizona -- on 'high-risk' status for losing their waivers from the law. Washington's standing became precarious because it did not meet the federal government's guidelines, which tie students' standardized test scores to teacher evaluations. In February, Washington's legislature killed a bill that would have brought the state into compliance with those teacher evaluation requirements. Current state law says that teacher evaluations can rely on standardized test scores but does not require it. Despite Duncan's explicit warning that failure to comply could mean loss of the state waiver, the bill failed with bipartisan opposition. So on Thursday, Duncan announced the state's waiver will not be renewed, requiring the state to return to the Bush-era education law." [HuffPost]
AMAZON TREATS ITS WORKERS LIKE CRAP and hopes to get away with it because they're subcontractors -- but Dave Jamieson is on to you, Amazon: "At least five days a week, Myron Ballard races around Washington, D.C., with a cargo van full of Amazon Prime packages. A career delivery driver with 20 years behind the wheel, Ballard typically gets paid $1.50 for each address he visits. If he delivers 150 Amazon boxes -- a fairly routine number -- he can pull in $225. Not bad for a day's work. That is, until he starts tallying up all his out-of-pocket costs. Ballard works for an Amazon contractor called LaserShip. He's technically an 'independent contractor,' not an employee, meaning all of the costs stemming from the deliveries fall on him rather than on LaserShip or Amazon. Ballard had to purchase the cargo van he drives for work. He doesn't get reimbursed for the wear and tear he puts on it; for the gasoline he pours into it on a near-daily basis; for the auto insurance he needs to carry; or for the parking tickets he inevitably racks up downtown. He doesn't even get reimbursed for the LaserShip uniform he's obliged to purchase and wear. At the end of the day, much of that $225 has vanished. 'It's like they want us to be employees, but they don't want to pay for it,' said Ballard, 45." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a horse petting a cat.
OBAMA PLAYS WITH ROBOT - Staff writers everywhere should prepare for the inevitable photos of the president in Google Glass. Politico: "The president of the United States has officially played soccer with a robot. At a visit to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan, President Barack Obama was introduced to a humanoid robot who 'was about the size of a 10-year-old child and was dressed in an astronaut suit,' according to a White House pool report. 'It’s nice to meet you,' the Honda robot named 'ASIMO' told the president. The robot walked up to a soccer ball and said, “I can kick a soccer ball, too,” to which Obama responded: “OK, come on.' After the robot ran around a bit and then punted the soccer ball with a fairly strong kick, Obama blocked the ball with his foot. 'How about that,' the president said of the robot, 'that was pretty impressive.'" [Politico]
Drudge's headline: "OBAMA BOWS TO JAPANESE ROBOT"
- Dog delivers stirring monologue. Have tissues handy. [http://bit.ly/1hrNPkK]
- The toy trumpet really is the instrument on which "Sandstorm" should be performed. [http://bit.ly/1mDM1dQ]
- A lot of the callers on "Frasier" were actually celebrities. [http://bit.ly/1roDZ91]
- How to make chocolate bowls using balloons. [http://bit.ly/1jVfNYZ]
- Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon vamping on "The Dark Knight Rises" in their new "The Trip to Italy" series. [http://bit.ly/QBlhj2]
- Where twenty-six large asteroids recently hit Earth. [http://bit.ly/1f7wG5M]
- Photos documenting a rescue kitten's restorative transformation. [http://huff.to/1icS4po]
- Dancing grandmas. [http://huff.to/ROI2Bh]
@TinaDupry: In fairness, not ALL armed right-wing-media-hyped gifters are pro-slavery.
@daveweigel: IRS says I now owe $1,474 from my adjusted 2011 tax bill. In conclusion, Rand Paul 2016.”
@LOLGOP: Let's not get Cliven Bundy's racism get in the way of the real issue: Republicans pick terrible heroes.
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