POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Talking Cowboy Hat Captivates Media

04/25/2014 04:42 pm ET | Updated Apr 25, 2014

A House Republican says comprehensive immigration reform is still possible this year, a positive development for John Boehner's enjoyment of Pete's Diner in 2015. Ralph Hall is the oldest serving member of Congress and also a leader in ham-based gratitude. And the Kremlin ended high-level contact with the Obama administration in the latest sign that the reset button didn't work. It's time for Obama to try blowing on the cartridge. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, April 25th, 2014:

PUTIN PULLS PLUG - Josh Rogin: "As new U.S. sanctions against Russia loom, the Kremlin has shut down -- at least for now -- intensive high level communications between top U.S. and Russian officials. Since the invasion of Crimea, President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have had regular phone calls in an often half-hearted attempt to deescalate the ongoing crisis inside Ukraine. But as the U.S. and EU prepare to unveil new sanctions against Russia, Putin has decided the interactions should stop. The Kremlin has ended high-level contact with the Obama administration, according to diplomatic officials and sources close to the Russian leadership. The move signals an end to the diplomacy, for now." [Daily Beast]

@politico: #Breaking: Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) is expected to be indicted by the U.S. attorney in New York

NRA CONVENTION UNDERWAY - America's favorite lying Frenchman, Wayne LaPierre, opens the proceedings. Ashley Killough and Dana Davidsen: "Gun-rights advocates heralded efforts in punishing legislators at the ballot box in Colorado for new firearms restrictions and ripped into a new, well-funded gun-control effort launched by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg….Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, fired up the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium with trademark inflammatory rhetoric, heavy on anti-government themes. He accused the Obama administration as well as the 'political and media elites' of chiseling away at the rights of Americans. Perhaps the nation's most visible gun rights advocate, LaPierre drew a stark picture of the dangers that he said plague the country and argued the government has failed to protect its citizens. 'We know that in the world that surrounds us there are terrorists, home invaders, drug cartels, car jackers, 'knock-out' gamers, rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse as a society that sustains us all,' he said." [CNN]

@davidfrum: A depraved society that can only be redeemed by political violence: Wayne LaPierre’s nightmare vision of America http://t.co/RKuMRes2HH

CLIVEN BUNDY KEEPS ON CLIVEN' - Shadee Ashtari: "Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy claimed during a Friday interview on CNN that he didn’t understand the bipartisan outrage over his recent comments suggesting the 'Negro people' were 'better off' as slaves….'If I say 'Negro' or 'black boy' or 'slave,' if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be [offended], then Martin Luther King hasn't got his job done yet,' he said. 'We need to get over this prejudice stuff.'" Yes. Yes we do, Cliven. [HuffPost]

MATT BEVIN'S COCKFIGHTING PROBLEM - Shushanna Walshe: "The Tea Party candidate challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to a primary challenge insisted today that he does not support cockfighting despite being caught on an undercover video addressing a rally that was supporting the legalization of the bird fights. Bevin insisted today that he had been invited to the rally to discuss his candidacy, saying people were 'gathered to address various states’ rights issues.' He apologized that his attendance may have 'created concern on the party of many Kentucky voters.' 'I am not and have never been, a supporter of cockfighting or any other forms of animal cruelty,' Bevin said. 'I am, however, a strong supporter of states’ rights. Regardless of any personal views on this issue, animal rights are not an enumerated power granted to the federal government under the Constitution. Such decisions should be left to each state to decide." [ABCNews]

@JoshuaGreen: When you're clarifying your position on cockfighting, you're losing

IMMIGRATION NOT ON THE HOUSE GOP AGENDA - Elise Foley: "Immigration reform still isn't on the agenda for the House GOP, according to a memo sent Friday by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to Republican members. The spring legislative agenda, which lays out the House GOP conference's priorities for the coming months, promises legislation aimed at 'building an America that works,' including, unsurprisingly, a promise to attempt to repeal Obamacare. But it doesn't mention the word 'immigration' once, despite continued statements from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he would like to address the issue. The speaker mocked his GOP colleagues at a Middletown Rotary Club event Thursday for resisting his efforts at reform, but said it remains difficult. Boehner has previously said Republicans' distrust of Obama could make it impossible to pass reform this year." [HuffPost]

Here's the video of John Boehner making fun Republicans for being scared of immigration.

BUT IS IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL ACTUALLY STILL POSSIBLE THIS YEAR? - David Eldridge: "A bipartisan overhaul of immigration, considered dead in the water just a few weeks ago, is not only alive, according to the House Republican leading efforts to broker a deal — it’s gaining steam. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., told CQ Roll Call that pro-rewrite calls earlier this week from two Illinois Republicans, Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Aaron Schock, recent comments from Speaker John A. Boehner, combined with a rash of immigration rallies and protests across the nation in recent days, are indications that momentum has shifted back to those hoping to implement an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws this year. Diaz-Balart, a major player in ongoing efforts to produce a bill that could balance Republican demands for border security with Democratic calls for legal status for the undocumented, said a solution is closer than ever. 'I think we finally have the policy right,' he said in a phone interview." [Roll Call]

Elizabeth Warren riffs on Thomas Piketty's Capitalism in the 21st Century at the Harvard Book Store, which is basically the nightmare your crazy uncle had last night coming true.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - If you wonder why Republicans like to crap on food stamps, this incredibly bleak story from Nashville is for you. "A man sells his food stamps to get a motel room in Donelson to pimp out his girlfriend. A Metro police detective responded to the Family Inn on Percy Priest Drive in response to a prostitution ad placed on the internet. Arrested are 37-year-old John Newcomb, for promoting prostitution and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Luana McGowan, for prostitution. According to the affidavit, Newcomb says he sold $200 worth of food stamps for $100 to rent the room. Several prepaid money cards were found on Newcomb. Police believe they were used to buy Backpage ads." [Fox17.com]

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REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN HARSH ON LAWYERS LATELY - Radley Balko connects the RGA's recent hit on Vincent Sheheen and the Borking of Debo Adegbile: "These attacks are, of course, primarily motivated by partisanship. But they’re more dangerous than the typical attack ad. The implication is that anyone who works in legal defense is, by the very nature of the job, unfit for any other public office. At their core, they’re assaults on the very notion that people who are accused of crimes should get legal representation at all." [WashPost]

RALPH HALL LOVES HAM AS MUCH AS MUCH AS EARL BLUMENAUER LOVES FRUITCAKE - Now we know. Evan McMorris-Santoro and Gideon Resnick: "Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, the oldest serving member of Congress, spent more than $33,000 in campaign funds on orders from Honey Baked Foods and Godiva Chocolatier, campaign filings show. FEC records show Hall’s campaign spent a total of more than $14,000 at the Honey Baked Foods company around the holidays in 2012 and 2013. The campaign spent an additional $19,000 at Godiva in December 2013. 'These are gifts that the congressman has been giving out for years to constituents,' said Ed Valentine, one of Hall’s campaign advisers. 'They’re Christmas gifts. They’re birthday gifts. That’s how Ralph works. He likes Christmas.'" [BuzzFeed]

AFP DELETES BUNDY MENTIONS - Sam Stein: "Americans for Prosperity Nevada, the state affiliate of the Koch Brothers-backed group, appears to have hastily deleted social media posts expressing support for Cliven Bundy, the renegade rancher who exposed himself as a racist in recent press conferences. A tweet sent by AFP Nevada on April 10 urging followers to read more about the #BundyBattle, which involves Bundy's refusal to pay fines for allowing his cattle to graze on public land, has been deleted. A Facebook graphic that the group posted criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for enforcing grazing laws against Bundy has similarly disappeared." [HuffPost]

CONSERVATIVES MAD AT RAND - Laura Bassett: "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) may have alienated some of his socially conservative supporters this week after he sounded surprisingly ambivalent on the issue of abortion in an interview with David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. In a sit-down interview with the likely presidential candidate on Tuesday, Axelrod asked Paul whether he would try to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion outright if he were president. Paul responded that even though he personally believes life begins at conception and that abortion is wrong, the country is too divided on the issue for him to try to ban the procedure entirely. 'I think where the country is, is somewhere in the middle, and we are not changing any of the laws until the country is persuaded otherwise,' Paul said. Conservatives were not pleased with his answer. 'Maybe it was inarticulate, or maybe these are the senator's real feelings, but that last comment certainly set off alarm bells for social conservatives,' Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, wrote on Thursday." [HuffPost]

GRIMM COMES AROUND ON CLIMATE SCIENCE - Joe Romm: "Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY) has become the first GOP member of Congress in recent memory to flip from denying the science of man-made climate change climate to accepting it. He does so on this Sunday evening’s broadcast of Episode 3 of Showtime’s acclaimed docu-series, 'Years of Living Dangerously.'" [ThinkProgress]

David Gregory denies that he is crazy.

NEW STEAK JOINT FOR 'FEMALES' OPENS IN WASHINGTON - Jessica Sidman: Of course there was a red carpet at last night's opening party for STK. The swanky 'Not Your Daddy's' steakhouse 'geared toward females" officially opens today in Dupont in what was once a California Pizza Kitchen (as well as Casa Nonna). But yesterday, D.C.'s wannabe glamazons, pseudo-celebs, rich dudes, and lowly food writers such as myself showed up at the promise of passed hors d'oeuvres and free booze. I arrive around 15 minutes early to find a line already stretching down the street. As everyone waits for the staff behind the velvet rope to make sure we were 'on the list,' some hot models wearing short skirts and midriff-baring shirts hand out temporary tattoos with puckered lips and the STK logo. Suddenly, an imposing security guard in a suit pulls none other than Dan Silverman of PoPville out of the line. Apparently, he's not dressed up enough in his jeans and collared plaid shirt." [Washington City Paper]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Watch everyone laugh at Chuck Todd.

COMFORT FOOD

- Possible the worst rap video ever. [http://bit.ly/1kd65Tv]

- Meet the "glamorous supermodel of domestic fowl." [http://huff.to/1jMBRUi]

- George R.R. Martin interviewed by Rolling Stone. [http://rol.st/1il8oWb]

- Banned baby names around the world. Somehow "Aiden" is not banned anywhere. [http://huff.to/1kd9dyH]

- Dog makes ridiculous noises in response to squirrel. [http://huff.to/1ilbNUU]

- Dolphins are geniuses. [http://huff.to/1iW1Z2i]

- Incredible Vince McMahon gif. [http://bit.ly/1fAvW3v]

TWITTERAMA

@lizzwinstead: When God closes a Fred Phelps, he opens a Cliven Bundy.

@ChuckGrassley: I'm at the newton HS

@DaveWeigel: If Cliven Bundy devotes today’s news conference to his thoughts on Piketty, the news cycle will be complete.

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