Democrats and Republicans squabbled over whether they would debate an issue in front of the press -- a squabble that is now being argued in front of the press. Republicans can't believe liberals are making jokes about the Benghazi tragedy and if you could donate $50 to their reelection, that'd be FANTASTIC. And Rand Paul rejected the White House's offer to share a memo on drones with the Senate but keep it classified. We're not sure if Paul will be fully satisfied until he learns that a UAV has been invited to join the the Bilderberg Group and asked to lead a panel on metadata harvesting. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 6th, 2014:
YOU'RE TEARING ME AP-A-A-A-HT: POLITICOS FIGHT OVER ROOM - An event highlighting unemployment insurance was overshadowed on Tuesday by partisan sniping between House Democrats and their Republican colleagues over the use of a hearing room. Democrats accused Republicans of barring them from using a committee hearing room for the purpose of talking about legislation to extend unemployment insurance. The move prompted Democrats to address the press from the front steps of the Capitol, flanked by several out-of-work Americans who shared their stories. "Last week, when we sent out the notice for this meeting today, it was thought that we would be there to listen to the voices of those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters. According to Pelosi, Republicans informed Democrats on Tuesday morning that they would no longer have access to the room to discuss lapsed unemployment benefits. "Perhaps they thought we would cancel the meeting. Instead, we have taken to the steps of the Capitol," Pelosi said. ... Alexandra Haynes Sollberger, a spokeswoman for House workforce committee Republicans, said it's Democrats who pulled a fast one. Sollberger said committee Republicans agreed to a Democratic request to use the hearing room for an event that would not include the press -- but then Democrats changed their minds and wanted press included. "At the last minute, the Democrats changed significantly the format of their event that no longer complies with the terms to which they originally agreed," Sollberger said. "At no time did we deny their request to hold an event. In fact, we have communicated to Democrat staff that we are more than willing to accommodate the event they now wish to hold -- all they have to do is ask." Well, were they not asking? [w/ HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui]
About those unemployment benefits… They're probably not coming back.
REID DEFENDS EARMARKS, KNOCKS OBAMA - Prompting the entire Democratic caucus to scurry up to its room, slam the door and crank up the volume on its Metallica records for the duration of mom and dad's fight. Mike McAuliff: "Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) emphatically broke with President Barack Obama and other reform-minded Democrats Tuesday, saying the president is 'wrong' in opposing earmarks...some leading lawmakers, including Reid's highest ranking lieutenant, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), have been pushing to bring them back. Reid added his robust support at his weekly news conference with reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. 'I have been a fan of earmarks since I got here the first day,' Reid said. 'I disagree -- underline, underscored, big exclamation mark -- with Obama. He's wrong.' One of the biggest problems with earmarks was that it was all but impossible to tell who was responsible for many of them, and equally difficult to tell if they were crafted to benefit specific donors or constituents improperly. Reid suggested that issue could be addressed, while giving the power back to local lawmakers. 'If there needs to be more transparency than what we had, then fine, do it,' Reid said. 'But it is wrong to have bureaucrats downtown ... make decisions in Nevada that I can make better than they can,' Reid said. 'This is something that has been going on for centuries in our country, and it has worked quite well.'" [HuffPost]
RAND PAUL REJECTS WHITE HOUSE DRONE MEMO - Matt Sledge: "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) on Tuesday rejected a White House offer to let senators read a federal court nominee's memo authorizing a drone strike on a U.S. citizen, calling anything short of a full public release 'inadequate.' Paul is threatening to block the federal appeals court nomination of David Barron, who wrote a Justice Department memo justifying a drone strike against alleged al Qaeda commander Anwar al-Awlaki, until that memo is released. Last month the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the government to release the document. 'A federal court has ordered the public release of a redacted legal memo authored by Barron and I believe that anything short of that is inadequate,' Paul said in a statement released Tuesday. 'I will continue to oppose this nomination until the document is released.' Barron's nomination has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's not clear whether Paul will be able to stop Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from bringing Barron's nomination to a full Senate floor vote. President Barack Obama's administration had offered earlier Tuesday to let senators read the memo before they vote on Barron's nomination. But that offer has mollified neither Paul nor the American Civil Liberties Union, which wants senators to be able to review any and all of the memos Barron may have written justifying the targeted killing program -- not just the memo the 2nd Circuit publicly ordered to be released. " [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Richard Rubin and Margaret Collins really bring the sad: "Premature withdrawals from retirement accounts have become America’s new piggy bank, cracked open in record amounts during lean times by people like Cindy Cromie, who needed the money to rent a U-Haul and start a new life. Her employer, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, had outsourced Cromie’s medical transcription work. Cromie said the move cut her income by as much as 60 percent, at times leaving her with minimum-wage pay. So, last year, at age 56, she moved about 90 miles from her home in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, into her mother’s basement. To make ends meet as she moved and then quit the job, Cromie pulled out $2,767 from her retirement savings." The story goes on to note that basically all Americans are raiding their savings accounts to pay for necessities. Tomorrow on Bloomberg, local counties are offering free bus rides to the poor farm. [Bloomberg]
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GOV'T RELEASES LANDMARK REPORT ON IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING - We're doomed. Kate Sheppard: "Climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a real and present danger in the United States, according to a government report issued Tuesday. The report is the latest update from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and details ways that climate change -- caused predominantly by the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases -- is already being felt across the country. 'Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,' the report says in its introduction. The full report, at more than 800 pages, is the most comprehensive look at the effects of climate change in the U.S. to date, according to its authors. (Even the 'highlights' document provided to reporters the day before the release weighed in at 137 pages). The report includes regional and sectoral breakdowns of current and anticipated impacts, which have implications for infrastructure, agriculture, human health, and access to water. Those impacts include increased severity of heat waves and heavier downpours. On the coasts, sea level rise is already contributing to increased flooding during high tides and storms, the report notes. And in the West, conditions are getting hotter and drier, and the snowpack is melting earlier in the year, extending wildfire season." [HuffPost]
FEDERAL PROSECUTORS PROBING NEW YORK ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION - From the people who brought you, "Spy Vs Spy," comes the riveting new domestic law enforcement sequel, "Yellow Windbreaker Vs Yellow Windbreaker." Times: "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have issued a grand jury subpoena seeking emails, text messages and other records from all the members of the anticorruption commission that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo abruptly shut down in March, three people briefed on the matter said on Monday. The action by prosecutors from the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, comes just weeks after he took the unusual step of publicly criticizing the governor’s shutdown of the panel and took possession of its investigative files. The subpoena, which was served on the commission’s former counsel, Kelly Donovan, seeks documents pertaining to the formation of the panel, known as a Moreland Commission, based on the 1907 Moreland Act. It also sought documents about how the panel was run, overseen and closed, according to the people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. The issuance of the subpoena, and new details about recent meetings of several Moreland Commission employees and prosecutors in Mr. Bharara’s office, provided the strongest suggestion to date that the criminal investigation may be examining allegations of interference with the commission. It was unclear what potential crimes were being investigated and whose conduct was being examined. A spokesman for Mr. Bharara’s office, James M. Margolin, would confirm neither that a subpoena had been issued nor that a criminal investigation was underway." [NYT]
RJ Eskow, a longtime HuffPost blogger, launched his radio show, "The Zero Hour," over the weekend. It was the top podcast on iTunes by Sunday. Yay!
PELOSI WANTS DEMOCRATS ON BENGHAZI PANEL - Though Trey Gowdy will have undoubtedly studied Darrell Issa's mic-cutting skills, so they might get much air time. Jen Bendery: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that if a new select committee on Benghazi is to be fair, it must have even numbers of lawmakers from both parties. 'The panel should be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans as is done on the House Ethics Committee,' Pelosi said in a statement. 'It should require that witnesses are called and interviewed, subpoenas are issued, and information is shared on a bipartisan basis. Only then could it be fair.' Asked to clarify whether Pelosi is saying Democrats won't participate in the committee unless they make up 50 percent of its membership, a Democratic leadership aide said, 'She’s setting a standard. We’ll see what their proposal calls for.' Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said Pelosi hasn't always thought select committees needed even numbers of members from both parties to be fair. He emailed reporters a 2007 press release from then-Speaker Pelosi, when she formed a select committee on climate change. That committee had a 9-to-6 ratio, in favor of Democrats." [HuffPost]
For $20 you can HELP FIND THE TRUTH: "As House Republicans begin the process of staffing and defining the scope of a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, party leaders are trying their best to avoid the appearance of partisanship. So it doesn't necessarily help the GOP's effort that just days after the committee's formation a Republican candidate for the U.S. House is trying to raise funds on it. In an email sent Tuesday to supporters (and obtained by The Huffington Post), Andy Tobin, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, solicited funds for his challenge to Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) by playing up the investigation and his potential role in it. 'Americans were not fooled then and, despite the Obama Administration's best efforts, we are still not fooled. Rep. Trey Gowdy being named to lead the House Select Committee on Benghazi is a very encouraging development,' the email reads. 'Arizona's 1st Congressional District needs a battle-tested representative in Congress who will faithfully represent your voice, who will fight for your conservative values and who will always seek to uncover the truth.'" [HuffPost]
@DaviSusan: House Benghazi panel unlikely to have equal partisan split. "I think that'd be a good guess," says @GOPWhip
NEXT FRONTIER IN THE WAR ON SCIENCE - And it's not just budget cuts leading to e equaling m root c. Sam Stein: "The Obama administration and the scientific community at large are expressing serious alarm at a House Republican bill that they argue would dramatically undermine way research is conducted in America. Titled the 'Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014,' the bill would put a variety of new restrictions on how funds are doled out by the National Science Foundation. The goal, per its Republican supporters on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, would be to weed out projects whose cost can't be justified or whose sociological purpose is not apparent. For Democrats and advocates, however, the FIRST Act represents a dangerous injection of politics into science and a direct assault on the much-cherished peer-review process by which grants are awarded... In recent weeks, the Obama administration and science agencies have -- in less-than-subtle terms -- offered up similar criticisms of the FIRST Act. At an American Association for the Advancement of Science forum on Thursday, presidential science adviser John Holdren said he was 'concerned with a number of aspects' of the bill." [HuffPost]
You know who else mischaracterized Nazi analogies? "The Tennessee lawmaker who likened Democrats who bragged about how many Americans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act to Nazis deporting Jews to concentration camps on Monday thinks everyone is just missing the point. The comparison was merely intended to be a clarion call to freedom-loving Americans. 'I regret that some people miss the point of my post,' state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) wrote in a blog post titled 'Here you go.' 'It was not to offend. It was to warn. To draw attention to Obamacare and the slippery slope that I see occurring in the lives of myself, my constituents, and the rest of the country with the continued taking of freedom by the federal government.'" [HuffPost's Igor Bobic]
Welcome aboard, Igor!
@virigniafoxx: The Buddha once said there are three things that cannot be hidden long: the sun, the moon, and the truth. #Benghazi https://t.co/RSqKR6zv1T
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are dogs playing bluegrass.
- Animated presentation of Gene Wilder discussion of family, acting and truth. [http://bit.ly/1sgVk69]
- A parody of every advertisement featuring a celebrity spokesperson. [http://bit.ly/1jxycxh]
- Centuries before Pantone catalogued colors, one industrious artist described over 800 ones. [cultr.me/1fMJsXj]
- The most uncomfortable Mother's Day advertisement we've ever seen. [http://bit.ly/1udrpxs]
- These animals chasing laser pointers are metaphors for something, we're just not sure. [http://huff.to/1sh2Nlt]
@moody: Harry Reid begins press conference: "Brad Pitt came to see me a number of years ago. He's so nice."
@ElaheIzadi: Whoa if not true RT @igorbobic: RT @toddzwillich: Breaking, Sen Reid won't convene a special Senate committee on #benghazi
What if Tim Scott was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
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