Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - IN: Hillary Health Speculation OUT: Joe Garcia's Earwax

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We knew the fiscal situation in Washington was bleak, but it’s proven so bad that Joe Garcia is now digging for buried treasure. Karl Rove worried that Hillary Clinton suffered brain damage after she suffered a blood clot in her skull because Republicans have never supported a president with reduced cognitive abilities. And Lindsey Graham says he’s witnessed a fetus survive outside a womb at a miraculous 20 weeks. Per Senate rules, a medical verdict cannot be issued unless done so by Bill Frist in front of a television. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 13th, 2014:

CONYERS RULED INELIGIBLE FOR PRIMARY BALLOT - WaPo: "The Wayne County Clerk's office ruled Tuesday that long-serving Michigan Rep. John Conyers (D) is ineligible to appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot because he did not submit enough valid petition signatures, a big blow to the Democrat who has served in the House for nearly 50 years. First elected in 1964, Conyers is currently the longest-serving member of the House behind fellow Michigan Rep. John Dingell (D), who is retiring this year. In a final ruling, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett's office said that Conyers submitted just 592 valid signatures -- well short of the 1,000 required under the law. Hundreds of signatures were ruled invalid under a challenge from Conyers's primary opponent, the Rev. Horace Sheffield, because they were not collected by registered voters, which the law requires. Hundreds more were separately ruled invalid... Garrett said in her final report. The American Civil Liberties union filed a federal lawsuit arguing that it is unconstitutional to require petitioners to be registered voters. Conyers is expected to appeal the ruling, which he has three days to do. His team has also expressed his willingness to run as a write-in candidate if necessary." [WaPo]

DEMS GRILL CONSERVATIVE JUDICIAL NOMINEE - Turns out white guys named "Boggs" who were once involved in Georgia politics aren't the most liberal people around. Jen Bendery: "One of President Barack Obama's most beleaguered judicial nominees, Michael Boggs, finally got his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday. And it wasn't pretty. One by one, for nearly two hours, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee laid into Boggs over his record on gay rights, civil rights and abortion. Progressive groups have been doing as much for months, given Boggs' track record as a social conservative during his time as a Georgia state legislator from 2000 to 2004. Among other things, Boggs voted to keep the Confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag, to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and to impose tighter restrictions on access to abortion. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) flat-out told Boggs she wasn't sure she could support him getting a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia given his past votes, despite his assurances that he would follow legal precedent if confirmed as a federal judge. 'My vote depends on whether I believe that or not,' Feinstein said. 'For my vote, I have to have certainty. I don't know quite how to get it, in view of this record. I just want to put that out there publicly.'" [HuffPost]

"No one stroked Bendery's cheek," observes NARAL head Ilyse Hogue, who was on hand at the hearing to witness the lack of stroking.

BROWN LOBBIED AGAINST SHAHEEN-PORTMAN - Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, now running for Senate in New Hampshire, called Senate Republican leadership to urge them to make sure that Shaheen-Portman, the Senate's energy efficiency bill, didn't pass, so as not to give Shaheen something to run on, HuffPost Hill was told. Brown reached out as recently as last week. The bill, which was largely uncontroversial, was filibustered by the GOP, with only three Republicans voting to advance it Monday. The bill's demise was publicly chalked up to sparring between Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republicans over amendments. Brown didn't respond to a request for comment.

THE DEA IS STEALING MITCH MCCONNELL'S HEMP - Ryan Grim and Matt Ferner: "The Drug Enforcement Administration has seized a batch of seeds that were intended to be part of the launch of Kentucky's legal hemp industry following congressional legalization of the crop for research purposes. The DEA has offered a wide variety of explanations to Kentucky officials perplexed at the seizure. 'They're interpreting the law a hundred different ways,' Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (R) told HuffPost. 'The only way they're not interpreting it is the way it actually reads.' Comer said that he met with Kentucky Sens. Mitch McConnell (R) and Rand Paul (R) this past weekend and relayed to them the DEA's claim that it was simply following the intent of the recently passed Farm Bill, which includes a passage championed by McConnell that allows colleges and state departments of agriculture to cultivate hemp for research purposes. 'They were just appalled, because Senator McConnell was the author of the language,' Comer said. 'He knows exactly what the congressional intent of the law was.'" [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Another installment of our prizebait series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless: "I was let go from my job in February of 2014. I filed partial unemployment on my employer in January because my hours diminished with the business. I was receiving $122/week which was nothing at all. I was so behind in my bills that I ended up being evicted from my apt with only one more month left in my lease. I had nowhere to go, I stayed in my apt at that time until they stuck a eviction on my door. Before the eviction was complete I received my tax return of $700 and moved into an apt with my partner. The same day that I moved into my new place, my battery died in my car and my insurance lapsed on April 2nd." [Hang in there!]

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ROVE SUCCESSFULLY MAKES HILLARY'S HEALTH AN ISSUE - And what did Vince Foster know about the former secretary of State's blood clot? Mollie Reilly: "According to the New York Post's Page Six, Republican strategist Karl Rove suggested last week that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have sustained brain damage after suffering a blood clot in her skull. Clinton was admitted to the hospital in late December 2012, where doctors discovered a blood clot related to a concussion she had suffered earlier in the month. She was released from the hospital several days later. Rove, however, apparently thinks her stint in the hospital left some questions unanswered. 'Thirty days in the hospital?' Rove said, according to Page Six. 'And when she reappears, she's wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what's up with that.' Clinton's doctors, however, debunked Rove's theory long ago. Prior to her release from the hospital in January 2013, Clinton's physicians at a New York hospital said the clot did not cause Clinton to suffer a stroke, and did not result in any neurological damage...Rove appeared on Fox News Tuesday to defend himself against the alleged comments, saying, 'I never used that phrase.' But he doubled down on his questions about Clinton's health, saying her spokespeople have not been 'particularly forthcoming.'" [HuffPost]

LINDSEY GRAHAM CENSURED BY SOUTH CAROLINA GOP - So it's safe to assume that the posthumous condemnation of Ronald Reagan for those tax increases he green lit will follow? Amanda Terkel: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was censured Monday night by Republicans in Charleston County who don't believe he's conservative enough. According to The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, the vote to censure Graham was 39-32, 'done by secret ballot and with limited discussion.' 'I want my politicians to be more conservative,' said Tom Sheridan, one of the supporters of the resolution. The censure document covered about 30 points, including disapproval of Graham's support for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominees and of his cooperation with Democrats. After the vote, Graham's campaign issued a statement criticizing the vote to The Post and Courier. 'Sen. Graham is focused on taking his conservative message directly to the 20,000 Republicans in Charleston County who are expected to vote in the GOP primary on June 10,' spokesman Tate Zeigler said. He added that the party should 'wait 28 days to allow the thousands of Republican voters in Charleston County to have their say.' Monday was not the first time Graham has been censured by unhappy state conservatives, who have frequently criticized him for his past bipartisan work on immigration and climate change." [HuffPost]

What a coincidence! "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tried to bypass the Senate committee process on Tuesday and force a vote on his 20-week abortion ban, claiming he has friends who were born that early into a pregnancy. 'We already have laws banning abortion after 24 weeks,' Graham said on the Senate floor. 'The reason we're backing it up four weeks is because at 20 weeks, people have been born and survived. I know two twins who were born at 20 weeks.' Graham's claim is very unlikely to be true. Medical studies have set fetal viability at 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. The Guardian reported in 2007 on a baby born at 21 weeks and 6 days who survived, calling her 'officially the most premature baby ever to have survived.'" [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]

DEMS PLAYING THE DAD CARD - Samantha Lachman: "Father's Day isn't for another month, but a number of the country's top Senate contests are already seeing a flood of television ads featuring the fathers whose recognizable names give some luster to vulnerable Democrats. The latest Democrat to be direct about the family name is Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.), who on Tuesday released the first in a series of ads in which she laughs alongside her father, former New Orleans Mayor Maurice 'Moon' Landrieu. The spot features a back-and-forth in which the Landrieus talk about urging President Barack Obama's administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and taking on BP after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In March, the campaign of Sen. Mark Begich (Alaska) released an ad narrated by his wife that included a clip of an old campaign spot for Begich’s father, Rep. Nick Begich, who died in a plane crash in 1972. And in Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn unveiled an ad earlier this month that talks about how she hadn't (until now) followed her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), into politics. The former senator makes a brief cameo in the spot, which highlights his daughter's work with philanthropic organizations. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes did feature her two grandmothers in a web video. However, it remains to be seen whether Jerry Lundergan, her father who has been a state Democratic Party chairman and state representative, will appear in an ad as she campaigns for Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) seat." [HuffPost]

Check yo self: "A Republican Senate candidate from Arkansas voted against billions of dollars in assistance for Hurricane Sandy victims in January 2013 and then proceeded, both in interviews and on his campaign website, to stubbornly defend his votes opposing the federal disaster relief. But it appears Rep. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) campaign has taken down two blog posts in support of those votes from his website. According to an Internet archive, the blog items, which were posted months before Cotton announced his bid to unseat Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), were online until late January of this year. The first post from January 2013 was a letter to the editor calling Cotton's approach to the federal aid for Sandy victims 'sensible.' Cotton had explained that he believed that 'a lot of that money was not going to natural disaster relief' and he didn't 'think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast.' The second, from the same month, was a piece that spoke positively of how Cotton decided which way to vote. The representative told the author that he would have voted for the relief if it had been offset by spending cuts." [HuffPost]

COCA COLA'S INCONVENIENT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AMERICAN BEVERAGE INSTITUTE - A shame, really, as Coke usually goes so well with liquor. Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel: "At various moments over the past two decades, Coca-Cola, the massive soft-drink conglomerate, has aligned itself with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in campaigns to promote vehicular safety. In 1996, the company teamed up with Wal-Mart to donate more than a quarter million dollars to MADD. In 1997, it launched a campaign in which it gave 15 cents for every case of soda sold in Wal-Mart stores over a six-week period to the anti-drunk driving organization. In 2012, Coca-Cola's own website praised the 'crucial role' that MADD was playing in the United States in 'aiding the fight against drunk driving.' Unbeknown to MADD, at the same time that Coca-Cola was helping organizations combat drunk driving, the company was also a member of a trade association that fought tougher drunk driving laws. Coca-Cola Food Service is among the nearly 150 companies listed as members of the trade association American Beverage Institute either in 2011 or 2013, according to documents obtained by The Huffington Post. Coca-Cola North America -- the North American operation -- was listed as a member in 2003...The American Beverage Institute was started in 1991 by longtime political consultant Rick Berman, whose advocacy on behalf of tobacco, booze and anti-union interests has earned him the enmity of consumer advocates and the gratitude of industry forces grateful for a barroom brawler in Washington, D.C." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some photobombing dogs.

FREAKAZOID CONGRESSMAN EATS STUFF OUT OF HIS EAR - Ashley Alman: "Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.) is about to learn a valuable lesson: C-SPAN is always watching. During a House Judiciary Committee meeting last week, the Democrat picked his ear and ate whatever he found there while Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) testified." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- If Quentin Tarantino directed "Star Wars." [http://bit.ly/1g9h5mu]

- "Louie"'s pitch-perfect take on America's weight complex. [http://bit.ly/1jDwpaN]

- How to talk to your kids about Michael Sam (spoiler: you don't). [http://bit.ly/1ljcque]

- A lovely documentary short on a neurologist who moved to Pacific Beach and now passes his time perfecting "SLOMO" rollerblading. [http://bit.ly/1gkGxFT]

- There's a surprising dearth of "Sherlock" parodies -- thankfully, Pete Holmes fixes that. [http://bit.ly/1hKaz0x]

- Slow-motion video of a dog failing to catch things. [http://bit.ly/1mnktdw]

- A breakdown of how the rich and poor spend their money. [http://bv.ms/1sqI3WJ]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: “They Call Me (Doctor Rove)” to the tune of “Calling Doctor Love.” Ha! I ruined your day.

@dceiver: Are all of Rand Paul's day two stories gonna be "on second thought guys, backsies?" Just trying to plan my next two years nbd

@NickBaumann: INBOX: "Man with Idea"

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