POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Schock Staffer's Early Exit Poses Challenge For 'Downton' Writers

02/05/2015 05:49 pm ET

An Aaron Schock adviser resigned for posting racist messages on Facebook -- this never would've happened had a wireless not been installed in Downton. The White House politely reminded Tom Wheeler that he’d be lucky to land a job as a meter reader if he didn't label the web a utility. And Brian Williams' apology for his "misremembered" Iraq story was not terribly well received. He should have slow jammed it. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, February 5th, 2015:

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU IS DEFINITELY THE GUY WHO EMAILS ABOUT STAYING ON YOUR FUTON, YOU DON'T REPLY, YET HE STILL SENDS AN 'I'LL SEE YOU SOON!' FOLLOW-UP... GOD, THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE WORST - Sam Stein and Jen Bendery: "It seems that House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give a joint address to Congress has caused problems for just about everyone… But beyond the backlash Boehner has faced, the Netanyahu flap has also presented a conundrum for Democrats who are eager to display their alliance with the Israeli leader but have serious concerns about the timing of his visit… Interviews with multiple lawmakers and aides reveal the party is far from reaching a consensus on what to do about Bibi's speech, set for March 3 in the Capitol. A small coalition, led by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), has been circulating a letter urging Boehner to postpone the invitation until after the Israeli elections in mid-March. An aide said more than 20 lawmakers have signed on to the letter...some Democrats have considered boycotting the event altogether. An aide to one prominent pro-Israel Democrat told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that "the appetite for a boycott is growing" amid concerns that support for Israel is being turned into a partisan issue. But other top Democratic aides insist that such talk is overblown. Certain lawmakers may not show up -- conveniently citing scheduling conflicts, perhaps. But the risk of publicly disassociating with a top ally is real." [HuffPost]

BTW when it comes to bad international houseguests you can't beat this video of Julian Assange.

HERE IS THE REPUBLICAN ALTERNATIVE TO OBAMACARE - Just kidding. Jeff Young and Jonathan Cohn: "It’s Obamacare replacement season! Or at least, that’s what congressional Republicans want people to believe. Nearly five years after the Affordable Care Act became law and two years into itsexpansion of health coverage to an estimated 10 million uninsured people, GOP lawmakers are renewing their so-far fruitless efforts to develop a health reform plan they can position as a 'replacement' for President Barack Obama’s health care law." [HuffPost]

BRIAN WILLIAMS GETTING RATHER BEAT UP - Michael Calderone: "NBC News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday night that he was not riding in a helicopter hit by rocket-propelled grenade fire in Iraq, as he had claimed, but now the media are picking over his shifting accounts of the incident over the last decade." Dan Rather: "Brian is an honest, decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor -- and a brave one." [HuffPost]

SENATE MOVES TO PURGE THE BAD DHS BLOOD BY WANTONLY FUNDING FOREIGN GROUPS - Shipping crates filled with heat-seeking missiles and body armor to conflicts we have a mostly visceral connection to is kind of the American government's version of retail therapy. Mike McAuliff: "A bipartisan group of U.S. senators pushed Thursday to send arms to Ukraine, saying in a Capitol Hill news conference that the United States needs to send "defensive, lethal" weapons to the country to help stem fresh offensives by Russian-backed separatists. Sending arms would be a step beyond what many European allies support, and the senators offered no estimates of how far Americans should be willing to go in a new proxy war against Russia or how much the nation should be willing to pay. The White House has already sent $118 million in non-lethal assistance to Ukraine. 'The United States and our allies must deter further Russian aggression by providing defensive, lethal assistance,' said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said that legislation would be offered soon to allow for the nation to send arms." [HuffPost]

We have confirmed pope: "Pope Francis will be the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday. Francis will address lawmakers on Sept. 24, Boehner said, as part of his first papal visit to the United States." [NPR]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - People who survived Ebola now have to cope with a creepy new "post-Ebola syndrome." Emma Farge and James Harding Giahyuere report: "Romeo Doe, a 29-year-old tailor who survived Ebola in Liberia, is struggling to cope with the impact of a disease that killed seven members of his family and now threatens his livelihood. Since he was released from an Ebola center in the capital Monrovia in November, pressure is rising in his eyes and affecting his vision -- a complaint some doctors say is common among survivors of the West African outbreak…. 'Since I was discharged I have felt this pain in my eyes,' said Doe." [Reuters]

Heads up: Jobs report tomorrow.

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*FORMER* AARON SCHOCK ADVISER SEEMS PRETTY RACIST - The racial hatred coming out of Shock Abbey is such that you'd think someone had started dating a black jazz (jass?) singer. Jake Sherman: "A top adviser to Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock has resigned after controversial posts were found on his Facebook page. Benjamin Cole, a senior adviser to Schock, told POLITICO he resigned and that Schock, a Republican, accepted his resignation. The posts had Cole likening black people to animals and said a mosque should be built on the White House grounds for President Barack Obama. It caps quite a strange week for Schock’s office. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Schock had decorated his office in the manner of the British show 'Downton Abbey.' Cole had interacted with the reporter and tried to tamp down the story. His back and forth with the Post reporter was detailed in the story.On Thursday, ThinkProgress and BuzzFeed found the controversial posts on Cole’s Facebook page." [Politico]

HARVARD MAN HAS WORDS WITH TERRORISTS - Sources can't confirm whether Tom Cotton practiced this line in front of the mirror for hours while rhythmically flexing his pectorals to the O'Jays' "Money." We hope so. Mike McAuliff: "If new Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had his way, the detainees at Guantanamo Bay would 'rot in hell' instead of being held in the prison. Delivering a remarkably passionate declaration in an Armed Services Committee hearing on the Cuban detention facility, Cotton, who is an Iraq War veteran, appeared to become enraged by the administration's argument that Gitmo should be closed because it has become a recruiting tool for terrorists. Although Defense Department and intelligence officials offered evidence of how Gitmo is used in recruitment videos by the Islamic State group and other terrorists, Cotton said the administration's desire stems purely from political considerations.'It is not a security decision; it is a political decision based on a promise the president made on his campaign," Cotton said, noting that there were plenty of terror attacks on the United States before Gitmo was used to detain suspected enemy combatants. He added that he thinks more than the 122 detainees who remain at the prison should be held there." [HuffPost]

AMERICA NEARING FREE PIZZA IN ITS BUSH FAMILY PUNCH CARD - If Neil Bush decides to run for treasurer somewhere we're definitely going to opt for extra cheese. AP: "George P. Bush's new job as Texas land commissioner has nothing to do with abortion, and it lacks any authority to funnel public dollars to private schools. But after barely 30 days in office, he's already headlined high-profile rallies on both issues. The 38-year-old has a political surname far better known than his obscure office, which administers Texas' vast public lands and mineral rights...the newest Bush in politics has wasted no time becoming a leading voice for top conservative causes and seizing the spotlight in a state already full of powerful Republicans...In the past, the land commissioner's post has led to loftier political heights in Texas. David Dewhurst served in it before his 12 years as lieutenant governor, which ended last month. Bush's more immediate goal might be to buoy his father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, if he seeks the White House in 2016. The son could help the father build a political beachhead in Texas, where Jeb Bush's brother and George P. Bush's uncle, George W. Bush, served as governor from 1995 until becoming president in 2000." [HuffPost]

CHRIS MURPHY WANTS TO BE A THING - "Well senator, you could be the senate's foremost biofuel advocate or, um… hey, Tim, what's the other thing? Oh yeah, dove, you could be its biggest dove." BuzzFeed: "Sen. Chris Murphy is arguing online and behind the scenes that Democrats need to assertively pursue a more progressive foreign policy ahead of the 2016 election. Progressives like Elizabeth Warren have elevated a slew of domestic issues like the big banks and the wealth gap — and have had early success in pushing their potential presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, to the left on those issues. Murphy — who studiously avoided directly criticizing Clinton in an interview, and indeed said that he “trusts” her foreign policy instincts — said that, similarly, progressives need to do a better job articulating and pushing forward their foreign policy views 'for the party.'...Shortly after BuzzFeed News spoke with the senator, Murphy posted an op-ed titled “Desperately Seeking: A Progressive Foreign Policy Vision.” The document blasts the 'neoconservative worldview' and 'this philosophy of knee jerk military intervention.'" [BuzzFeed]

WHITE HOUSE HELPFULLY REMINDS FCC OF ITS VIEWS ON NET NEUTRALITY - WSJ: "In November, the White House’s top economic adviser dropped by the Federal Communications Commission with a heads-up for the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. President Barack Obama was ready to unveil his vision for regulating high-speed Internet traffic. The specifics came four days later in an announcement that blindsided officials at the FCC. Mr. Obama said the Internet should be overseen as a public utility, with the 'strongest possible rules' forcing broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to treat all Internet traffic equally. The president’s words swept aside more than a decade of light-touch regulation of the Internet and months of work by Mr. Wheeler toward a compromise. On Wednesday, Mr. Wheeler lined up behind Mr. Obama, announcing proposed rules to ensure that the Internet 'remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans,' according to an op-ed by Mr. Wheeler in Wired. The prod from Mr. Obama came after an unusual, secretive effort inside the White House, led by two aides who built a case for the principle known as 'net neutrality' through dozens of meetings with online activists, Web startups and traditional telecommunications companies." [WSJ]

RUTH BADER GINSBURG WOULD BE HISTORY'S MOST BALLER DAILY KOS CONTRIBUTOR - "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doubled down Wednesday on her belief that Citizens United was the worst decision made by the current U.S. Supreme Court, saying it is the the first decision she would overturn if she had a 'magic wand.' Ginsburg said the current campaign system is 'being polluted by money' during a C-SPAN3 appearance, crediting the Citizens United decision, which effectively gave corporations and unions the right to give and spend unlimited funds on independent political activity. The justice said the effects of that 2010 decision can even be felt in the judiciary system too, as judges in some 29 states face elections at some level. 'It costs millions of dollars to fund a campaign for a state supreme court,' Ginsburg said. 'Something is terribly wrong. I think we are reaching the saturation point.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog who thinks it's a sheep.

PAUL LEPAGE: TWO TERM GOVERNOR - Maxwell Tani: "Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) went after undocumented immigrants during his State of the State speech Tuesday, suggesting they were spreading HIV and other diseases. LePage veered from his prepared remarks to rail about 'illegal aliens,' who he claimed deprive his state of valuable resources. The governor has been engaged in a year-long battle with state lawmakers and the attorney general over a new rule that cut funds to cities where undocumented immigrants can receive welfare aid." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Create a font from your own handwriting.

- Cat makes a valiant attempt to dig out of snow.

- Some kids like seashells. Other kids like bloodsoaked firey hellscapes (h/t Jason Linkins .

- The writers of Jennifer Lopez's new movie really don't know how old "The Iliad" is.

TWITTERAMA

@shiracenter: Little did my 4th grade math teacher know I would continue to use my rounding skills in my adult career, every FEC quarter

@EvanMcSan: When you’re alone in congress and staff are dropping like flies you can always go (bum bum) DOWN-TON

@Popehat: Update: what I remember as a harrowing arctic expedition may have been an attempt to find the Mint Chip way down in the freezer.

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