POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Jeb Bush Creates Job

02/20/2015 05:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 20, 2015

Whoever records those screaming voiceovers for local car dealerships should do one for the administration so America can know that THE PRESIDENT’S DAY HEALTH CARE SALE HAS BEEN EXTENDED FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!!! Jeb Bush hired one of the GOP's best smear guys, because Jeb is the adult in the room. And two bills were just introduced that would end federal prohibition of marijuana… or it least it *FEELS* like they were just introduced...whooooaaa. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 20th, 2015:

LEGALIZE IT - These congressmen forgot to put "jobs" or "freedom" in their weed bill titles. Come on, guys. Matt Ferner: "Two congressmen filed separate House bills on Friday that together would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana at the federal level, effectively ending the U.S. government's decadeslong prohibition of the plant. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act's schedules, transfer oversight of the substance from the Drug Enforcement Administration over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and regulate marijuana in a way similar to how alcohol is currently regulated in the U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act, which would set up a federal excise tax for regulated marijuana." [HuffPost]

WHITE HOUSE SEEKING STAY OF IMMIGRATION RULING - Elise Foley: "The Department of Justice will seek a stay on a federal judge's ruling that brought a temporary halt to immigration programs created by executive action, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday. The federal government would like the programs to be able to move forward until an appeals court examines the lower judge's ruling. The stay will be filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans by next Monday at the latest, and will be in addition to an appeal, he said. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issued an order last Monday to temporarily halt the Obama administration from starting policies that could eventually allow as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants to receive work authorization. The programs are now on hold as the judge considers a case brought by 26 states over the constitutionality of the policies….The states' lawsuit, led by Texas, contends that the programs are unconstitutional and would impose a burden on their governments." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Simon Constable reports on a dubious study: "It’s a strange trend, one that could be significant to policy makers: When monthly food-stamp distributions fall on a weekend, beer sales to that population jump – by up to 7%. According to a new study, the day of the week food-stamp funds are distributed seems to be influencing monthly beer sales among the population eligible for the benefit." Correlation, sure. But fully 25 percent of people eligible for food stamps don't sign up. Are they drunk or what? [WSJ]

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OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT EXTENDED - Jeff Young: "Taxpayers facing fines for not having health insurance in 2014 will get another chance to sign up for benefits on the Obamacare exchanges this year, federal officials announced Friday. From March 15 through April 30, individuals who learn when they file tax returns that they must pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate can return to HealthCare.gov to choose a plan for the current year, Andy Slavitt, the principal deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters on a conference call. The three-month Obamacare sign-up campaign officially ended Sunday. But President Barack Obama's administration and some state authorities are reopening enrollment around tax time as a means of covering more uninsured people and mitigating the backlash from taxpayers who weren't covered last year and discover they owe fines starting at $95 per person when they file their 2014 returns. This tax season is the first time Americans must account for their health insurance status when they file tax returns, and the first time anyone will have to pay a penalty for not being covered. Awareness of that penalty remains low among the uninsured, according to survey results published Thursday by the Urban Institute. As many as 6 million people will have to pay the mandate fine this year, the Treasury Department estimates." [HuffPost]

JEB STAFFS UP - Christina Wilkie: "Tim Miller, a rising star in the world of Republican political opposition research, has joined Jeb Bush's political action committee as a senior adviser. Miller co-founded America Rising, a GOP tracking group that digs up and distributes negative information about Democratic candidates. Miller is expected to join the former Florida governor's as-yet unofficial presidential campaign as communications director. Miller is part of a new generation of opposition researchers working for groups like American Bridge to the 21st Century on the left and America Rising on the right....For Jeb Bush, an establishment candidate with a reputation for reasoned and well-informed policy positions, Miller promises to bring a communications style to the campaign that is sharper and grittier than the candidate's own. Bush's decision to hire Miller, a prolific Twitter user, also reflects the growing importance of social media as a key element of political communications, a shift from just a few years ago when candidates' Twitter and Facebook pages were often managed by lower-level staffers, while communications directors interacted mainly with the press." [HuffPost]

When his dad was president, Jeb Bush lobbied the administration on behalf of a Medicare fraudster.

EARNEST 'FEELS SORRY' FOR GIULIANI - Guess he's no longer America's mayor, or maybe Marty Walsh took that distinction when he told all those boston brahs to stop being idiots by jumping off their roofs into the snow. Jen Bendery: "White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that he pitied former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who claimed that President Barack Obama doesn't love America and later said his comments weren't racist because Obama has a white mother. 'I feel sorry for Rudy Giuliani,' Earnest said at his daily briefing. The White House spokesman noted that many reporters in the room have attended speeches by Obama where 'he's talked about his love for this country or how the United States is a force for good in the world.' He suggested Giuliani's comments ultimately reflect badly on himself. 'It's sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain level of public stature, and even admiration, tarnishes a legacy so thoroughly,' Earnest said. 'I don't take any joy or vindication or satisfaction from that.' Asked later if he thinks Giuliani 'has lost it,' Earnest said only, 'I don't know.'" [HuffPost]

MORE SICK BURNS - Reuters: "With potential Republican candidates for president in 2016 talking up ways to help the middle class, President Barack Obama made clear on Friday he believes it was his idea first. 'The new plan is to rebrand themselves as the party of the middle class,' Obama said in a speech to the Democratic National Committee, drawing laughter. 'I'm not making this up.'" [HuffPost]

FED LOBBYING HILL AGAINST RAND PAUL BILL - You could say it's trying to shush him. The Hill: "The Federal Reserve is pushing back against mounting criticism of the central bank, as those pushing for reforms ratchet up their attacks. Fed officials have in recent weeks met in private with staffers from both parties, focusing primarily on the Senate, according to sources familiar with the meetings. Meanwhile, Chairwoman Janet Yellen and other Fed officials have publicly sounded off against a proposal championed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-K.Y.) that would give Congress more sway over the bank. The uptick in outreach from the independent agency signals an effort to quell calls for significant changes at the Fed and assuage concerns that it has become too opaque and too cozy with Wall Street." [The Hill]

Rand Paul tweeted something that was not correct, in a rare gaffe.

BILL O'REILLY SHOULD APOLOGIZE - Maybe he should DO IT LIVE!!! Sorry. MIchael Calderone: "Mother Jones has called on Fox News host Bill O'Reilly to apologize for the 'violent tone' of his response to the magazine challenging his recollection of covering the Falklands War. In a Friday letter to Fox News executive vice president Bill Shine and a network spokeswoman, Mother Jones co-editors Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein said they 'welcome criticism,' but that O'Reilly's suggestion that Washington editor David Corn deserves ''to be in the kill zone' crosses a line.' 'Like everyone in media today, we are concerned about the safety of our staff,' they wrote. 'We'd have hoped that statements with this kind of violent tone would not come from a fellow media professional.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a pug with intimacy issues.

ICYMI: BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, FOR THEY KNOW HOW TO KEEP A GOOD GRAMMYS PARTY GOING - Who needs bilateral negotiations when we have Nancy Pelosi? Salon: "Kathy Griffin popped by 'Late Night with Seth Meyers' on Wednesday night, and she explained how tricky celebrity functions have become since taking over 'Fashion Police.' According to Griffin, celebrities often confront her over being put on the 'worst dressed' list. One of these confrontations happened at Clive Davis’ Grammy party — and Nancy Pelosi found herself mediating." [Salon]

COMFORT FOOD

- John Oliver playing "would you rather" reminds us why we love John Oliver.

- Big Bird and his puppeteer riff on "Birdman."

- All the slo-mo video of bullets hitting metal you could ever want.

TWITTERAMA

@igorbobic: She’s on the Price is Right? RT @samsteinhp: Why did Maureen McDonnell get one extra day added on to her one-year sentence?

@ProffJeffJarvis: #FF @ProfJeffJarvis

@mileskahn: If we don't stop arguing about how to label ISIS' brand of terror the terrorists win.

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