POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - FEMA Concentration Camps Totally Screwed By DHS Shutdown

02/24/2015 05:41 pm ET | Updated Feb 24, 2015

The Justice Department decided to not pursue charges against George Zimmerman -- Americans with heart conditions are advised to stay away from their Facebook feed for the next few days. Ron Paul said recently that the Congressional Black Caucus opposes wars only because "they want all of that money to go to food stamps" -- a shocking revelation that an old white man could be cranky about minorities and the social safety net. And the secretary of veterans affairs apologized for embellishing his military record, further proving that puffing up your military service or war zone experience is the political-media world’s version of saying you were at Woodstock. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, February 24th, 2015:

DHS FUNDING STILL UNCERTAIN - Elise Foley: "Almost as quickly as it came about, a plan from Senate Republican leaders to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security has hit a snag. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday the chamber would move on a full-year DHS funding bill without measures to restrict President Barack Obama's immigration policies, which have so far hindered the passage of a bill that would keep the department from shutting down on Feb. 27. The Senate will also vote on a separate bill to stop Obama's 2014 executive actions on immigration. But the plan was quickly questioned by Democratic leaders, who said they don't want to move forward on even a clean DHS funding bill unless there are assurances from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he's on board...Time is running out to fund DHS before the deadline, and McConnell's offer was the first Plan B from Republicans after a House-passed bill was repeatedly blocked in the Senate. The House's bill would prevent Obama from carrying out a number of his immigration policies as part of funding for DHS, something the president said he would veto. Now McConnell is aiming to split DHS funding from the immigration issue." [HuffPost]

PRESIDENT VETOES KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE BILL - Prepare to get a final-scene-of-Miracle-on-34th-Street amount of correspondence relating to this in your inbox. Kate Sheppard: "President Barack Obama formally vetoed legislation authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, the latest development in what has become an ongoing standoff between him and congressional Republicans over approval of the controversial pipeline. This is only the third veto of Obama's presidency, but it's likely not the last. Congressional Republicans are poised to send a number of other measures to Obama's desk that he is expected to reject, including changes to his signature health care reform law. Obama vetoed the bill privately on Tuesday afternoon, hours after it was sent over from the Hill. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in the day's press briefing that the president planned to veto it "without any drama or fanfare or delay.' The House passed the measureauthorizing construction of the pipeline on Feb. 11, two weeks after the Senateapproved the same legislation. Congressional Republicans held a signing ceremonyand waited until after the weeklong Presidents Day recess to send it to Obama's desk." [HuffPost]

President's veto message to the Senate: "I am returning herewith without my approval S. 1, the 'Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act.' Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest. The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest -- including our security, safety, and environment -- it has earned my veto."

ICYMI: VA CHIEF PULLED A BRIAN WILLIAMS - David Wood broke the story last night: "Robert McDonald, the secretary of veterans affairs, wrongly claimed in a videotaped comment earlier this year that he served in the Army's elite special forces, when his military service of five years was in fact spent almost entirely with the 82nd Airborne Division during the late 1970s....'I have no excuse,' McDonald told The Huffington Post, when contacted to explain his claim. 'I was not in special forces.'" [HuffPost]

McDonald continued his apology tour on Tuesday.

RON PAUL STILL GIVING OFF THAT 'FREEDOM REPORT' VIBE BuzzFeed: "Former Republican Rep. Ron Paul, the father of potential presidential candidate Rand Paul and a former presidential candidate himself, said the Congressional Black Caucus does not support war because they want that money for food stamps. 'I was always annoyed with it in Congress because we had an anti-war unofficial group, a few libertarian Republicans and generally the Black Caucus and others did not--they are really against war because they want all of that money to go to food stamps for people here,' Ron Paul told Lew Rockwell in early February during a discussion on sanctions." [BuzzFeed]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Freshman Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) reportedly said at a town hall in his district last week that constituents should monitor purchases made with debit cards from Food Share, which is Wisconsin's name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Grothman "told the people in attendance to keep an eye on the types of things people on Food Share buy at the grocery store," Oshkosh Northwestern Media reported Monday. [HuffPost]

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WALKER OUT IN FRONT IN 2016 GOP POLL - Hey, remember Unskewed Polls? PPP: "PPP's newest national Republican poll finds a clear leader in the race for the first time: Scott Walker is at 25% to 18% for Ben Carson, 17% for Jeb Bush, and 10% for Mike Huckabee. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5%, Rand Paul at 4%, and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3%. Walker has more than doubled his support since his 11% standing on our January national poll, and Carson has moved up 3 points. Bush, Huckabee, Paul, and Perry have largely stayed in place while Cruz has dropped 4 points and Christie has dropped 2 points. Walker is climbing fast in the polling because of his appeal to the most conservative elements of the Republican electorate. Among 'very conservative' voters he leads with 37% to 19% for Carson, 12% for Bush, and 11% for Huckabee. Bush has a similarly large lead over Walker with moderates at 34/12...the problem for Bush though is that there are two times more GOP primary voters who identify as 'very conservative' than there are ones who identify as moderates." [PPP]

GOP DONOR FIRST TO HIT CONTRIBUTION LIMIT - Dude, he's like the Jackie Robinson of rich white guys who are willing to spend .0001 percent of their income to disproportionately influence elections. Paul Blumenthal: "Ken Griffin, the hedge fund billionaire who once complained about the wealthiest Americans having 'insufficient influence' in politics, has become the first -- and so far only -- donor to report giving the maximum amount to a national political party under newly loosened campaign contribution limits. According to a Friday filing with the Federal Election Commission, Griffin gave $324,000 to the Republican National Committee in January. This huge contribution was split among four separate accounts, two of which were made possible by rule changes slipped into the December omnibus budget bill and one of which could expand due to that legislation. Griffin gave $32,400 to the RNC’s central election account and $97,200 each to the committee’s building, recount and convention funds." [HuffPost]

The Justice Department won't charge George Zimmerman for murdering Trayvon Martin.

MIKE HUCKABEE: SNOB? Igor Bobic: "Mike Huckabee says it's not an issue that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) doesn't have a college degree. Walker, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, dropped out of Marquette University in 1990, just one semester shy of graduating. If he wins the presidency, he'd be the first person without a college degree to do so in more than 60 years….In 2002, the incumbent governor faced a stronger-than-expected, though ultimately unsuccessful, challenge from state treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher (D), then a pioneering female politician in Arkansas…. 'If you check her Web site, it says she is a graduate from the Harvard School of Law. The truth is, she took a three-week course,' Huckabee said at a campaign stop in October 2002, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." [HuffPost]

CALIFORNIA GOP CLAMORING FOR CONDOLEEZZA RICE SENATE RUN - Or, "How Carly Fiorina's ego really can't take much more of this." WaPo: "The 'Draft Condoleezza Rice for [fill in the blank office]' movement will never ever die. And with an open Senate seat in California in 2016, the unquenchable desire among Republicans for candidate Rice has an actual office that she could run for in sight. A new Field poll, showing Rice leading a poll of other 'prominent Californians,' has only added fuel to this ever-burning fire. Based on this (name recognition) poll, which shows Rice leading current California Attorney General and declared Senate candidate Kamala Harris in terms of peoples' 'inclination' to vote, the Conservative Action Fund launched yet another attempt to get Rice to run. The Black Conservative Fund has also joined the efforts...There's also not one single shred of evidence that Rice has any interest whatsoever in running for elected office. Like zero, zilch, nada, as in please move on." [WaPo]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a relaxed cat.

COMFORT FOOD

- Find a good movie to watch by genre, mood or just have one chosen for you on A Godd Movie To Watch.

- Elephant tries to break stick, fails, throws mini tantrum.

TWITTERAMA

@Max_Fisher: A subtweet about a tweet about an article about a tweet of a photograph of a magazine listicle

@TheStalwart: I wonder if in 10 years, pot brownies will be illegal because of the sugar.

@StevenTDennis: Orrin Hatch tells me he didn't watch the Oscars. He said he was watching Downton Abbey instead.

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