POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Beeee My, Be My Bibi

03/02/2015 05:29 pm ET | Updated Mar 02, 2015

For the last 25 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted Iran’s nuclear bomb has been three-to-five years away, proving that Iran has secretly been developing the Second Avenue subway. A painter snuck a reference to Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress into a portrait of Bill Clinton, though some critics insist the dress is white and gold. And in the fifth-most farfetched presidential ticket of the year, Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter have been cast, respectively, as the president and vice president in "Sharknado 3." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, March 2nd, 2015:

NETANYAHU SERVES UP GEOPOLITICAL AMUSE BOUCHE - Presumably the palate cleanser will be a very terse phone call with President Obama on Wednesday. Times: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday opened his high-profile visit to the American capital by playing down any personal dispute with President Obama, but he said that he had a 'moral obligation' to warn against the dangers of an American-brokered nuclear deal with Iran. Previewing his hotly disputed address to Congress, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu said at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that he was grateful to Mr. Obama and the United States for their support over the years and never meant to inject partisan politics into the relationship. He characterized the disagreement over Iran to a fight within a family that would ultimately be overcome. 'My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds,' Mr. Netanyahu told the estimated 16,000 people gathered here. 'I have great respect for both.'" [NYT]

Bibi's bombastic bomb bluster: "[I]n 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, 'If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind,' adding that, 'the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close.' ... four years before that Congressional speech, in 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was 'three to five years' away from reaching nuclear weapons capability...In his 1995 book, 'Fighting Terrorism,' Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in 'three to five years,' apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline...Testifying again in front of Congress again in 2002, Netanyahu claimed that Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program was in fact so advanced that the country was now operating 'centrifuges the size of washing machines.'" [The Intercept]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Republican Party's new point man on food stamps, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), insists that he doesn't want to cut nutrition assistance benefits. Instead, Conaway is leading a multiyear review of the program, just to make sure it's the best it can be. But it might not be up to Conaway. Republicans could push food stamp cuts this year through a parliamentary process known as "reconciliation."... A coalition of nearly 400 food banks, labor groups and farm industry advocacy groups recently set a letter to top lawmakers on budget committees expressing concern that U.S. Department of Agriculture initiatives -- including crop insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps -- could get whacked through reconciliation. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - During hearings last week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) embraced testimony by Douglas Besharov, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland, who said SNAP and other Great Society programs are more about income support than fighting hunger. Besharov said starvation has been eradicated as a public health issue. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told DDD that food insecurity and childhood hunger remain problems, with 15.8 million children living in households that struggled to afford food at some point in 2013. "I don’t think there’s any understanding or appreciation of the depth of child poverty in many rural areas in this country," Vilsack said. [HuffPost]

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BABS OUT - This doesn't mean that our dream of a Mikulski - Christie presidential debate is dead. HuffPost: "Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced on Monday she will retire from the U.S. Senate. Mikulski has served in the U.S. Senate since 1987, and before that, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1976. She has been in Congress longer than any other woman, and was the first woman to head the Senate Appropriations Committee. Mikulski, 78, pledged to work until her last day in office. According to NBC4 reporter Tom Sherwood, the senator said she'd rather spend her time 'raising hell' than raising money for another campaign." [HuffPost]

O'Malley is O'quiet: "Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley declined to comment on a potential run for U.S. Senate in the wake of Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s retirement Monday. 'Today is a day to reflect on Senator Mikulski’s service to the people of Maryland, not engage in political speculation,' O’Malley’s spokesperson, Lis Smith, told BuzzFeed News. Mikulski’s retirement has the potential to upend a number of 2016 plans, including O’Malley’s nascent presidential campaign. Republicans said Monday that they now view the Maryland open seat as a pickup opportunity in 2016, despite the fact that no Republican has won a Senate race in the state since 1980." [BuzzFeed]

Mr. Barrow will be returning to his night job now that the latest season of "Downton" has wrapped.

HOW WE GOT TO THIS DHS MESS - Just a whole lot of people wanting to keep their jobs. Politico: "In December, at a meeting of the raucous Republican Study Committee in the basement of the Capitol, Georgia Rep. Tom Price made a recommendation he hoped would help resolve an uprising in his party over President Barack Obama’s immigration orders…[Price] made a pitch that caught steam and ultimately made its way to Republican leaders: Hold hostage funding for immigration enforcement and force Obama to relent on his policies…But House conservatives wanted to go even further. Unable to temper antipathy toward Obama among the rank-and-file, House Speaker John Boehner agreed to back a more aggressive strategy: Restrict funding for the entire Department of Homeland Security and force the White House to capitulate in February when Republicans would finally have control of both houses of Congress. Boehner was already under the gun: He was facing an election for speaker in the first week of January, meaning he had little margin for error. So he endorsed a tactic he believed would show his party was capable of effective governance and represented a unified opposition to a White House willing to stick its finger in the eye of Congress." [Politico]

JEB BUSH HAS HIS VERY OWN SOLYNDRA - But this one is actually a thing. Reuters: "In October 2003, Jeb Bush unveiled one of the largest economic projects in Florida history: a $500 million plan to bring Scripps Research Institute to the state and build a biomedical hub he said would generate nearly 50,000 jobs in 15 years. As governor, he described it as a 'seminal moment,' comparable to Walt Disney World's arrival in Florida in 1971, which brought billions of dollars in tourism, spawned tens of thousands of jobs, transformed the economy and created the world's most-visited vacation resort. Today, as Bush leads possible Republican candidates in the 2016 race for the U.S. presidency, the missed projections and mixed results of his signature economic policy as governor - a biotechnology gamble that has yet to pay off - illustrate problems he could face in explaining his own record while promoting a vision of 'real conservative success.'" [Reuters]

SCOTT WALKER POLITICALLY CATFISHES WISCONSIN - America's sleeve-roller-upper-in-chief was a little misleading in his campaign for governor. Journal-Sentinel: "As a candidate for governor, Walker didn't spell out or even mention some of the measures that would become key achievements in office. Most notably, Walker never told voters beforehand about what would become his signature accomplishment -- repealing most collective bargaining for most public workers. During the uproar over that unexpected legislation known as Act 10 and the recall and re-election campaigns that followed, Walker said he wouldn't let legislation affecting private-sector workers reach his desk. Now he says he'll sign it." [MJS]

when u and bae text beefing but u out wit friends

Car elevators not included: " Carly Fiorina, tops [list of prospective presidential candidates' home values] with her $6.7 million mansion in Virginia. But former Arkansas governor turned commentator Mike Huckabee, who says he campaigns on behalf of 'Bubbaville,' isn’t far behind, with a newish home in Florida worth $5.5 million. Next up is the presumptive candidate from Chappaqua, N.Y., Hillary Clinton, at $2.4 million -- a long way from Hope but just a hair above the Bush family’s Florida outpost, Jeb’s $2.2 million joint in Coral Gables. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, lives in the least expensive home among those whose information is available on Zillow." [Time]

*TERRIBLE PAINTING SUDDENLY IMBUED WITH CREATIVE VALUE - We're roughly at the halfway point of our presidential portraits' descent into being hastily-produced watercolors of seashells. WaPo: "A cursory glance at the official painting of President Bill Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery would easily miss an ode to the lowest point of his presidency -- Monica Lewinsky. But it’s there, the artist revealed in an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia area painter Nelson Shanks cunningly included a shadow over the fireplace cast from a blue dress on a mannequin. Shanks said painting Clinton was his hardest assignment because 'he is probably the most famous liar of all time.' So he added the nod to the Lewinsky scandal because it had cast a shadow over Clinton’s presidency. 'He and his administration did some very good things, of course,' Shanks said, 'but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind, and it is subtly incorporated in the painting.'" [WaPo]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are two goats playing on a horse.

THIS IS BRILLIANT AND IF YOU THINK OTHERWISE YOU CAN GO JUMP IN A LAKE OF THUMBTACKS - Also, "Sharknado 17: Thumbtack Lake" is probably already in post-production. Hollywood Reporter: "Syfy's Sharknado 3 has elected a new president and vice president. Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter have joined the growing list of guest stars for the third TV movie in the phenomenon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned...Entrepreneur/Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban of Shark Tank will play the president, while conservative commentator/author Coulter will play the vp." [Hollywood Reporter]

More 'Sharknado' news! "Members of Congress might say working in Washington is like swimming with sharks, but they now have the opportunity to make that a reality with the chance to appear in Sharknado 3. Representatives for the campy movie about shark-infested storms from the Syfy network are sending out emails to public relations associates, asking for help contacting 'select recognizable Senators and Congressmen, and a few others like Colin Powell and Oliver North,' according to an industry source." [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- Clickhole has its own version of The Oregon Trail.

- American Sign Language for webspeak like "SMH" and "screengrab."

- Ten of the most ornate movie sets bulit for a single scene.

TWITTERAMA

@SimonMaloy: molotov! RT @TexasTribAbby: Rabbi Shmuley calls Cruz "an honorary Jew"

@seungminkim: With Boxer and Mikulski's retirements, the Senate will no longer have members who wrote a political crime novel in their free time #trivia

@JGreenDC: I think that people used to walk around casually eating apples and giving each other hugs.

Then the liberals took over.

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