POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Steve Scalise? More Like Steve PUH-LEASE, amirite?

03/19/2015 05:40 pm ET | Updated Mar 19, 2015

Gawker will regularly publish White House pool reports, so the American people should brace themselves for the hard truth: President Obama winked at AP Radio’s Mark Smith today. MSNBC is considering a major programming shakeup, so expect a call from your activist grandma about where that nice boy with the glasses went. And Steve Scalise attended a posh retreat hosted by AEI instead of attending the Selma anniversary march. Now, before you say anything, it should be noted that the croissants at the morning buffet table couldn’t have been more perfect. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 19th, 2015:

SCALISE SKIPPED SELMA ANNIVERSARY FOR CONSERVATIVE RETREAT - Maybe he should take a page from Rand Paul's book and whitesplain to black people about all the civil rights activists who were Republican. Christina Wilkie: "As top lawmakers and civil rights leaders gathered in Selma, Alabama, earlier this month to commemorate the civil rights movement, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) took an all-expenses paid trip to a luxurious Georgia resort sponsored by a conservative group. The weekend trip was paid for by the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank in Washington that sponsored an annual conference on Sea Island from March 5-8 that Scalise attended. According to a disclosure report Scalise filed Wednesday that was noted by Legistorm, AEI spent $2,955.50 on airfare for Scalise and on lodging and meals for both Scalise and his wife, Jennifer Scalise. The couple's hotel, The Cloister at Sea Island, is 'an oceanfront oasis' according to its website. Scalise's decision to skip the weekend in Selma raised eyebrows after Scalise was embroiled in a controversy late last year over a speech he gave to a white supremacist group in 2002. Scalise said he was unaware that the group, founded by former Louisiana state Rep. David Duke, advocated for 'white civil rights.'" [HuffPost]

OBAMA CALLS FOR MAJOR EMISSIONS CUT BY FEDERAL AGENCIES - Most of the hot air reduction will come from Joe Biden's departure, amirite? [Blinks, grabs rock, solemnly walks into ocean]. Kate Sheppard: "President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Thursday committing the federal government to cutting its own emissions 40 percent by 2025 and pledging to increase the amount of renewable energy used by federal agencies to 30 percent. The executive order builds on a previous administration directive to cut emissions from federal agencies 28 percent by 2020, compared with 2008 levels. 'We are well on our way to meet that goal,' Brian Deese, senior adviser to the president, said in a call with reporters Thursday. 'That's what's motivating us today to chart out a new and even more aggressive goal going forward.' The administration is also setting a goal of cutting the per-mile emissions from the agencies' vehicle fleet 30 percent, it said. It estimates the total commitment across the federal agencies will save taxpayers $18 billion -- funds that won't be spent on energy." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - "He knew he was in jail, but he didn’t know why. Eventually, Abreham Zemedagegehu learned that he had been accused of stealing an iPad – an iPad whose owner later found it. He spent the next six weeks in jail, unable to communicate with his jailers because he is deaf. He described a frightening, isolated experience in which medical procedures were performed without his consent and he feared for his safety. Zemedagegehu sued the Arlington County sheriff last month in federal court, saying his treatment failed to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 'I felt like I was losing my mind,' Zemedagegehu said through an interpreter in an interview at his lawyer’s office." [The Guardian]

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GOP SHOOTS DOWN NIH FUNDING - Quit complaining about that rash and rub some sawdust on it like a man. Sam Stein: "One day after conservative Republicans thrilled an audience of science research advocates by pledging their support for more federal investments in their field, House Republicans on the Budget Committee voted against appropriating more money for just that purpose. Late Wednesday evening, the House Budget Committee rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Kathy Castro (D-Fla.) to add roughly $51 billion over 10 years in new mandatory funding for the National Institutes of Health. The amendment would have spread out the money so that it increased over time, providing a stable and growing stream of funds from which the institutes could draw. The amendment died along party lines, with 22 Republicans in opposition and 12 Democrats in favor (two Democrats missed the votes). At issue were the provisions in the amendment to help pay for the increase in NIH funding. Democrats called for reducing tax expenditures for the top 1 percent of income earners, cutting down on corporate tax breaks, closing loopholes for businesses that send jobs abroad, and other usual elements of the revenue hike potpourri." [HuffPost]

GOP LAWMAKER RETURNING SCHOCK'S CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS - Hopefully for the GOP the embarrassment ends here -- the last thing they want is to discover Schock sympathized with Tom Branson. Julia Craven: "Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) has been a prolific fundraiser and generously contributed to his colleagues over the years, aiming to take over the campaign committee that helps get Republicans into the House. But now, Republicans are starting to question whether they want his money anymore, in the wake of the congressman's announcement that he's resigning under a cloud of scandal. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) told the Tampa Bay Times Wednesday that he will be donating the $5,000 contribution he received from Schock to charity. Schock announced his resignation from Congress on Tuesday, after weeks of mounting questions about his use of taxpayer funds. He was also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, although that probe will go away once Schock steps down on March 31. On Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Committee called on Republican lawmakers who received donations from Schock to donate the funds to the Treasury Department." [HuffPost]

EMANUEL RECEIVING CASH FROM REPUBLICANS - Typical Chicago Republican cronyism. Paul Blumenthal: "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received a big cash infusion to a super PAC supporting his reelection bid in the last weeks before the April 7 Democratic Party primary runoff election he faces against Cook County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia. Standing out among the big contributions to Emanuel’s super PAC, Chicago Forward, is a $500,000 donation -- more than half of the group’s fundraising haul for the month of March so far -- from hedge fund billionaire and Republican donor Ken Griffin. Chicago Forward money is now being used to attack Garcia with negative television ads. Raising money from Republican donors might seem odd for the former chief of staff to the Obama White House, but Emanuel’s campaign and super PAC have received millions from wealthy benefactors from the opposing party. In total, Republican donors have put more than $2.3 million behind Emanuel’s reelection since Jan. 1, 2013, according to Illinois campaign finance records. These contributions account for 10 percent of all donations Emanuel and his super PAC have received in that period of time." [HuffPost]

SHAKEUP EXPECTED AT MSNBC - Politico: "The extent of that change could be vast: In the months ahead, MSNBC is likely to shake up the bulk of its programming, moving some shows and canceling others, high-level sources at NBCUniversal told POLITICO. With a few exceptions — notably 'The Rachel Maddow Show' and 'Morning Joe' -- every program is at risk of being moved or canceled, those sources said. 'All In with Chris Hayes,' a ratings suck that currently occupies the 8 p.m. time slot, will almost certainly be replaced. Network execs are also considering moving some weekday shows, like “Politics Nation with Al Sharpton,” to weekends. 'The plan is to re-imagine what the channel is,' one high-level NBCUniversal insider with knowledge of the network’s plans said, “because the current lineup is a death wish.'" [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a girl and a fox.

GAWKER TO PUBLISH WHITE HOUSE POOL REPORTS - Your pooler will redouble their efforts to get the correct color of President Obama's golf shoes. Capital New York: "On Tuesday, Gawker Media investigations editor John Cook announced a new sub-site, called Public Pool, that automatically publishes White House pool reports, the daily dispatches sent by reporters assigned to cover the president. The reports are generally only available to journalists who have specifically asked the White House press office to receive them. The White House Correspondents' Association handles logistics for the pooler system, and Capital checked in with current president Christi Parsons—a White House correspondent for The Los Angeles Times—to see what she thinks of Gawker's new vertical. 'My first concern was that the print poolers' email addresses and phone numbers were going to be broadcast, but Gawker assures our board they won't do that," she told Capital in an email. 'So we're good on that. A flood of phone calls and emails would make it hard for our volunteer poolers to do their jobs AND write quality pool reports. Nobody wants that.'" [Capital New York]

COMFORT FOOD

- Glasses that let colorblind people distinguish color.

- Speaking of visual impairments, here's a short feature on living with a blind cat

TWITTERAMA

@joshgreenman: What we talk about when we talk about talking about things.

@anamariecox: Today the barista at my all-white Starbucks did start a conversation about my hair.

@elisefoley: I’m so excited to read everybody’s sports tweets!!!!

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