POLITICS
06/26/2012 06:20 pm ET Updated Aug 26, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Gun-Deprived Washington Has Friend In Rand Paul

Big Ben will be renamed after Queen Elizabeth, however our petition to rechristen the Capitol "Robert Byrd's Government Shack" remains dead in the water. President Obama stirred controversy when he teased a Boston crowd about Kevin Youkilis, meaning his campaign's new slogan, "Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Tastes Like Piss," is probably not long for this world. And Tom Harkin says the Democrats have a plan if the Supreme Court overturns part or all of the Affordable Care Act but won't elaborate on whether it involves sending every single ill American to Tom Coburn's house. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 26th, 2012:

TOM HARKIN: WE ARE PREPARED TO HAVE MONTHS AND MONTHS OF OUR HARD WORK NULLIFIED - Mike McAuliff: "The chairman of the Senate Health Committee says he is ready to go with contingency legislation if the Supreme Court throws out any or all of the Affordable Care Act. The high court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the law Thursday, just before the Senate goes on recess for the July 4 break, but Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told reporters Tuesday that he will be prepared to answer whatever comes down. 'Depending on what the court does, we'll be ready when we come back,' Harkin said. 'We could then move rapidly to get something on the agenda, put something in the hopper.'" [HuffPost]

RAND PAUL FIGHTING HARD TO GIVE WASHINGTON, D.C. MORE GUNS - Nevermind the sub-Saharan-like AIDS rate in certain parts of the city, Rand Paul will do his all to make sure you can shoot stuff. Running in tomorrow's Roll Call from Emma Dumain: "Sen. Rand Paul may upset a bill to give Washington, D.C., autonomy over its budget. The Kentucky Republican plans to offer amendments during tomorrow's markup that would loosen the city's gun restrictions. If they are adopted by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee's conservative-leaning membership, that would threaten floor consideration of the bill, which Sen. Joe Lieberman wants to keep "clean." "We are deeply offended by Sen. Paul's stunning hypocrisy," Ilir Zherka, executive director of DC Vote, said. "Congress has the power to do things around the country and Paul has repeatedly stated he's against government taking those steps except clearly now in the District of Columbia."

STONED REPUBLICANS FORGET TO HOLD HEARING - Republicans in the House of Representatives appear to have forgotten to hold their hearing on the allegedly widespread problem of drug use among the unemployed. In February, Congress passed a law that will eventually allow states to drug test some workers who apply for unemployment insurance. Congressional Republicans who supported the measure had acknowledged that they didn't have much information on the problem, but they said they would hold a hearing in the spring to gather some data. "We're going to have a hearing on that next year," Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) told HuffPost in December. "I think we do need to get more data." Camp chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees unemployment insurance. He vowed to hold a hearing on drug testing the unemployed by spring of this year, but spring has come and gone without a hearing. Oops. [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our 16-part series PASTED: The Emails of the Jobless: "I am 55 and an unemployed teacher in rural Texas. I have no retirement or insurance. I have been a teacher for 28 years," writes our correspondent, who prefers to remain nameless. "My husband is a retired educator, so our family of four lives on his retirement salary. It is 1/3 of our previous income. My children are on my husband's retirement health insurance, but adding a spouse is very expensive and we cannot afford it. We both spent the past year looking for jobs. We went on some interviews. Now we get by doing odd jobs. We live in the country so we are doing much more gardening and have chickens for eggs. We try to freeze or can our produce. I bake bread, mend our clothes, we shop at garage sales, and I sew clothes." [Hang in there!]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

REID, MCCONNELL REACH DEAL ON STUDENT LOANS - The Democratic and Republican leaders have reached an agreement that could help thousands of eager Americans take classes on why Congress can't get anything done. Progress. The Hill: "Senate leaders say they have a deal on student loan legislation, pending approval by House Republicans, who have unexpectedly balked at Senate deals before. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday that there is an agreement on student loans and now the question is what type of legislative vehicle to use to pass it through Congress. One option is to attach it to a two-year transportation authorization bill, which is nearing completion in Senate-House conference. A senior GOP aide said "odds and ends" remain to be resolved... Senate Republican Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said final approval of student loan legislation, which would prevent rates on federal Stafford loans from doubling to 6.8 percent, depends on House Republicans." [The Hill]

STENY HOYER DOUBLE DOG DARES DARRELL ISSA - The House minority whip today tore off his shirt, held his arms out to the side and asked Darrell Issa if he wants to go challenged the chairman of the oversight committee to produce the emails he claims proves the White House intended to politicize Operation Fast and Furious. NYT: "'If he has those documents, he should show them,' Mr. Hoyer said... Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said Tuesday that he did not believe the e-mails exist building a case for reinstating the ban. 'And I think it is unfortunate people are coming up with these theories,' he said." [NYT]

SMALL GOVERNMENT CRUSADER RAND PAUL TAKES A BREAK FROM THE CRUSADE - Laura Bassett: "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) moved this week to hold a noncontroversial flood insurance bill hostage until the Senate agrees that life begins at fertilization. The bill, which would financially boost the National Flood Insurance Program on the cusp of hurricane season, had been expected to pass easily in the Senate. But since Paul on Monday offered an unrelated 'fetal personhood' amendment, which would give legal protections to fetuses from the moment of fertilization, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is threatening to halt progress on the legislation... Reid has allowed Republicans to attach unrelated amendments to other important bills in the past few months. Most notably, he let the Senate vote on a contraception-related amendment, proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), to a transportation bill. But Reid called Paul's measure 'ridiculous' and 'outlandish,' and asked Republicans to deal with him on 'their side of the aisle.'" [HuffPost]

DEPT OF 'BOO-URNS' WHITE HOUSE INSISTS PRESIDENT WASN'T BOOED - At a fundraiser in Boston yesterday President Obama criticized the Red Sox over their recent trade of Kevin Youkilis. What followed sounded an awful lot like a loud boo. Jay Carney KINDLY clarified the matter today during his briefing. CARNEY: "Can I just say while I still have you that there's been some really silly reporting about the President's remarks regarding Kevin Youkilis last night. It is highly commendable in my view as a Red Sox fan that this President has always refused to pander on sports. He is a White Sox fan. He owns his fandom of the White Sox, and proved that again last night. And anyone who knows Boston and knows the Red Sox, and who was in that room, knows that the preponderance of people shouting in response to what the President said about Kevin Youkilis were saying 'Youk,' not 'Booo' for god's sake."

Richard Holden, who attended the rally, told Vanity Fair that he sides with the White House's explanation: "I can confirm that is what I heard. But Obama thought it was a 'boo,' which was kind of funny because it happened twice. It might be one of the only times I've seen a politician get away with ribbing Boston sports fans without a 'boo.' Watch out, Romney." [Vanity Fair]

@whitesox: We agree with you @BarackObama. We thank @RedSox for Youkilis too.

John Thune is open to being Mitt Romney's running mate. This excites us, as it's been awhile since America had a campaign ticket that resembled a 1950s Macy's circular. Jen Bendery: "Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on Tuesday ducked questions about whether he has been talking to Mitt Romney about being the candidate's vice president, though he did not rule out the possibility of taking the job if it were offered to him. 'I don't think you ever close the doors entirely, if you're interested in public life and making a difference,' Thune told reporters, when asked if he's interested in the slot. 'But ... I'm not seeking it, I'm not pursuing it, and I like the job I have.' He declined to say if he has submitted materials to Romney's camp for being vetted." [HuffPost]

MCCASKILL SKIPPING DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION - This could lead to a really hilarious pre-recorded message ("Hi, I'm Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. I'm sorry I couldn't join you in person, but I'm busy convincing my fellow Missourians that I have nothing to do with you putrid hippies... onward to victory!"). TPM: "Claire McCaskill will not be attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a McCaskill aide confirmed to TPM Tuesday. McCaskill joins a list of vulnerable Democratic politicians whose home districts are hostile ground for President Obama and who will be steering clear of the convention... The [McCaskill] aide stressed that McCaskill did not attend the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when she was running for governor of Missouri." [TPM]

@toddzwillich: Sen McCaskill: "Of course" she would share a rally stage w president Obama, even after deciding to skip Dem convention

JOE ARPAIO UNFAZED BY SUPREME COURT RULING - Jen Bendery: "Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Monday night that the Supreme Court's decision to strike down most of Arizona's controversial immigration law won't have any real effect on the methods used by police officers to determine who may be an undocumented immigrant. 'Well, nothing changes,' Arpaio said during an interview with Univision's Jorge Ramos. 'We are well trained, we do that without racial profiling, regardless of what the critics and some politicians in the U.S. Justice Department accuse me of.'" [HuffPost]

Here's a sample of one of the most interesting fusions of business reporting and free verse poetry we've seen yet from Forbes' Kevin Roose's piece on Mark Zuckerberg, via Politico: "tahoe party, bearskin on her shoulders, 'mark is gesturing at me haughtily like an emperor' innocent fun, loaded nature, appeared to becommanding an emplloyee, female to submit... birthday in 2006, email for all women to wear a t-shirt with mark's picture on it; men to wear adidas sandals. ' women were to declare allegiance to mark, men were to become mark, or at least to dress like him." Thanks, copy editor who doesn't give a damn! [Politico]

IMPORTANT JON GOSSELIN UPDATE - The reality tv star took a break from making people feel better about their significant others to campaign with a Republican congressional candidate in New Jersey. John Celock: "The former star of TLC's 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' will join a Republican congressional candidate in New Jersey on Wednesday to promote tax-deductible marriage counseling." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Existential cat challenges the notion of objective meaning, goes to the vet.

FIRST-WORLD PROBLEMS - HuffPost DC: "In a coffeeshop, do customers have a right to bad taste? That's been a hot topic of discussion this week after a barista refused to make an espresso-over-ice drink for a customer who ordered one." [HuffPost]

FUN FACTS - HuffPost DC:" "Did you know that one of D.C.'s sister cities is Sunderland, England?" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Death metal "Call Me Maybe" is worth every second of loading time. [http://bit.ly/MyzIyU]

- "Stop playing video games," they said. "Go outside and do something creative," they said. [http://bit.ly/MYWSdq]

- Squids have some beautiful stuff going on in their skin/membrane/whatever.[http://bit.ly/MYX10r]

- Amy Poehler, aka Leslie Knope, responds to a few questions she received from the internet. [http://bit.ly/Myyvb7]

- Speaking of questions from the internet, this Redditor answers a big one: what wine pairs best with the Taco Bell crunch wrap supreme? Inquiring minds, etc. [http://bit.ly/MYWdsr]

- For future reference, this is what 150,000 pounds of thrust looks like. [http://vrge.co/MYW8oN]

- Democracy: Making you want to drink since a couple thousand years ago. [http://bit.ly/MyzdVM]

TWITTERAMA

@grahamdavida: While thinking, 'I used to be DC buro chief for a respected mag, and now...' RT @ZekeJMiller: Carney walks "Youk" back

@FakeAPStylebook: "Political football" & "inside baseball" are valid phrases to use in your news story. "Congressional tongue hockey," however, is not.

@BenjySarlin: Man DC sucks in the summer RT @TPM: The hottest temperature ever achieved: 7.2 trillion degrees bit.ly/MQVttv

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:30 pm: Pat Toomey's Citizens for Prosperity in America Today proceeds in its mission to destroy Citizens Who Want Nothing More Than to Wallow in the Recession for Another Year or Two. [Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW]

6:30 pm: Scott Brown attends a fundraiser hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters which we hope means he'll ask a few people to yell "YAZ HITS ONE OUT OF THE PARK!!!" for his own amusement. [Bobby Van's, 1201 New York Ave NW]

TOMORROW

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Because you'll be busy on Independence Day celebrating Independence day, why don't you celebrate, uh, Independence Day at the DSCC's July 4th BBQ on the 28th! [The Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave NE]

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e