Mitt Romney likes to fire people who provide services to him, but he loves to lavish money on people whose services are subpar. The NRA's enemies list includes the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Boys II Men and Tara Lipinski, but somehow "bad guy with a gun" didn't make the cut. And Hillary Clinton formally resigned as Secretary of State. Sadly, she did not convey her resignation via text message ("c u l8er O") This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 1st, 2013:
Programming note: Eliot Nelson is still in Kentucky, touring Elliot County. Today's HuffPost Hill is written by Lucia Graves, Arthur Delaney, and Ryan Grim again.
BARNEY BUSH JOINS SEAMUS ROMNEY IN HEAVEN - Luke Johnson: "Former President George W. Bush announced Friday that his dog, Barney, passed away. 'Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away. The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness,' said Bush in a statement. 'Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter. At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.'" HuffPost
REPUBLICANS STEP UP THEIR CONSUMER ADVOCACY - Jen Bendery: "Get ready for a replay of last year's bitter fight over confirming Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Along with 42 Senate Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Friday, vowing to block any CFPB nominee until Congress passes a law to revamp the agency. Obama has already re-nominated Cordray to stay on as the CFPB director. 'As supporters of strong and effective consumer protections, we write to you to reaffirm our concerns over the transparency and accountability of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),' the letter reads. 'Accordingly, we will continue to oppose the consideration of any nominee, regardless of party affiliation, to be the CFPB director until key structural changes are made to ensure accountability and transparency at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.' Cordray has been in the post since Jan. 2012, when Obama used his executive authority to bypass the Senate and recess-appoint him." Good thing they reformed the filibuster! Oh wait. [HuffPost]
We gave Jeff Merkley three minutes to explain the entire history of the filibuster.
OBAMA'S WAR ON SPERM - The Obama administration, in response to requests from God, has clarified which employers are allowed to make women pay for their birth control. Laura Bassett: "Faced with nearly 50 lawsuits by employers with religious objections, the Obama administration announced on Friday new details of the contraception coverage rule that clarify which employers will be exempt from having to cover contraception costs for their employees. The new rules announced on Friday eliminate some confusion over which organizations qualify for the exemption by requiring employers with religious objections to self-certify that they are non-profits with religion as a core part of their mission. Religiously affiliated organizations that choose to insure themselves would instruct their 'third-party administrator' to provide coverage through separate individual health insurance policies so that they do not have to pay for services to which they morally object." [HuffPost]
For your weekend viewing: One of those classic Ted Kennedy speeches, this one for immigration reform [YouTube]
Everyone stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW! Cindy Adams [has thoughts] on the District of Crapola.
WHAT CHU DOIN' - And Steven Chu was all, peace. Associated Press: "Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down. The Energy Department said Friday Chu has offered his resignation to President Barack Obama. Chu won a Nobel Prize in physics but came under questioning for his handling of a solar energy loan. Chu is a former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He drew fire from Republicans who criticized his handling of a $528 million federal loan to solar panel maker Solyndra, which later went bankrupt, laying off its 1,100 workers." Where "fire" is code for dumb lines of questioning into a manufactured scandal, right guys? [AP]
Related: Darrell Issa is bored.
ED KOCH OUT - Ed Koch, the ultimate platform-agnostic octogenarian, has died. Koch appeared as Judge Wapner's successor on The People's Court and made a cameo as himself on Sex and the City. He was also the mayor of New York City: [HuffPost]
From Chuck Schumer's elegy: “New Yorkers were particularly proud of Mayor Koch because he was so proud of New York. Every atom in his body lived, breathed, spoke, and exuded the city. He helped save the city and, perhaps most important of all, gave it confidence when it was beginning to doubt itself." New Yorkers are more fragile than you think.
@SarahMMimms Sad to report that I'm wrapping up the final edition of @njhotline's Last Call! Thanks for reading. Check it out at http://www.nationaljournal.com/member/hotline/last-call
Fun factoid: Last Call used to be faxed to people.
JOBS REPORT: MEH - The economy had 157,000 more jobs in January, and the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point to 7.9 percent. The takeaway: Terribly slow improvement continues. Labor Department
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - For some state workforce agency staffers, an improving economy can be bad news. With fewer people claiming unemployment insurance benefits, state unemployment agencies will need fewer workers to process the claims, meaning hundreds of workers will lose their jobs. It happened in Arizona last week, when the state Department of Economic Security laid off 29 call-center staffers thanks to a decline in federal funding associated with a drop in unemployment claims. "At this point, we have utilized all available funds to maintain customer service levels, but due to the decline in federal funding, we will need to make staff reductions and program changes this year," Jim Apperson, assistance director of the department's Division of Employment and Rehabilitation Services, said in a statement. Similar layoffs have occurred in California, Michigan and Rhode Island. And the National Association of State Workforce Agencies says it's going to keep happening. [HuffPost]
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CLINTON FORMALLY RESIGNS - AP: "Hillary Rodham Clinton formally resigned Friday as America's secretary of state, capping a four-year tenure that saw her shatter records for the number of countries visited. John Kerry was sworn in to replace her. In a letter sent to President Barack Obama shortly before she left the State Department for the last time in her official capacity, Clinton thanked her former opponent for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination for the opportunity to serve in his administration. Clinton said it had been an honor to be part of his Cabinet. 'I am more convinced than ever in the strength and staying power of America's global leadership and our capacity to be a force for good in the world,' she said in the letter." [AP]
ETHICS COMMITTEE PROBING MENENDEZ - You may remember the Senate Ethics Committee from such hits as "Stern Letter To David Vitter" and "Qualified Admonishment To Roland Burris." Stephanie Condon: "The Senate Ethics Committee is reviewing whether Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., inappropriately accepted gifts from a political donor who is under investigation by federal investigators. 'We are aware of the news reports regarding the FBI raid on Dr. Melgen's office,' Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the top Republican on the ethics committee, said to CBS News in a statement. 'The Ethics Committee will follow its established procedures in this matter.' Late Tuesday night, the FBI and the Health and Human Services Department raided the West Palm Beach, Fla., offices belonging to Dr. Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor who has made large donations to Menendez, the New Jersey State Democratic Committee and other politicians." CBSNews
CHECKS, PLEASE - Per Politico Influence: "Jake Perry became the second longtime adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to exit in a matter of weeks. Perry, who most recently was at Majority PAC, is forming Jake Perry + Partners. He follows Reid's top day-to-day fundraiser Josh Alcorn, who left to work for Beau Biden. Perry's firm will focus on energy, gaming, commerce and financial services issues." Perry's not actually leaving Reid's circle, he's just setting up his own shop to take on clients, fwiw.
MITT ROMNEY GIVES BIG PAYOUT TO LOSER AIDES - Paul Blumenthal: "In the year-end campaign reports filed on Thursday, the Romney campaign -- through Romney for President and Romney Victory -- reported spending $27 million from Nov. 27 through Dec. 31. Thirty-eight percent of that spending went to just three companies with close ties to Romney. The largest was a $4.75 million payment to VG LLC, a fundraising company set up by Romney finance chairman Spencer Zwick, who is known as the sixth Romney son. Targeted Victory, the digital consulting firm run by Romney adviser Zac Moffatt, received $3.84 million in waning weeks of 2012. And SCM Associates, a Massachusetts-based fundraising company run by Stephen Meyer, received $1.7 million." Heckuva job guys! [HuffPost]
ALSO, CHARITY - Romney's campaign gave $90,000 to the Red Cross late in November. Lisa Miller: "The donation, not made public until Sunday, came weeks after Hurricane Sandy and Romney's presidential election defeat." Next thing you know, he'll be handing out gifts to minorities, old people and the poor! [HuffPost]
Romney has a habit of doing charitable stuff semi-secretly. He once donated milk to a shelter for homeless veterans, for instance, and he once rescued some people from drowning, and didn't seek attention for either of those things. Yet the Romneys DID seek publicity for Mitt's mistreatment of Seamus, for some reason...
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - here's a handful of baby bunnies.
NRA: WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS BARRY MANILOW - Christina Wilkie: "Boy bands from the '90s, Oscar-winning actresses and the PTA are just some of the hundreds of individuals and organizations on the National Rifle Association's recently updated 'National Organizations With Anti-Gun Policies' list. As the nation's largest gun lobby assumes a leading role in the national debate over gun control, the list of individuals and groups, which was published by the NRA in September, underscores a persistent message the NRA sends to members: It's us against them. 'The following organizations have lent monetary, grassroots or some other type of direct support to anti-gun organizations,' it says at the top of the list. 'In many instances, these organizations lent their name in support of specific campaigns to pass anti-gun legislation … All have officially endorsed anti-gun positions.' The list is published by the gun lobby's political arm, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and while the list's purpose is not explained, it appears to be aimed at helping NRA members know which celebrities and companies they should boycott." We're never listening to "Could It Be Magic" again. [HuffPost]
@samsteinhp: I'm feeling left out MT @briankrebs: Source: WaPo Also Broadly Infiltrated By Chinese Hackers in 2012 ow.ly/hl6yc
NBA HALL OF FAMER HAS DEEP THOUGHTS ABOUT GIRLS - Nothing escapes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Least of all an episode of HBO's Girls. Fortunately, he has a platform for his insights: "Clearly on an emotional high from her Golden Globe wins, Lena Dunham, Creator/Writer/Director/Star of the HBO series Girls, recently gave an interview in which she dismissed criticism of her show as coming mostly from 58-year-old men who didn't understand -- and I'm paraphrasing and reading between the lines -- the show's new-generation originality and youthful exuberance. That's odd considering that Vulture reported that the show's single largest audience, 22 percent, is 'white dudes over 50.' In fact, 56 percent of the show's audience is male. Some say it's because of the frequent nudity and graphic sex. That doesn't hurt..." Full analysis here: [HuffPost]
FOR CLIMATE CHANGE, APATHY - Let's hope the apocalypse is swift. CJR: "Celebrity and sports stories are three times more common in the mainstream media than environment stories, according to a new report, which found that environmental coverage constituted just 1.2 percent of the news in the 17 months from January 2011 through May 2012..." Silver lining? "The Huffington Post may be the greenest of all nationally oriented outlets according to the study." Just look at this picture of a wolverine currently on our front page! [CJR]
- Bo Obama in the Cabinet Room. [http://bit.ly/WD2IKN]
- Chimpanzees predict the Super Bowl. [WTOP]
- Budweiser's Clydesdale Super Bowl ad features newborn foal. [http://bit.ly/W2QCcm]
- Horse plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with its nose on a recorder. [http://bit.ly/14DwkLe]
@daveweigel: Cindy Adams. Courtland Milloy. One ring. One night. No rules.
@zachdcarter: Poor GWB. It sucks when your dog dies. Not as bad as when your huge pointless war goes bad, but still bad.
Mark Zuckerberg's fundraiser for Chris Christie is happening tonight in Palo Alto, California. Cue Democratic Governors Association outrage.
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