POLITICS
08/19/2013 06:02 pm ET Updated Oct 19, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Still No White House Tours

Nearly 60,000 children were sequestered from Head Start, which is fine by Republicans who already view the program as generational affirmative action. MSNBC ran a segment on what it claimed was America's only child mayor, a dubious claim in light of the network's Bob Filner coverage. And even if you missed Scott DesJarlais publicly telling an 11-year-old that her father would be deported, you'll no doubt be able to see it in the opening scene of Michael Moore's next documentary. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 19th, 2013:

FREE ENTERPRISE GROUP NOT GOOD WITH MONEY - Sabrina Siddiqui and Paul Blumenthal: "[T]the past two elections, the pro-business group doled out $69.5 million to send candidates to Congress. The checks, however, have not always translated into legislative success. Over the past 4 1/2 years, the Chamber of Commerce has lost most of its important legislative battles. Health care and Wall Street reform laws were enacted and face little threat of repeal. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally has an appointed director and Democratic members of the National Labor Relations Board were approved by the Senate...9 House members who received contributions from the chamber's political action committee in 2010 and 2012 have stated their opposition to the Senate immigration bill... The group launched a seven-figure, pro-immigration reform ad campaign and embraced the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in June...In the Senate, where 14 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, only four were backed by chamber money." [HuffPost]

OHIO: ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATOR FORCED OUT FOR ADHERING TO JOB DESCRIPTION - Kate Sheppard (her first piece for HuffPost!): "Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has forced out the head of a key division of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in response to pressure from the coal industry, according to an email obtained by The Huffington Post. George Elmaraghy, the chief of the division of surface water at OEPA, told staff in the email that the governor's office and the director of the agency had asked him to resign, effective Sept. 13, 2013. In the letter, Elmaraghy cited 'considerable pressure from the coal companies over the last year' demanding that his staff "accommodate the industry's needs by issuing permits that may have a negative impact on Ohio's streams and wetlands and violate state and federal laws...The coal industry has targeted both Ohio's environmental regulators and the federal government over enforcement of clean water standards. Robert Murray, the president of Ohio-based Murray Energy -- the largest privately owned coal company in America -- railed against the Ohio EPA in a hearing before a committee in the state legislature last week." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A Republican proposal to cut food stamp spending by 5 percent would eliminate benefits for as many as 6 million Americans, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal D.C. think tank. Republicans have said the forthcoming measure, which will combine stricter eligibility standards with new work requirements, will reduce Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program spending by $40 billion over 10 years. "House Republican leaders haven't formally released the language of their plan, but the information they have made available makes clear that the proposal will be very harsh, denying SNAP to at least four million to six million low-income people, including some of the nation's poorest adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors, and families that work for low wages," the CBPP's Dottie Rosenbaum, Stacy Dean, and Robert Greenstein said in a report published Monday. [HuffPost]

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BIDEN TEAM READYING FOR 2016 - Which is to say, they're cooperating for this piece to see whether they should actually ready for 2016. Journal: "'Political allies of Vice President Joe Biden have concluded that he can win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination--even if Hillary Clinton enters the contest--and are considering steps he could take to prepare for a potential candidacy. While Mr. Biden has made no decision about his future, people familiar with his thinking say, he hasn't ruled out a bid for the White House. If he runs, that could set up a titanic battle between two of the party's most prominent figures. One step under discussion by Biden backers is to form a political action committee he would use to funnel money to other Democratic candidates, which could build goodwill for a possible White House bid, people familiar with the talks said. Meanwhile, Mr. Biden is preparing to attend a Democratic event in Iowa, which traditionally holds the first nominating contest, and to raise money this week for the Democratic governor of New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary." [WSJ]

HEAD START FALTERING UNDER SEQUESTRATION - WaPo: "Head Start programs across the country eliminated services for 57,000 children in the coming school year to balance budgets diminished by the federal sequester, cutting 1.3 million days from Head Start center calendars and laying off or reducing pay for more than 18,000 employees, according to federal government data scheduled for release Monday. The latest numbers, based on the results of 'reduction plans' Head Start grantees submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services, fall short of earlier predictions by the Obama administration that 70,000 children would lose access to preschool because of the mandatory 5 percent cuts. But the cuts will still affect tens of thousands of poor families across the country who rely on Head Start for early learning programs, day care and a network of social services and medical care." [WaPo]

Four-year-old mayor vows to "pwomote wocal bwuisness."

SCOTT DESJARLAIS TELLS CHILD HER DAD SHOULD BE DEPORTED - If you enjoyed the "Steve Stockman tells orphans that there is no Santa Claus," parts one, two and seven, you'll LOVE this item. Raw Story: "A Tennessee tea party Republican congressman told a frightened little girl at a town hall meeting on Thursday in Murfreesboro, TN that laws are laws and that her undocumented father is going to have to be deported. According to ProgressivePopulist.org, 11-year-old Josie Molina told Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R) that she has papers but her father does not. During a question and answer session at the meeting, Molina stepped up to the microphone and, with a quavering voice, asked, 'Mr. DesJarlais, I have papers, but I have a dad who's undocumented. What can I do to have him stay with me?' Rather than make any attempt to assuage the girl's fears, Desjarlais said, 'Thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward and speaking,' but 'the answer still kind of remains the same, that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that's where we're at.' The tea party crowd whooped and applauded wildly as the little girl took her seat, head down. Progressive Populist reported that Josie Molina... is seeing a child psychologist in order to cope with the stress and anxiety." [Raw Story]

Chris Christie signed legislation banning gay conversion therapy but still won't let gays convert themselves into being married. Also, "Gay Conversion Therapy" sounds like a direct translation of the Japanese version of "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy." AP: "Gov. Chris Christie plans to sign a bill Monday barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, making New Jersey the second state to ban so-called conversion therapy, along with California. The bill passed both houses of the New Jersey Legislature with bipartisan support in June...In a signing note accompanying the bill that will be made public Monday, Christie said he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin. That view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith, which teaches that homosexual acts are sins. The Republican governor also said the health risks of trying to change a child's sexual orientation, as identified by the American Psychological Association, outweigh concerns over the government setting limits on parental choice." [HuffPost]

SEBELIUS UNVEILS OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT CAMPAIGN - Americans far and wide are furious that Obamacare's health exchanges might force them -- but probably not -- to read, and possibly think. The administration is doing everything in its power to alleviate this suffering. Sam Stein: "Participants will be encouraged to submit three different types of videos advertising the benefits of the exchanges: a song, an animated short, or a video designed to convince viewers that they aren't invincible. Using funds from the Affordable Care Act's education and outreach budget, HHS will award $3,000 each to the creators of the three most popular and persuasive videos, while second and third place winners will get $2,500 each... The contest is designed to dispel the notion that even young and healthy individuals would be better off simply not purchasing health insurance. It may seem like an odd choice of battlegrounds. But attracting the young demographic is key to the effectiveness of the exchanges, providing insurers with the type of low-risk customers that will help lower premiums across the board. It's no coincidence that many conservative opponents of the Affordable Care Act are actively urging young people to skip the exchanges altogether..." [HuffPost]

Whoops: "The CRS, Congress' non-partisan in-house think tank, compiled 82 deadlines that the Affordable Care Act mandates upon the first three years of its own implementation. Remarkably, it turns out that the White House has missed half of the deadlines legally required by the ACA. And some of those deadlines remain unmet to this day." [Forbes]

TED CRUZ COMES OUT AS CANADIAN - Come to think of it, reserving the right to object does sound like a Canadian parlimanetary maneuver. Dallas Morning News: "Born in Canada to an American mother, Ted Cruz became an instant U.S. citizen. But under Canadian law, he also became a citizen of that country the moment he was born. Unless the Texas Republican senator formally renounces that citizenship, he will remain a citizen of both countries, legal experts say. That means he could assert the right to vote in Canada or even run for Parliament. On a lunch break from the U.S. Senate, he could head to the nearby embassy -- the one flying a bright red maple leaf flag -- pull out his Calgary, Alberta, birth certificate and obtain a passport...For the first time, Cruz released his birth certificate Friday in response to inquiries from The Dallas Morning News...Unlike the U.S., which requires its citizens to pay taxes no matter where they live in the world, Canada only taxes people who reside there. So there's rarely much reason to relinquish Canadian citizenship. For Cruz, though, it may become a political imperative. Though it would not affect his eligibility for the presidency, he could face questions about whether it's appropriate for a commander in chief to have dual citizenship." [Dallas Morning News]

The Daily Beast looks at Cruz's time at Princeton: "[S]everal fellow classmates who asked that their names not be used described the young Cruz with words like 'abrasive,' 'intense,' 'strident,' 'crank,' and 'arrogant.' Four independently offered the word 'creepy,' with some pointing to Cruz's habit of donning a paisley bathrobe and walking to the opposite end of their dorm's hallway where the female students lived." [Daily Beast]

BLOOMBERG OPPOSES STOP AND FRISK (FOR WHITE PEOPLE) - The New Yorker's profile of Bloomberg features a passage where the Big Apple mayor says he'd reconsider the policy if he had a hypothetical son who was hypothetically stopped on his way to his hypothetical school (St. David's... maybe Dalton) and had his hypothetical Hershel bag rummaged through. New Yorker: "His remarks on the subject of stop-and-frisk have sometimes come across as callous. Earlier this summer, on his weekly radio show, Bloomberg said, 'I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.' An uproar ensued. When I spoke to Bloomberg, he conceded, 'If I had a son who was stopped, I might feel differently about it, but nevertheless. Maybe I was inelegant, but I don't think anybody thinks I am anything but--I hope not, anyway--supportive of trying to help all people. With my own money as well as time, thank you very much. I've spent twelve years of my life doing this.'" [New Yorker]

BARNEY FRANK HATEWATCHES 'HOUSE OF CARDS' - "Dear Congressman Frank, While we appreciate you taking the time to send us this submission, we cannot publish this op-ed as you've only watched one-third of the series in question. Sincerely, The Boston Globe." Portland Press Herald: Frank: "The lead character is a superman of the sort that I have never seen because no such figure exists. In the episodes I watched, this fictional congressman, very ably portrayed by Kevin Spacey, was perfect... The character is wholly amoral. He has no political principles, either substantive or procedural. There is no issue about which he cares; no tactic he will not employ, no matter how unfair it is to others; and he is thoroughly dishonest. I have never met anyone in a position of power in Congress who resembles that caricature...He was able to prevent the speaker of the House from seeing the president of the United States. Nonsense. The notion that the majority whip would have the power to step between the president and the speaker is as fanciful as the zombie series with which it competes for viewers...There is a constant theme to the flaws in this show: Nothing is remotely close to being as easily manipulated by an amoral strategic superhero as the show portrays." [Portland Press Herald]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a baby panda meeting its mother for the first time .

DUBIOUS NEWS ORGANIZATION HIRES DUBIOUS CONTRIBUTOR - Michael Calderone: "Daily Download editor-in-chief Lauren Ashburn has joined Fox News and Fox Business as a contributor. 'Very excited about the opportunity to work with all of the great journalists at Fox News and Fox Business,' Ashburn told HuffPost in an email. Ashburn's move follows on the heels of Fox News' hiring of Howard Kurtz, whose role with the Daily Download came under scrutiny a few months ago. The Huffington Post reported in May how Kurtz was contributing significantly to the little-known Daily Download and promoting it far more on Twitter than his two places of employment, The Daily Beast and CNN. The Daily Beast fired Kurtz the next day for making another high-profile mistake. According to Ashburn's LinkedIn profile, she stopped being a Daily Beast/ Newsweek contributor in July and joined Fox News in August." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- An old-fashioned stock ticker that prints out tweets. [http://bit.ly/16VTtIH]

- An 11-year-old engineered a stick of deodorant to play the theme from "Rocky" whenever the cap is removed. [http://bit.ly/19rISY5]

- Kittens on a slide is what happens when the internet does ecstasy. [http://huff.to/17XMptP]

- In the 1920s, people looked pretty fabulous in mugshots. [http://imgur.com/a/J07EZ]

- In the 1980s the Daily News accidentally switched the cartoon captions to Dennis the Menace and the Far Side. The results were bizarre. [http://bit.ly/16UnFWh]

- A Tumblr challenges readers to decided whether the pink and beige objects in the foreground of vacation photographs are legs or hot dogs. [http://bit.ly/17wWHlK]

- Hard rockers like Slash discuss their favorite pop songs. [http://bit.ly/J7Jlka]

TWITTERAMA

@davidplouffe: Calgary Sun will need to get a primer on Iowa Caucus math.

@igorbobic: 4-Year-Old Boy For Mayor Of San Diego

@indecision: Chris Christie to sign law banning gay conversion therapy. New Jersey: now officially a better place to live than Russia.

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