POLITICS
09/05/2013 06:01 pm ET Updated Nov 05, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - White House Launches Syria Website, No Bo Photos To Be Found

The White House launched a website dedicated to the Syria conflict, because what people really need right now is the ability to "like" the cessation of chemical warfare. Kenneth Cole published an inappropriate tweet about "boots on the ground," but reassures us that its prices will never escalate. And a congressman wants to vote down the Syria authorization on 9/11 to honor the victims of that dark day. Didn't Congress already do that when it helped take out the guy who planned the attack, Saddam Hussein? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, September 5th, 2013:

PELOSI APPROVES SENATE SYRIA LANGUAGE - Roll Call: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi approves of the language of the Senate resolution to authorize the use of military force in Syria. The California Democrat issued a 'Dear Colleague' letter Thursday praising the language and informing her colleagues that the House would meet Friday in a pro forma session so the resolution can be filed in the Senate 'in a timely manner.' 'The Senate resolution addresses some of the concerns expressed by many of our House members,' Pelosi's letter said. 'Specifically, the resolution prevents boots on the ground, ties the authorization more closely to the use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction, and has a limited timetable.' By lauding the language approved Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pelosi may be signaling she'd like the House to simply vote on the Senate language, rather than drafting its own joint resolution." [Roll Call]

Women, children and policy staffers first: Boehner staffer Will Kinzel is leaving the speaker's office to manage government affairs at Delta, per Politico. The speaker isn't stepping down but, uh, expect a lot of departures over the next 12 months. [Politico]

@jbendery: Speaker of Syrian Parliament to Speaker Boehner: Please don't bomb us. huff.to/15CEOGw

CONGRESSMAN WANTS SYRIA VOTE ON SEPTEMBER 11TH Mike McAuliff: "Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) thinks the House of Representatives should vote down a Syria war resolution on 9/11, in support of the victims of the terrorist attacks 12 years ago. 'If there's a vote in the House, it should be held on 9/11 so that the House can honor the victims of 9/11 by defeating the resolution and demonstrating we will not help Al Qaeda,' Culberson told reporters Thursday after attending a classified briefing on the Syrian civil war and the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Assad. Culberson said he had no doubt that the Assad regime was behind the chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people, but he said that didn't change his mind or the minds of voters about getting more engaged in Syria." [HuffPost]

ALEC BALDWIN GIVEN MSNBC SHOW - Our suggestion that the show be called, "Up... Then Down... Then Up Again With Alec Baldwin," has been submitted. HuffPost: "Alec Baldwin's MSNBC deal is official, the network said Thursday. The actor will be hosting 'Up Late With Alec Baldwin' at 10 p.m. Friday nights, starting October. The network confirmed the news on Twitter on Thursday. Baldwin will discuss current events and culture on the show. 'I've been talking with Alec for a while and can't wait to bring his personality and eclectic interests to MSNBC,' network president Phil Griffin said in a statement on Thursday. 'He's got such passion for ideas and what's going on in the world - he's going to be a great addition to our line-up.' 'After two seasons of my WNYC podcast, I've developed a fondness for hosting a show that involved talking with smart, talented and engaging people in every imaginable field,' Baldwin also said. 'I'm grateful to MSNBC for helping me bring a similar show to television.' The announcement confirmed rumors about a potential deal, which have been swirling around for weeks. In August, a senior source in the media industry told Mediaite that Baldwin was getting an MSNBC show. The network did not confirm or deny the report at the time." [HuffPost]

We talked about this, Kenneth Cole: @Kennethcole: "Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear

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HOUSE RELUCTANT TO AUTHORIZE SYRIA STRIKE - Grim and Zach Carter: "While the Senate appears poised to come to some type of agreement, the "People's House," as it is known, is showing much more reluctance to approve the deeply unpopular bombing resolution. 'Peace may well have a chance,' said one top House GOP aide. Public opinion surveys have been reflected in the outpouring of calls, emails and letters that have flooded House offices, running, say lawmakers, at more than 9 to 1 against intervention...Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said on Twitter that his delegation is unpersuaded and that public reaction has been fiercely opposed. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who represents the libertarian opposition within the GOP, said that he's also seeing intense disapproval... 'Members on both sides [are] undecided, with most (not all) I've talked to feeling extremely uneasy and uncomfortable with this resolution,' said one Democratic member. 'I think if it went down today, it wouldn't pass the House. People though are truly undecided with concerns in a bipartisan way. The real question is if those who feel uncomfortable with this can be made to be comfortable with a resolution that has a much narrower scope.'" [HuffPost]

Tellingly, Organizing for Action is sitting this one out: "Despite the high stakes, however, the president has not activated one of his most powerful tools of political persuasion to help him win approval for the strike: Organizing for Action. The political group, which inherited a well-oiled infrastructure and network from Obama's re-election campaign, has at its disposal roughly 2 million volunteers, 17 million email subscribers and more than 36 million Twitter followers. The group has proved its effectiveness by boosting public support for other Obama priorities, and presumably it could do the same for military action in Syria, something the public generally opposes and some lawmakers are reluctant to support...OFA's Twitter account on Wednesday -- the day a Senate committee approved the resolution -- instead reflected other issues on which the group has worked for Obama, including Obamacare, immigration reform, climate change and gun control. There were no words of support for a military mission in Syria." [Washington Examiner]

Not entirely sitting it out: Today OFA organized a rally....in John Boehner's district...berating him for opposing Obamacare.

ASSAD'S BEHAVIOR MAKING STRIKE DIFFICULT TO PLAN - We're going to go ahead and assume he's in the basement of the country's largest, and most widely-attended, primary school. Outside of that, good luck. Josh Hersh: "Significant questions still remain about Bashar Assad's motivation for allegedly using chemical weapons, raising concerns about how much American officials can anticipate about the possible response of the Syrian regime to a U.S. attack, or trust that a limited strike plan will even work... 'The [Joint Intelligence Committee] had high confidence in all of its assessments except in relation to the regime's precise motivation for carrying out an attack of this scale at this time,' read an unclassified version of a British intelligence report, released last week. A declassified American intelligence summary doesn't go much further, saying that regime 'frustration' with its inability to prevent rebel incursions into Damascus 'may have contributed' to the decision. The lack of clarity on this issue may not ultimately undermine the case against Assad, but it does raise substantial worries about the effectiveness of the strike -- and about Assad's possible response in the aftermath. " [HuffPost]

SECOND GULF WAR INFLUENCING SYRIA VOTE - Not to mention John Dingell's devastating vote to authorize military assistance during the Boxer Rebellion. Amanda Terkel: "[A]s President Barack Obama is trying to convince Congress to authorize the use of military force in Syria, the 192 current members who were also in office in 2002 are grappling with how to vote in the newest conflict, with the Iraq War casting a long shadow. Of the 115 lawmakers who voted to invade Iraq and are still in office, 35 now appear to be leaning against striking Syria, with 25 leaning toward supporting Obama's plan, according to a count by The Huffington Post; the vast majority remain undecided. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) voted to authorize force in Iraq, but he is now leaning toward opposing action in Syria. In his statement explaining his views, he specifically cited the broken promises of Iraq...So far, Obama appears to have picked up the support of 15 of the 77 lawmakers who voted against invading Iraq. Seventeen are leaning against intervention, with the majority still undecided." [HuffPost]

CBC PRESSURED TO SUPPORT SYRIA VOTE - More people now know where Aleppo is than are familiar with the murder spree in Chicago's South Side but, hey, would you mind helping us bomb the crap out of somewhere? Christina Wilkie: "As the Obama administration lobbies Congress this week to authorize military strikes on Syria, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus has asked caucus members to refrain from discussing the Syria debate in public. Numerous media outlets reported Thursday that Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) sent an email to members of her caucus asking them 'to limit public comment' on the Syria debate -- a move that drove one CBC member to complain to Foreign Policy's The Cable that Fudge was trying to quiet the growing chorus of opposition in Congress to U.S. airstrikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Fudge's spokeswoman, Ayofemi Kirby, said the congresswoman simply wanted to make sure members had all the information available before making up their minds. Members of the CBC are scheduled to receive a classified briefing on Syria from White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice this coming Monday." [HuffPost]

The White House has launched a website dedicated to the Syria situation. We can't wait for "White House Week" to put a bubbly spin on all of this. Christina Wilkie: "The website represents the latest step in the Obama administration's full-court press to bolster support not only in Congress but among the American public for proposed military strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In addition to the website, administration officials are considering the possibility of having the president address the nation from the Oval Office during primetime, possibly on the eve of what is expected to be a close vote next week in the Democratic-controlled Senate." [HuffPost]

CUCCINELLI FIGHTS WAR ON MEN - Those pesky womenfolk and their pesky desire to get out of bad marriages, I tells ya. Laura Bassett: "Capitalizing on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's (R) already tenuous relationship with women voters, the progressive super PAC American Bridge released a new ad on Thursday tying the gubernatorial candidate to the controversial fathers' rights movement. The ad features video of Stephen Baskerville, former president of the American Coalition of Fathers and Children, speaking out against child support and women being granted custody of their children after divorce. 'Child support effectively acts as a kind of subsidy on divorce,' Baskerville says in the footage. 'It enables and even encourages mothers to simply walk away, take the children with them and basically plunder the father for everything he has.' ... Cuccinelli offered two bills as a state senator in line with the movement's objectives: one that would have prevented a parent from obtaining a no-fault divorce if the other parent objects, and another that would have encouraged judges to penalize a woman who asked for a no-fault divorce in custody and visitation battles." [HuffPost]

POLITICIAN IGNORES WORKING PEOPLE - Literally. Mother Jones: "On Wednesday, the campaign of Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for governor in Virginia, released a new TV ad hammering Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe for investing in the fiber-optics company Global Crossing. When Global Crossing filed for bankruptcy in January 2002, hundreds of workers were laid off and many current and former employees saw their 401(k) accounts and severance pay packages wiped out. 'Yet political insider and investor Terry McAuliffe cashed in,' Cuccinelli's ad says. McAuliffe banked $8 million on an investment of $100,000. The new ad features three former Global Crossing workers. Like last year's powerful ads featuring middle-class workers talking about Mitt Romney's business record, the ex-Global Crossing employees give the ad its emotional resonance. But here's the catch: Two of the three employees tell Mother Jones that they were never told their words would be used in a political attack ad appearing in a state some 400 miles away." [MoJo]

EPA ADVISER TO PLEAD GUILTY TO PAY FRAUD - Heritage Action is already telling its subscribers to write their members of Congress, urging them to defund the environment. WaPo: "Over the past 12 years, John C. Beale was often away from his job as a high-level staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency. He cultivated an air of mystery and explained his lengthy absences by telling his bosses that he was doing top-secret work, including for the CIA. For years, apparently, no one checked. Now, Beale is charged with stealing nearly $900,000 from the EPA by receiving pay and bonuses he did not deserve. He faces up to three years in prison. Beale, 64, who was a senior policy adviser in the Office of Air and Radiation, is expected to plead guilty at a hearing scheduled for Monday at U.S. District Court in Washington... At agency headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, Beale fostered an enigmatic image. He frequently traveled to China, South Africa and England, according to several people who worked with him. He would describe his trips and mention a lingering case of malaria." [WaPo]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a sneezing bunny.

ETHICS ISSUES? GET A DOG TREADMILL! - Hannah Dreier: "Two years after resigning from Congress amid an ethics probe involving his affair with a former campaign staffer, former U.S. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada is opening a luxury animal hospital in Las Vegas. Ensign, who was a veterinarian before he became a politician, is launching the Boca Park Animal Hospital on Friday. ... The hospital will be in keeping with the Sin City aesthetic, with luxury suites for pets and treadmills for hefty canines. 'We want to combine the practice with a pet resort, where your dog or cat can be pampered like they're in a four or five star resort,' Ensign said. The hospital will feature flat screen televisions set to a channel geared at dogs. Owners will be able to pull up a live stream of their animals on their cellphones."
[AP]

Good pictures and an awesome headline: "Ex-senator swaps political braying for sound of household pets" [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

COMFORT FOOD

- Seven sites you should be wasting time on right now. [http://bit.ly/1fCBlGB]

- Dachshunds are excited for bath time. [http://bit.ly/17ADH6h]

- A quest through the bowels of Yelp to find America's greatest Arby's franchise. [http://bit.ly/1a17kQj]

- Steamy Alyssa Milano sex tape explains the Syria crisis. [http://bit.ly/17OiucK]

- Watch as a 335-foot research vessel flips 90-degrees in the water, on its own, to set up a base of operations. [http://bit.ly/1amtEHJ]

- You'll soon be able to login to things with your heartbeat. Luckily, you won't have to hug your computer to do so. [http://bit.ly/17A3EF1]

- These light up sneakers will make you the coolest kid at your 1993 grade school/rave. [http://bit.ly/179hcGG]

TWITTERAMA

@stefanjbecket: Like You're Going Out Anyway With Alec Baldwin, Fridays, 10 p.m.

@samsteinhp: MT @KennethCole: "air assault" or not, let's not forget about our new line of umbrellas, raincoats and high-end ponchos

@pourmecoffee: G20 is very frustrating for Putin. It's two straight days of shirt-wearing.

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