POLITICS
09/23/2013 06:13 pm ET Updated Nov 23, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Our Coworkers Wanted Today's Headline To Be 'Poop Cruz' But We're Above That

We're a week away from a government shutdown, so make sure your chief of staff knows that managing the interns is "essential" work. George W. Bush was given a "Climate Hero Award," which is about as appropriately named as the Clear Skies Act. And Chuck Schumer spoke out forcefully against the designer drug Molly. Don't expect to see him at next year's Governors Ball, decked out in a fluorescent pinnie and perched on an NYU sophomore's shoulders. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, September 23rd, 2013:

ONE WEEK LEFT UNTIL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN - Jen Bendery: "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn't back the push by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to vote against bringing up a bill to defund Obamacare, a McConnell aide told The Huffington Post. 'Senator McConnell supports the House Republicans' bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny,' McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. Until now, McConnell has been largely quiet as Cruz has been ramping up his calls on Senate Republicans to filibuster the funding bill. The measure passed by the House Thursday would do two things: fund the government past Oct. 1 and defund President Obama's health care law. Since Democrats control the Senate, and since they've already vowed to strip out the Obamacare provision and only hold a clean vote on funding the government, Cruz is urging Republicans to vote against bringing up the bill at all -- and be willing to risk a government shutdown. On top of that, Cruz has argued that anyone who even votes to bring up the bill is, in effect, voting for Obamacare." [HuffPost]

Real talk from AP's Andrew Taylor: "Here's the truth about a government 'shutdown.' The government doesn't shut down."

Harry Reid is sorry you might be furloughed but he hopes you take this nifty analogy as a token of his sympathy: "The Republicans bent on defunding Obamacare or shutting down the government are 'fanatics' with a 'Thelma and Louise'-like mission to drive the nation off a cliff, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

@JeffYoung: The health insurance exchanges open in eight days. You probably don't need to care. http://huff.to/18lr6nM

AMERICANS DON'T WANT TO BE ON CRUZ CONTROL: POLL - CNBC: "A solid majority of Americans oppose defunding the new health care law if it means shutting down the government and defaulting on debt. The CNBC All-America Economic Survey of 800 people across the country conducted by Hart-McInturff, finds that, in general, Americans oppose defunding Obamacare by a plurality of 44 percent to 38 percent. Opposition to defunding increases sharply when the issue of shutting down the government and defaulting is included. In that case, Americans oppose defunding 59 percent to 19 percent, with 18 percent of respondents unsure. The final 4 percent is a group of people who want to defund Obamacare, but become unsure when asked if they still hold that view if it means shutting down the government." [CNBC]

John McCain REALLY doesn't want to be on Cruz control. GQ: "For a while, veteran Republicans groused in private about [Ted Cruz]. But it boiled over when Cruz joined Kentucky senator Rand Paul's filibuster of John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA—an act of protest against Obama's drone program. John McCain, already seething over Cruz's treatment of Hagel, called them 'wacko birds.' 'He fucking hates Cruz,' one adviser of the Arizona senator told me. 'He's just offended by his style.'" [GQ]

Does Bill Clinton have a credit card? A friend of the former president told The New Republic that Clinton doesn't carry one around because he never needs to pay for anything. "He doesn’t care about money," the friend said. "He doesn't even have a credit card. When he wants to get something he says, 'Wow, I love that,' and whoever he's with says, 'Here it is!'" The anecdote was part of a profile of top Clinton aide Doug Band, whom the magazine portrays as cashing in on his connections to the family and turning donors to the Clinton Global Initiative into clients of the global consulting firm he co-founded, Teneo Holdings. Band didn't comment for the TNR story, but he told HuffPost that Clinton does in fact have a credit card. "And if I had a Black Card or ever had one, I would buy you a drink on it," Band added, referencing a separate anecdote in which he had coveted and ultimately won the invitation-only American Express card. [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From the class war trenches: "My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40 hours a week while I was in college. I've never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan. Oh, and I'm now on food stamps. Since June, as a matter of fact. Why am I on food stamps? The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving. [HuffPost]

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SHUTDOWN WOULD KEEP GOVERNMENT FROM NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT - Kate Sheppard: "Unless lawmakers reach a resolution to stop a government shutdown before next week, the Environmental Protection Agency will have to cut down to a skeleton crew, the agency's chief said Monday. 'It will mean that EPA effectively shuts down, with only the core group of individuals who are there in case of an emergency,' said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at a breakfast event with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. 'If there's no budget, EPA can't pay employees. So the vast majority of people at EPA won't be working.' The agency employs 17,000 individuals. McCarthy said the agency devised plans for how to deal with a shutdown the last time it was an imminent threat, in 2011. [HuffPost]

IRS OFFICIAL BEHIND TEA PARTY SCANDAL LEAVING TO DO DEVELOPMENT WORK FOR THE NEW BLACK PANTHERS OR WHATEVER - Politico: "Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner is retiring from the agency effective Monday, two congressional aides told POLITICO. Lerner sparked the IRS scandal in May when she acknowledged that the agency wrongly targeted tea party groups applying for a tax exemption. She was placed on administrative leave later that month and is under a subpoena to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A Democratic congressional aide said the IRS was moving toward terminating Lerner after completing an investigation into her role in the targeting controversy. The IRS found that Lerner mismanaged her department and was 'neglectful of duty' but found no evidence of political bias, the aide said." [Politico]

GEORGE W BUSH LIBRARY GIVEN ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD - Pro tip: Give up. Just give up. There is no meaning to anything. Amanda Terkel: "Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has given George W. Bush's presidential library a 'Climate Hero Award' for its efforts on energy conservation, an unexpected accolade for a former president whose administration was known more for its inaction on global warming...Both the Bush library and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center received Climate Hero Awards for achieving LEED Platinum certification, which requires green building design, construction, maintenance and operation. 'It is really terrific to receive the inaugural Climate Hero Award from Senator Boxer,' said former first lady Laura Bush in a statement. 'It recognizes how hard we worked to achieve LEED Platinum certification.' But during his administration, President Bush did not work that hard on energy conservation or global warming." [HuffPost]

BILL DE BLASIO WAS ONCE A MARXIST STONER WHO BUMMED AROUND NEW YORK AND SUPPORTED LEFTIST REGIMES IN LATIN AMERICA OUR KIND OF GUY - Times: "[A] review of hundreds of pages of records and more than two dozen interviews suggest his time as a young activist was more influential in shaping his ideology than previously known, and far more political than typical humanitarian work. Mr. de Blasio, who studied Latin American politics at Columbia and was conversational in Spanish, grew to be an admirer of Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista party, thrusting himself into one of the most polarizing issues in American politics at the time...Today, Mr. de Blasio is critical of the Sandinistas’ crackdown on dissenters, but said he learned from his time trying to help the Central American country...Mr. de Blasio became an ardent supporter of the Nicaraguan revolutionaries. He helped raise funds for the Sandinistas in New York and subscribed to the party’s newspaper, Barricada, or Barricade. When he was asked at a meeting in 1990 about his goals for society, he said he was an advocate of 'democratic socialism.'" [NYT]

We give this two-and-a-half Four Lokos out of a possible five on our "Chuck Schumer Self-Promotion Scale" (patent pending): @senschumer: Molly is not "pure ecstasy"- it is cut with dangerous chemicals. Fed gov't needs to hone in on labs & get tough on this club drug #MDMA

UTAH IS TO GUNS WHAT DELAWARE IS TO CORPORATIONS - Though we sincerely hope there aren't 200,000 firearms stashed away in in a 2,000sq ft Provo office suite. Mother Jones: "Over the last two decades, Utah's concealed-carry permit has emerged as a de facto national ID for handgun owners... 40 states now recognize some or all out-of-state permits, and 8 have made it legal in all or some circumstances to carry a concealed handgun without any permit at all...As part of a National Rifle Association-backed movement to roll back concealed-carry restrictions, in the mid-1990s Utah became a 'shall issue' state. That means it grants concealed-carry permits unless it has a compelling reason (such as a felony record) not to do so. Licensees don't need to demonstrate proficiency with a handgun, and they don't even need to set foot in the Beehive State. They just have to take a class on firearm safety and pay a processing fee (approximately $50) and some of the cheapest renewal fees in the business (as little as 75 cents every five years). The result has been a boom in out-of-state residents seeking permits and the birth of a cottage industry catering to them. As of June, nonresidents held more than 60 percent of Utah's 473,476 valid concealed-carry permits. Maryland alone has 33 Utah-certified instructors." [MoJo]

MERKEL WINS REELECTION IN GERMANY - Still no word on whether she plans vengeance for George W. Bush's unilateral shoulder massage. Guardian: "Angela Merkel is basking in a historic third-term victory in the German elections, having led her conservatives to their best result in more than 20 years...Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its sister party, the Christian Social Union, won 41.5% of the vote, with analysts calling the win a personal victory for the 59-year-old. Merkel is on track to overtake Margaret Thatcher as Europe's longest-serving female leader...After a campaign that concentrated almost solely on Merkel's personality and solid leadership in times of economic turmoil, but was thin on detailed policy, she came within a whisker of obtaining an absolute majority, falling just five seats short...Merkel will still have to rely on a coalition partner for a secure governing majority. Without her former liberal allies, she might have to turn to the SPD, which is firmly opposed to [British Prime Minister David] Cameron's ideas of wresting powers back from the European Union." [Guardian]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are three adorable animals being friends.

GOD IS DEAD - Satan's minions have moved on from gay sex and abortion and are now focusing on petty vandalism. AP: "A stone monument of the Ten Commandments that sits on a street behind the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington and was the subject of controversy in the past has been toppled by vandals. The 3-foot-by-3-foot granite monument weighs 850 pounds and sits out front of the headquarters of Faith and Action, a Christian outreach ministry...The monument had been pushed over so that the words of the Ten Commandments are now face down. Vandals bent a steel rod that secures the monument to a thick concrete base to an almost 90 degree angle. The monument itself is not damaged, [ministry director The Rev. Robert Schenck] said." [AP]

COMFORT FOOD

- Six castles that can be yours for less than a typical New York City apartment. [http://bit.ly/1ftOk0a]

- Where there be dragons? 42 maps that will change your view of the world [http://bit.ly/16nIW6K]

- Bo Diddley gives the best/worst advice. [http://bit.ly/1aZCPLb]

- The Bill Murray infographic reminds you why he's America's weird uncle (sorry, Mr. Vice President). [http://huff.to/1b09cwE]

- Christian Bale auditioned for the role of Batman in Val Kilmer's old Batman suit. [http://bit.ly/1f7HoIs]

- In Russia car drives you... into a rock. [http://bit.ly/1gRT4dX]

- Be careful no one sideswipes your Lamborghini because it will BE RIPPED IN TWO. [http://bit.ly/19wFqJ5]

TWITTERAMA

@SimonMaloy: *looks up "sincere" in English-to-DC Speak dictionary* "dumb and loud"

@madeline: First of 3 female SecState's - last to join Twitter. Better late than never! pic.twitter.com/gDQZUvebnR

@daveweigel: Congrats to Lois Lerner in her new role as manager of GMail's servers!

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