POLITICS
10/07/2013 06:23 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Dehydrated Soup Futures Surging

Whoever designed Shep Smith's overly futuristic new studio should know that "zoom and enhance" isn't something that happens in real life. One couple donated $10 million to keep Head Start afloat or, put another way, 1/10th what Sheldon Adelson was willing to pay to make Newt Gingrich president. And Antonin Scalia thinks we live in a culture in decline as evidenced by the fact that women swear, though we're not sure how swear jars square with originalism. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, October 7th, 2013:

REID READYING CLEAN DEBT INCREASE BILL - ABC News: "The Senate is preparing to move ahead this week on legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, Senate aides told ABC News, with Majority Leader Harry Reid expected to file a bill later today or Tuesday on a “clean” debt-limit increase, without any restrictions. 'We’ve got to get the wheels turning,' a top Senate leadership aide told ABC News today. The Senate will begin debate later this week on an extension of the debt ceiling, most likely for one year, aides said. The first test votes could come as early as Friday. With only 10 days until the debt-ceiling deadline Oct. 17, Senate Democrats are attempting to jump-start a debate on increasing the nation’s borrowing power of $16.7 trillion. Strong resistance is expected from some Republicans, aides say, so Reid wants to give the Senate enough time to overcome the threat of a filibuster...It’s an open question on how challenging it will be to pass the debt-ceiling increase. Democrats will not only need to hold all of their own, including the senators facing tough re-election fights next year, but also attract a half-dozen Republicans. Most Republicans argue that any increase in the debt ceiling must come with spending cuts and other policy changes." [ABC News]

@mkraju: Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) says he'd vote for a clean debt ceiling increase and vote for cloture, making him the first R to say so

THIS SUCKER COULD GO DOWN - Robert Costa: "Speaker John Boehner may be trying to finalize a plan to raise the debt limit, but House conservatives are already skeptical of his efforts. In interviews, several of them tell me they’re unlikely to support any deal that may emerge. 'They may try to throw the kitchen sink at the debt limit, but I don’t think our conference will be amenable for settling for a collection of things after we’ve fought so hard,' says Representative Scott Garrett (R., N.J.). 'If it doesn’t have a full delay or defund of Obamacare, I know I and many others will not be able to support whatever the leadership proposes. If it’s just a repeal of the medical-device tax, or chained CPI, that won’t be enough.'" [National Review]

DEVIN NUNES UNFAMILIAR WITH TAPE RECORDERS - Jen Bendery and Sabrina Siddiqui: "Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is denying that he ever endorsed the idea of passing a 'clean' funding bill -- or one without strings attached -- to keep the government running. But he did. On Monday, Nunes' office asked The Washington Post to remove the congressman's name from their list of House Republicans who have called for passing a clean continuing resolution to end the government shutdown. Nunes had been on the paper's list since last week, and he's still included in The Huffington Post's tally. The move by Nunes' office comes a few days after the congressman fumed to conservative outlet Newsmax that a certain 'left-wing publication' had incorrectly reported that he said he would back a clean funding bill. 'The last thing I would do is work with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi,' Nunes told Newsmax. He suggested that 'someone took some comments I made and then made up a conclusion.' But HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui asked Nunes last Monday, hours before the shutdown began, whether he'd support a clean funding bill if it came down to it. His response: 'Yeah.'" And he said it very enthusiastically, too. [HuffPost]

Bloomberg thinks you should consider shorting the Dow Jones and going long... um... canned goods: "Anyone who remembers the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. little more than five years ago knows what a global financial disaster is. A U.S. government default, just weeks away if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling as it now threatens to do, will be an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen." [Bloomberg]

HuffPost Hill advises you to start protecting the fire.

HuffPost Hill saw at least one federal employee joyously buying rounds of drinks this weekend because the House passed a back pay bill. Not so fast, bro. Roll Call: "Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn told reporters Monday that it would be 'premature' to move on a standalone guarantee of back pay for federal workers without addressing other elements of the government shutdown. 'It think it’s really premature to be dealing with that until we deal with the underlying problem,' the Texas Republican said. 'We’ve offered a number of bills to try to alleviate some of the hardship, and … they’ve been swatted down out of hand.'...Cornyn indicated that Republicans should be allowed to offer amendments to the measure regarding retroactive pay for furloughed federal employees, which the House passed Saturday, 407-0, as part of the larger strategy. Such a move could give GOP senators a chance to try to force votes on expanding the scope of the measure." [Roll Call]

Rich couple does it for the kids: "Head Start doors will remain open through the end of October after philanthropists offered up to $10 million to the embattled institution. Laura and John Arnold, who made their money in the hedge fund and oil and gas industries, announced on Monday that they would be donating emergency funds to the Head Start program so that some 7,000 kids from low-income families could continue to receive educational services. Many Head Start classrooms were put on the brink of closure after the federal government shutdown pulled their funding, forcing parents to cope with the loss of their schools and the vital services they provided. Some Head Start staff have been forced to look for other employment as the shutdown has dragged into its second week." That would be John Arnold of Enron fame, who expanded his post-Enron fortune in the hedge fund world by gambling on natural gas prices, sometimes dramatically jacking up prices for consumers -- and Head Start families. Barbara Dreyfous tells the story in her great book Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street's Largest Hedge Fund Disaster [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - "I remember distinctly what it felt like to walk out of the Department of Workforce Services building after I learned that my family qualified for food stamps. The sky was gray, but there was no rain. The parking lot was almost empty. As I went down the steps, I almost cried with relief. I could breathe because I had finally caught a break -- and I could feed my family. However, I did not tell my mother about my big break. I was taught to be self-sufficient, and I was failing. My mother now knows, and she has kept her mouth shut. Before you judge me -- which I bet you’ve already done, given that I just told you I rely temporarily on public assistance -- you need to know about me, my family and my circumstances. First, I’m embarrassed to be in this position, and I hate being judged for it. Second, I did everything right. I went to college. I actually have an advanced degree. I clip coupons. I bake my own bread. I shy away from credit card debt. I drive a 10-year-old car." [HeraldExtra.com]

DAVE DOWNER - Jamieson: "Just as the federal agency that oversees mine safety has had to furlough most of its workers, three U.S. miners have been killed on the job over three consecutive days -- a back-to-back-to-back tragedy not seen in more than a decade. The three accidents occurred Friday, Saturday and Sunday, taking the lives of men from West Virginia, Illinois and Wyoming, respectively. The Mine Safety and Health Administration issued an alert Monday urging mining companies to follow the law." [HuffPost]

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OBAMA: COME AT ME BRO - Luke Johnson: "President Barack Obama challenged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Monday to prove that he didn't have the votes to pass a 'clean' continuing resolution through the House of Representatives to end the government shutdown. 'If Republicans and Speaker Boehner are saying there are not enough votes, then they should prove it,' he said in a speech at FEMA headquarters. 'Let the bill go to the floor and lets see what happens. Just vote. Let every member of Congress vote their conscience and they can determine whether or not they want to shut the government down.' 'My suspicion is, my very strong suspicion is, there are enough votes there, and the reason Speaker Boehner hasn't called a vote on it is because he doesn't apparently want to see the government shutdown end at the moment unless he's able to extract concessions that don't have anything to do with budget,' Obama said. Boehner claimed the House didn't have the votes to pass a clean continuing resolution Sunday on ABC's 'This Week.' But at least 22 Republicans are on the record supporting a "clean" bill, and if they joined all 200 House Democrats to vote for one, the bill would pass and the government shutdown would end." [HuffPost]

SHUTDOWN: PUBLIC INCREASINGLY FRUSTRATED WITH GOP - And just wait until Ted Cruz claims that the devaluation of the country's 401(k)s was in defense of liberty. Ariel Edwards Levy: "The government shutdown isn't winning anyone in Washington points with the public -- but Republicans are faring the worst, according to new polls. A Washington Post/ABC poll released Monday found that while the public's ratings for the president and both parties in Congress remain negative, disapproval of Republicans has grown in the past week. Seventy percent of Americans now disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling budget negotiations, up from 63 percent last week. A Pew Research poll also released Monday found that 38 percent of Americans blame Republicans more for the shutdown, while 30 percent blame Obama, and 19 percent blame both sides. A third poll by CNN/ORC found that majorities of Americans are angry at everyone involved with the shutdown: Sixty-three percent say they're angry at Republicans, 57 percent say they're angry at Democrats, and 53 percent say they're angry at Obama. The ongoing shutdown has done nothing to improve the parties' opinions of each other. According to the ABC/Post poll, just 10 percent of Republicans approve of either Obama's or Democrats' approach toward the negotiation. Only 8 percent of Democrats approve of the Republicans in Congress, the poll found." [HuffPost]

QUIET, UNCONTROVERSIAL SCOTUS TERM WILL INCLUDE CASES ON ABORTION, PRAYER - And, lest we forget, it will continue to expedite our country's descent into oligarchy, which is just a fancy word for FREEDOM. AP: "The Supreme Court is beginning a new term with controversial issues that offer the court's conservative majority the chance to move aggressively to undo limits on campaign contributions, undermine claims of discrimination in housing and mortgage lending, and allow for more government-sanctioned prayer. Assuming the government shutdown doesn't get in their way, the justices also will deal with a case that goes to the heart of the partisan impasse in Washington: whether and when the president may use recess appointments to fill key positions without Senate confirmation. The court was unaffected for the first few days of the government shutdown and there was no expectation that arguments set for October would have to be rescheduled. The new term that starts Monday may be short on the sort of high-profile battles over health care and gay marriage that marked the past two years. But several cases ask the court to overrule prior decisions — bold action in an institution that relies on the power of precedent." [HuffPost]

Paul Blumenthal looks at McCutcheon v FEC: "The joint fundraising committee may join the super PAC and the "dark money" nonprofit as the new face of big money in politics if the Supreme Court decides to unravel key contribution limits in an upcoming case. A decision in favor of Shaun McCutcheon, the lead plaintiff in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, to be argued Oct. 8, could vastly increase the joint fundraising committee's cash-gathering capacity. The justices will decide in McCutcheon whether the aggregate federal campaign contribution limits -- $123,200 for a single donor in the 2014 election cycle -- place an unconstitutional burden on a donor's rights to free speech and association. In the absence of the aggregate limit, individual donors could donate to as many candidates, political party committees and political action committees as they saw fit." [HuffPost]

ANTONIN SCALIA OPINES ON LAW, CONSERVATIVISM, KIDS AND THEIR DAMN RAP MUSIC THESE DAYS - One of the late night shows should do a "Drunk Grandad or Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia?" segment with these quotes. Alana Horowitz compiled the nine oddest things from Scalia's interview with New York Magazine: 1. Scalia believes a law permitting flogging would be constitutional...2. He believes there are legal reasons for discriminating against women, but not minorities. Fighting in combat, for example...3. He hates the Washington Post...4. He thinks social networking is 'strange.'...5. He thinks society is eroding because 'ladies' curse... 6. He may have gay friends... 7. He doesn't care if his legacy is marked by his opposition to gay rights... 8. He believes in the Devil...9. He loves Seinfeld, but he doesn't know what Homeland is." [HuffPost]

SHUTDOWN IMPACTING VA GOV RACE - Plus the shutdown is giving federal employees much more time to sodomize one another, which has to really grind Ken Cuccinelli's gears. Luke Johnson: "Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli took the stage Sunday afternoon at a candidates' forum in his home county to tell local business owners why he should be the state's next governor. He offered a tour d'horizon of policies on job creation, education, energy, criminal justice and taxes. But he avoided talking about one thing: the government shutdown. Just before, his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, pinned the blame for the shutdown right on Cuccinelli...The state is disproportionately reliant on government spending to fuel its economy, having almost 145,000 federal workers, even more contractors, and other industries that depend on federal workers having money in their pockets, like restaurants and shops. If voters repudiate Republicans in a low-turnout election without President Barack Obama on the ballot, then it may portend for future Republicans." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a parrot who likes having a good times.

SHEP SMITH'S NEW STUDIO LOOKS LIKE A REPUBLICAN-RUN APPLE STORE - Hopefully Chris Hayes will respond by having his background shot feature twee Brooklyn 20-somethings reading ticker tape while wearing fedoras with press passes tucked into the band. Business Insider: "Shepard Smith's new program, Shepard Smith Reporting, is debuting on Monday at 3 p.m. And along with it comes the debut of the new breaking-news unit led by Smith, which features a state-of-the-art studio called the 'Fox News Deck' from which Smith will jump in during different programs to deliver breaking updates. On Monday, Fox released a brief video of the studio, complete with gigantic touch screens as workstations with 'groundbreaking' software that will allow Smith's team to track and monitor breaking stories on social media." [Business Insider ]

COMFORT FOOD

- "Sweet Child o' Mine" played on a guzheng. [http://bit.ly/19umzUo]

- Old video featuring Steve Ballmer as Dr. Evil and Bill Gates as Austin Powers. [http://bit.ly/1cojYfK]

- Is it faster to scan your own items at the supermarket or have a cashier do it for you? [http://on.wsj.com/196YrTT]

- Video taken aboard a helicopter flying beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. [http://bit.ly/1fdsG1G]

- Isolated vocals from popular songs. [http://bit.ly/1bPDHlS]

- Neil deGrasse Tyson picks apart the science behind "Gravity," which is an incredible movie that you should see. [http://huff.to/17NCVVI]

- More footage taken from a GoPro strapped to an eagle. [http://bit.ly/15W4XL6]

TWITTERAMA

@mattduss: Shep Smith will now demonstrate the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station.

@sfiegerman: Either Fox News just bought a bunch of gigantic iPads or they employ very, very tiny people.

@delrayser: Area Area No Longer Under Tornado Watch

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