POLITICS
10/18/2013 05:03 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Heckuva Job, Healthcare.gov

Healthcare.gov is providing visitors with the worst online healthcare experience since they asked Yahoo Answers about that rash. God allegedly commanded the House stenographer to go crazy on the House floor, so she should be expecting a call from the National Republican Congressional Committee shortly. And Mitch McConnell is facing increased opposition from his right flank, so just remember that next January's shutdown will be thanks to a few thousand angry voters in a place called Magoffin County. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 18th, 2013:

HEALTHCARE.GOV BLOWS - It's about as functional as 9:30 Club's website when a Wilco presale goes up. Jeff Young: "A broken website imperils the largest expansion of the American safety net since the Great Society. More than two weeks into the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, the website created by President Barack Obama's health care reform law still isn't working right. 'The website that was supposed to do this all in a seamless way has had way more glitches than I think are acceptable,' Obama said during a Tuesday interview with KCCI television in Des Moines, Iowa. But the administration won't disclose exactly what's wrong with the health insurance exchange website, or when consumers can expect to see the promise of convenient, one-stop shopping for health benefits and financial assistance fulfilled." [HuffPost]

OBAMA: WHAT HAPPENED BRO? Politico: "House Speaker John Boehner just wanted to sneak out of the White House for a smoke. But President Barack Obama pulled him aside for a grilling. Obama wanted to know why they were in the second day of a government shutdown that the speaker had repeatedly and publicly pledged to avoid. 'John, what happened?' Obama asked, according to people briefed on the Oct. 2 conversation. 'I got overrun, that’s what happened,' Boehner said." [Politico]

Pro tip: The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is expiring at the end of the year. That means if a bank forgives mortgage debt in a short sale or foreclosure, say, next year, the IRS will go back to considering the forgiven debt as income.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Next month everyone's food stamp benefits will shrink and it has nothing to do with the government shutdown or the farm bill and nobody's gonna try to prevent it from happening. "For families of three, the cut will be $29 a month -- a total of $319 for November 2013 through September 2014, the remaining months of fiscal year 2014." [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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JIM DEMINT SUPER PAC OPPOSING MCCONNELL - Boy this will lead to some awkward encounters at the Capitol Hill Club. Luke Johnson: The GOP primary challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) received an endorsement Friday from the Senate Conservatives Fund, a PAC founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). The endorsement of Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin escalates the effort by outside conservative groups to back primary challenges next year against those congressional lawmakers who finally voted for the bipartisan budget deal. On Thursday, the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Club for Growth and the Madison Project all endorsed Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a primary challenger to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). The Madison Project had already endorsed Bevin. McConnell himself helped craft the budget deal that left Obamacare virtually unscathed. The Senate Conservatives Fund also hammered him over a provision in the legislation boosting funding for the Olmsted Locks and Dam in Kentucky from $775 million to $2.9 billion." [HuffPost]

TED CRUZ AND THE SHADY JAMAICAN HOLDING COMPANY - Pretty confident we saw "Ted Cruz and the Shady Jamaican Holding Company" open for Rusted Root back in 97. Time: "Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz potentially violated ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with a Caribbean-based holding company during the 2012 campaign, a review of financial disclosure and company documents by TIME shows. The relationship originated with a $6,000 investment Cruz made more than a decade ago in a Jamaican private equity firm founded by his college roommate. When Cruz later reported the financial relationship in 2013, he failed to comply with Senate rules requiring full identification of the holding company and its location, triggering an inquiry by Senate Select Committee on Ethics staff and a second amended disclosure...In an amended financial disclosure form filed Oct. 1, Cruz said he still holds a promissory note from a Kingston-based company called Caribbean Equity Partners Investment Holdings LTD, worth between $100,000 and $250,000. No company with that name is registered in Jamaica. There is however a dormant Jamaica-based private equity firm called Caribbean Equity Partners Limited of which Cruz was a founding director and preferential shareholder, according to documents filed with the Jamaican government and reviewed by TIME. The firm held $100 million in assets under management in the mid-2000s, according to local news reports, with a focus on service and tourism investments in Jamaica and the Caribbean." [Time]

SHUTDOWN HAD WIDE IMPACT: POLL - Like Ted Cruz says, he's just making sure the American people are hurt, er, heard. Emily Swanson: "The government shutdown is finally over, but not before inflicting pain on millions of Americans, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Forty-four percent of Americans in the survey said the shutdown had hurt their families, including 19 percent who said it hurt a lot. Forty-six percent said it made no difference, and 5 percent said it helped. The poll was conducted Oct. 15 and Oct. 16, before Congress reached an agreement that ended the shutdown. The poll found more Americans feeling pain in the shutdown's third week than in the first week, when a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted Oct. 4 and Oct. 5 found that 38 percent of Americans said the shutdown was hurting them or their families. Even those who said their families had not been harmed worried about the shutdown's impact on the country. Seventy-one percent of respondents said the shutdown had hurt the economy, and 73 percent said it had hurt the country as a whole." [HuffPost]

ANTI-FREEMASON HOUSE STENOGRAPHER SPEAKS OUT - Pro tip: If you ever have a public meltdown -- and really, what's stopping you? -- make sure your spouse doesn't publicly condone it. New York Post: "The shutdown provoked her meltdown. The official stenographer who flipped out on the floor of the House as the world watched the vote ending the nation’s debt-ceiling crisis was clocking mind-numbing hours during the government shutdown, her husband said. Dan Reidy told The Post Thursday that his wife, Dianne, was plagued by sleeplessness since the start of the shutdown Oct. 1. 'Two weeks, waking up in the middle of the night. She’s like, I can’t sleep, God’s got me in the work,' Reidy said, speaking from the living room of the couple’s Maryland home, where they’re raising two twin girls. 'God was preparing her for this vote last night, because this was kind of the culmination of everything,' he continued...'I’ve never felt better,' she said, 'I’m glad that I fulfilled God’s mission for me, absolutely. It lifted a tremendous burden. It was a very hard burden to carry as you can imagine.'" [NY Post]

SCOTT WALKER BOOK TARGETS ROMNEY - Totally not a 2016 play. AP: "Republican Gov. Scott Walker is using his new book to renew his criticism of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and raise his own national profile as a reformer who took on public sector unions and won. Walker's book provides a detailed account of his 2011 battle against public unions, the campaign he won against their efforts to recall him, and his unhappiness with Romney and other Republicans he says didn't learn the lessons from his political victories. The Associated Press on Friday obtained a copy of Walker's book, 'Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge,' before its scheduled release Nov. 19...Walker spends a chapter dissecting Romney's campaign. He recounts an email he sent to voicing his frustrations about its tone, and urging Romney to show more passion, get out from behind the podium and connect directly with voters "like you did to the Olympic athletes" when Romney oversaw the 2002 Winter Olympics. Walker said he got no response. Walker writes that Republicans in 2012 didn't run on their principles, didn't criticize Obama enough and did a 'lousy job of presenting a positive vision of free market solutions to our nation's problems in a way that is relevant to people's lives.' While criticizing Romney, Walker is much kinder to Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He calls Ryan, who is a close friend, 'one of the smartest and most decent people I know in or out of politics.'" [AP]

CAMPAIGN TO FIX THE DEBT STILL EXISTS, GETTING CLOWNED ON TWITTER - A big thank you to the Campaign to Fix the Debt for hosting its Twitter chat yesterday. (Plea to our younger readers: If your boss ever suggests a Twitter chat please DO NOT rely on your better judgment and instead let the thing go forward.) The Fix the Debt experience was as amusing as we could hope for, with questions from the existential -- “Is there a single living American other than Erskine Bowles named Erskine?” “How much debt would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck debt?” -- to helpful policy solutions -- “If we harvested the organs of poors and gave them to sick job creators, could we lower healthcare costs AND boost the economy?” -- to those just curious about FTD operations -- “What’s more popular at your board luncheons, the blood of workers or tears of homeless seniors? Asking for a friend”. Thanks, Fix The Debt! [BI]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a hedgehog boat.

TIMES: NOBODY WON THE SHUTDOWN (JK JK JK JK IT WAS TOTALLY OBAMA) - Unleash the Abramson. Politico: "New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson once again decried the horserace coverage of politics on Friday, telling 'CBS This Morning' that such coverage was on display throughout the government shutdown despite the fact that no one won. When asked about her previous complaint that politics was covered like a sport, Abramson said, 'Its been constantly, day after day, broadly in the media: who won, who lost, and you know nobody won and unfortunately we know who lost,' Abramson said. On Friday, the Times published a story titled 'Obama’s Edge Over G.O.P. Is Still Unclear After Victory in Standoff,' which stated as its thesis: 'By nearly all accounts, Mr. Obama emerged the winner of the showdown, having stared down attempts to undercut his health care program or force other concessions, but it is not clear what he actually won.'" [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- Conservative and angry at John Boehner but can't find the right words? Let this Tea Party insult generator help you find your voice. [http://bit.ly/16RGI4C]

- A 300 foot natural wall in Bolivia is covered in dinosaur footprints, which makes no sense. [http://bit.ly/1cZBebI]

- Mike Meyers is having a baby and seemingly every local news anchor responded to the news in the same way. [http://huff.to/1gRUmZa]

- Arnold Schwarzenegger's commentary on Conan the Barbarian is priceless. [http://bit.ly/9XBn8L]

- This car display lets you see what's in front of the truck ahead of you. Next they need to perfect zoom and enhance. [http://bit.ly/19Wv2jB]

TWITTERAMA

@DylanByers:I can hear Ed Schultz and my TV's on mute

@elisefoley: 132 Places To See Before You Die That You'll Never See #darkbuzzfeed

@jimantle: Eating my true American nachos, with canned corn in place of tortilla and ketchup in place of salsa.

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