10/22/2013 06:08 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL, sponsored by The Benghazi Hoax - America Loves Weed

"Now let us dine on RINO flesh," read an email to Republican members of Congress, which was either a primary threat or an invitation to a Dick Cheney fundraiser. Thirty-eight percent of Americans admit to trying marijuana, a surprisingly low number until you consider the size of Mitt Romney's family. And Glenn Beck accused Americans For Tax Reform of harboring Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells, but made no mention of the ACORN staffers tucked away in Business Roundtable's office suite. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013:

WHO IS THE GOP SECRET SANTA? Jonathan Strong: "At 7:21 p.m. on the last night of the government shutdown, as the House was set to pass a Senate-struck deal to open the government and raise the debt ceiling, dozens of members of Congress received a threatening e-mail from someone whose name they did not know. Accompanied with a link to a list of filing deadlines for candidates launching primary challenges against incumbent Republicans, the e-mail read: 'Now let us dine on RINO flesh' — RINO being an acronym for Republican In Name Only. Rumors flew on the House floor as lawmakers wondered who had penetrated their inboxes with such a colorful metaphor. Many members of Congress keep their e-mail addresses secret from all but a few trusted aides and colleagues. One person who received the e-mail said he had never previously received an unsolicited e-mail at his address, which he had used for years." [National Review]

GOP COMMITTEE CHAIR PREVIEWS HEALTHCARE.GOV HEARING - Unclear whether Fred Upton will ask about tech contractors about IRS targeting or hand that off to a junior member. Politico: "The chairman of the House committee that plans to take testimony from Obamacare tech contractors Thursday previewed his questions today in an interview with a local radio station. 'When did they know that it was going to be so poorly run? What answers do they have? Did they alert the administration that there were troubles early on?' said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) on Detroit’s WJR Radio. 'There’s going to be a ton of questions for them, and we’ll see how they respond.' Upton also said he and his colleagues are planning a “pretty tough grilling” for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is expected to appear next week. He said questions would include whether the administration will reconsider a delay in the individual mandate and whether the contractors hired to process phone applications will be based in the United States." [Politico]

@chadpergram: Widow of late Rep Bill young emails Charlie Crist. Tells him "your presence at my husband's memorial services will be unacceptable."

OBAMA ACTIVATES OFA ROBOTS - If you see a light flashing through your friend's flannel shirt, this is why. Sam Stein: "In a video address to his most ardent supporters on Tuesday, President Barack Obama acknowledged that there were shortcomings with HealthCare.gov, the glitchy website where people are supposed to be able to buy insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But he also steadfastly defended the law, noting that there are a number of regulatory reforms that have been put into place, and listing some success stories that have resulted from those changes...'By now you have probably heard that the website has not worked as smoothly as it was supposed to,' the president says in the video. 'But we have people working overtime in a tech surge to boost capacity and address the problems. And we are going to get it fixed. It is important to remember though that the Affordable Care Act is much more than a website.'" [publication]

THAT TIME OBAMA AND REID DID THAT HANDSHAKE/BACKSLAP THING WHILE HUGGING LIKE BROS - Sam Stein and Ryan Grim: "Barack Obama and Harry Reid needed to clear the air. The relationship between the president and the Senate majority leader had been deteriorating since 2011, with Reid losing respect for Obama's ability to negotiate with Republicans and Obama unsure if Reid had as much control over his Senate Democratic caucus as he liked to say. So at the White House's invitation, the two met in the Oval Office on July 9, with no staff, to talk one on one. It was a cathartic moment, one in which long-buried tensions were fully aired. Aides to the two men tell a similar story: Their boss had been losing confidence in his counterpart and wanted the meeting as a way to buck up the other…. [Obama] worried that the Senate Democratic caucus would end up fractured if the party pushed too hard, leading the administration to cut deals directly with McConnell. It was a painful jab at Reid, who takes pride in his ability to hold his broad caucus together on even the most fraught legislative battles. 'If you're ever wondering if I can hold my caucus, just ask me,' he told Obama.

"That July meeting ended up being just what the two needed. 'That was good,' Reid would tell his chief of staff, David Krone, who'd been waiting outside with top White House aide Rob Nabors. It helped lay the groundwork for what would be a critical -- and fruitful -- political partnership during the high-stakes budget fights this fall. Each more mindful of the other's strategic vision, Reid and Obama made a mutual commitment to legislative stubbornness. A week after the meeting, Reid threatened to gut the filibuster if Republicans didn't let through a slate of executive nominees. Republicans caved. Looking forward, the two vowed to steadfastly oppose any effort to tinker with the president's health care law as part of a continuing resolution to keep the government running. And when it came time to raise the debt ceiling weeks later, they would refuse to negotiate altogether. Through the first government shutdown in 17 years and a near-breach of the nation's debt limit, they followed this playbook until it ultimately resulted in a Republican collapse. 'We just both came to the conclusion that the time had ended to be taken in by these crazy people,' Reid said. 'The president said, 'I'm not going to negotiate.' I said, 'I'm not going to negotiate.' And we didn't.'" [HuffPost]

STENY HOYER WASN'T SCARED - Mike McAuliff: "Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.) doesn't feel theoutburst last week by a stenographer on the House floor makes lawmakers feel like their inner sanctum is any less safe. That's because it is also inhabited by people who traditionally are far more dangerous -- other members of Congress. 'I've been here 33 years. All the other outbursts have come from members,' Hoyer told reporters Tuesday when pressed on whether representatives should be concerned that someone in their midst might not have been properly vetted. 'Are you talking about a member? I'm not being facetious,' Hoyer said. 'You go over to the old Senate chamber and you will see where a House member caned a United States senator.'" [HuffPost]

You win this round, Freemasons: "The House stenographer who was dragged out of the chamber last week after a bizarre outburst has been placed on administrative leave, according to a House aide who has been updated on the situation. "She's on admin leave pending further review of the incident," the aide told The Huffington Post on background Tuesday." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Typical lame jobs report. "The U.S. economy added just 148,000 jobs in September, suggesting that employers held back on hiring before a 16-day partial government shutdown began Oct. 1. Still, hiring was strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. The Labor Department said Tuesday that the rate fell to 7.2 percent, down from 7.3 percent in August and nearly a five-year low. The economy has added an average of 143,000 jobs a month from July through September, down from 182,000 from April through June." [Associated Press]

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AMERICA'S TOP POLITICAL DONORS ARE WHINY LITTLE PRIGS: REPORT - Democratic power donors are super upset that President Obama won't hang out with them, opting instead to be a total buzzkill by running the country. Times: "Mr. Obama has rewarded his top backers with coveted diplomatic posts like London and Tokyo, but he does not expend much personal energy when it comes to stroking donors: More than a dozen Obama supporters interviewed for this article described the president as an introvert who views big-dollar fund-raising as an unappealing, if necessary, chore. If the situation were a movie, one donor said, it would be titled: 'He’s Just Not That Into You.' Now, with political givers viewing the McAuliffe campaign as a way to curry favor should Hillary Rodham Clinton decide to run for president in 2016, the chatter among the donor class is about the striking contrast between the Obama and Clinton approaches...Several donors declined to speak for attribution because they did not want to anger the president. One called Mr. Obama’s White House holiday events 'cuckoo clock parties,' because 'he comes down, gives a speech, poses for some photos and pops back inside.'...David Plouffe, who served as Mr. Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, said the ethos of fund-raising started with Mr. Obama’s earliest donors in 2007. 'It was about the campaign and the mission, not what they would get out of it,' he said." This was an equally interesting story when the New Yorker wrote it several years ago. Thanks, Times. [NYT]

SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND POSTS RECORD FUNDRAISING HAUL AFTER SHUTDOWN - The American economy may have lost billions of dollars but, hey, Jim DeMint is feeling pretty good about himself. Paul Blumenthal: "In the month leading to the Oct. 1 shutdown, Senate Conservatives Fund raised more than $2.1 million, a record for the group in a non-election year and the second-highest monthly total it has ever reported. The majority of the fundraising, $1.9 million, came from small donors. The group posted similarly big fundraising numbers in August as the defund Obamacare campaign gathered steam. Small donor contributions are often driven by appeals to partisans. The Senate Conservatives Fund 'Don't Fund Obamacare' website, supported by tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), attracted more than 2 million signatures to an anti-Obamacare petition. After signing the petition, visitors were directed to a donation platform and asked to make a $25 contribution." [HuffPost]

Jay Carney brought it today: "White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday repeatedly referred reporters asking questions about the Obamacare rollout to the Department of Health and Human Services — a practice that left journalists frustrated. By the end of the briefing, Carney had referred questions to HHS at least 10 separate times, according to a transcript." [WaPo]

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GALLUP: SOLID MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION - Fifty-eight percent of Americans are totally down to hang. Gallup: "For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization... A sizable percentage of Americans (38%) this year admitted to having tried the drug, which may be a contributing factor to greater acceptance. Success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington may have increased Americans' tolerance for marijuana legalization. Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating. Last week, California's second-highest elected official, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said that pot should be legal in the Golden State, and advocates of legalization are poised to introduce a statewide referendum in 2014 to legalize the drug." [Gallup]

VA DEMOCRATS DISTRIBUTE FELLATIO-THEMED ADS - Because we can't let the McAuliffe/Cuccinelli race get too classy. Washington Post: "[T]he Democratic Party of Virginia... distributed racy posters to college campuses, looking to educate students about Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s (R) support for the commonwealth’s controversial anti-sodomy law. As was first reported by the Hampton Roads TV station WAVY, two posters spotted last weekend at Norfolk State University say 'Ken Cuccinelli wants to make oral sex a felony' and urge students to vote Nov. 5. One poster says, 'Get your head in the game,' while another says, 'Don’t let Election Day go down without you.' Both posters say at the bottom that they were paid for by “Education Votes, a project of the Democratic Party of Virginia.'...The posters are a reference to Virginia’s“crimes against nature” law, which bans oral and anal sex. The U.S Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that laws which criminalize sexual activity between consenting adults are unconstitutional. Based on that decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled this year that Virginia’s statute was unconstitutional. Cuccinelli has defended the anti-sodomy law as an important tool for prosecuting child predators and appealed that decision." [WaPo]

Game over? Rasmussen's latest survey has McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by 17 points, 50% to 33% in his quest to be very important to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign be governor.

Paul LePage update: Paul LePage is still Paul LePage: "Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said that 47 percent of "able-bodied" Maine residents do not work, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by Bangor Daily News blogger Mike Tipping. Tipping, who is also the communications director of the Maine People's Alliance, provided The Huffington Post with a more complete recording of LePage's remarks. 'About 47 percent of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work,' LePage said in front of an audience of conservative women last week. 'About 47 percent. It’s really bad.'" [HuffPost]

METAPHOR STIMULUS: BROKEN CAPITOL TO UNDERGO RENOVATIONS - The Hill: "The dome of the U.S. Capitol building will be covered in scaffolding for the next two years as it undergoes a $60 million, multi-year restoration. Work will begin in November on the first major restoration of the iconic structure since 1959. The project will bring major change to Washington’s skyline, as scaffolding will be extended from the base of the dome to the base of the Statue of Freedom. There are also plans to light up the scaffolding at night, similar to what’s been done at the Washington Monument, which is being repaired from earthquake damage...The dome has more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies, according to the Architect of the Capitol's (AoC) office, which is overseeing the project. White paint has chipped from the cast iron dome, which has become the victim of rust. Water has been seeping through cracks, and pieces have broken off. If the problems aren’t fixed, the AoC says the famous paintings in the rotunda will be subject to water damage, and there could be a danger of falling debris." [The Hill]

@BeschlossDC: This is what major 1959-1960 US Capitol reconstruction looked like: #NARA pic.twitter.com/DUS4UxMCX3

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are cats in Tootsie Roll costumes.

FINALLY SOMEONE TALKING ABOUT GROVER NORQUIST'S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SLEEPER CELL - BuzzFeed: "Glenn Beck went after Grover Norquist, the libertarian founder of Americans for Tax Reform, Monday, in what Beck said was 'just the beginning' of segments on the Republican. 'He is the guy responsible for a lot of the Muslim Brotherhood stuff that goes on in the White House, isn’t he?' Beck asked two guests of his show on TheBlaze. 'I saw terrorists in his office space,' said Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy. 'I had colleagues come to me and say, ‘You know there’s a Muslim Brotherhood front operating out of his office suite?’' Beck also read off a list of things he said Norquist supports, including “sharp defense cuts in the time of war,” and “gay marriage, promotes gays in marriage.” Beck then asked Gaffney whether Norquist is a libertarian, or whether he is “playing for the progressive side." [BuzzFeed]


- "Do Nothing For Two Minutes" is a website that challenges you to do just that. [http://bit.ly/gBsNQ7]

- This lip-syncing rendition of Katy Perry's "Roar" performed by patients at staff of children's hospital is quite the tear stimulus. [http://bit.ly/1bbOdlU]

- "Birds With Arms" is what would have happened if Jesus didn't tell humans not to mate with dinosaurs when they all roamed the Earth together four thousand years ago. [http://huff.to/171VoOG]

- One writer's takeaways after watching the "Star Wars" films for the first time in ten years. [http://read.bi/17FnprV]

- If beer ads were honest, the bros in the commercials would be having way less fun. [http://bit.ly/HbldCd]

- "This Amazing Map Shows You Where All the Countries Are." [http://bit.ly/1abNwL5]


@ChrisMurphyCT: Things staff never want to hear from their Senator: "I feel like I need to grow a beard for the World Series."

@TonyRomm: oh jeeze enthusiastic conference call moderators dot tumblr dot com.

@brianbeutler: 1000 monkeys on a 1000 keyboards would eventually type code that's better than healthcare.gov. And by eventually I mean a day or so.

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