States are running out of lethal injection serum, which is just another reason why Obama's death panels have been a complete disaster. Dianne Feinstein has no problem with the NSA collecting data on how many times a month you call your gram gram, but finding out how tender Angela Merkel likes her spargel is a bridge too far. And Chris Christie was endorsed by Shaquille O'Neal. Our pollster has yet to weigh in on how much the "Kazaam" bounce will lift the New Jersey governor in Iowa. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, October 28th, 2013:
REID SETS UP FIGHT OVER JUDICIAL NOMINEES - The bloodsport isn't entirely over. Jen Bendery: "The Senate is inching closer to a knock-down, drag-out fight over confirming nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit -- a top priority for President Barack Obama that some Republicans are determined to sink. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a procedural motion on Monday to begin debate on one of Obama's three nominees to the court. Specifically, Reid filed a 'cloture' motion on D.C. appellate lawyer Patricia Millett, which sets her up for a confirmation vote later this week. A top Senate Democratic aide who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly predicted 'a big fight' once the D.C. Circuit nominees hit the floor, but said the "word is that we and [the White House] are ready to fight hard.'..The court currently has four Democrat-appointed judges and four Republican-appointed judges, with three empty slots and three Obama nominees waiting on the sidelines...Senate Republicans routinely argue that there's no need to fill the vacancies on the court. The court isn't busy enough, some say, to warrant having all 11 of its seats, and thereby should lose those slots waiting to be filled." [HuffPost]
Jeff Sessions thinks John Roberts can go jump in a lake: "Also an advocate of filling the court's empty slots: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. He backed the court keeping all 11 seats in an April 5 report issued by the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is headed by Roberts. Sessions, for one, hadn't heard about Roberts' support. 'I want to see that quote. Where'd he say that?' Sessions asked, jumping out of an elevator he'd just hopped into. When HuffPost cited the April 5 report, Sessions grumbled about Roberts not being a real Republican. 'He's always advocating the court. He wants pay raises for staff,' he said. 'Otherwise, he's supposed to be conservative.'" [Ibid.]
Lay off the food stamps, Senate Dems tell the farm bill conferees.
DIANNE 'IT'S CALLED PROTECTING AMERICA' FEINSTEIN ANGRY AT FOREIGN SURVEILLANCE - Mike McAuliff: "Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is hammering the National Security Agency over reports of its foreign spying activities, saying she is 'totally opposed' to eavesdropping on United States allies and wants a complete review of U.S. intelligence activities. Feinstein, who has been a staunch defender of the agency since Edward Snowden leaked extensive documents about its activities, said in a statement Monday that new revelations around monitoring the phone calls of foreign leaders are simply out of bounds. Feinstein suggested that the NSA has failed to inform Congress of its full activities...The California senator has argued repeatedly that the NSA's mass collection of Americans' phone records is useful and necessary to protect the nation, and that it is carefully monitored by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But reported spying on foreign leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel is entirely inappropriate, Feinstein said. 'Unlike NSA’s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed,' Feinstein said." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - If you lose your job, you better try to get a new one before society disappears you. Floyd Norris: "There are now more people who have been out of work for a year than there are who have been out of work for four weeks or less. Until 2009, that had not happened since World War II. At the worst point after the 2001 recession, more than 30 percent of the unemployed had been out of work for less than a month, at least twice the number who had been out of work for a year. In the United States, and many other countries, there is now what amounts to a two-tier employment system. For most people, unemployment is likely to be brief, if it happens at all. But for a significant number of people, unemployment is anything but a temporary problem. [NYT]
DOUBLE DOWNER - The forthcoming food stamp cut will reduce benefits for nearly a million veterans among the 47 million nutrition assistance recipients, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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REID TO BRING ENDA UP FOR A VOTE - Making it illegal for American workers to maliciously ostracize someone for what they do in their bedroom? Pfft! Why don't they just outlaw casual Fridays? #socialism HuffPost: " The Employment Non-Discrimination Act could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as next week, according to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). ENDA would ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. When the Senate convened Monday afternoon, Reid formally announced his plans to bring up the legislation during the current work period, which ends the week before Thanksgiving. Reid has long been a supporter of ENDA, cosponsoring it as early as 1997. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the bill in the Senate on April 25, and it currently has 54 cosponsors. Every single Democratic senator has signed on, with the exception of Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)...Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are the only two Republican cosponsors, although ENDA's supporters are hopeful that some other GOP senators will vote for the bill on the floor. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are considered to be possible supporters...Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) reintroduced ENDA in the House this year, but it's unlikely to be considered in the Republican-controlled chamber anytime soon." [HuffPost]
HOUSE GOP SCARED, LOST - It remains unclear who is more lost: the House GOP conference after the shutdown or Brooks after he was released from Shawshank. Politico: "For the first time in months, House Republicans are facing no immediate cataclysmic deadlines, and GOP leaders are struggling to come up with an agenda to fill the 19 legislative days that are left in 2013. Need evidence? The House votes Monday evening and will finish its work week Wednesday. After that, the House is out of session until Nov. 12. Internally, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and senior Republicans aren’t discussing coming back early from the scheduled recess, but instead, they are wondering if they’ll cancel some of the remaining days in session...There appears to be a stark split within Republican leadership about whether the budget process Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is starting has any chance of succeeding. Some House Republicans believe these bicameral talks are a political trap, where Democrats are going to insist on raising taxes. Other top House GOP aides think it’s the best way to wrap up a deal to fund the government through the 2014 election cycle and remove the issue from the front pages until after voters have gone to the polls. Throughout leadership and the House Republican Conference there’s a sense of bewilderment and confusion about what leadership will move to next...And there’s a real sense that Republicans could lose control of the House next year. Yet there’s not much going on in the Capitol." [Politico]
LINDSEY GRAHAM WANTS MOAR HOLDS! FEED GRAHAM HOLDS! - Take that, putative members of the National Council on the Humanities! Lindsey Graham will have his Benghazi answers. Roll Call: "Sen. Lindsey Graham threatened on Monday to throw a wrench into Senate operations over the investigation of last year’s attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya. “Fourteen months later … the survivors, the people who survived the attack in Benghazi have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes. So I’m going to block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to Congress,' Graham said. 'I’m tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books. We need to get to the bottom of this.' The South Carolina Republican could cause a bottleneck for routine executive branch appointments that require Senate confirmation on which Senate Democrats wouldn’t want to burn through the time needed to overcome an objection. Such procedural maneuvering wouldn’t have the same effect on high-priority nominations, though, such as that of Janet L. Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve." [Roll Call]
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN MAKES THINGS GO BOOM - Unless you pass your time in an al-Qaeda sleeper cell, or are a member of the Americans United For KABOOM, chances are you want fewer explosions. Kate Sheppard: "The 16-day government shutdown earlier this month has delayed the new chemical safety rules that President Barack Obama called for in response to the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last April. Obama issued an executive order on Aug. 1 in response to the West disaster, which killed 15 people and destroyed much of the neighborhood around the plant. The order calls on a number of federal agencies to update regulations and coordinate on initiatives that would improve safety at chemical facilities across the country. That includes the formation of a new Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group made up of the top officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security. The order called for a number of those recommendations to be delivered within 90 days, which would conclude on Oct. 31. But The Huffington Post has confirmed that the government shutdown has delayed work on those recommendations." [HuffPost]
THE INVISIBLE HAND OF THE MARKET WON'T LET US KILL - Fun fact: France last guillotined someone in 1977. 1977! National Journal: "States are running out of the drugs they rely on to carry out death sentences as alternatives for how to secure them quickly diminish. And no one wants to innovate in the execution industry. As the medical community works to distance itself from the science of killing people, states are attempting to forge a difficult road ahead, one fraught with litigation, international tension, and uncertainty...Florida is just one of several states scrambling to update or refine its capital-punishment protocol amid a sudden shortfall of its lethal injection drugs, resulting in an unprecedented inconsistency in the way inmates are executed in the United States. Even as a steady majority continues supporting the death penalty, the difficulty in obtaining new lethal drugs, associated legal hurdles, and a gaping void of better execution alternatives has left capital punishment in America with an uncertain future...Doctors and researchers aren't exactly clamoring to develop new methods of killing people, and no one is advocating a regression to older forms of execution, like the electric chair or gas chamber. But even if a new, cutting-edge technique was developed somewhere, that too would almost certainly provoke a torrent of litigation." [National Journal]
CHRIS CHRISTIE ENDORSED BY SHAQUILLE O'NEAL - Prominent former Orlando resident makes political feelings known. NBC News: "New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has scored an endorsement from Shaquille O'Neal, the basketball legend expressed in a video released Sunday. 'I don’t support many politicians, but Chris Christie is different,' said Shaq in the 30 second video, released just nine days before the standing governor will compete with Democrat Barbara Buono at the polls. O'Neal, who was born in Newark, NJ, continued, 'He’s working with me to bring jobs back to our cities, and on a new program to help kids in tough neighborhoods get ahead.' O’Neal and Christie visited the Boy & Girls Club of East Camden earlier in the month to announce the 'Just Play Campaign,' according to NBC Philadelphia...'He’s a good man,' said Shaq in the video, 'excuse me, he’s a great man.'" [NBC News]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a kitten taking on a dog's tail.
ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA HACKED - "Sweetie, why is the president linking to these memes of Bo denouncing American imperialism?" Politico: "The nonprofit responsible for President Barack Obama’s online presence confirmed Monday that a social media account has been hacked. An official with Organizing for Action confirmed that the group’s link shortening account has been compromised by hackers. As a result, the verified Barack Obama Twitter and Facebook pages linked to an online video containing propaganda about the Syrian civil war. Links containing a shortened ofa.bo directed to a lengthy YouTube video about the ongoing conflict in Syrian between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and resistance groups." [Politico]
- In honor of Lou Reed, who died yesterday, here is a New York Times write-up of the Velvet Underground alienating a group of psychiatrists in 1966. [http://bit.ly/1aOrg6Q]
- Reed also kept a Spotify account of the songs he enjyoed. [http://bit.ly/HpYAt5]
- If Wes Anderson directed horror films. Behold the twee. [http://bit.ly/17Tu1TF]
- How to kill a pumpkin. [http://bit.ly/1g51dQd]
- Animated graphic showing the most popular baby boy names by state since 1960. [http://bit.ly/Hm0Im4]
- Sesame Street made a "Homeland Parody" titled "Homelamb." [http://usat.ly/1buUs4p]
- What would happen if a recently discovered quarter-mile-wide asteroid hit Earth? [http://bit.ly/1gT5UOo]
@SenileDonDraper: Look, just get near your cell phone and state your SSN and the NSA will sign you up for Obamacare, solved, moving on.
@EvanMcSan: Area President To Give Speech In Area Ugly Building
@pourmecoffee: The NSA tracks what candy is given out where and knows exactly who is giving full-sized Snickers and who is giving healthy crap.
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