POLITICS
12/02/2013 04:58 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Bloated Americans Return To Work, Stare Blankly At Desks

With Thanksgiving behind them, Americans planted their victory gardens and began to save cooking grease for the War on Christmas effort. Jeff Bezos says Amazon is working on delivery drones that, like the military drones we're familiar with, will devastate families when they miss their targets. And President Obama will enroll in Obamacare, at which point we can only assume that everyone around him will suddenly resemble John Malkovich. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 2nd, 2013:

@Patrick_Madden: BREAKING ... Mayor Gray WILL seek re-election. Just picked up petitions at elections board.

OBAMA TO ENROLL IN OBAMACARE, CAUSE INCEPTION - SHOT: President visits Healthcare.gov CHASER: President schedules his own death panel. Politico: "President Obama will sign up for health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday. 'I don’t have an update for you on that. I know that he will and has said that he will,' Carney told reporters. Asked when the registration will happen and whether the White House will make it open to the press, Carney responded: 'I'll get back to you.' Soon after the ACA passed, the White House had told USA Today that Obama would sign up for insurance through an exchange, and when POLITICO followed up earlier this year, a reporter was directed back to those comments. Carney's comments Monday were the first recent confirmation of the president's plans. He has the option of choosing to work through the District of Columbia or his home state of Illinois." [Politico]

Obama better hope his new insurance plan covers that doctor who already lives in his house.

Hashtag improvement: "About 100,000 people signed up for health insurance through the online federal exchange last month, a roughly four-fold increase from October even as a team of U.S. government and contractor programmers was fixing the troubled Affordable Care Act website, said a person familiar with program’s progress. The preliminary November numbers reflect individuals who successfully selected a plan. The administration expects that most consumers will sign up early next year as the enrollment period nears its March 31 close, said the person who asked for anonymity because the final numbers were still being calculated." [Bloomberg]

FARM BILL DEATHWATCH - Jerry Hagstrom detects a pulse: "As the House comes back into session Monday, the farm bill looks like it may be in more trouble than it really is. The week before Thanksgiving the four principal negotiators -- House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss. -- failed to meet their own self-imposed deadline of reaching a framework for a conference report before taking a break for the holidays. But they did meet three times last week and have talked on the phone several times since. The Senate is not in session this week, but all conferees have been told they may be summoned to Washington for an open conference meeting on the bill on Wednesday. A Cochran spokesman said that whether the meeting takes place this week or not, 'The principals continue to talk and are having substantive discussions. They all hope to come up with a plan that is workable for all parts of the country.'" [National Journal]

Haircuts: Mark Blumenthal (h/t Mark Blumenthal), Luke Johnson (h/t Luke Johnson), Dewey the Dog (h/t Amanda Terkel).

DRUG TEST CONGRESS, AMERICA SAYS - Do it for Trey. With Emily Swanson: "While most Americans like the idea of drug testing for welfare recipients, they LOVE the idea of drug testing for members of Congress. According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, 64 percent of Americans favor requiring welfare recipients to submit to random drug testing -- a measure pushed by Republican lawmakers in recent years -- while 18 percent oppose it. But an even stronger majority said they're in favor of random drug testing for members of Congress, by a 78 percent to 7 percent margin. Sixty-two percent said they "strongly" favor drug testing for congressional lawmakers, compared to only 51 percent who said the same of welfare recipients." ]HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Twenty-five days till 1.3 million Americans lose their long-term unemployment bennies, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) reminds us in a House floor speech.

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GOP WON'T SHUT DOWN GOVERNMENT OVER OBAMACARE - Because obviously Obamacare will be the undoing of the Democratic Party, leaving only the GOP and a new opposition party headed by Louis Gohmert, the Faith And Freedom And Hot Damn "Cat Scratch Fever" Is One Helluva Fine Piece Of American-Made Music YEEEEEHOOOOOOOO!!!! Party. Sam Stein: "'There are no plans to tie a repeal vote to a government funding bill,' a senior House GOP aide told The Huffington Post. House Republican leaders made similar remarks during the run-up to the Oct. 1 deadline to fund the government, only to reverse course under pressure from conservatives in the party, so it's worth taking this statement with a grain of salt. But there have been signals that Republicans have come to believe it's better to let the Affordable Care Act encounter its own struggles than to be seen as demanding its destruction.The talking points that House Republicans prepared for the Thanksgiving break included a conspicuously bolded line: 'Republicans are still committed to full repeal.' But that section was overshadowed by various suggestions of ways lawmakers could attack Obamacare and highlight its shortcomings instead. A Democratic Senate aide familiar with current budget talks, meanwhile, said there is little evidence that Republicans plan to demand health care reform repeal as part of a final agreement." [HuffPost]

SEC DROPS DARK MONEY RULE BECAUSE CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE - Huge win for the people who argue that poverty has been eliminated because of the low cost of a George Foreman Grill. Paul Blumenthal: "The Securities and Exchange Commission unceremoniously dropped a proposal to require corporations to disclose contributions to political and nonprofit groups to their shareholders from its list of regulatory priorities for 2014. The change comes nearly one year after outgoing SEC chair Mary Schapiro placed the proposal, submitted to the commission by consumer advocates and campaign finance reform proponents, on its priority list for 2013. The commission had largely ignored the proposal since Mary Jo White became chairman in April, despite its having garnered a record 600,000-plus public comments. In May, White told the House Financial Services Committee, 'No one is working on a proposed rule.' The removal of the proposal from the commission's priority list is a major setback to the measure's proponents. Groups led by the liberal consumer watchdog Public Citizen had pushed for the rule in response to the rise of undisclosed campaign spending by nonprofit groups, sometimes known as 'dark money,' since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision." [HuffPost]

TOM DONOHUE SEES MITCH MCCONNELL SITTING BY HIMSELF IN CAFETERIA, BRAVELY JOINS HIM - Maybe it's just us, but we imagine young Mitch McConnell to look exactly like present Mitch McConnell but tiny, wearing overalls and a propeller beanie and holing a comically large lollipop. Luke Johnson: "The reelection campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will get a boost from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday when it launches a television ad defending his record of protecting the coal industry and fighting the Environmental Protection Agency...McConnell has a difficult path to reelection in 2014, facing a tea-party backed Republican primary opponent, Matthew Bevin, and a well-funded Democratic challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. The Senate Conservatives Fund, meanwhile, has spent $670,000 on ads charging that McConnell is insufficiently conservative. The Chamber ad is a signal that the conservative group is willing spend money to defend McConnell from such attacks." [HuffPost]

CONGRESS NOW HAS ACCESS TO SOME PRETTY SWEET HEALTH PLANS - "No, no, no, Congressman, Healthcare.gov is Obamacare. You want Obamacare select. That's Healthcare.net." LA Times: "Trying to align lawmakers with the people they represent, Congress three years ago decided that when the new healthcare plan took effect, members would give up their platinum health benefits and enroll in the online marketplaces created for millions of other Americans. In typical congressional fashion, however, things have not worked out exactly as advertised. While many members of Congress are indeed signing up for health coverage through the District of Columbia exchange — which was designated as the provider for all members — their experiences have been significantly better than those of average consumers in several respects, including more generous benefits packages, VIP customer service from insurers and the same government-subsidized premiums they've always enjoyed. It's a far cry from the experience of millions of other Americans, who have been frustrated by a crash-prone federal website, policy cancellations and confusion over the new program." [LA Times]

JOHN BOEHNER CRIED AGAIN - You probably haven't heard much chatter about last night's "60 Minutes" segment where John Boehner cried because A. Jeff Bezos' flying package drones easily won the episode and B. John Boehner always cries. "In a segment marking the 150th anniversary of the Capitol Dome, Boehner welled up when asked if he ever takes the place he works for granted," reports Politico. "Never. Listen, for a guy who grew up mopping floors at my dad's bar, it's a pretty humbling experience," he responded while choking up. [Politico]

Rosa Parks ::tear:: She ended racism!

HANDICAPPING WHY JOHN BOEHNER WILL CRY NEXT - Given nice bottle of pinot noir by golfing buddy: 1:1; Out of mixed nuts: 3:2; Aging colleague's anniversary in Congress: 4:1; Tassels on loafers frayed: 9:2; Has to eat salad: 10:1; Black-and-white print advertisement for luxury timepiece featuring photogenic father and son: 11:1; Receives framed etching of mallard from old friend: 13:1; Surveys photos of early 20th century football squads at distinguished Ohio boarding school: 41:3; Tries to buy standing globe from a catalogue, fails: 20:1; Seeks out second choice -- a faux gold retractable telescope on a tripod -- also fails: 75:1; Rebuffed by Rosa DeLauro after proclaiming his undying love and affection for the Connecticut lawmaker: 100,000:1.

@si_vault: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford munches on a buffalo wing during yesterday's Falcons-Bills game (AP photo): pic.twitter.com/nj6iiDVK3v

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some cats with tennis balls.

ALLEN WEST WORD VOMITS SOMETHING ABOUT GUNS AND THE EPA (AND, WE'RE JUST ASSUMING, AGENDA 21) - Turns out there's nothing about Agenda 21 in here but there is a bit about Barack Hussein Obama's treasonous efforts to keep children from dying. Shadee Ashtari: "Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) accused President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency of advancing 'back door gun control' … Citing this month's closure of the nation's last primary lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., West argues that in an effort to advance gun control, the Obama administration’s 'new extremely tight air quality restrictions' have led to the end of lead as the primary metal in bullets -- making ammunition much more expensive and less accessible. The lead smelter in Herculaneum was the cause of high levels of lead in the blood of children in the area, a situation that Denise Jordan-Izaguirre of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry called 'tragic' in an August story on Mid-Missouri Public Radio. Lead bullets have also been the source of contamination at firing ranges." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Reuters' best photos of 2013, a slideshow that has prompted harsh denunciations from the December lobby. [http://reut.rs/18wXucg]

- Ron Burgundy substitute anchored a North Dakota newscast because Will Ferrell has the world's oddest bucket list. [http://huff.to/1eIrK2f]

- Non-vertigo sufferers will thoroughly enjoy this swing set "at the end of the world." [http://bit.ly/1bbiZNh]

- The science of "Connect Four." [http://bit.ly/1baHxpL]

- Pope Francis was once a bouncer. [http://bit.ly/19dtKeY]

- Saab has resumed production, so all of you architects, philosophy professors and other weirdos can rejoice. [http://fxn.ws/1hsTufy]

- An imagined missed delivery strip for Amazon's delivery drones. [http://huff.to/18husYi]

- An a capella duo performs 50 TV theme songs in under five minutes. This will either be the most endearing or annoying video you see today. [http://bit.ly/1g05O6q]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: Walmart announces plans to deliver your purchases by flying monkey.

@jamieson: There seems to be an entire PR sub-industry devoted to pitching me stories on how to avoid blunders at the office holiday party

@indecision: If Pope Francis really was once a bouncer like he claims, then why isn't he better at excluding people for superficial reasons?

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