John Boehner's office released a video of the speaker mowing his lawn, perhaps to prove there's at least one thing under the man's purview he can control. Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers will take his knowledge of foreign affairs to a new radio show next year, though we're still waiting for Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census Subcommittee Chairman Blake Farenthold to rock the airwaves. And the White House is unveiling an initiative to lower the rate of methane production. Clearly emboldened by its health care enrollment victory, the White House is now ready for society's real menace: cow farts. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 28th, 2014:
PUTIN CALLS OBAMA - Another chat between these two teams that just don't like each other. From the White House's readout: "President Putin called President Obama today to discuss the U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, which Secretary Kerry had again presented to Foreign Minister Lavrov at the meeting at the Hague earlier this week, and which we developed following U.S. consultations with our Ukrainian and European partners. President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing and the presidents agreed that Kerry and Lavrov would meet to discuss next steps.... President Obama reiterated that the United States has strongly opposed the actions that Russia has already taken to violate Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity." Wonder what Putin said.
The Republican National Committee had a fight with Ebony Magazine, which apologized for mean tweets.
PORT AUTHORITY OFFICIAL RESIGNS AMIDST BRIGADE SCANDAL - We wish him all the best as he moves on to oversee politically-motivated infrastructure shutdowns in other municipalities. Amanda Terkel: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced Friday that David Samson, the chairman of the Port Authority and a close ally, was resigning in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal.. Christie's press conference -- his first in more than two months -- comes a day after the publication of a report that concluded the governor was not involved in the Bridgegate scandal, which shut down two of Fort Lee, N.J.'s access lanes to the George Washington Bridge from Sept. 9 to the morning of Sept. 12. The investigation that produced the report, however, was conducted by Gibson Dunn, a law firm hired by Christie. The report also provided an incomplete picture of the events that took place, since the three individuals at the center of the controversy -- former Port Authority employee David Wildstein, former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former top adviser Bill Stepien -- all refused to cooperate and give their versions of what happened. Questions about the extent of Samson's involvement continue to swirl, with emails showing that he was more concerned about leaks to the media than the effects the lane closures were having on commuters. Federal prosecutors have also sought records on how Samson's law firm has profited from construction projects paid for by New Jersey taxpayers. Christie, however, did not seem concerned about impropriety on Samson's part. He said he hadn't seen any 'facts' showing a conflict of interest between Samson's Port Authority work and his private lobbying. Christie noted that he asked Samson last year to stay on at the Port Authority through his reelection campaign." [HuffPost]
"Winter is dead," sayeth Capital Weather Gang.
MIKE ROGERS TO RETIRE - Roll Call: "Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., announced Friday he will retire at the end of the year. Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, was first elected in 2000 and is serving his 7th term in the House. He will become a nationally syndicated radio host beginning next year. 'It has been an honor to serve the people of Michigan’s eighth congressional district over the last 14 years. We have accomplished so much together, and I am most proud of our work to turn the House Intelligence Committee into a true legislative and oversight body,' Rogers said in a statement, as the Detroit News reported. Cumulus media said in a statement Friday that Rogers will 'bring his unique perspective as a leading intelligence expert and former FBI agent to Cumulus, the national media company that operates the nation’s largest talk radio platform, after the conclusion of' his term in Congress. Rogers was recruited last year to run for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin. His own retirement now opens up a potential target for House Democrats, who hope to cut into the GOP’s majority in November...Rogers’ 8th District is currently rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. But without Rogers, it could be competitive. Mitt Romney carried the district by 3 points in 2012, and President Barack Obama won it by 6 points in 2008." [Roll Call]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our prizewinning series PASTED: Email of the Jobless, another note from someone whose unemployment insurance ended thanks to congressional dithering: "I worked hard my whole live and never asked for a hand out. We now have two cars that need to be fixed and no money to do it. We don't live on a bus route but if I were to get an interview I would find a way to get there. But now with no money my internet will get turn off Monday the 30th and my cell phone on the 31st. I was hopeful that Congress would pass the extension so I made payment arrangements twice. They will not allow me anymore. So how then am I supposed to even find a job?" We don't know. [Hang in there!]
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WHITE HOUSE PLANS TO TAKE ON GREENHOUSE GAS - Seeing as how the confrontation with Vladimir Putin is going, it make sense that the White House might downgrade its attack plans to amorphous matter. Kate Sheppard: "The White House released a new strategy Friday to address methane emissions from landfills, mines, agriculture, and the oil and gas sector. Methane -- a greenhouse gas 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide -- currently accounts for 9 percent of all U.S. emissions. If unaddressed, those emissions are expected to rise through 2020, the White House said in a strategy document released Friday. The plan lays out steps that the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Interior, Energy and Agriculture will take over the next two years to develop new standards around such emissions. The plan, said Dan Utech, the special assistant to the president for energy and climate change, 'will improve public health and safety while providing more energy.' 'We know there are a lot of cost-effective reductions that are out there,' Utech said on a call with reporters Friday.'" [HuffPost]
WORLD'S BIGGEST COAL COMPANY, WORLD'S BIGGEST PR FIRM PAIR UP TO PROMOTE COAL FOR POOR PEOPLE - Kate Sheppard wins the HuffPost Hill Award For Best Headline: "Peabody Energy Corp., the world's largest private-sector coal company, launched a public relations and advertising campaign last month extolling the virtues of coal energy for poor people. A Peabody press release announcing the campaign, called Advanced Energy for Life, argues that lack of access to energy is 'the world's number one human and environmental crisis.' To enter the campaign website, readers encounter a drop-in screen that asks them to agree or disagree with the statement, 'Access to low-cost energy improves our lives.' The site notes that there are 3.5 billion people in the world 'without adequate energy' -- 1.2 billion of them children. A video titled 'Energy Poverty' features babies and small children, with text that implores, 'We can solve this crisis.' It adds: 'Affordable energy leads to better health.' Peabody's proposal to solve this crisis? Asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop setting pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. Those pollution rules are meant to address climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, a global problem that has the greatest effect on poor countries. Burning coal generates carbon emissions as well as hazardous pollutants such as mercury, lead, and benzene, according to the American Lung Association. Burson-Marsteller, the world's largest PR firm, and its subsidiary, Proof Integrated Communications, are working behind the scenes on Peabody's PR effort. Burson-Marsteller spokesman Paul Cordasco confirmed to The Huffington Post that the company is working on behalf of Peabody. Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said 'Burson-Marsteller and several other firms are providing support for the campaign.'" [HuffPost]
"This message is sponsored by soot!"
JOHN BOEHNER LOVES GREEN GRASS - The House Speaker today put up one of the best Instagram videos we have ever seen. Like, it belongs in an art gallery or something. It captures the essence of Boehner, his love of simple things, his relish for time away from the hundreds of knuckleheads hounding him daily. Also of note today: The Hill's list of Boehner's top swears.
DOJ ORDERS NC REPUBLICANS TO TURN OVER ELECTION EMAILS - Is it just us, or is the phrase "certain areas" going to come up quite a bit in these documents? Ryan Reilly: "Any race-related emails that North Carolina Republicans may have sent in connection with the voter restrictions they passed last summer could soon be public, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge. Before the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, simply demonstrating a discriminatory impact could be enough to overturn a discriminatory law. Now, in order to have North Carolina's voting law struck down, civil rights groups and the Justice Department have to demonstrate that state lawmakers deliberately engaged in racial discrimination against voters. The sweeping law requires voters to show certain forms of photo identification, eliminates same-day registration and reduces early voting -- all measures which voting rights advocates say are intended to make it harder for Democratic-leaning minorities to vote. The emails sent by legislators are crucial to proving racial motivations played some role in the legislation. North Carolina wanted to keep legislator emails secret. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake ruled Thursday that the state couldn't withhold all the emails. She did, however, say that North Carolina might be able to argue that emails only between legislators and their staffers could be kept private." [HuffPost]
GOP REP INSISTS UNINSURED AREN'T STUPID, DESPITE SAYING THE UNINSURED ARE STUPID - The uninsured population is just Darwin at work, and Aetna is the instrument through which nature accomplishes its thankless task...apparently. Times-Picayune: "Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, Thursday sought to clarify comments he made last week that the uninsured 'are relatively less sophisticated, less comfortable with forms, less educated,' and therefore will have a harder time signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The comments were reported by the website BuzzFeed, which obtained an audio of his comments to a meeting last week of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. In a statement Thursday, Cassidy, who as a physician has and continues to treat uninsured patients, discussed what he was trying to say. 'As a doctor, I can tell you that you need an honest diagnosis before you can provide the needed treatment,' Cassidy said. 'It is self-evident to anyone who has worked with the uninsured, as I have for decades, that the uninsured come from all segments of society. This includes the more and the less educated. That's exactly the point I made and make: if we seek to be truly compassionate, our policies must meet people where they are. Obamacare's one-size-fits-all model lacks this basic measure of compassion.'" [Times-Picayune]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a talented dog,
GOP CANDIDATE WITH WHITE SUPREMACIST TIES DROPS OUT OF CONGRESSIONAL RACE - We hope Stormfront appreciates the sympathy Edible Arrangement that the party sent. Denver Post: "A Lakewood Republican on Thursday said he is dropping his brief candidacy for the state House after publicity about his arrest record and ties to white-supremacy movements made him a target for Democrats and members of his own party. Nate Marshall's decision to drop out of the race came five days after his nomination at the Jefferson County Republican assembly, and one day after The Denver Post publicized information about his background. 'I didn't think things all the way through,' Marshall told The Post on Thursday afternoon. The 42-year-old construction manager said he isn't media-savvy, and he thought he would have time to explain his arrest record on his campaign website and also go through and clean up some of the things he had posted on the Internet. He made derogatory comments about Muslims, gays and members of Occupy Denver." [HuffPost]
- A 40-year-old woman hears for the first time after receiving cochlea implants. [http://bit.ly/1dBhQni]
- Why chefs wear chef hats. [http://nyti.ms/1laQF2b]
- A collection of the most incredible April Fools' pranks of all time. [http://huff.to/1dAYNcr]
- The actor who portrayed the "flair" guy from "Office Space" lost a lawsuit about obtaining the rights to "flair." [http://bit.ly/1jE4yZr]
- A Dreamworks animator and his son make some pretty mind-blowing home videos. [http://bit.ly/1f1jVHi]
- Back in the 1980s, Matt Groening drew cartoons for Apple Computers. [http://bit.ly/P1spoe]
@kzernike: NJ Taxpayers, you paid $1 million+ for this: "It is sad Bridget Kelly did what she did. It is sad David Wildstein did what he did." Sad.
@delrayser: Want to be a hashtag activist? Follow these simple steps:
1. Start a hashtag
@KagroX: Some of my best friends are whatever we're having problems with today.
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