POLITICS
04/16/2014 06:01 pm ET Updated Apr 16, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Susana Martinez Solemnly Swears

Kathleen Sebelius is mulling a run for Senate, because Republicans deserve to know how Democrats felt when Katherine Harris ran in Florida. Common Cause failed to sue filibusters into extinction despite tearful testimony from the Manchin-Toomey amendment. And Scott DesJarlais is struggling to raise money for his reelection campaign, despite a forceful endorsement from Conservatives For Licentious Secretive Abortion Proponents PAC. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, April 16th, 2014:

The City University of New York wants to pay Paul Krugram way, way, way, way, way more than it pays its own teachers.

WHITE HOUSE READYING NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS, MULLING NON-LETHAL AID TO UKRAINE - Maybe we should find a way to cancel Russia's Millionaire Fair? The Hill: "The White House said Wednesday it had prepared new sanctions against Russia over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, although it stopped short of detailing what or when new penalties may be levied. 'It is accurate to say we have additional sanctions prepared and we will impose them as appropriate,' White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. Separately, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would step up sorties over the Baltic region and deploy ships to the Baltic Sea in an effort to support Ukraine. NATO's move highlights the tougher signals sent by the west in recent days, as fears of a new Russia invasion of Ukraine have increased. The administation also is weighing a package of non-lethal aid for Ukraine that might include medical supplies and clothing, according to reports.. The White House has repeatedly warned that it could expand penalties imposed against Russian and Ukrainian leaders deemed responsible for the unrest in the former Soviet republic. But it's unclear if the White House would move forward with the broad, sectoral sanctions President Obama threatened during his trip to Europe earlier this month. Such penalties could have a sizable impact on American companies, and the U.S. would likely want to partner on the move with a reluctant European Union." [The Hill]

JUDGE OVERTURNS NATION'S WORST ABORTION LAW - James MacPherson: "A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a North Dakota law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they're pregnant. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who is based in Bismarck, said the law is 'invalid and unconstitutional; and that it 'cannot withstand a constitutional challenge.' The state attorney general said he was looking at whether to appeal the decision. North Dakota is among several conservative states that have passed new abortion restrictions in recent years, but abortion rights supporters called North Dakota's fetal heartbeat law the most restrictive in the country." [Associated Press]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Layoffs for unemployment agency workers are hitting New York, which for Republicans is a great side benefit of blocking benefits. Rick Karlin: "The failure of Congress to extend unemployment benefits is hitting the state workforce with layoffs and cuts in hours. The state Department of Labor has informed 67 hourly employees that they'll lose their jobs May 14. Another 215 will go from full- to part-time status, although they will be eligible for unemployment insurance. Another 24 workers will likely be laid off in the coming months. 'As a result of the federal cuts, the Department of Labor must reduce the number of work hours and eliminate the position for some non-permanent, hourly staff funded by those federal programs,' state Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera confirmed in a prepared statement Tuesday. Those being laid off are the people that other layoff victims turn to for assistance: workers who staff the helplines that the unemployed or job-seekers call when they need assistance in securing unemployment checks or searching for a new job." [Albany Times Union]

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KATHLEEN SEBELIUS MULLING SENATE RUN IN KANSAS - Times: "Ms. Sebelius is considering entreaties from Democrats who want her to run against that old friend, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas. Several Democrats said this week that Ms. Sebelius had been mentioned with growing frequency as someone who could wage a serious challenge to Mr. Roberts, 77, who is running for a fourth term and is considered vulnerable. One person who spoke directly to Ms. Sebelius said that she was thinking about it, but added that it was too soon to say how seriously she was taking the idea. It was only last week, after all, that Ms. Sebelius, 65, said that she would step down from her cabinet job. Even if Ms. Sebelius had not presided over the Department of Health and Human Services at a time of turmoil and self-inflicted distress — and while carrying out a law that inspires such anger on the right — her candidacy would be a tough sell in Kansas. Democrats have not held a Senate seat in the state since 1939. And even before the president’s popularity started to take a steep slide last year, he fared especially poorly in Kansas, winning only 38 percent of the vote there in 2012." [NYT]

SUSANA MARTINEZ LIKES A GOOD SWEAR - Knock the language up from "PG-13" to "R" and you've got Dick Cheney's vote: "Listening to recordings of [New Mexico Governor Susana] Martinez talking with her aides is like watching an episode of HBO's Veep, with over-the-top backroom banter full of pique, self-regard, and vindictiveness. As Martinez and her campaign staff rewatched a recent televised debate, Martinez referred to Denish, her opponent, as 'that little bitch.' After Denish noted that the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce had given her an award, [top aide Jay] McCleskey snapped, 'That's why we're not meeting with those fuckers.' In a September 2009 email mentioning one of Martinez's 2010 primary opponents, a former state representative named Janice Arnold-Jones, McCleskey wrote: 'I FUCKING HATE THAT BITCH!' And in yet another debate prep meeting, Kennicott mocked the language skills of Ben Luján, a former state House speaker and a political icon to New Mexico Latinos: 'Somebody told me he's absolutely eloquent in Spanish, but his English? He sounds like a retard.'" [MoJo]

We are blushing.

AMERICA LOSING SMART PEOPLE: REPORT - Sam Stein: "Every three years, a diverse group of top scientists from around the world convenes at the International Conference of Gas Hydrates. The meetings, which have been taking place since 1993, provide a rare opportunity to explore developments surrounding the highly important ice-like substance... Indeed, in conferences past, the Department of Energy has sent three representatives to the International Conference of Gas Hydrates. This year, however, they will only be sending one. 'It happens to be me,' said Dr. Brian Anderson, the director of strategic research in energy at West Virginia University. 'So I'm very lucky.' Budget cuts, Anderson said, have forced him to travel to Beijing alone. And while the opportunity may bode well for his personal career, it doesn't portend great things for America's role in gas hydrate research and technology. With only one person in attendance, the Department of Energy 'is not able to demonstrate its leadership on an international stage,' said Anderson...At the heart of their concerns were sequestration cuts and a budget that, even with some of those cuts fixed, is still stagnant. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health budget was reduced by $1.55 billion. Even after a budget deal at the end of the year restored some of those funds, the money was still $714 short of the amount budgeted for 2013 before sequestration hit. It was also lower than where the funding stood during Obama's first year in office. Adjusted for inflation, the money allocated for 2014 was lower than every year but the first of the George W. Bush administration." [HuffPost]

SCOTT DESJARLAIS HURTING FOR CAMPAIGN CASH - Could it have something to do with the fact that he poses as a family values doctor but he had multiple affairs, including with patients, one of whom he encouraged to get an abortion after he got her pregnant? Andy Sher: "Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy maintained his campaign fundraising lead over incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., in the first three months of 2014, according to the candidates' latest disclosures. Tracy, who is from Shelbyville, reported raising $172,061 from Jan. 1 through March 31. In DesJarlais' disclosure to the Federal Election Commission, the South Pittsburg physician reported raising $76,102." [TimesFreePress.com]

A Montana congressional candidate shoots a drone in a new campaign spot. This will force Joe Manchin, who once shot a copy of a cap-and-trade bill in a campaign ad, to up his game. Seriously, bills don't even move! Samantha Lachman: "Congressional candidate and Montana state Sen. Matt Rosendale (R) makes a point about federal government intrusion by seemingly firing a shot at a drone in a new TV ad released Monday. Rosendale is one of a handful of Republicans running for Montana's only House seat, which is being vacated by Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) as he runs for the Senate. The Billings Gazette reports that Rosendale's ad will run on statewide television. The ad begins with a drone's eye view of Rosendale standing in the snow. He 'shoots down' the drone, which appears to fall out of the sky as the screen flashes with a message reading 'signal lost.' 'The federal government is too big and too powerful,' Rosendale says, adding 'spying on our citizens' is 'just wrong.'" [HuffPost]

HA: SOMEBODY TRIED TO SUE FILIBUSTERS - Didn't work out. Niels Lesniewski: "Advocates asking the judiciary to declare the filibuster unconstitutional were dealt a major setback Tuesday by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court said it lacked jurisdiction because Common Cause and the House lawmakers associated with bringing the lawsuit had sued the wrong party. 'In short, Common Cause’s alleged injury was caused not by any of the defendants, but by an ‘absent third party’ — the Senate itself,' the court held." [Roll Call]

LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS NO HOMO - You know who probably throws a terrible Mardi Gras party? The Louisiana Family Forum. Times-Picayune: "The Louisiana House of Representatives rejected legislation, on Tuesday, that would remove the state's symbolic ban on certain kinds of sodomy. The bill failed by a wide margin on a vote of 27-67, with 11 members not voting. Louisiana's anti-sodomy law was overturned and declared unconstitutional in 2003, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling such state statutes could not be enforced. Still, the Legislature has been unwilling to officially strike the measure from state law, even though it can't be used as a cause for arrest. A House Committee passed the legislation onto the body's floor by a vote of 9-6 last week. But one of the state's most powerful lobbying groups, the conservative Christian Louisiana Family Forum, opposes striking the sodomy ban. The group sent out a letter to every legislator urging them to vote against the proposal, claiming that teenagers would be less protected from sexual predators if they went through with the repeal. They also said the bill would put the public health at risk. "Louisiana's anti-sodomy statute is consistent with the values of Louisiana residents who consider this behavior to be dangerous, unhealthy and immoral," stated the letter to lawmakers from the Louisiana Family Forum." [Times-Picayune]

GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL MAKES SENSIBLE STATEMENT ON DRUGS - Matt Sledge: "U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called on police and fire departments Wednesday to equip their employees with a lifesaving drug that can reverse heroin overdoses, adding his voice to a growing chorus advocating expanded naloxone access. 'Today, I'm calling on all first responders -- including state and local law enforcement agencies -- to train and equip their men and women on the front lines to use the overdose-reversal drug known as naloxone,' Holder said in remarks prepared for a speech in front of the Police Executive Research Forum. Seventeen states in places as varied as North Carolina and New York have passed legislation expanding naloxone access. But in other places, the drug has met with strong opposition, with critics arguing that it could give addicts a false sense of security, and that it could be dangerous in the hands of non-medical professionals. Medical research, however, shows that naloxone leads to little risk compensation behavior among addicts, and that so-called lay administration has proved highly successful." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog who hates junk mail.

NEWS OUTLET FIIIIIIIGHT!!!! - This one hasn't yet devolved into accusations of sharing TVEyes accounts and harsh comparisons between people's mothers and the oxford comma. Politico: "ABC News has accused The Center for Public Integrity of downplaying the network's contributions to a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative report, setting off a bitter public dispute between two news organizations that once worked as partners. On Tuesday, ABC News President Ben Sherwood sent a four-page letter to CPI's executive director, accusing him of omitting the names of ABC News reporters in his submission to the Pulitzer committee. 'We believe that our reporters ... should share in this high honor as they shared in the long months of reporting and producing the stories,' Sherwood wrote. Sherwood also has promised to raise the issue with the Pulitzer board and with CPI's board of directors. CPI Executive Director Bill Buzenberg says that ABC News is overstating its contributions to the story: 'ABC is seeking to take credit for a large body of work that it did not produce,' he wrote in a draft of his response to Sherwood, which he shared with POLITICO." [Politico]

Brian Ross & co. shamefully stole credit for Josh Levin's brilliant investigation into Ronald Reagan's Welfare Queen -- just last month!

COMFORT FOOD

- Here's how to take off a t-shirt using one hand. [http://bit.ly/1r0oDHr]

- Win your Boy/Girlscout troop with the world's fastest Pinewood Derby Car. [http://bit.ly/1nqDHOr]

- Don't take selfies in front of moving trains. Just don't. [http://chzb.gr/1hK4qoP]

- Ever wondered what 42 St. Bernards look like. Well here you go. [http://bit.ly/1gB98AT]

- A rundown of birthday traditions from around the world. True fact: In America they sign up the birthday boy/girl for HuffPost Hill. [http://bit.ly/1eRqAR9]

- A rundown of 2014 food trends. [http://bit.ly/1gB9ffG]

TWITTERAMA

@ProffJeffJarvis: Zoosk today is all about dating, but what if it pivoted to focus on helping the Syrian rebels?

@elisefoley: It would be fun to issue press releases after calls. My dad and I had a productive discussion last night & reaffirmed our plans to vacation.

@jenbedery: Obama statement: Come onnn House GOP, let's do immigration reform. Cantor response: Stop being so partisan! Also, economy.

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