07/17/2014 06:20 pm ET Updated Jul 17, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL- There Is No Way Of Shutting Todd Akin Down

The House can’t seem to come to a border funding agreement, meaning we might not get our YMCA camping groups under control. Rep. Tom Marino took a selfie for Republican teenagers, though he still has a long way to go to oust GOP adolescent outreach chairman Michael Grimm. And it’s said that there are no second acts in American life — especially when your second act involves doubling down on awkward rape comments. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 17th, 2014:

COMMERCIAL AIRLINER SHOT DOWN OVER UKRAINE - AP: "A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Ukrainian officials said, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft. As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Grabovo, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border. The Boeing 777-200ER plane, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, appeared to have broken up before impact and the burning wreckage — which included body parts and the belongings of passengers — was scattered over a wide area." [HuffPost's liveblog]

BIDEN, via Sabrina Siddiqui at Netroots: "'Not an accident. Blown out of the sky,' he said. Biden addressed the airline disaster at the top of his keynote address before progressive activists at the 2014 Netroots Nation conference. He was nearly an hour late to the event after speaking to Ukrainian President Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko over the phone, to whom he offered U.S. assistance in probing the cause of the crash." [HuffPost's liveblog]

Elsewhere in this terrible, terrible world we inhabit: "Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas' weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory's border with Israel." [AP]

BOEHNER SKEPTICAL OF BORDER DEAL - Though really, he'd just rather retire to his finished basement and watch videos of sailboats on the iPad his grandchildren gave him. Politico: "House leaders were downbeat Thursday about the likelihood of crafting a deal to provide emergency funding to address an influx of unaccompanied minors at the southern border. Speaker John Boehner wasn’t confident the House will reach a compromise on President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion request for funding because of opposition from House Democrats to include changes to a 2008 anti-trafficking law as part of the package. 'I don’t have as much optimism as I’d like,' Boehner said on Thursday at his weekly press conference. 'There have been some comments made by our colleagues across the aisle that are going to make this much more difficult to deal with. Having said that we’re going to continue these conversations and try to come to some agreement.' At a separate press conference, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned her Republican colleagues that greatly reducing funding from Obama’s $3.7 billion request could jeopardize Democrats’ ability to vote for any potential deal." [Politico]

Important teen reachout: @RepTomMarino: @GOPTeens here's a #selfie! Thanks for the request and keep fighting the good fight. Follow me on Facebook too!

Haircut: Matthew Kravitz (h/t Matthew Kravitz)

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Josh Zumbrum: "By many measures the economy has been improving, albeit slowly, and around 1 million workers who were sitting things out may have already returned to the labor force, leaving fewer left sitting on the sidelines. For many economic policy makers, the key question has been how much of the decline in the labor force could be reversed. The Fed, for example, generally believes that monetary policy cannot entice retirees who have reached their late 60s to return to work. But workers who abandoned the labor force out of frustration may be willing to resume their job hunts if the economy returns to strength... Some economists have hoped that as the job market strengthens workers will flood back into the labor force, yet the [White House Council of Economic Advisors] throws cold water on those hopes: 'absent changes in policies, a meaningful increase in the participation rate from current rates appears unlikely.'" It almost goes without saying that policy changes will remain absent. [WSJ]

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TWO CONTEMPTS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT - Jen Bendery: "Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is mulling holding a White House official in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena, and he's pointing to a past case as justification for such a move: the 2008 House contempt vote for Harriet Miers, then-President George W. Bush's counsel. But a look back at Issa's role in Miers' contempt vote shows that he opposed that effort every step of the way. Issa was fuming Wednesday after White House political adviser David Simas refused to comply with a subpoena to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, for a hearing examining the activities of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. The White House maintains Simas is immune from a congressional subpoena and, since there's been no sign of wrongdoing by his team, there's no reason he should be forced to testify. So Issa says he's now studying the Miers case to plan his next move. In that instance, Democrats subpoenaed Miers to testify before a committee on her role in the U.S. attorney firings controversy of 2007. Miers refused, a committee and later the full House voted to hold her in contempt, and the case eventually went to court. But Issa was never a fan of holding Miers in contempt. He voted against it when the vote came before the House Judiciary Committee in 2007. He was also among the Republicans who staged a dramatic walkout when Miers' contempt vote came to the House floor. His name is among the 164 Republicans registered as 'not voting' on the matter." [HuffPost]

ADMINISTRATION REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO DISCLOSE BIRTH CONTROL POLICY - Can't wait to hear about how disclosing one's opposition to paying for Yaz kills jobs. Laura Bassett: "The White House on Thursday sent a message to companies that want to opt out of covering birth control, saying those employers are required to be transparent about their objections. The Department of Labor updated its website to indicate that closely held for-profit corporations must include in their insurance plans "a description of the extent to which preventive services (which includes contraceptive services) are covered under the plan." If the company chooses to opt out of covering any of the 20 contraceptives required by the Affordable Care Act, it has 60 days to disclose the change to its employees. A senior administration official said the move was in response to the Senate failing to pass a bill Wednesday that would have required all for-profit employers, regardless of their owners' religious objections, to cover the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception in their health care plans. The bill would have overridden a recent Supreme Court decision that allowed Hobby Lobby, a craft supply company owned by evangelical Christians, to opt out of covering certain contraceptives to which the owners religiously object... The clarification is not a new rule. Current law already states that employers must disclose changes in their health benefits to employees. But the new guidance on the ACA makes clear that the disclosure requirement applies to those corporations opting out of birth control coverage after the Hobby Lobby decision." [HuffPost]

Almost as awkward as that time Murkowski suddenly changed her mind on Obama's ATF nominee: "A vote on a birth control coverage bill has caused a bit of awkwardness between Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D). Murkowski was one of three Republicans who voted with Senate Democrats on Wednesday to advance a bill that would have required all for-profit companies to cover birth control regardless of the owners' religious beliefs. The bill fell short of the 60 votes it needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. But when Begich said in a statement that he was proud to have stood with Murkowski on the issue, she demanded to be removed from his press release. Murkowski's spokesman, Matthew Felling, told The Huffington Post that while the senator did vote in favor of proceeding to a debate on the birth control bill, she did not vote to pass it and would need to see the final bill before making up her mind." [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]

TODD AKIN RAPE COMMENT 2: TOKYO DRIFT - "Some of my best friends are rape!" Igor Bobic: "Two years after he lost his 2012 Senate campaign, former Missouri Republican congressman Todd Akin still can't stop talking about rape. Appearing on MSNBC's 'The Daily Rundown' on Thursday, Akin sought yet again to explain the infamous comments about rape that roiled his bid to oust Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). In a 2012 interview, Akin said, 'If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.'... Asked twice whether he believed abortion should be legal for someone who has been raped, Akin demurred. 'Should the child conceived in rape have the same right to life as the child conceived in love?' he said, adding later, 'I think what doctors should do is try and save life.' Akin also claimed that a 'number of people' on his campaign had been 'conceived by rape.' The former Missouri Republican is back in the news, to the dismay of establishment Republicans, after offering a hearty defense of his comments in a new book, 'Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom.'" [HuffPost]

FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS ARE 'ADDICTS' SAYS GOP SENATE CANDIDATE - Got dat Kraft Singles, got dat Kraft Singles. You up? Samantha Lachman: "Arkansas Senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton (R), who is challenging Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), defended his vote against an agriculture and nutrition assistance bill by characterizing food stamp recipients as addicts. Cotton made his comments about food stamps during a July 8 tele-town hall, in audio sent to The Huffington Post. 'I don’t think that we should be using farmers as a way to pack more welfare spending into Barack Obama’s government,' Cotton said. 'Nor should we have a food stamp program that isn’t reformed, that doesn’t have job training and work requirements, that doesn't have drug testing requirements, so we can get people who are addicted the help they need. Or make sure that long-term addicts or recidivists are not abusing taxpayer dollars.' The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more colloquially referred to as the food stamp program, serves 1 in 7 Americans, or 46 million. Congress cut food stamp spending by about 1 percent in a bipartisan compromise in order to pass the agriculture legislation. Republicans wanted to cut a larger chunk." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a child being surprised with a puppy.

CONSERVATIVES LIKE IMPEACHING - Mother Jones: 'Impeachment is having another moment. On Wednesday, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) became the latest conservative politician to suggest that Republicans may attempt to oust President Obama from office if they take control of the Senate next fall, citing 'mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to.' For conservative activists, it's no longer of issue of whether the president should be impeached, but what for. Since 2010, the Obama's haters have floated more than two dozen reasons for filing articles of impeachment. They would like to oust the president for, among other things...Anything at all: 'It needs to happen,' Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), an early adopter, said in 2011...The birth certificate...Bowe Bergdahl...EPA power-plant regulations...Hypothetical raising of the debt ceiling...Not extending the Bush tax cuts...The stimulus." [Mother Jones]


- Rotate Joaquin Phoenix's forehead upside down and he kind of looks like Voldemort with a goatee. [http://bit.ly/1stEvHK]

- In other forehead news, here's a dude pouring a beer using his noggin. [http://bit.ly/1p0I8Bh]

- Remix answers the question of what the "Game of Thrones" theme would sound like if Skrillex wrote it. [http://bit.ly/1su0vCb]

- Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert battle over their "Star Wars" fandom for charity. [http://bit.ly/1jCu5T9]

- Annnnnnnnd yet one more Weird Al spoof: "Handy" lampoons Iggy Azalea's "Fancy. [http://huff.to/UdmWMY]

- And here's all 49 Weird Al videos, ranked. [http://go.spin.com/1jUphcf]

- These Italian-designed stadium seats make moviegoing much more elegant. [http://bit.ly/1jCsFrS]


@pourmecoffee: It's a good sign for America that Weird Al Yankovic's comeback is going better than Dick Cheney's.

@daveweigel: Biden insisting that the crowd is not all perfect. “Probably some of you are horse’s tails, like some of the people I work with.” #NN14

@elisefoley: Item from my notepad today that sort of works as a standalone thought: "why is optimism fleeting?"

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