09/17/2014 05:03 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Better Call Lanny

Lanny Davis penned an op-ed defending Roger Goodell, a piece that will likely be eclipsed later this week when he inevitably defends Joe Biden's use of the term "Shylock." Mark Begich said he put himself at risk of polar bear attack to shoot a campaign ad, tacitly acknowledging recent polling that puts the polar bear vote firmly in Dan Sullivan's camp. And Bernie Sanders' 1987 folk album resurfaced. Never has "how many roads must a man walk down?" sounded less like a call for civil reform and more like a kvetch about a lousy commute. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, September 17th, 2014:


Yuh huh: "President Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that he does not intend to send U.S. troops into combat against the Islamic State group, despite doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels to carry out the ground fight on their own." [AP]

CIA NOT SO CLANDESTINELY SKEPTICAL OF SYRIA STRATEGY - Ryan Grim and Sam Stein: "At a recent closed-door congressional briefing on the administration's new strategy to combat the Islamic State, a top CIA official left little doubt among those in the room about the agency's attitude toward the project. The official's muted approach to the briefing dovetails with what senior intelligence community officials tell The Huffington Post is deep behind-the-scenes skepticism, ranging from ambivalence to outright opposition, from within the CIA to the administration's proposal to task the Department of Defense with arming the so-called moderate Syrian rebels. The opposition derives from a number of factors. First, the CIA has already been covertly equipping Syrian rebels at the instruction of the White House, but has come to find the fighters increasingly disorganized and radicalized as the conflict goes on, with U.S.-supplied arms winding up in the hands of more radical fighters. Meanwhile, some turf issues are at play. While officials in the CIA are skeptical of the broader strategy to arm and train the rebels, they are also wary of a plan that would give the Pentagon a responsibility that has so far rested with their agency." [HuffPost]

SENATE DEM ADVANTAGE IN HUFFPOST POLLSTER'S ELECTION FORECAST - Democrats have a 53 percent chance of retaining the Senate, according to our our poll-eating machine. The Orman Factor is key: "There is a 11.1 percent chance that Greg Orman, the independent candidate in Kansas and new frontrunner since Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out, will get to choose which party leads the Senate. All he's said is he'll caucus with the majority. [HuffPost Pollster]

FYI: Last night the House approved the "Preserving Welfare for Needs Not Weed Act" by voice vote.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - One of those miserable costumed characters in Times Square aggressively demanded cash after posing for photos with undercover cops, so they arrested the woman and posted a photo of her on Twitter. Pretty bleak. "Another costumed character in Times Square has been busted by police. The NYPD tweeted Tuesday night, 'Just another day in Midtown South. Elmo arrested in Times Square.' Thirty-seven-year-old Rosa Sanchez, of Clifton, New Jersey is charged with aggressive solicitation. She was arrested by 10 plain-clothes officers posing as tourists who took photos with her." [WABC]

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CONGRESSIONAL UNITED KINGDOM CAUCUS SURPRISED TO FIND PEOPLE INTERESTED IN CONGRESSIONAL UNITED KINGDOM CAUCUS - The Hill: "While the Friends of Scotland Caucus is officially neutral, Co-Chairman John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) broke from many lawmakers and from the Obama administration, which have indicated support for Scotland remaining part of the U.K. Duncan said Scotland would be better off independent. Duncan’s co-chairman, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), is in a unique position because he also leads the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus. His office did not respond to a request for comment...Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a co-chairman of the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus, said he personally thinks Scotland shouldn’t secede." [The Hill]

@WhiteHouse: The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united. -bo

One of the most history's most powerful political union might split apart and all it gets is a tweet from the White House. LOL. The sun couldn't be reached for comment, as it was too busy setting on the British Empire."

NOTHING WILL STOP RICK PERRY FROM GETTING WHAT HE WANTS...NOT EVEN GETTING WHAT HE WANTS - Brian Rosenthal: "Gov. Rick Perry's surge of law enforcement officers on the southern border recently met the most specific goal publicly set by its commander, a development that has received so little attention that critics say it calls into question the true aim of the deployment." The border surge will continue anyway. It's almost as if politicians are insincere. [Houston Chronicle]

ELIZABETH WARREN PWNS ERIC CANTOR, ANTHONY WEINER - Elizabeth Warren on HuffPost: "When former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) took a job with the investment bank Moelis & Co. earlier this month shortly after resigning his Congressional seat, he became the latest example of the tight-knit relationship between Wall Street and Washington. In an interview, I called this out for what it is: another sign that the revolving door still spins freely in Washington. Cantor had little experience in financial services, and the value of people like him to Wall Street firms is influence peddling, plain and simple….So when former Congressman Anthony Weiner -- a Democrat from New York --dismissed my concerns, it was business as usual." [HuffPost]

Lanny Davis, ladies and germs: "In defense of Roger Goodell"

BOBBY JINDAL LOVES HUMOR - Saying the Obama administration is full of "science deniers" is as funny as Louisiana's rapidly disappearing coastline. Philip Bump: "On Monday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) told attendees at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Monday that the Obama administration was comprised of 'science deniers' because of its energy policies -- even as he downplayed the role of energy production in the problem of global warming." [WashPost]

SCOTT WALKER STANDING ATHWART HISTORY YELLING 'STOP'...IN A HOLE - Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this hole! Ich bin ein in a hole! The arc of history is long but it bends toward this hole. Wisconsin State Journal: "Gov. Scott Walker's recent campaign ad in which he appears to climb out of a hole is raising an interesting question: Did he violate OSHA regulations? Jeff Kaminiski, president of United Steelworkers Local 2006, said this week he filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration calling for Walker to be fined...But it's unlikely Walker would be fined or even investigated by OSHA, according to Adam Finkel, executive director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania and a former OSHA director under President Bill Clinton. He pointed out that formal OSHA complaints are usually made by or on behalf of employees against an employer.'" [Wisconsin State Journal]

Goddamnit, Joe: "Vice President Joe Biden apologized on Wednesday for using the term 'Shylocks,' which some Jews deem offensive, in a Tuesday speech for the Legal Services Corporation's 40th anniversary campaign. Biden talked about how his son Beau visited Iraq while he was Delaware's attorney general and found that one of the things veterans and service members needed most was legal help for those who had been victims of unfair banking practices." [HuffPost]

CORRECTION: The proper spelling is "Barrack HUSSEIN Obama" "The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent an email Tuesday afternoon urging supporters to help it "fire Harry Reid" by winning a GOP majority in the Senate. It tried the well-worn tactic of tying Reid to the president, saying the Senate majority leader was his 'right hand in congress.' But even though there are few people more unpopular with Republicans than the president, and even though he has been in office since 2009, the NRSC still misspelled his first name. (It's 'Barack,' not 'Barrack.')" [HuffPost]

AMERICA'S WORST CONGRESSMAN TWEETS FROM HOUSE FLOOR, CURB STOMPS THE RULES - Kids and their screens these days. Hannah Hess: "The Texas Republican snapped a photo of Georgia Republican Paul Broun flashing a smile after what Stockman described as a 'historic vote to #AuditTheFed' and tweeted it from his official account. Though cellphones have become commonplace on the House floor, photography is strictly prohibited. A source with knowledge of the House rules confirmed that Stockman’s photo is a violation of the rules. Photo or video documentation of proceedings by members of Congress breaches a clause on 'comportment.'" [Roll Call]

OOPS: "Jacob Dorsey, a 19-year-old candidate challenging Democratic state Rep. Deb Kolste, apologized last week for referring to gay people as 'fags' in a tweet." Bye, Jacob! [TPM]

Mark Begich nearly wrastled a polar bear! "Alaska Sen. Mark Begich says GOP opponent Dan Sullivan’s latest ad accusing him of pretending to ride a snow machine is a “lie,” and he has the frostbite to prove it. In Sullivan’s latest ad, X Games medalist Cory Davis accuses the freshman Democrat of 'pretending to ride' a snow machine in an earlier spot and concludes: 'I’m tired of the phony politicians and Mark Begich’s laaaaame tricks.' ... In an interview, Begich described the lengths to which he went to shoot the spot. 'One guy for example, wore an AR-15 around his shoulders because the area we were going to is where polar bears are, and he wanted to make sure we weren’t going to be attacked,' Begich said. 'To say that I wasn’t on that snow machine riding it? I rode it for a long time out there and in weather that was very cold that day to the point where I frostbit part of my ear.'" [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a kitten who likes being pushed around.

EVERYBODY DO THE BERNIE - Amanda Terkel: "Move over, Peter, Paul and Mary. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is America's newest folk heartthrob. Sanders, known for his distinctive New York baritone, apparently released some folk music recordings in 1987 while mayor of Burlington. The songs were dug up by the site Seven Days, which said it was 'impressed by the heights to which his guttural, Brooklyn-strained-through-a-wood-chipper accent elevated the classic 'We Shall Overcome.'" [HuffPost]


- Erotic poetry from iPhone 6 reviews.

- A incredibly thorough "where are they now?" rundown of 1990s child stars.

- Heaven's Gate's website is still up and running.

- The best Starbucks cups illustrations.


- @owillis:

"mr president, urgent news on isis"
"code pink sir, theyre holding up signs"
"this changes everything. scrub the mission."

- @jbendery": Two things lawmakers inevitably do about a month before elections: 1) ask reporters what outlet they're from 2) dye their hair darker

@chrislhayes: what's your favorite Girl Talk song? [Editor's note: Explainer!]

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