POLITICS
12/03/2014 04:58 pm ET

National Conversation About Race To Start Any Day Now

Eric Garner was choked to death for peddling cigarettes while ranchers who protest grazing fees with semi-automatic rifles get to peddle folksy wisdom on Fox News. Bill de Blasio’s statement observed that it’s a “deeply emotional day,” proving just how much of a cop-hating peacenik agitator he is. And Peter King Kingsplained that no one does more for New York’s black people than the NYPD. Reached for comment, New York’s black people were too busy being pressed against a wall and felt up to respond. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014:

PETER KING HAS A CLASSY RESPONSE TO THE GARNER DECISION - After a grand jury declined to indict a New York police officer who choked an unarmed black man to death on camera, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) took the occasion to remind black people of the NYPD's greatness. "During this tense time in New York, it must be noted and remembered that no organization has done more to safeguard the lives of young African Americans in New York City than the NYPD," King wrote on Facebook. "It is time for all New Yorkers - and indeed all Americans - to acknowledge this fact."

President Obama responded, noting the Garner killing "speaks to the larger issues that we've been talking about now for the last week, the last month, the last year, and sadly for decades. And that is, the concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them and dealing with them in a fair way. And there's going to be, I'm sure, additional statements by law enforcement, my tradition is not to remark on cases where there may still be an investigation. But I want everybody to understand that this week in the wake of ferguson we initiated a task force whose job it is to come back to me with specific recommendations about how we strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color and minority communities that feel that bias is taking place."

Also classy, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton: “We have the ability to have a level of tolerance — breathing room, if you will.” [New Yorker]

MCCONNELL TRYING TO LOOSEN CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES - Paul Blumenthal: “[Mitch McConnell’s] office is attempting to attach a policy rider to the omnibus bill that would effectively end limits imposed on coordinated spending by federal candidates and political party committees. Currently, coordinated spending by candidates and political parties is limited based on a series of formulas for different offices...The McConnell rider would allow parties to consult with candidate campaigns on advertising or other electoral advocacy without having the resulting spending count towards their coordinated limit, so long as the spending is not "controlled by, or made at the direction of" the candidate. The change would create a loophole essentially making the coordinated limits moot.” [HuffPost]

Haircuts: Amanda Terkel, Meghan Apfelbaum, Dave Jamieson.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A federal court has ruled once again that Florida's short-lived effort to drug test all welfare applicants violated their constitutional rights. It's the latest in a steady stream of defeats for Rick Scott's dream of making all poor people pee in cups before they can have welfare. [HuffPost]

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WILL THE TP MESS UP THE TPP? - Zach Carter: “Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been dreaming about cutting major deals as Senate majority leader for most of his career. Next year, he'll finally get the chance to do it with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the most ambitious free trade agreement since the Clinton era. The only thing standing in his way is his own political party...The internal GOP feud over what some conservative critics are calling ‘Obamatrade’ is just the latest in a series of skirmishes between the party's corporate-friendly leadership and its populist base...With the populist base in revolt, ambitious Republicans eyeing potential presidential runs are struggling to sort out their policy stances. The office of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told HuffPost that he generally supports free trade deals, but will have to see what's included in Obama's final TPP agreement.” [HuffPost]

POOR TRICORNE HAT SHOWING AT ANTI-IMMIGRATION RALLY - Your friend’s improv show probably had a better showing than this. Elise Foley: Republicans who vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security without measures to end the president's executive actions on immigration are betraying their principles and their oath to uphold the Constitution, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Wednesday at a press conference-turned-rally outside the Capitol. ‘We're presented with this proposal that we ought to fund the president's lawless, unconstitutional act,’ King said. ‘No!’ people in the crowd yelled. ‘Shut it down! No!’ … King was joined at the hourlong press conference by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.). They began with a rather political prayer -- ‘We are rapidly becoming a lawless nation,’ Pastor Dan Cummins from Bullard, Texas, said during it...” [HuffPost]

GOP TARGETING DC WEED - Daniel Newhauser: “House Republicans are fighting to roll back Washington, D.C.'s recently passed marijuana legalization initiative in the midst of high-level negotiations over the national budget, according to several Democratic and Republican sources. Republicans are insisting on including a provision in an omnibus spending bill that would ban the District of Columbia from using local funds to carry out the legalization measure, which was passed overwhelmingly by ballot initiative in November...Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers has been a vehement opponent of relaxing drug laws, animated by the spread of methamphetamine and prescriptions drug use in his home state of Kentucky. Both he and Speaker John Boehner favor limiting the city's ability to carry out the initiative, according to sources in both parties.” [National Journal]

GOP GOVERNOR FLIPS ON MEDICAID EXPANSION - If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em *decry their actions as unconstitutional for a few years for a few years and then join ‘em*. Shadee Ashtari: “One year after rejecting federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) is pushing the state’s Republican legislature to approve a new plan set forth by the state Department of Health last week. During a press conference Monday, Mead, who signed onto a federal lawsuit opposing the Affordable Care Act in 2011, urged Republican lawmakers to "be realistic" and accept Obamacare as the ‘law of the land.’ ‘I agree it is not a good piece of legislation, but as I see where we are, I think we have to be realistic and say, 'This is the current law of the land and we need to either go forward with this' or if the Legislature wants to come up with a different plan, I certainly would be open to that,’ Mead said, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.” [HuffPost]

HEALTH SPENDING INFLATION SLOWS - Jeff Young: "The amount the United States spent on health care went up last year by the smallest amount since federal scorekeepers started tracking these dollars half a century ago, according to an audit issued Wednesday. The news might come as a shock to Americans struggling to keep up with rising costs. Combined spending on health care by households, businesses and the government rose 3.6 percent to $2.9 trillion in 2013, the fifth straight year it increased by less than 5 percent following decades of faster growth, the Office of the Actuary, an independent office within the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reported in the journal Health Affairs." [HuffPost]

Election is over, dude: Rosie Gray: “Republican Senator-elect Tom Cotton maintained twice this week that Islamic terrorists could be collaborating with Mexican drug cartels to gain entry into the United States, a claim that he was first reported to have made during the election. In response to a BuzzFeed News question at a roundtable discussion outside the Foreign Policy Initiative’s annual forum, Cotton said, ‘They could collaborate, and our southern border, because it’s so porous and defenseless, could easily be used by terrorists to infiltrate our country and attack us.’” [BuzzFeed]

THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE ARE A BUNCH OF SHITS... APPARENTLY - The Washington Post examined all the public entries on Regulations.Gov and created a list of the agencies that recieved the most swear-ladened comments. It would seem that people have really strong opinions about how their ficus plants are regulated. WaPo: “Many of the comments including our Magic Words were directed at agencies that have a lower profile than you might expect...Second place might surprise you. The main attention-getter was a Fish and Wildlife proposal to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. ‘The fact that you encourage trophy hunting and needless killing makes you all complete jerks and [a word starting with A],’ one person wrote.” [WaPo]

OBAMA DIDN’T BURN CHUCK TODD, SORRY - Also, the New York Post published a correction. Someone check to see if animals a fleeing en masse from the sea. Politico: “The New York Post has corrected a report that wrongly quoted President Barack Obama badmouthing NBC's Chuck Todd. The Post's initial report, published Saturday, quoted Obama as calling the ‘Meet the Press’ moderator ‘sad’ while on a visit to a Washington, D.C., bookstore. As we pointed out yesterday, the president was actually referring to the picture of himself on the jacket of Todd's new book, ‘The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House.’ In its correction, the Post said the story ‘was based on a pool report from President Obama’s bookstore visit. Video of the event, released later, shows it’s more likely Obama is referring to the picture of himself on the cover of the book when he says 'he’s just sad' — and is not referring to author Chuck Todd.’” [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s as dog defending a cat.

GREENHOUSE TAKES BUYOUT AT NYT - Michael Calderone: “Greenhouse, who spent 31 years at the Times, is regarded as the dean of the labor beat. While Greenhouse said he plans to continue covering labor issues -- he's writing on a book for Knopf on workers, and said he hopes to freelance for the Times -- it's unclear whether the paper will assign someone to the beat full-time...The Times is currently seeking 100 voluntary buyouts, and may lay off some staff in the coming weeks if it's unable to reach its target. Capital New York is keeping a running count of buyout-takers, a group that includes Times journalists with decades of experience.” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Jane Krakowski’s ”Peter Pan Live!” audition tape.

- Legitly is a link shortener that turns your links in to respectable-looking URLs.

- Nick Offerman sings about whiskey.

- For the lewd fisherman who has everything, try giving him this erotic German carp calendar for Christmas (Mostly SFW).

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: "We are all out of justice, can I interest you in the promise of a national conversation? It's our most popular item."

@daveweigel: Hey remember how we were in a Libertarian Moment and conservatives were challenging the militarized police state

@jasoncherkis: Not looking forward to CNN's interview with Charles Barkley on #EricGarner

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