Republican governors keep doing Hanukkah wrong, which is odd considering the holiday commemorates the burning of oil. Peter King reduced America’s torture practices to “people being made to stand in awkward positions,” as if detainees were forced to pose with former RNC Chairman Michael Steele. And Mark Udall gave a stemwinder of a speech that will have pundits buzzing for
years months weeks *a few more hours until the government shuts down and everyone forgets about the torture report.* This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, December 10th, 2014:
SUCKER UPDATE: POSSIBLY GOING DOWN - Politico: “Nancy Pelosi and progressives aren’t ready to support a carefully crafted government funding compromise, throwing the $1.1 trillion bill into doubt one day before a potential shutdown. In question are a provision that would weaken Wall Street regulation and a measure that would loosen campaign finance laws...Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Boehner (R-Ohio) Wednesday morning — one of several calls this week — and she pressed him on how many votes he needs to pass the package, according to sources familiar with the call. Boehner demurred — the responsibility of counting votes falls to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Scalise has a huge test in front of him: He will have to minimize Republican defections. Senior House Democratic lawmakers’ aides are not yet sure of the depth of the opposition on their side of the aisle. So far, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland has said he will vote no, as will Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Pelosi had lunch with the California delegation Wednesday afternoon, and several lawmakers walked out of the gathering saying they would all vote against the bill.” [Politico]
Congrats on the new job, Steve!
Why conservative Republicans are revolting: “Republicans expect 50 to 60 of their own members will vote against the bill, largely because they think it doesn't go far enough to block President Obama’s executive action to give legal status and work permits for up to 5 million immigrants in the country illegally. Conservatives are lobbying the House Rules Committee to allow a vote on an amendment that would prohibit funding for implementation of the immigration actions. But Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), one of the most outspoken foes of the cromnibus, conceded leadership won't allow the amendment to go anywhere.” [The Hill]
Why some progressive Dems are revolting: “...a provision that would allow Wall Street banks to trade risky financial derivatives from subsidiaries that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. -- potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for losses. Big banks traded derivatives from these FDIC-backed units in the years leading up to the 2008 crash, but the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law required them to move many of the transactions to other subsidiaries that are not insured by taxpayers. Banks receive higher credit ratings for derivatives they sell from taxpayer-backed units, which in turn makes the derivatives more profitable.” [HuffPost’s Zach Carter]
THE CIA REPORT IS OUT… NOW WHAT? - We’re not entirely sure, but we’re somewhat positive there will be a lot of emails sent by CREDO Mobile. Ali Watkins: “The study offers no recommendations for improving the systemic problems it highlights. It suggests no legal action against any of the alleged perpetrators -- even the CIA officers who, the investigators claim, committed some of the program’s grossest abuses. And it fails to clearly assign responsibility to the high-level Bush administration officials who have publicly said that they were fully briefed and that the agency did not misrepresent information on the torture program. These gaps are even more striking given that the original terms of the Senate study specified that the investigation was meant to change interrogation policy going forward...Senate Intelligence Committee member Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said that he and his colleagues were considering proposing legislation to mandate the full report's release, in order to bypass the logjam of disputes that held up the process for months. But he added that with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) set to take over the panel in January, that possibility has diminished.” [HuffPost]
Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer visited our offices today. He brought us fruitcake (that’s a thing he does). He was accompanied by reps from Portland-based Salt & Straw ice cream shop who also brought “Congressman Blumenauer’s Fruit Cake,” a fruit cake-flavored ice cream named after the congressman. So, in conclusion…. This Town?
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Cromnibus steals from poor moms, gives to Big Potato. Ed O'Keefe reports: "The Women, Infants and Children program that provides food aid to low-income families would receive $6.6 billion, a $93 million cut from the last fiscal year. But the program will be required to ensure that 'all varieties of fresh vegetables, including white potatoes, are eligible for purchase' through the program, said Republicans. The change is a big victory for the potato lobby, which has long fought to be part of the food assistance program." White potatoes had been excluded because people eat enough fries already, essentially. [WashPost]
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LOL CAMPAIGN FINANCE - Paul Blumenthal and Sam Stein: "Congressional budget negotiators from both parties have included a provision in the bill to continue funding the government into next year that dramatically changes campaign finance law to allow lawmakers to solicit even bigger contributions from the wealthiest donors. The omnibus bill includes a provision (on page 1,599) to create three separate funds within the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee. Each fund would be allowed to accept $97,200 from just one donor per year. If this change becomes law, it would mean that a single donor could give up to $324,000 per year, or $648,000 for a two-year election cycle, to finance the party’s operations. The change would effectively obliterate campaign contribution limits to the parties, while eviscerating the limits placed by the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law on how much a political candidate can seek from a donor." [HuffPost]
MARK UDALL REALLY OWNING HIS LAME DUCK TERM - If we had just been voted out of our Senate seat, we probably would’ve glued all the keyboard keys in Ted Cruz’s office. This is more productive. National Journal: “In a career-defining speech, Sen. Mark Udall took to the Senate floor Wednesday to discuss a largely classified internal CIA investigation into the agency's Bush-era ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ and to call for the current CIA director's resignation. Udall... began highlighting key conclusions from the CIA's so-called Panetta Review...Its critical findings, in addition to the agency's attempts to prevent the Senate from seeing it, Udall said, demonstrates that the CIA is still lying about the scope of enhanced-interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration...Udall said that redactions in the Senate Intelligence Committee's landmark torture report obfuscated key details about the CIA's harsh interrogation methods. Among those, Udall said, the report is ambiguous about how many CIA officials participated in the brutal practices. In reality, it was only a handful, he said. As he spoke, Udall continued to give a blistering and detailed account of the CIA leadership's and its refusal to come clean with the American people on the Bush-era program. Udall accused the CIA of outright lying to the committee during its investigation.” [National Journal]
Is Peter King the walking, breathing embodiment of America’s lost innocence? “Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Wednesday that nobody was severely hurt by the United States' use of torture after 9/11, despite a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee that detailed the CIA's shocking abuse of detainees. ‘We’re not talking about anyone being burned or stabbed or cut or anything like that,’ King told a radio station. ‘We’re talking about people being made to stand in awkward positions, have water put into their nose and into their mouth. Nobody suffered any lasting injuries from this.’ The summary report, released Tuesday, contradicts that statement. In addition to the physical and psychological effects experienced by many detainees who were subjected to torture, one detainee actually died of suspected hypothermia after being tortured at one of the covert facilities.” [HuffPost’s Paige Lavender]
Hiccup: Yesterday we called Jonathan Gruber “James” Gruber. Insert joke about us being too stupid to know any better... [here].
SCOTT WALKER: MENSCH - In an undated letter posted by the Capital Times Wednesday, Walker wrote to a constituent that he would be happy to display a menorah at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. At the time, he was serving as county executive. But what stands out most is his closing line. From the letter: “Thank you for your letter regarding the Menorah Display. Yes we would be happy to display the Menorah celebrating ‘The Eight Days of Chanukah’ here at the Courthouse. [...] Thank you again and Molotov.” [With Amanda Terkel]
The Molotov cocktail was reportedly named for former Soviet Defense Minister Vyacheslav Molotov by Finnish defense fighters during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Finland.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are the best cat videos of 2014.
CONGRESS NOT TRYING TO HARSH EVERYONE’S BUZZ - Matt Ferner “States with legal hemp cultivation and medical marijuana programs just got historic support from Congress. Included in the federal spending bill released late Tuesday are amendments that prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to go after state medical marijuana operations and that block the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to interfere in state-legal industrial hemp research.” [HuffPost]
ANDY HARRIS WINS - The Republican congressman who has crusaded against the District of Columbia's ever-liberalizing pot laws cheered a new congressional spending bill that would quash the will of District voters. "I am glad Congress is going to, in a bipartisan way, uphold federal law to protect our youth by preventing legalization in Washington, D.C.," Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said in a statement provided by his office Wednesday morning. You win this round, Harris. [HuffPost]
- Don’t believe the internet: the dials on toasters don’t necessarily refer to time.
- Christopher Lee sings heavy metal Christmas songs
- Gorgeous landscapes of rural areas impacted by human encroachment.
- Here’s video of a cruise liner being beached at full speed. We’re calling her the S.S. Cromnibus Negotiations.
@geneweingarten: Writing Tip: "Alcoholic" isn't an adjective as applied to a person. No such thing as "an alcoholic lawyer," unless you lick him & get drunk.
@KagroX: Plan B of the cromnibus should be called the zomnibus.
@jbendery: McConnell Aide Hosts Lesbian Wedding For HuffPoster MT @StewSays: Location for @jbendery wedding narrowed to O's 18 acres or Stew's 1/4 acre
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