POLITICS
12/22/2014 05:22 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - GOP's Hippie Punching Wing Enjoys Spotlight


The administration will argue for transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay by saying it makes fiscal sense -- cruel and unusual budgeting, you could say. North Korea's internet went down, keeping its citizens from their "23 Reasons Why Great Leader Invented the iPad and Smells of Lilacs" listicles. And it's important to establish oneself in prison on the first day, so we suggest Congressman Michael Grimm threaten to throw someone off a balcony when he gets to the clink. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 22nd, 2014:

OBAMA TO ANNOUNCE ‘FLURRY’ OF GITMO TRANSFERS - WSJ: “President Barack Obama aims to make 2015 a landmark year in his long-stalled effort to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, with plans to announce a flurry of detainee transfers in coming weeks, senior administration officials said. Mr. Obama is also seeking to reshape the national debate over closing the facility in Cuba by casting it as a fiscal issue, arguing that keeping it open is cost-prohibitive. The aggressive push on an issue Mr. Obama sees as critical to his legacy sets him up for a pitched battle with lawmakers in Congress over one of the most controversial global symbols of the U.S. fight against terrorism, some 13 years after it was opened in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. ‘I’m going to be doing everything I can to close it,’ Mr. Obama said in a CNN interview that aired Sunday, renewing a pledge he made during his first presidential campaign.” [WSJ]

Republicans will block Doug Elmendorf's Congressional Budget Office confirmation, Dave Weigel reports, until the CBO changes its economic analysis to be more favorable to tax cuts for the rich.

Peter King says President Obama never praises police officers, despite the fact that, outside of giving shout outs to people during speeches and golfing, that’s basically all he does. Amanda Terkel: “The congressman [said on Fox News Monday] that it was now up to the two Democratic officials to say something nice about the police, which would help heal race relations in the United States. ‘Right now I think it's important for the president and the mayor, if they are serious about healing what they believe is this rift -- or this feud if you will, this chasm, in race relations -- for them to come out and start giving praise to the police,’ said King. ‘Say the police have done more to save minority lives than anyone in this country. The police do a phenomenal job under tough circumstances. Yes, there can be improvement. There also has to be improvement among the leaders in the minority communities.’” [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST GRATEFUL - Along with being thankful that “they” haven’t “found me,” HuffPost Hill’s Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist considers himself #blessed for a number of things this year, which he has come out of semi-retirement in his panic room to enumerate. “I am grateful that I get to eat in Washington, D.C.’s finest and most expensive restaurants and see some of the rich white liberals who complain about rich and out of touch Republicans before their TV appearances,” PSLGOPL writes. “I am grateful that the HPH guys (and Jason Linkins) make fun of POLITICO for printing their advertisers' points of view AND their birthdays. Imagine if no one said anything? Well, it kind of feels like no one does anyway. I am grateful that Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer are really, really old white people. Minority candidates scare me as a Republican. I am grateful Democrats never nominate any for statewide offices.” Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boss Tom Frieden, back from West Africa, reports Ebola still raging: "The outbreak continues to surge in Sierra Leone, and there has been a troubling spread in Guinea’s capitol city. We’ve got a long way to go and this is no time to relax our grip on the response." Also, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) traveled to Liberia this week, partly to remind the American people that an Ebola epidemic is still going on. "My hope was to remind the American people that this is an investment that helps keep the world safe, not just help Liberians, although helping Liberia is a worthy goal in and of itself," Coons said on a conference call in response to a question from HuffPost. [HuffPost]

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GRIMM TO PLEAD GUILTY - He can probably just copy-and-paste the contrition part of his courtroom plea into his victory speech when he inevitably wins reelection in two years. Daily News: “Rep. Michael Grimm will plead guilty on Tuesday to a felony charge of cheating on his taxes at a Manhattan restaurant he co-owned before entering Congress, the Daily News has learned. The Staten Island Republican will enter the plea in Brooklyn federal court. A 1 p.m. hearing in the case has been scheduled, a court official said. Grimm was charged in a 20-count federal indictment in April with hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages at the restaurant, and with hiring undocumented immigrants. He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and his trial was to begin in February....Under federal law, the tax-evasion charge he will plead guilty to carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. But as a first-time offender, Grimm might not have to serve any time behind bars. That decision will be up to the sentencing judge.” [Daily News]

Women actually win one in court: “A federal appeals court declared as unconstitutional on Monday a North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail before she can have an abortion. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling upheld a lower-court decision in January. The issue could now make its way to the Supreme Court. The law was passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 over the objections of then-Gov. Bev Perdue (D). The Woman's Right to Know Act, which Perdue vetoed, requires a doctor to give a woman an ultrasound prior to the procedure and to describe the fetus in detail, regardless of the patient's wishes. The doctor also would be compelled to give the patient the choice as to whether she wants to listen to the fetal heartbeat.” [HuffPost’s Samantha Lachman]

SOMEONE HAS HARD TIME TAKING JOE ARPAIO SERIOUSLY - Elise Foley: “U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell on Monday seemed skeptical of a lawsuit filed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed 'America's Toughest Sheriff" on immigration, over executive actions by the president that could protect up to 5 million people from being deported.It was the first hearing on a case brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, specifically those that provide deferred action and work authorization to undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children or are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Arpaio, who comes from Maricopa County, Arizona, sued the same day that Obama announced the new programs, saying they were unconstitutional and would hurt law enforcement by allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and commit crimes. It was followed by another lawsuit, now backed by 24 states, claiming the executive actions violate the Constitution.” [HuffPost]

Maybe we can mend ties with some kind of bilateral LAN party: “North Korea’s already tenuous links to the Internet went completely dark on Monday after days of instability, in what Internet monitors described as one of the worst North Korean network failures in years. The loss of service came just days after President Obama pledged that the United States would launch a 'proportional response' to the recent attacks on Sony Pictures, which government officials have linked to North Korea. While an attack on North Korea’s networks was suspected, there was no definitive evidence of it.” [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a puppy who feels the rhythm.

Like Uber, but for “Serial” case ideas: “Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism will conduct an independent review of Rolling Stone's disputed November story on an alleged 2012 gang rape at the University of Virginia, the magazine announced Monday. Rolling Stone apologized on Dec. 5 after several news organizations revealed problems in contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely's article. However, the magazine has not fully retracted the story.” [HuffPost’s Michael Calderone]

COMFORT FOOD

- Patton Oswalt’s brilliant mashup of ”Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Apocalypse Now.”

- Questlove recalls his years long struggle to have Patti LaBelle cook him chicken.

- Master woodcarver makes a pair of plyers with only 10 cuts with a knife.

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: Grimm might have lost re-election had the Dems put up a sentient being

@pourmecoffee: Looking over 2014 -- and this is crazy -- looks like all the events once again confirmed the validity of all my beliefs.

@elisefoley: Going through my mentions and responding “It was a joke” to the people who thought I seriously think men should be banned from questions.

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