The GOP leadership is skipping the commemoration of the march in Selma, but they’re doing everything they can to pass the job-creating Keystone XL Pipeline bill, so it’s cool. Garden State voters are longing for the days when their senators kept their illicit activity to the private sector. And Don Young wants to sic wolves on the homeless, which either means Don Young is insane or this is some kind of false flag to increase support for gun ownership among the destitute. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 6th, 2015:
DOJ TO FILE CORRUPTION CHARGES AGAINST MENENDEZ - Once again the Obama IRS' runaway persecution of conserv -- oh. CNN: "The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. People briefed on the case say Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors' request to proceed with charges, CNN has learned exclusively. An announcement could come within weeks. Prosecutors are under pressure in part because of the statute of limitation on some of the allegations. The case could pose a high-profile test of the Justice Department's ability to prosecute sitting lawmakers, having already spawned a legal battle over whether key evidence the government has gathered is protected by the Constitution's Speech and Debate clause. The FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department's public integrity section, have pursued a variety of allegations against Menendez, who has called the probe part of 'smear campaign' against him." [CNN]
Menendez plans to hold a press conference tonight in Newark.
HOUSE GOP LEADERS SKIPPING SELMA - Anna Palmer & Lauren French: "Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don’t include a single member of House Republican leadership -- a point that isn’t lost on congressional black leaders. None of the top leaders -- House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers." [Politico]
Republicans are trying to look busy with their Obamacare replacements in case ol' John Roberts comes through.
DEMS ROOTING FOR BOEHNER - Only exacerbating John Boehner's problems. Here's to you, John! The Hill: "Tea Party Republicans contemplating a bid to oust Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) shouldn't count on Democrats to help them unseat the Speaker. And without their support, there is no chance to topple Boehner in this Congress...Democrats from across an ideological spectrum say they'd rather see Boehner remain atop the House than replace him with a more conservative Speaker who would almost certainly be less willing to reach across the aisle in search of compromise. Replacing him with a Tea Party Speaker, they say, would only bring the legislative process -- already limping along -- to a screeching halt. 'I'd probably vote for Boehner [because] who the hell is going to replace him? [Ted] Yoho?' Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said Wednesday, referencing the Florida Tea Party Republican who’s fought Boehner on a host of bipartisan compromise bills...'Then we would get Scalise or somebody? Geez, come on,' said Grijalva, who referenced House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). 'We can be suicidal but not stupid.'" [The Hill ]
@jbendery: Biden on Ben Carson's "ridiculous assertion" that prison makes straight people gay: "I mean Jesus. God."
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - What could go wrong? Guy Boulton: Tucked into Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget is a massive overhaul of the system that provides long-term care to more than 50,000 elderly or disabled people in Wisconsin -- a dramatic change that blindsided those currently managing the care. The proposal, which would affect more than $2 billion a year in spending, would replace a system built over several decades with a new model in which the state would contract with large insurance companies to manage both long-term care and medical care. 'No one had any inkling this was happening,' said Michael Blumenfeld, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Family Care Association." [Journal-Sentinel]
UPSIDE DOWNER - When Robert Annis got laid off in 2011, executives at his companysaid the economic recovery "is not happening as quickly or favorably as we had hoped." Annis was part of a mass layoff of 700 journalists by Gannett, which had employed him as a reporter at the Indianapolis Star for nine years. Eventually, Annis began to focus less on getting another full-time job and more on finding freelance work. He's now writing for magazines about outdoor travel and is basically back on his feet -- and so is the economic recovery. The Labor Department announced Friday that the national jobless rate had ticked down to 5.5 percent as the economy added 295,000 jobs in February, the latest in a long series of positive jobs reports. "It took a while to kind of transition the mindset," Annis, now 41, told The Huffington Post. "To go from having a full-time job and benefits and 40 hours a week at a job -- and I really loved that job. I devoted quite a bit of my life to that job, so it took a while for me to come over to the mindset [of a freelancer]." [HuffPost]
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WISCONSIN SENATE PASSES RIGHT-TO-WORK BILL, HEADS TO WALKER'S DESK - Dave Jamieson: "Following a heated, all-night debate between lawmakers in Madison, the Wisconsin state assembly passed right-to-work legislation on Friday morning, sending the controversial bill to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker (R). Once Walker signs the anti-union bill, as he has promised to do, Wisconsin will become the 25th right-to-work state in the country, further weakening an already-diminished labor movement in the state. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO called the legislation 'reckless.'...The votes in both chambers fell along party lines, except for one senate Republican who sided with Democrats. Democrats insisted the legislation would reduce wages and fail to create jobs, while dramatically changing long-standing policy on labor unions in the state." [HuffPost]
VAN HOLLEN'S DEPARTURE SHAKES UP HOUSE LEADERSHIP - Roll Call: "Sources say Van Hollen wasn’t the presumptive heir to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s mantle, even though the California Democrat has been grooming him over the years, giving him increasing responsibilities and ensuring he always had a seat at the table….Sources stressed that in gaming out what comes next, the first person to account for is Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, another Maryland Democrat who has been waiting for years to be party’s No. 1 in the House...Two members especially benefiting from Van Hollen’s departure are the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the House Democratic Caucus: Xavier Becerra of California and Joseph Crowley of New York. Becerra, who might end up running for the Senate seat to be left empty by retiring DemocratBarbara Boxer, could stay in the House and launch a campaign to be the first Latino to lead the caucus. He’ll be thinking about his future carefully at this point: His final term as caucus chairman is at the end of this Congress, at which point he’ll be a man without a seat at the leadership table." [Roll Call]
Harry Reid has already endorsed Van Hollen.
JIM INHOFE HAS HIS VERY OWN CLIMATOLOGIST - Maybe Bill McKibben should take up carpentry and grow a beard. Grim: "Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, became the object of global ridicule recently when he sauntered onto the floor of the world's greatest deliberative body with what he declared was persuasive evidence climate change was a hoax. In his hands was a snowball...Inhofe doesn't misunderstand the science; rather, he doesn't need science as his guide, because God has already assured him there is nothing to fear. In his recent book on climate change, which he titles The Greatest Hoax, he assures readers that the scientists -- which he refers to as 'alarmists' throughout the book -- can be ignored because a greater Authority has already spoken. 'I take my religion seriously,' Inhofe writes. '[T]his is what a lot of alarmists forget: God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.'" [HuffPost]
SERIOUSLY, WHO NEEDS ARMOR-PIERCING BULLETS? - Have Montana's wolves smartened up and begun wearing tactical kevlar vests when harassing rancher's herds? Roll Call: "An Obama administration proposal to prohibit certain bullets has been raising the ire of lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week, with senators on Thursday joining calls for the executive branch to back down. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., sent a letter Thursday to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones opposing restrictions on M855 'green tip' ammunition for the AR-15 rifle. The ATF’s draft framework proposes to roll back a 1986 exception granted to the bullets from a ban on 'armor-piercing ammunition.' 'The Obama administration’s blatant disregard for the Second Amendment and efforts to restrict Montanans’ right to keep and bear arms through unilateral action must be stopped. I will continue fighting to protect Montanans’ Second Amendment rights and halt any efforts to infringe upon our Constitutional freedoms,' Daines said in a statement. Sen. David Vitter teamed up with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a fellow Louisiana Republican in sending a similar missive. Vitter and Scalise contend the proposed change is not tied to any actual incidents of shootings of police." [Roll Call]
Headlines that happened: "Lanny Davis Believes LeBron's Decision Could Teach Republicans Something About Benghazi" [TPM]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a golden retriever in slow-motion.
SO JUST ANOTHER DAY FOR ALASKA POLITICS - "While Republican Rep. Don Young was talking about how releasing wolves in one district would get rid of homelessness, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was shocked that many of her colleagues took a snow day because of a winter storm in Washington, D.C. She spoke from the Dirksen Senate Office Building and was in total disbelief at just how empty it was -- then publicly shamed them on Facebook...'It is Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C.,' she said in the video. '2:48 in the afternoon.' After a glance down the empty hallway, she said, 'these are all offices of members, staff, committees, and there’s nobody here.'" [Sun Times]
- Someone created a video game wherein the player takes control of a pug and sniffs other pugs' butts. Its name? But Sniffin' Pugs.
- Thieving octopus steals camera.
- Why we should colonize Venus before Mars.
@ryanbeckwith: Still think it's weird that you can throw a snowball on the floor of the Senate, but you can't sled outside it.
@SenileDonDraper: Americans don't want another Bush or another Clinton. Americans want another Starbucks.
@ProfJeffJarvis: [Glowing praise for someone who is already popular]
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