Republicans insist that hitting the debt ceiling doesn't matter, which is true in the sense that one day the Earth will be consumed by our dying sun, annihilating all that for which humanity has striven. Michele Bachmann thinks Obamacare will eventually be called "Deathcare," though why it would be known as an obscure Slayer B-side is beyond us. And the Air Force general responsible for our nuclear arsenal was dismissed for incompetence. Strange, we thought incompetence qualified high-ranking government officials for continued pay and gym access. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 11th, 2013:
SHUTDOWN RESOLUTION STILL UP IN THE AIR, SHUTDOWN STILL POINTLESS - Mike McAuliff, Sabrina Siddiqui and Jen Bendery: "House Republicans appeared to be angling Friday to negotiate over reopening the government and easing budget sequestration, as well as making cuts to entitlement programs. The Associated Press reported that House GOP leaders were offering a framework to not just pass a short-term increase in the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit, but to end the 11-day government shutdown, cut entitlement programs and make changes to Obamacare. Sources told HuffPost, however, that such an assessment may be premature, as House Republicans were still waiting to hear back from the White House on their Thursday offer to raise the debt limit for six weeks in return for the administration starting budget negotiations. They also presented some ideas about a framework for further talks...Republican lawmakers said Friday that if negotiations do start in earnest, they likely would include many of the wish-list items the GOP has sought before, with an emphasis on items that some Democrats have backed in the past. One such item is the chained consumer price index, a different way of measuring inflation that would effectively slow the growth of Social Security." [HuffPost]
Source: Bipartisan group of 10 senators crafting a compromise thingy that funds government, lifts debt ceiling, eases sequestration, gently tinkers with Obamacare and delays the medical device tax.
Dems in disarray: "Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) took tea party dislike for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) a step further Friday, charging that he 'supported Al Qaeda' in traveling to Syria. Speaking at the Values Voter Summit, Gohmert referred to 'some senator from Arizona,' unambiguously referring to McCain. The crowd laughed. Gohmert called McCain 'a guy who liked Gaddafi before he wanted to bomb him, a guy who liked Mubarak before he wanted him out, a guy that's been to Syria and supported Al Qaeda and the rebels.'" [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]
@mckaycoppins: Michele Bachmann predicts Obamacare will eventually be known as "Deathcare."
What is HuffPost Senior Editor Sasha Belenky reading this week? Longreads on the NFL's concussion crisis, the lack of women in science and an inspiring science teacher have piqued Sasha's interest this week. [HuffPost]
HuffPost Hiccup: Yesterday we erroneously implied that Mount Vernon is closed due to the government shutdown. Luckily, as one eagle-eyed reader pointed out, Mount Vernon is run by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, not the government. As such, George Washington's crib remains open. Thank you, Mount Vernon Ladies Association.
HOT FARM BILL ACTION - In the midst of shutdown madness, a glimpse of semi-regular order... Pete Kasperowicz: "The House on Friday voted to go to conference with the Senate on a farm bill, advancing a long-stalled bill that had to be split in two pieces in order to pass the House this year. Members agreed to meet with the Senate by a voice vote, just after the House approved a rule governing debate on the motion to conference. The rule passed 223-189.... [House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin] Peterson said he opposes plans by House Republicans to name at least one GOP member to the conference who is not a member of the House Agriculture Committee." But how else can a guy with weak farm policy chops make a name for himself busting food stamps? [The Hill]
SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN - Shortly on HuffPost from Kate Sheppard: "One of federal agencies hit hardest by the government shutdown is the Consumer Products Safety Commission -- one of those offices that no one pays much attention to until their kid's toy slices open her hand or their surge protector bursts into flames. But the shutdown has left only 23 of the agency's 540 staffers on the job. All of the field investigators and port inspectors have been furloughed, leaving only a skeleton crew to investigate safety concerns for all of the products on the market in the US. As a result, only product issues that are considered an 'imminent threat' to human life can be addressed. 'We can't protect people,' Inez Tenenbaum, the chairwoman of the CPSC, told HuffPost on Friday, noting that there is a 'very high threshold' to qualify as an imminent threat."
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The longer the shutdown persists, the worse it'll get. Hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers will miss paydays and some government safety net programs will unravel. Candace Holmes worries her phone will get shut off soon. Holmes, 65, is a furloughed employee at the Environmental Protection Agency. Since the furlough, she's filed for unemployment and started shopping at the dollar store for her food. "When are they going to recall us to work?" Holmes said. "You know, something I can tell my landlord. My phone company don't want to hear it -- they want their payments. It's been really bad." [w/ Farah Mohamed]
Additional detail on how the shutdown gets crappier and crappier, via the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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VALUES VOTER SUMMIT STILL POINTLESS - The tricorn hats remain as pointy and ridiculous as ever. Jon Ward reports from the trenches: "Inside yet another darkened hotel ballroom, three Republican presidential hopefuls appeared Friday before the culture warrior faithful and played the political version of high striker, seeing who could bring the mallet down the hardest and ring the bell the most times. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas presided over a pep rally, telling the crowd at the Values Voter Summit that President Barack Obama fears them and that conservative believers can turn back the tide of liberalism. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky expounded at length about the threat to Christianity and the West from radical Islam. And Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida pledged fealty to Jesus Christ and the American dream, while making sure never to mention immigration reform...But... the most relevant development for the 2016 presidential race may have been an email regarding a Republican politician who wasn't even there....[an] EMILY's List hit on [Chris] Christie came off as an attempt to associate the governor, despite his absence, with the crowd of roughly 2,000 social conservatives gathered here in Washington. Increasingly, Christie, who is cruising toward an easy reelection next month, looks like the most formidable GOP candidate for president from the perspective of Democrats gaming out a general election." [HuffPost]
GOP'S HOLD ON HOUSE SLIPPING: POLL - Grim: "A new survey of voters in a dozen Republican-held districts indicates that the government shutdown has made the House increasingly vulnerable to a Democratic takeover. Polling in the districts, conducted by the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and paid for by MoveOn.org, follows similar polling that found voters hostile to lawmakers supporting the shutdown. Democrats need a net increase of 17 seats to retake control of the lower chamber, and the prior polling found 17 Republicans trailing generic Democratic opponents before voters were told they had supported the shutdown. After they were told -- which a Democratic challenger would waste no time doing while campaigning -- another four Republicans fell behind. In the latest survey, based on a dozen Republicans, five trail Democrats and another is tied. Once voters were told the Republican supported the shutdown, another three fell behind the Democrat. Of the 36 Republican-controlled districts where voters were surveyed by PPP, 29 of them could flip -- more than enough to give control of the chamber to Democrats." [HuffPost]
IN LEAST SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT THIS WEEK, TED CRUZ IGNORES FACTS - Empiricism has a well-known bias against patriots. Laura Bassett: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Friday repeated the misguided conservative talking point that the birth control coverage rule included in Obamacare forces employers to cover abortion-inducing pills. Cruz told the crowd at the 2013 Values Voter Summit that the Obama administration is forcing Christian-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby to provide 'abortifacients' or pay millions of dollars in fees. Hobby Lobby is one of several religious-owned businesses currently suing the administration over its requirement that most employers include contraception coverage in their health insurance plans...The Affordable Care Act requires most employers to cover birth control, including emergency contraception -- also known as the morning-after pill or Plan B -- in their health insurance plans. But employers are not required to cover RU-486, an abortion-inducing medication that is sometimes confused with emergency contraception." [HuffPost]
ENERGY DEPARTMENT OKS SOME INTERIM SHUTDOWN JOBS - Just don't go taking a temp gig at the American Petroleum Institute (mowing its chief council's lawn is totally fine, though). Kate Sheppard: "DOE had been less affected by the shutdown than other agencies due to a budget surplus from previous years and some multi-year appropriations. But those funds are starting to run low. The department's Energy Information Administration is shutting down on Friday, The Hill reports... The DOE did post guidance for its employees about how to go about seeking approval for outside work while they are furloughed. Staffers are typically required to get agency approval for any work they do on the side, in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest. But given that an employee's supervisor and the office's legal counsel may also be furloughed, the agency has told employees what to do if they want to take a job at, say, Starbucks while the government is unable to pay them. The DOE guidance says that taking a position in a coffee shop, book store or department store is fine, as is teaching yoga or Crossfit or engaging in some 'creative fiction writing.' Consulting for an oil company or other business that might deal with the Department of Energy, however, 'would normally present a potential conflict of interest.'" [HuffPost]
JOHN KASICH DEFIES PARTY, EMBRACES MEDICAID EXPANSION - Well his next primary just got a lot more interesting. Jeff Young: "Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) will circumvent the majority-Republican legislature in his state to advance an expansion of Medicaid benefits to 275,000 people under President Barack Obama's health care reform law, according to a report published Friday in the Columbus Dispatch. Kasich, who has been campaigning across Ohio and lobbying lawmakers since February to accept federal money to provide Medicaid to more poor residents, will present a proposal to the state funding board that could fast-track the expansion,the Columbus Dispatch reported. The GOP-led legislature has blocked Kasich's proposal to date...Kasich is one of 10 Republican governors who have broken with their party to support the Medicaid expansion, although they all maintain they continue to oppose the underlying Obamacare law. Most recently, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) unveiled a plan that would partially privatize and expand Medicaid, following similar laws enacted by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) and the GOP-led legislatures in their states. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) also endorsed the Medicaid expansion, only to see it blocked by his state legislature." [HuffPost]
GENERAL IN CHARGE OF NUCLEAR MISSILE COMMAND FIRED FOR INCOMPETENCE - Kubrick would be proud. USA Today: "The Air Force's No. 2 officer for nuclear missiles was fired Friday after 'a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment,' the Air Force said in a statement. Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, deputy commander of the 20th Air Force, was relieved of command after an inspector general's investigation into his behavior on a temporary assignment. The allegations do not involve his responsibility for nuclear weapons, said Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick, the Air Force's top spokesman. They also do not involve sexual misconduct. Kodlick said the investigation involved 'reports of misbehavior,' which he did not characterize...The action comes just two days after the Navy announced that the deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces, Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, was relieved of duty after a military investigation of allegations that he used counterfeit chips at an Iowa casino." [USA Today]
DC MAY LOSE RAPE KITS THANKS TO SHUTDOWN - John, I will give you DC rape ktis. Amanda Terkel and Jason Cherkis: "It's standard procedure for rape victims in the District of Columbia to receive a forensic exam when they arrive at the hospital so that DNA evidence can be quickly collected to help obtain justice for the victims. They can also expect to receive the services of an advocate who will be at their side through the entire process, helping them with any administrative, employment or housing issues that may arise. All of that may stop if the government shutdown drags on -- no more rape kits for victims, no more advocates. 'The real concern is that crime victims would be going without services that they critically need,' said Nikki Charles, co-executive director of the Network for Victim Recovery of DC. Charles' group is called in whenever a victim of sexual assault comes to a D.C. hospital for a forensic exam. Her case managers, who help the victims with anything they need, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NVRDC is one of two groups that makes up D.C.'s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program. The other group is D.C. Forensic Nurse Examiners, which is responsible for administering all adult rape kits and many adolescent ones. Both groups rely on federal and local funds." [HuffPost]
FILMMAKERS SPEND 12 YEARS DOCUMENTING CONGRESS - At what point does this stop being a documentary and start being, well, C-SPAN? National Journal: "Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson won't stop. Not after 12 years, 1,500 hours of film, and 21,000 shots--3,200 alone of a single Senate staffer. Not even after 10 of their films have been accepted into the storied New York Film Festival. Two more works are still in production. They are still shooting. Even they can't quite articulate why. And all of it about a bill that hasn't yet become law. Camerini and Robertson's documentary series, How Democracy Works Now, traces the tortured path of the immigration-reform effort in Congress. Ten of the 12 planned installments are being shown in New York this week, making up almost half of the festival's documentary lineup. The filmmakers, unknowingly, waded into Washington purgatory: Immigration is an issue that won't die but also won't resolve itself. Like the subjects in their films, they are stuck, awaiting their Godot. Their exploration, which began in 2001, has turned into an epic journey with an unclear destination. 'I often apologize to them,' jokes Frank Sharry, a charismatic advocate of legalizing undocumented immigrants, who is featured prominently in the documentaries." [National Journal]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a monkey in a shirt grooming a cat.
- What it would be like if the moon orbited the sun at the same distance as the International Space Stations. Probably not a great watch if you're claustrophobic. [http://bit.ly/18Up2oo]
- Bill Nye the Science Guy explains Juno's mission to Jupiter because NASA is shut down right now. [http://bit.ly/1g3qtqM]
- 360 degree views of Nobel Prize-winning scientists' labs. [http://bit.ly/12HzS0X]
- Ridley Scott's "Alien" as a laugh-a-minute sitcom. [http://huff.to/19qfwsa]
- Sixteen reasons why dogs are nature's super-animal. [http://huff.to/1fphxL6]
- Explanations for some of the stranger things our bodies do. [http://bit.ly/16Bx8CL]
- How Lambeau Field keeps its grass green in winter. [http://bit.ly/1g6BwQ3]
@radleybalko: If the shutdown lasts into Monday, the National Zoo will begin starving the baby panda. They'll turn the camera back on so you can watch.
@ChrisHarrisKS: John Boehner should become a weatherman to shut this rain down, amirite?
@dceiver: Nobody leave town this weekend because you'll miss Mark Salter beating the piss out of Louis Gohmert in front of Blair House.
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