Tomorrow is Social Security's 80th birthday, so here's to another 80 years of paying old people not to work while threatening young people they'll have to work until they're 80. It turns out cavemen may have actually eaten carbs, a gaunt Jeb Bush discovered in his morning paper, its pages trembling in his veiny, shrunken hands. And Paul LePage's welfare drug testing regime has only caught one drug user so far, but LePage will do his best to really humiliate that one person. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 13th, 2015
AL GORE IS TIRED OF YOUR COLD WEATHER JOKES - Andrew Kaczynski, Evan McMorris-Santoro & Ben Smith: "Supporters of Al Gore have begun a round of conversations among themselves and with the former vice president about his running for president in 2016, the latest sign that top Democrats have serious doubts that Hillary Clinton is a sure thing. Gore, 67, won the popular vote in the 2000 election, and has been mentioned as a possible candidate in every contested Democratic primary since then. He instead spent much of the 2000s focused on environmental campaigning and business ventures… A member of Gore’s inner circle asked to be quoted 'pouring lukewarm water' -- not, note, cold water -- on the chatter.'" [BuzzFeed]
BUSH MAYBE OK WITH TORTURE? "Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he would leave the door open for resuming the use of torture by the U.S. government. Bush told an audience of Iowa Republicans on Thursday that he did not want to make a blanket statement about whether he would keep or repeal President Barack Obama's executive order banning so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the CIA." [AP]
DEATH PENALTY DEAD IN CONNECTICUT - Kim Bellware: "The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the state's death penalty is unconstitutional. The deeply divided court's 4-3 ruling will affect the 11 inmates currently on the state's death row. Lawmakers repealed the state's death penalty in 2012, but stipulated it only applied to future crimes. Plaintiffs in Thursday's case had argued the 2012 ban should also extend to prisoners already on death row. As a result of the ruling, the inmates’ sentences will be converted to life without parole." [HuffPost]
Jessica Schulberg and Ryan Grim report on the wobbly Democrats who could make or break Obama's Iran deal. Who are the shaky 15?
OR SKIP THE DEAL, GO STRAIGHT TO THE WAR - Schulberg: "Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings on Thursday became the latest Democrat to split with President Barack Obama over Iran, stating that he would not only vote down the nuclear agreement with the country, but would also draft an authorization to allow the U.S. to go to war with it to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons." [HuffPost]
BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR FREEDOM? Jeffrey Young reports on another area where the Affordable Care Act has turned out to be a BFD: "The Obamacare health insurance exchanges appear to be doing a good job when it comes to one of their most important yet underappreciated functions: offering a fallback option to people who lose their health coverage during the year. Already this year, almost half a million people have taken advantage of that safety net, a new government report shows. … On Thursday, the federal government for the first time released data suggesting Americans are taking advantage of this option. According to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, half of the 944,000 new enrollees on the federally run exchanges in 37 states between Feb. 23 and June 30 signed up because they'd lost their previous coverage." [HuffPost]
New research suggests cavemen ate carbs, contrary to the Paleo diet that Jeb Bush follows.
DEPENDS ON WHETHER THE RHINO CONTAINS OIL - President Barack Obama is traveling to Alaska later this month to visit the front lines of climate change, which he called "one of the greatest challenges we face this century" in a video posted Thursday… While environmental groups welcome Obama's visit to the Arctic -- the first by a sitting president -- they also point out that the administration has approved permits allowing Shell to drill for oil in the region, even as the president decries the effects of climate change, which is largely driven by the burning of fossil fuels… The prospect of drilling in the Arctic while promoting the need to protect it is "like shooting rhinos to save them," said Ben Schreiber, climate and energy program director at Friends of the Earth. [HuffPost]
The Washington Football Team has their first preseason game tonight.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SOCIAL SECURITY! May today's politicians find the same courage Ronald Reagan did to preserve future benefits by hiking taxes.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Alanna Durkin: "Gov. Paul LePage hailed drug screenings for certain welfare recipients as a way to protect taxpayer dollars. But since the program was launched a few months ago, only a handful of recipients have been ordered to take tests and most people who have lost their assistance have done so because they failed to show up, the administration said….Only one person tested positive for drugs and was stripped of benefits, the [Maine Department of Health and Human Services] said." [AP]
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BEN CARSON, ABORTED FETUS RESEARCHER - Igor Bobic: "Famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson says that most medical research can be conducted without using fetal tissue, which has been in the news recently after a series of secretly taped but edited videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing how to legally provide aborted tissue to researchers. He has called the benefits of such research 'over promised,' and has said the videos have made him wonder 'how far we have drifted in terms of our humanity.' But according to Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN and pain medicine physician, the Republican presidential candidate published a study with three other colleagues in 1992 that described using 'human choroid plexus ependyma and nasal mucosa from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.'" [HuffPost]
CARSON FIGHTS BACK… WITH NONSENSE! "You have to look at the intent," Carson told the Washington Post's Dave Weigel. "To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it." Thanks, Ben! [WashPost]
Carson on Fox News last month: "At 17 weeks, you’ve got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart’s beating."
SOMEBODY SAVE RAND PAUL FROM THIS FIGHT WITH DONALD TRUMP - He is not winning. Brett Logiurato: "Real-estate magnate Donald Trump did not take kindly to GOP presidential rival and Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Kentucky) attack ad on Trump's record. In response to the online ad, Trump released a lengthy statement on Wednesday that, among other things, called Paul a 'total mess,' noted his donation to a Paul-affiliated eye center, and trashed the senator's golf skills during a recent game they played together. 'Recently, Rand Paul called me and asked me to play golf. I easily beat him on the golf course and will even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics,' Trump said in the statement. 'Senator Paul does not mention that after trouncing him in golf I made a significant donation to the eye center with which he is affiliated.'" [Business Insider]
And good lord, in response to this Paul's campaign noted the golf game Trump won "was on his home course that he plays often." What a bloodbath!
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Enjoy this plague pit.
JEB BUSH: GOOD AT NETWORKING - IBTimes: "Four years out of office, Jeb Bush was acting as a paid consultant to a for-profit education company that makes its money helping universities offer online classes. Seeking to grow the business, the former Florida governor emailed an old associate who was now the president of Florida International University, a public university that was already paying Bush’s firm to operate its Internet-based MBA program. The profitability of his firm’s arrangement with the taxpayer-funded school 'warms my heart,' Bush wrote to FIU president Mark Rosenberg in 2011. 'How can we expand the relationship to other degree programs?'" [IBTimes]
Bernie Sanders is drawing bigger crowds than Howard Dean did leading up to the 2004 election.
COMFORT FOOD by @MattDRamos
@EmmaRoller: I just realized a cow made out of butter commands more political influence than I do
@HeerJeet: Everything gets gentrified. Even Sesame Street.
@JRehling: "I'm a patriot. I love America. I oppose all enemies of America."
"UT is moving the statue honoring Jefferson Davis."
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