POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Anti-Gun Votes Fail, Nation Readies Humor Defense Mechanisms For Next Mass Shooting

Muslim extremists? Disgruntled coworker? The post-tragedy period when the media most closely resembles Yahoo! Answers is still in effect. America's near-palpable sense of hopelessness over the ability fix all of this fell somewhere between “learning there is no Easter Bunny” and “just finished watching The Red Wedding.” And in a speech, Ben Carson sounded as if he were discussing Israel’s war on “Hummus.” It raised some eyebrows, but definitely scored points with the Council on Falafel Relations. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, December 3rd, 2015:

REQUISITE 'LOOK HOW BACKWARD THE GOP IS ON GUNS!' VOTES FAILS - Back to the hopes and prayers! Laura Barron-Lopez: "One day after 14 people were killed in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Senate Democrats tried to push votes on measures to strengthen gun control laws. In an effort to apply pressure on Republicans, Senate Democrats tried to change the focus of legislation aimed at repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood on the Senate floor Thursday. Their package would have stripped out the text of the underlying bill and replace it with three measures that would block individuals on terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns, expand existing gun background checks, and increase funding for mental health and treatment for substance abuse disorders…[the] amendment to bulk up funding for services treating mental illness and substance abuse disorders failed in a 47-52 vote...The measure blocking individuals suspected of terrorism from purchasing guns and explosives failed 45-54...Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted with Republicans against the amendment, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) joined Democrats in supporting it." [HuffPost]

MORE SHOW VOTES - Jen Bendery: "Senate Republicans overwhelmingly voted Thursday to defund Planned Parenthood, a purely symbolic effort that could come back to bite some of the party's moderates. The chamber spent all of Thursday debating a GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that included a provision to eliminate funding for the reproductive health care provider. Senators rejected two separate amendments to strip out that language. The first amendment, offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would have restored Planned Parenthood funding and created a $1 billion women's health care clinic safety fund, fully paid for by a new tax on millionaires. The chamber voted to table it, 54-46. The second amendment, offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), would have simply restored Planned Parenthood funding. The measure failed, 48-52." [HuffPost]

The Hill can fill you in on the rest of the Obamacare votes today.

HOUSE APPROVES HIGHWAY BILL - It's amazing how legislation seems to pass when not overloaded with riders keeping the world's neediest from coming to our shores. Keith Lang and Cristina Marcos: "The House overwhelmingly approved a five-year, $305 billion highway bill Thursday, advancing the first long-term national transportation spending package in a decade and cementing an early legislative achievement in the Speaker Paul Ryan era. The 359 -- 65 vote comes one day before federal infrastructure funding runs out, and sets up a likely Senate vote to pass the measure before Friday’s deadline. All dissenting votes were cast by Republican lawmakers. The White House has said that President Obama is planning to sign the bill." [The Hill]

DICK CHENEY BUSTED - Amanda Terkel: "The cold, stony visage of Dick Cheney will now forever greet visitors to the U.S. Capitol. On Thursday, Cheney's family unveiled the official bust of the former vice president, an honor afforded to all holders of the office. 'Every now and then, even in the distant future, someone will surely wander by the old Cheney bust, and even stop for a moment or two, trying to recollect something of the man and the era,' Cheney said during the unveiling ceremony Thursday." [HuffPost]

STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THAT AWFUL SHOOTING - Terrorist or not terrorist? Paige Lavender: "President Barack Obama spoke out on a shooting that left at least 14 people dead and 17 people injured in San Bernardino, California, saying, 'It is possible that this was terrorist-related, but we don't know.' 'We don't know at this point the extent of [the suspects'] plans. We do not know their motivations,' Obama said in a statement given from the Oval Office on Thursday. Obama said he's spoken with San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis about the incident and thanked law enforcement officers for their efforts." [HuffPost]

Here's the latest.

DELANEY DOWNER - Fifteen thousand people got kicked off food stamps in Wisconsin, but this isn't just a Scott Walker thing: Indiana discontinued SNAP benefits for 18,000 Hoosiers in November, and another 5,000 will get the boot this month, a spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration told The Huffington Post. More than 9,000 Maine residents had lost benefits as of March. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) announced plans to drop statewide waivers earlier this year." States are following federal law on denying benefits to able-bodied adults without children. [HuffPost]

Haircuts: Kriston Capps (h/t Jeffrey Young), Elise Foley (style change), Meghan Apfelbaum (h/t Eliot Nelson)

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GOP MOVES TO INCREASE RED TAPE - Maybe if a U.S. corporation tried to tax invert itself to Syria the GOP might be more welcoming. Elise Folely: "The House will vote next week on a bill to stiffen requirements for some foreign visitors to the U.S., an effort that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday should receive heavy bipartisan support. The bill targets the visa waiver program, which allows citizens of 38 countries to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without applying for a tourist visa -- a process that allows for some screening, but not as much as other foreigners receive. About 20 million visitors per year enter the U.S. through the program, according to the White House...The vote will come on the heels of last month's terrorist attacks in Paris, as the alleged ringleader and most of the attackers were citizens of western countries that are part of the visa waiver program. Under the bill, dual nationals from Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Iran -- and anyone who has traveled to those countries since March 1, 2011 -- would be excluded from the visa waiver program, but could still apply for a visa to visit the U.S." [HuffPost]

DONALD TRUMP ON THE JEWS ::READIES POPCORN:: - First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because socialists are total jokes and wouldn't know class if it bit them in the face. Eli Stokols: "Donald Trump didn't bother to suck up to Republican Jewish Committee board members Thursday morning. As only he could, the Republican poll-leader lightly insulted the audience with Jewish stereotypes -- and the crowd, if the laughter and energy in the room were any indication, ate it up. Trump suggested multiple times that the mostly Jewish audience was full of negotiators. 'I’m a negotiator like you folks,' he quipped as cameras flashed from around the room. He doubled down on that stereotype moments later. 'Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals?' Trump joked. 'Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.'" [Politico]

WE NEED A DIFFERENT KIND OF LEADER - Namely one who doesn't know anything. Reid Epstein: "After struggling for weeks to articulate his views on foreign policy, presidential candidate Ben Carson didn’t take any chances when addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition Thursday. The retired neurosurgeon read his 30-minute speech from notes, looking down at his lectern and not at the audience. He repeatedly botched the pronunciation of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, making it sound instead like the chickpea dish hummus -- all while impugning President Barack Obama’s understanding of the Middle East. Mr. Carson presented a starkly different candidate than he has throughout his campaign. He acknowledged the unusual nature of his speech-reading – saying it was because he wanted to make sure to discuss “all my points” without forgetting anything. But it was hardly a good look for Mr. Carson." [WSJ]

JON STEWART HEADS TO HILL TO SHAME LAWMAKERS -
Mike McAuliff: "Jon Stewart is back on Capitol Hill. And this time, he's angry. Stewart visited Congress in September to implore lawmakers to pass a permanent law to help Americans ailing from their service after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The law to help those people -- including more than 33,000 who are getting 9/11-related medical care -- was about to start expiring. With most members of the House and Senate already signed on as sponsors to a new bill that would do that, Stewart didn't see any rational reason the legislation wouldn't pass. Yet, it has not. It remains stalled amid the common congressional bickering and horse-trading that besets most lawmaking in the nation's Capitol these days. So Stewart returned to Washington on Thursday morning." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog who is a master thief.

RARE ACT OF SELF AWARENESS FROM NEW YORK POST - Kim Bellware: "The bad-idea factory known as The New York Post on Thursday changed the headline on its front page from 'MURDER MISSION' to the significantly more inflammatory 'MUSLIM KILLERS,' both referring to the San Bernardino, California, shooting on Wednesday. The original headline appeared on newsstands Thursday morning as well as online, and was preserved in the Newseum's archive of front-page newspapers. The headline was later changed, and 'MUSLIM KILLERS' appeared online as of early Thursday afternoon....The Post's rival, The New York Daily News, went a different direction with its cover Thursday, slamming politicians who simply send 'thoughts and prayers' after shootings rather than take action to reform gun laws...The Daily News' decision to blame lax gun laws and opportunistic politicians rather than a religious group appears to have paid off: A Gawker breakdown showed that the Daily News' cover got more than 40 times as many shares on Facebook as the Post's. " [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Adele's "Hello" sung by the movies.

- A guitar made of cardboard

- Beer and exercise are friends.

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: over a dozen people are dead because of guns but yeah we should totally be worrying about "prayer shaming" great thanks

@elisefoley:
Summary:
Reporters: Do you know why they did this?
FBI: We do not know.
Reporters: But do you know?
FBI: No
Reporters: Give a guess maybe?

@MEPFuller: Pretty sure Paul Ryan derives *at least* half of his power from his beard. At least half.

Probably three-quarters.

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