HUFFPOST HILL – Snowboarding Pug Video (No Donettes, Though, Sorry)
Today is 4/20, when people smoke pot, or, as we’ve taken to calling it, “Andy Harris.” A local obituary included a request not to vote for Hillary Clinton, teeing up what will ultimately be history’s greatest/worst Vince Foster joke. And this year’s Pulitzer Prize recipients were announced. Although we weren’t awarded one, nowhere on the committee’s website did it say we *weren’t* awarded one. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, April 20th, 2015:
REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED
COLD *ANGRILY, IN POLITICO* – Until now, the senior Arizona senator’s acts of revenge were relegated mostly to his garage, where he’d stuff things that fell on his lawn into his wood chipper. Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim: “Sen. John McCain has an explanation for Obama administration appointees whose confirmation votes are languishing in the GOP-led Senate: It’s payback for Democrats using the so-called nuclear option to push through scores of nominations in the previous Congress. ‘I told ’em: ‘You jam them through, it’s going to be a long time before I approve of them,’’ McCain said, recounting what he told Democrats after they changed the rules in 2013 and confirmed dozens of lifetime judicial appointments and several high-profile Cabinet nominees. ‘It’s affected me as chairman of the Armed Services Committee.’ McCain did help shepherd Defense Secretary Ash Carter through confirmation — the only Cabinet nominee approved by the GOP Senate. Since then, the Arizona Republican has refused to move 10 civilian nominations that have landed in his committee” [Politico]
Happy 4/20, y’all
FIRST THEY ARRESTED ANNA, NOW THIS – The one downside to the Schock scandal is that it undoubtedly has scared off any lawmakers who were planning a “post-apocalyptic, “Walking Dead”-chic” makeover of their offices. Bridget Bowman: “Another staffer for ex-Rep. Aaron Schock has been served with a grand jury subpoena to testify as part of the investigation into the Illinois Republican’s spending. Shea Ledford formally notified Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, of the subpoena Monday afternoon as the House gaveled into its pro forma session. According to the Legistorm database, Ledford has served as a ‘district special assistant’ since April 2014. Ledford joins four other colleagues who have been called to testify in front of a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. As current House employees, they must abide by the House rule that stipulates they formally notify the speaker if served with a subpoena. The grand jury investigation follows Schock’s resignation from Congress after weeks of reports that he improperly spent his official funds. A campaign donor has also filed a class action lawsuit against the Illinois Republican, alleging Schock knowingly misled donors by touting himself as an ethical candidate.” [Roll Call]
CONGRATULATIONS TO JOURNALISTS – Monday: awards. Saturday: party with the president. In-between days: ink-stained truthseeking. Michael Calderone: “The New York Times came out ahead of its colleagues on Monday, receiving three Pulitzer Prizes, the top journalism honor awarded annually by Columbia University. Meanwhile, The Washington Post was honored for its coverage of the Secret Service’s security lapses, despite a major correction to one of its scoops on the subject.” [HuffPost]
Jack Shafer poops on the Pulitzers.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER – It was sunny all day and now it’s raining and there might even be a tornado in the D.C. area. Have a great commute home.
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CLINTON BREAKS WITH OBAMA ON ECONOMY – “Shame on you, Barack Obama” ::takes shot of whiskey beside 20 burly men in duck boots:: “Hillary Rodham Clinton has a dismal assessment of the U.S. economy. She says it’s ‘stalled out.’ Campaigning for president, Clinton toured a wood furniture factory in Keene, New Hampshire, on Monday. It’s her first visit to the early primary state since she launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. As she showed in Iowa last week, Clinton is highlighting struggles of ‘everyday Americans’ even if her remarks undercut the message of President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat who sees the economy in a brighter light. In Keene, Clinton said she came from a small-business family and the country needs to do more to help entrepreneurs. As she put it: ‘It’s not enough just to tread water.'” [AP]
Can you tell a margin of error to shut its trap? “Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) probably isn’t having the 2015 he hoped he would. A poll released Monday finds that Christie’s job approval rating has fallen to a record low among New Jersey voters. According to the Quinnipiac poll, only 38 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the job Christie is doing as governor. This represents an 8-point drop from January, as measured in an earlier Quinnipiac poll. A majority of voters expressed disapproval of Christie’s handling of education, the economy and the state budget. Christie’s approval score on this new survey is the lowest he has received on the Quinnipiac poll while he’s been in office, and the lowest approval rating for any governor in the nine states Quinnipiac has surveyed this year.” [HuffPost’s Janie Velencia]
SUPREME COURT HANDS VOTING RIGHTS ADVOCATES A WIN – Samantha Lachman: “The Supreme Court threw out a ruling from last year that upheld Republican-drawn congressional and state legislative districts on Monday, ordering North Carolina’s highest court to reconsider its decision that state legislators didn’t rely too heavily on race when drawing the district lines. The order directed the North Carolina Supreme Court to re-hear the case ‘in light of Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama,’ which also concerned redistricting and race. Critics of Alabama’s redistricting maps for the state legislature argued the plan aimed to diminish the preferences of black voters, who tend to vote for Democrats, at the polls. In late March, the Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s ruling backing the plan, calling the reasoning behind the decision ‘legally erroneous.’ For the North Carolina case, civil rights groups argued that Republican lawmakers drew districts after the 2010 census with the intent of marginalizing Democratic-leaning black voters. Republicans have defended the process, saying that the districts were designed to protect the state from legal claims under the federal Voting Rights Act. In 2014’s midterm elections, Republicans won 10 of the state’s 13 congressional seats, an improvement from four years earlier, when they won six seats and took control of both chambers of the state legislature.” [HuffPost]
JEB BUSH TO VISIT EUROPE – If there’s one family Europe loves, it’s the Bushes. Steve Holland: “Republican Jeb Bush will visit three U.S. allies, Germany, Poland and Estonia, in early June to get a first-hand view of European economic and security challenges as he explores a run for his party’s U.S. presidential nomination in 2016, a Bush aide said on Monday. Foreign policy has been growing in importance in the battle to determine President Barack Obama’s successor, with Republicans questioning Obama’s handling of the threat from Islamic State and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Bush’s visit gives him a chance to lay out his differences with Obama, a Democrat, particularly when it comes to NATO, with alliance members Poland and Estonia both watching events in Ukraine with alarm. Obama is legally barred from seeking a third term in the November 2016 election.” [Reuters]
Trail to the Chief is all about John Kasich: “A blue-collar guy with crossover appeal, he’s a Midwestern governor who (unlike Walker) knows national politics and D.C. Seems thoughtful and usefully conflicted; he could fizzle — or soar.” [HuffPost]
Joe Manchin is really solidifying his role as Harry Reid’s Jim Bunning. “Well first of all, Harry’s a good man,” Manchin said on “Morning Joe” this morning. “His leadership and the things he thought would work did not. So with that, you just move on.” You keep doing you, Joe!
FLAT TAX MAKING COMEBACK – Seeing as how the two reigning political dynasties from the 1990s and 2000s are about to go toe-to-toe, it makes sense that Steve Forbes’s favorite policy would suddenly come back. Bernie Becker: “Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have both floated an across-the-board tax rate as they’ve launched their 2016 presidential bids. Neither Cruz nor Paul has spelled out the exact details of their plan, but both senators clearly see the flat tax as a way to appeal to both free-market conservatives that advocate for broad-based tax cuts, and the Tea Party sympathizers concerned with government intrusion. ‘Moving to a simple flat tax and just padlocking the IRS — I think that is a powerful populist issue,’ Cruz said Friday on ‘The Adam Carolla Show.’ … The two candidates’ push for a flat tax allows them to capitalize on the growing conservative anger at the IRS. But it also shows the enduring popularity of supply-side economics among Republicans three decades after President Reagan was in office.” [The Hill]
AMERICANS LIKE WEED – Matt Ferner: “A majority of Americans support the legalization of recreational marijuana, according to a new poll from CBS News — and it’s the highest percentage in support since the news organization began asking the question in 1979. Just in time for 4/20, the annual marijuana holiday, CBS News released a poll showing 53 percent of Americans are in favor of marijuana legalization…Support for legalization is highest among younger, more left-leaning Americans, according to CBS, and while a majority of men favor legalization, women remain split on the issue.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here are some baby opossums.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, SEEK BENGHAZI TRUTHS – This story reminds us of that condemned man whose last words were “Pataki 2016!!!” NBC News: “A grandfather’s family asked mourners to honor his memory by not voting for Hillary Clinton. Larry Darrell Upright, 81, died at a hospital in Concord, North Carolina, last Monday, according to an obituary posted on a local funeral home’s website. It describes the father of two and grandfather of three as an ‘avid golfer’ and ‘loving’ man whose ‘greatest joy was his family.’ However, his relatives added an unusual request. ‘The family respectfully asks that you do not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016,’ the obituary concludes.” [NBC News]
– Snowboarding pug loves nothing more than some fresh powder.
– The world’s 12-spiciest cuisines.
– Who wouldn’t want to bathe in ramen noodles?
@Igorbobic: @BarackObama Happy 4/20!
@bendreyfuss: Pulitzer for best screenshot of a live-feed of a breaking news event
@TheStalwart: Who won the Pulitzer for best ‘Who won the Pulitzer for___?” joke?
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