Things we learned today: We're spending more money on lobbying than ever before. Dick Durbin isn't Tim Geithner's biggest fan. There are holes in the Dodd-Lincoln derivatives amendment. Ladies make John Edwards light up like a Christmas tree. Also, Floridians love animals...no they REALLLLY love animals. This is HUFFPOST HILL for April 29th, 2010:
IMMIGRATION BILL ON DECK - We're declaring a moratorium on reporting whether Harry Reid will bring climate change or immigration reform to the Senate floor first until one of them is actually filed. This evening, as HuffPost Hill went to press, Reid was joined by Charles Schumer, Bob Menendez, Dick Durbin, Pat Leahy and Dianne Feinstein to announce the outlines of a Democratic immigration bill. There's no telling if or when it'll hit the floor.
TEA PARTY ALERT: DEM BILL WOULD CREATE NATIONAL ID - The outline is tough. Really tough. And it includes a national ID, which they call "biometric social security cards." From the summary of the bill: "These cards will be fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear resistant, and machine-readable social security cards containing a photograph and an electronically coded micro-processing chip which possesses a unique biometric identifier for the authorized card-bearer."
The Dem plan includes sanctions on employers and spends money on thousands of new border patrol and drug-war agents, helicopters -- black ones, no doubt -- unmanned drones and the "installation of high-tech ground sensors throughout the southern border and for equipping all border patrol officers with the technological capability to respond to activation of the ground sensors in the area they are patrolling." After the guns comes a little bit of butter: a possible pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 10.8 million people here without documentation. The bill would create "a broad-based registration program that requires all illegal immigrants living in the U.S. to come forward to register, be screened, and, if eligible, complete other requirements to earn legal status, including paying taxes." The full summary (pdf): http://bit.ly/9FPeaz
OIL SLICK FAST APPROACHING LOUISIANA COAST - AP lede right now: "The edge of a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was expected to reach the Mississippi River delta by Thursday night and a new technique to break up the oil a mile underwater could be tried, officials said." http://huff.to/aKTMhp NOAA says the oil released is light-to-medium crude, different than Valdez spill, and will hit shore as "mats or strings or tar balls."
EXCLUSIVE: "The massive gush of oil spilling from the site of the rig that exploded last week exceeds the worst-case scenario predicted by oil giant BP when it filed its exploration plan with the government," HuffPost's Marcus Baram reports. "Yesterday, the estimated size of the spill quintupled to over 210,000 gallons a day. In BP's exploration plan, which allowed it to avoid filing a more detailed site-specific plan, the company outlined a worst-case scenario of 162,000 gallons a day." http://huff.to/dtFRPJ
WH energy/climate adviser Carol Browner today on POTUS's offshore drilling plan: "Obviously, what's occurring now will also be taken into consideration as the administration looks to how to advance that plan and what makes sense and what might need to be adjusted. We need to learn from the incident."
MORE... Nelson to introduce anti-drilling measure. Bill Nelson isn't even letting the crude touch down. In a letter to President Obama, the Florida Democrat signaled he will introduce a bill suspending plans to expand offshore drilling. http://bit.ly/904ek9
BUT... Mary Landrieu took to Senate floor today to warn that the response to the spill shouldn't be to limit off-shore drilling. It's more dangerous to bring oil in by tanker than to drill for it here, she said, adding, "I am not saying that to minimize this disaster."
TONIGHT on HuffPost: Rep. Charlie Melancon's dispatches from the Louisiana Gulf coast, checking out the damage first-hand.
(Quote that will haunt Robert Gibbs, from last week: "The president still continues to believe the great majority of [offshore drilling] can be done safely, securely and without any harm to the environment" http://bit.ly/9EX5fL)
CRIST MAKES IT OFFICIAL - From the speech before a not-terribly-excited crowd in St. Pete: "The easy thing for me would have been to run for re-election as governor, but for me it's never been about doing what is easy.... I haven't supported an idea because it's a Republican idea or Democratic idea. I support ideas because they are good ideas for the people."
HOUSE BILL TO BREAK UP BANKS - Brad Miller (D-N.C.) is gathering cosponsors for the SAFE Banking Act, which would limit the size of banks and require existing big ones to break themselves up.
STAGGERING LOBBY SPENDING - Over $900 million was spent on lobbying between January 1 and March 31 -- that's $19 million every day, larger than overall lobbying expenses in three out of four quarters last year, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics report. 2010 is on course to be the most lucrative year yet for lobbying industry. http://bit.ly/cyddVK
EXCLUSIVE: GUEST LIST FOR HADDAD-ROSEN BRUNCH - Eric Cantor, Eric Holder, Rupert Murdoch, John Cusack and Kathryn Bigelow will join a crowd of several hundred at Tammy Haddad's annual pre-White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday brunch, cohosted by Hilary Rosen and Susan Axelrod to benefit Axelrod's anti-epilepsy foundation. http://bit.ly/czuHzb
DURBIN VS. GEITHNER - No. 2 Senate Democrat became the highest-ranking member of his party to publicly question the administration's efforts to help struggling homeowners, HuffPost's Shahien Nasiripour reports. Durbin told TreasSec Tim Geithner at a hearing this afternoon that his proposed changes to the widely-criticized 'HAMP' foreclosure program "won't be implemented until the fall, and may be too little, too late." http://huff.to/c7tEiB
RIELLE HUNTER ON OPRAH - Take it all in: "We noticed each other. There was a mutual staring going on. it was just a connection..." Then Edwards saw her on the street "and he lit up. He was just so excited. Just lit up like a Christmas tree. Bright as can be. And I just turned to him and said, 'You're so hot.' And he practically jumped in my arms." Hunter never doubted that Edwards was the father of her child because she was not seeing anyone else and they "never used birth control." After Elizabeth found out about the relationship, "He calls me back a little later saying that it's over. We're done. I assumed that she was standing there when he said that and he was in a traumatic state. His worlds had just collided. And he hung up the phone. I didn't cry. I had the thought, 'What do you mean we're over? We're just getting started." ... "There is a sex tape... I don't think there was a lot of thought going on in the heat of the moment. It was a -- you know, something behind closed doors that was private and I believe should remain private."
Video lowlights: http://huff.to/9Jifj4
YOU ARE FORECLOSING ON RED ROOF INN - Well, not exactly you, but the Federal Reserve is foreclosing on a bunch of Red Roof Inns that it acquired from a collapsing Bear Stearns, Debt Wire is reporting. Pdf: http://bit.ly/bP1GtE
FINAL UK DEBATE - Wrap-up from BBC, which moderated: "Gordon Brown has made a plea to voters not to risk change as he sought to salvage Labour's election campaign in the final TV debate before polling day. The Labour leader, whose party is third in many opinion polls, warned against a Tory and Lib Dem coalition which would put 'at risk' economic recovery. David Cameron said Mr Brown was trying to 'scare' voters and the Tories could deliver the 'change we need'. Nick Clegg urged voters to "choose the future you really want'. BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said the debate had no clear winner, but after the events of the past 48 hours the momentum entering the final week of the campaign appeared to be with Mr Cameron." http://bit.ly/bOukib
LATE-BREAKING TECH NEWS - Email release: "Wired.com has identified the person who found and sold an Apple iPhone prototype. Brian J. Hogan, a 21-year-old resident of Redwood City, California says although he was paid by tech site Gizmodo, he believed the payment was for allowing the site exclusive access to review the phone. Gizmodo emphasized to him 'that there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press,' according to his attorney Jeffrey Bornstein. Wired.com discovered that Hogan was the finder of the prototype by following clues on social network sites, and then confirmed his identity with a source involved in the iPhone find." http://bit.ly/9s3db4
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org
2010 TREND - WaPo's Garance Franke-Ruta: "Record numbers of GOP women campaigning for House seats" http://bit.ly/bvcbMk
DEBATE BEGINS ON FINANCIAL REFORM, FOR REAL - It's here! It's here! After three days of unending obstinacy from Senate Republicans, the upper chamber began debate on financial reform with a great big helping of meh. The proceedings began with a whole lot of back patting and consideration of a derivatives amendment introduced by Chris Dodd and Blanche Lincoln. Debate is expected to stretch for over two weeks, with the objective of passing a bill by mid-May. http://bit.ly/bEDFRd
HOLES IN DERIVATIVES AMENDMENT? - AlterNet calls into question the efficiency of the Dodd-Lincoln amendment: "Lincoln would have banned any derivatives that constitute outright gambling. Some derivatives help companies hedge risks, but others are just straightforward bets that a Las Vegas bookie could set up for you. This is the kind of trading that got Goldman Sachs into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission...The biggest source of trouble with derivatives is the fact that the entire market operates in secret. Banks trade with each other, and that's the end of it. Nobody else in the market verifies the trade, and no regulator supervises it...
"Lincoln's bill required central clearing for almost every derivatives trade, and the Dodd-Lincoln mash-up includes that language. Unfortunately, it also includes a brief section that completely undercuts that new rule (for wonks, its Section 739, paragraphs A and B). Under the current bill, there is no penalty for anybody who fails to centrally clear their trades--even though the bill labels this activity illegal. What's more, even though this behavior is illegal, the trade itself is still valid. In other words, banks are required to bring their trading into the open. But if they don't shed light on their trades, nothing will happen to them. I wonder what banks will choose." http://bit.ly/8YE6c0
FRIGHTENING PENTAGON REPORT: AFGHAN TALIBAN GETTING STRONGER - LA Times' Julian E. Barnes writes, "A Pentagon report presented a sobering new assessment Wednesday of the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, saying that its abilities are expanding and its operations are increasing in sophistication, despite recent major offensives by U.S. forces in the militants' heartland. The report, requested by Congress, portrays an insurgency with deep roots and broad reach, able to withstand repeated U.S. onslaughts and to reestablish its influence, while discrediting and undermining the country's Western-backed government." http://bit.ly/a2V6gV
Full Pentagon report (pdf): http://bit.ly/bs8sUx -- Central Asia analyst Joshua Foust tweets, "Page 129 of this document succinctly summarizes why we will lose the war in Afghanistan" http://bit.ly/9LCrl2
SCOTUS WATCH: KAGAN ENDORSED HOT-BUTTON BUSH NOMINEES - HuffPost's Sam Stein: "The current Solicitor General and leading choice for the Supreme Court signed her name to letters of recommendation for two controversial Bush picks: Peter Keisler, the co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society whose various nominations were blocked in the Senate; and Michael McConnell, a conservative law professor who was nominated and confirmed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.In offering her support, Kagan explained that she did not agree with every aspect of the respective nominee's jurisprudence, merely the character and integrity they brought to the bench. Several prominent progressive figures and many academics made similar assessments." http://huff.to/dw32cB
CONAN BLASTS LENO - Early peek at Conan O'Brien's first post-NBC interview on Sunday's 60 Minutes: 'He went and took that show back and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed, I know-- I know me, I wouldn't have done that,' O'Brien says. 'If I had surrendered The Tonight Show and handed it over to somebody publicly and wished them well-- and then...six months later. But that's me, you know. Everyone's got their own, you know, way of doing things,' he tells Kroft. Asked by Kroft what he would have done, O'Brien says, 'Done something else, go someplace else. I mean, that's just me.'"
GRAHAM: "I CARE EQUALLY ABOUT IMMIGRATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE" - Ezra Klein spoke with Lindsey Graham, who has been in the center of the Senate scheduling kerfuffle: "I care equally about immigration and climate change. But if you stack them together this year you'll compromise climate and energy. You'll compromise my ability to get votes on climate change. When I told everyone I would do climate, in fact, I was assured we also wouldn't be doing immigration. And on immigration, Arizona has made comprehensive reform very difficult this year. And the manner in which it's coming up, where Sen. Reid brings it up at a rally because he's down 15 points in Nevada, is bad for immigration reform." http://bit.ly/d5H7la
DEPORTING-YER-OFFSPRING WATCH, DAY SIX - Despite the best efforts of Duncan Hunter, American-born children are not being deported...YET.
DOJ TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST ARIZONA? - High-ranking officials in the Obama administration think the DOJ should get litigious on Arizona for its take-no-prisoners by taking-a-lot-of-prisoners immigration law. From WaPo's Markon and Kornblut: "'The president had strong words to say and the attorney general had strong words to say,' said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no decision has been made. 'Considering that it's signed into law, and Arizona is doing a lot of pomp and circumstance, do you see a friendly way out of this?' A key legal ground being considered, officials said, is the doctrine of 'preemption -- arguing that the state's law illegally intrudes on immigration enforcement, which is a federal responsibility." http://bit.ly/cikV7L
GRIJALVA IN HUFFPOST: "Turning immigrants into scapegoats for every social and economic setback is not what America should be about. The new Arizona law has introduced the unspoken word 'race' into the debate. By promoting racial profiling as a legal tool, it has effectively unmasked a very real motivation for some people to oppose meaningful immigration reform," writes Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona in HuffPost this evening.
OH, AND ONE MORE THING DUNCAN HUNTER... - If they're American citizens, would foreign countries even be required to take the kids? If not, would we just jail them?
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's Darius, the world's largest rabbit: http://bit.ly/8Z8QfM
OBAMA TO FILL FED BOARD OF GOVERNORS VACANCIES - Today the President formally nominated Janet Yellen to fill the number two spot at the Fed and also proposed Peter Diamond and Sara Bloom Raskin for board vacancies. HuffPost Hill says this at the risk of tanking their nominations, but we really like Diamond and Raskin. Yellen kinda blew it on the housing bubble, the biggest economic-management blunder in decades, but she says she's learned from it. And if you're not convinced yet on Raskin, let's leave it at this: She lives in Takoma Park.
- Floridians can't stop schtupping animals and now a legislator there is trying to ban bestiality...for the second time. http://bit.ly/9NHh24
- Never-before-published images of Hitler's bunker. http://bit.ly/cRhieL
- "How I Met Your Motherboard" compiles peoples' stories of their first computer experiences. http://bit.ly/cFFaI7
- The worst American oil spills. http://huff.to/bB8iFX
- Why do these khakis cost $500? http://nyti.ms/9ADPDa
- The most bizarre beauty treatments. http://bit.ly/cdMPiJ
- From the makers of the Snuggie comes the Spankie. Complete with easy access for...um... http://bit.ly/cStNUx
@billmaher: Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty
@HeardontheHill: @repaaronschock is the fastest House Member (by just one second!) but @johnthune reigns as quickest in Congress. http://bit.ly/ao1LMx
@AmanpourCNN: Walking on set for my last live program at CNN [EDITOR'S NOTE: :( ]
@DavidCornDC: Just got an email from Ban Ki-Moon saying there's $8.5m for me in a bank account. Wow. Why do people hate the UN? http://bit.ly/bWOCbg
@hillhulse: now on twitterverse; hope don't regret it. Will try to provide scooplets and not shame NYT. http://bit.ly/cpxdGJ
@FishbowlDC: HuffPost Introduces the Badge System: Want to unleash your inner hall monitor? Now you can, with HuffPost Badge... http://bit.ly/aDh05B
Tom Coburn and Sherrod Brown were on Ratigan. Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek was on the Situation Room and Hardball. Ed Schultz talked immigration with Xavier Becerra and financial reform with Debbie Stabenow. Bob Menendez weighs in on immigration on Olbermann.
"Avatar" director James Cameron joins Mark Warner and OPM Director John Berry on the American Federation of Government Employees' "Inside Government" radio show at 10am (1500 AM in D.C.). Bill Halter talks about his primary challenge to Blanche Lincoln on the Rundown.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Renown chef and "Top Chef Masters" contestant Marcus Samuelsson will give a free cooking demo at Macy's tonight [Macy's, 1201 G Street NW].
7:00 PM: Crank the glamor to 11 tonight at a star-studded, WHCD Week gala. "The Celebration of the American Spirit Gala" will feature performances by the Creative Coalition which will highlight the need to preserve American cultural heritage. All this is, of course, society-speak for "Holy shit, it's the dude from Entourage!" Expect your typical coterie of B list-ish WHCD guests including Adrian Grenier, Ashley Greene, Dana Delaney, Marlon Wayans, Spike Lee, Tim Daly, Richard Schiff, Wendie Malick, Tom Fontana, Patricia Arquette, Cheryl Hines, Steven Weber, Omar Epps, Wilmer Valderrama, Chazz Palminteri, Barry Levinson, Dan Glickman and Hilary Rosen.
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Some of D.C.'s most prominent figures will assemble this evening to test their trivia chops at the second annual "Political Pursuit." Dana Bash, Jonathan Karl, Chuck Todd and Judy Woodruff rep the broadcast news team. Chris Cillizza, Jay Newton-Small, Stuart Rothenberg and Karen Tumlty suit up for print media. Sherrod Brown, Tom Davis, Roger Wicker and another official to be named later hold it down for the congressional team. RSVP: http://bit.ly/12kR8T [DAR, 1776 D Street, NW].
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm: If a party for the "Young Consultants of DC" makes you throw up in your mouth, wash it down with some half-priced drinks [The Muse, 717 6th Street NW].
7:00 pm: Kitty Kelley discusses her new Oprah biography [Tysons Corner Center, 7851 L. Tysons Corner Center, McLean].
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