HUFFPOST HILL - MAY 6, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.
Get HuffPost Hill FIRST, before anyone else. Sign up here to receive it by email (mobile-friendly).
A day of turbulence and flux across the globe. Markets oscillated wildly as Greece tried to balance its checkbook. Britons went to the polls to decide who will lead America's closest ally...But let us take comfort in those doggedly consistent things: Just hours after the Dow plunged, an "I survived the crash of 2:45 pm" t-shirt went on sale. This is HUFFPOST HILL for May 6th, 2010:
FLASH: OIL REACHES SHORE - "Oil from the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has washed ashore on barrier islands near Louisiana for the first time despite BP's cleanup efforts... oil washed up on the Chandeleur Islands of Louisiana..." http://bit.ly/devd3L
AND: "The Obama administration took the first concrete steps Thursday to make good on its pledge to halt new offshore drilling projects, suspending the approval process for new wells off of the Virginia coast." http://bit.ly/bfdrOW
EXCLUSIVE: HUFFPOST HILL INTERVIEW WITH HARRY REID - The Majority Leader sat down with HuffPost Hill today. A few excerpts:
On the Brown-Kaufman amendment to break up big banks and limit their size: "It's going to come up. I'll make sure it comes up...From what I know about it I'll vote for it."
On Bernie Sanders' Fed audit amendment: "I'll support it."
On Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer's whisper campaign for his job: "They're both close personal friends and neither one of them would do anything to hurt me personally. So I feel about them like I do the Stanley Cup. I could care less. Don't follow it."
DOW PLUNGES NEARLY 10% -- GREECE FEARS OR *TYPO*? - You can bet people care now. In a few turbulent moments that echoed the 2008 crash, the Dow dropped nearly 1,000 points before partially rebounding as investors' anxieties over Greece's debt-control measures bubbled to the surface. Fears were stoked by reports from Athens where thousands took to the streets in opposition to the country's severe austerity measures. The images of unruly protests lead many observers to question the feasibility of Greece's belt-tightening. Global markets also suffered as weary investors wondered how the unrest could affect the eurozone. Treasury bonds skyrocketed as investors looked to calm their nerves and oil-barrel-filled-with-burning-trash futures shot up as hobos sought to sure up their portfolios. http://huff.to/9BwjJW
CNBC reports 'TRADING ERROR' caused crash: "According to multiple sources, a [Citigroup] trader entered a 'b' for billion instead of an 'm' for million in a trade possibly involving Procter & Gamble, a component in the Dow." http://huff.to/bXXjAu
Business Insider's Henry Blodget on Twitter: "Not buying that 'typo' caused crash. 15-mo rally has been miraculous, way ahead of fundamentals. Markets do just crash."
Watch the most exciting four minutes in CNBC history: http://huff.to/arFvlW
Fox News' Neil Cavuto: "We simply have no money. The world has no money. And right now the emperor has no clothes."
LA Times: "The current crisis couldn't have come at a worse time for an administration that was waiting for Friday's jobless numbers, expected to show job growth but only a slight change in the overall rate. Any positive sign on the employment front would have been helpful since polls show that the economy and jobs issues remain the overwhelmingly top issues in this midterm election year. That good news could easily be swamped by the Greece crisis, which hurt stocks and sent voters' antennae quivering." http://bit.ly/aOEtPp
BE A PART OF HISTORY - "I survived the crash of 2:45 pm" t-shirts are already on sale here: http://bit.ly/avbS1H
AGREEMENT REACHED ON SANDERS' FED AUDIT MEASURE - An effort to audit the Fed, which has been underway for years, took a big step closer to passage this afternoon when Sen. Chris Dodd said on the floor that he would cosponsor the amendment from Sen. Bernie Sanders, though with modifications. Sanders had been negotiating a compromise with the Federal Reserve to come to an agreement on how broadly the audit powers would extend.
Sanders, on the Senate floor, hinted at the agreement. It "would allow the GAO to conduct a top-to-bottom audit of all of the Federal Reserve's emergency lending activities since December 1, 2007. In addition, the modifications require the Fed to put on its Web site all of the recipients of over $2 trillion in emergency assistance since December 1, 2007." If the amendment limits the audit only to emergency lending, the GAO would be barred from looking at the Fed's foreign central bank swaps and its purchasing of mortgage debt from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which is considered part of open market operations and not emergency lending. Text of the altered amendment (pdf): http://bit.ly/aLVtRm
White House now SUPPORTS the measure. Bloomberg's Lizzie O'Leary tweets: "Administration now on board with revised Sanders #finreg amendment. Neal Wolin statement says it 'strikes the appropriate balance.'" http://bit.ly/c6FoW8
Progressive Change Campaign Committee set up a Web site -- NoMoreLooting.com - which sent 2,200 calls to senators asking them to back Sanders and gathered 17,500 signatures in support. (A little math says 15,300 people supported it, but not enough to pick up the damn phone.)
Ron Paul camp not satisfied: "Stay tuned, we are coming out hard against."
HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT - As we go to press, Kay Hagan is getting buttonholed by payday lending lobbyists from ACE Cash Express just off the Senate floor, HuffPost's Arthur Delaney notes.
** Note to staffers: Senate's in session tomorrow.
WHITE HOUSE COOL ON LIEBERMAN CITIZENSHIP BILL - "I have not heard anybody inside the administration who is supportive of that," Robert Gibbs told reporters, regarding the Lieberman bill (now co-sponsored by Sen. Scott Brown) to strip citizenship of terrorism suspects. http://huff.to/asYHzJ
SHELBY CONSUMER PROTECTION MEASURE FAILS - An amendment to water down a proposed consumer protection agency failed in the senate today 61-38. It wasn't even close to a serious attempt. Bob Corker conceded yesterday it had zero chance of passing.
KERRY: GRAHAM WILL VOTE ON CLIMATE MEASURE - "Of Graham, Kerry said: 'He's going to vote for the bill' regardless of whether he's at the unveiling. Graham walked away from the group after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested immigration reform would go before climate change this year." From Roll Call: http://bit.ly/9OoEix
U.K. GOES TO THE POLLS - Britons voted today in a closely watched contest that may result in the first non-Labour government in nearly fifteen years. Last-minute surveys showed Conservative Prime Minister candidate David Cameron with a several point lead over current PM and Labour candidate Gordon Brown and the Liberal Democrat's Nick Clegg.
BBC exit polls: You know you want to look (and you SHOULD know that these are probably wrong) -- but here they are: Conservatives: 307; Labour: 255; Liberal Democrats: 59.
**Lib Dem message: Don't trust the exit polls. Tories (in private): disappointed with what they're seeing, thought they'd get more seats.**
If no party can attain an absolute majority, the U.K will have its first hung parliament since 1974. Check out this election 101 from the Christian Science Monitor to find out what that would entail: http://bit.ly/aeKCWK
JUST IN: MCCAIN STRUGGLING IN SENATE POLL - A new Research 2000/Daily Kos poll just dropped -- highlights: McCain is under 50 percent in his primary race, leading J.D. Hayworth 48-36 (was 52-37 in March)... Latino support for GOP candidates has evaporated. McCain received 74% of Latino vote in 2004, 40% in 2008. In this latest poll, he gets only 10 percent of Latinos. All other Republicans polled are in the mid-single digits with Latino voters... Democrat Terry Goddard leads Gov. Jan Brewer 48-42, and all other Republicans by double digits." Full poll, including interesting immigration law numbers: http://bit.ly/aRFroo
MORE 2010 NEWS - Palin bucks Tea Party, endorses Fiorina in CA-Sen http://huff.to/d5sGgi ... Bill Halter nearly doubles Blanche Lincoln in April fundraising http://bit.ly/dcTfNe ... Bizarre NRSC ad featuring a shirtless Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher pulled from YouTube http://huff.to/9YfOVJ
True/Slant's Michael Roston finds Democrats who voted no on health care reform are no more likely to be reelected. http://bit.ly/bMQECO
HOLDER DEFENDS MIRANDIZING SHAHZAD - Eric Holder defended the reading of rights to Faisal Shahzad this afternoon before a Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. "As we've seen in prior investigations, the giving of Miranda warnings has not deterred people from talking to us, and Mr. Shahzad is continuing to cooperate with us," he said. http://bit.ly/cz7S0n
MORE: ABC News reports that Shahzad "had a web of jihadist contacts that included big names tied to terror attacks in the U.S. and abroad, including the figure who has emerged as a central figure in many recent domestic terror attempts - radical American-born Muslim cleric Anwar Awlaki," who had communicated with the Fort Hood shooter. http://bit.ly/d0ARVT
TOMORROW IN ROLL CALL - John Stanton and Jennifer Bendery on female senators pushing for another woman on the Supreme Court. Sen. Mary Landrieu: "We've had what, three women in the whole history of the country? We're more than 50 percent of the population." http://bit.ly/d6r92r
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com
LABOR DEPT: ECONOMY SLOWLY RECOVERING - Some uplifting news stateside as the Labor Department announced employers will likely increase hiring. Kos breaks down the stats: "[T]he GDP (subject to revisions) is at 3.2%, which is encouraging considering where it was last year at this time and where it would no doubt be if those who tried to squelch the stimulus package had had their way. But it's far less than where the GDP was at this stage in the recovery from the early 1980s recession...On the other hand, the manufacturing index is up, way up, having risen for many months in a row, and now registering at the highest level in six years. Likewise, retail sales are up. But they seem to be weakening. That may be because so much of the spending is coming from savings and soon-to-be cut off government benefits, an unsustainable path to prosperity. Pending home sales have increased. But personal bankruptcies are up. Enough, you get the picture. Lumpy." http://bit.ly/bv1QUt
REID TALKS TOUGH ON WALL ST - The man who just yesterday accused Republicans of making tender love to Wall Street is breaking out a legislative ball gag. In an interview with HuffPost Hill, the Majority Leader said he is ready to support amendments that would break up megabanks and cap their size and will support an audit of the Federal Reserve. "'Reid's support gives a major boost to two amendments that have surged in the past few days and are now within a shot of passage. Brown-Kaufman is "among the most deeply dreaded by Wall Street,' the New York Times wrote Thursday. Reid's backing gives Brown-Kaufman two powerful backers. On Tuesday, Reid second in command, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), said on the Senate floor he was backing the measure." http://huff.to/aX2Ol6
HuffPost pinpoints this post-crash, pre-midterm period as an ideal interlude for significant financial reform: "[W]ith Reid trailing in his bid for reelection, he has little to gain by defending the financial industry against the tide of public opinion. His number two, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), came out Tuesday in favor of a far-reaching amendment that would break up big banks and cap their size. And his number three, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), has infuriated Wall Street by largely remaining silent as his traditional backers are slain day after day. Schumer's allies told New York magazine that his silence is strategic, and that any full-throated defense of Wall Street only emboldens those on the attack. Wall Street's lobbyists have largely absorbed the same lesson and have, to an unusual degree, stepped back from the field. That leaves an alliance of progressives and traditionally conservative Republicans with varying motivations unusually close to something resembling victory." http://huff.to/c3h6Ln
PAULSON, GEITHNER APPEAR BEFORE FCIC - Treasury Secretaries past and present appeared before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). Bush Treasury chief Henry Paulson urged the committee to reform the derivatives trade, the securitization process, the credit rating agencies and to lessen the reliance on megabanks. "Our financial system cannot move forward without fortifying the weak parts of its infrastructure," Paulson told the FCIC. http://huff.to/9mvHKu
Tim Geithner told the committee that the recession could have been less severe had the government acted quicker to contain the financial crisis. "I do not believe we were powerless," Geithner said. "I would say that if the government of the United States had moved more quickly to put in place better-designed constraints on risk-taking ... then this would have been less severe." He added that regulators lacked the authority to properly address the situation. http://bit.ly/aaG7AM
SCHUMER TO ARIZONA: HOLD OFF ON IMPLEMENTATION - Chuck Schumer sent Jan Brewer a letter requesting the Arizona Governor postpone implementation of her state's strict immigration law for one year. Schumer reasoned it would give lawmakers in Washington time to formulate and pass comprehensive federal immigration reform. "I cannot agree more that urgent federal action is necessary this year to address our broken immigration system -- which currently produces an unsustainable situation where thousands of people cross our southern border illegally each day. I fully appreciate that, as governor of Arizona, you felt duty-bound to take action to address the security concerns in your state," wrote Schumer. http://bit.ly/92e29Q
RUBIO BACKTRACKS ON ARIZ. BILL This as Marco Rubio, who previously slammed the Arizona legislation, rescinded his criticism. Jason Linkins breaks it down: "Rubio, citing 'changes' to the law that he clearly doesn't really understand, is now fine with the law, and is back marching in lockstep... A lot has been said about these changes, and one aspect that has just gone straight up under-reported is the fact that one of the changes vastly expands the scope of circumstances that allow Arizona police to ask for proof of legal citizenship. Per Andrea Nill at WonkRoom: 'However, the legislature also implemented a third change that some call 'frightening.' As part of the amended bill, a police officer responding to city ordinance violations would also be required to determine the immigration status of an individual they have reasonable suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant.'"
As legislators debate, a collective of the nation's top Hispanic, civil rights and labor groups began their boycott of Arizona. Along with pulling their own resources and support from the state, organizers hope others will follow suit. Already Major League Baseball, whose players association is 40 percent Hispanic, has come out against the law. Many municipal and state governments, including Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, are doing the same. The boycott is headed by La Raza, the country's largest Hispanic civil rights group. http://bit.ly/aF4wZT
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a monkey making out with a cat: http://bit.ly/a3vrbM
LEGISLATORS UNVEIL DOMESTIC TERRORIST EXPATRIATION BILL - Sens. Lieberman and Scott Brown introduced a measure that would allow the State Department to strip accused terrorists of their citizenship. From the bill summary: "The Terrorist Expatriation Act would simply add another category to the list of acts for which a U.S. national would lose his nationality, namely: providing material support or resources to a Foreign Terrorist Organization, as designated by the Secretary of State, or actively engaging in hostilities against the United States or its allies." In the House, Jason Altmire and Charlie Dent introduced the bill.
NEW POLL SHOWS SUPPORT FOR OBAMA'S BP RESPONSE - Apparently the public doesn't think the oil spill is Obama's Katrina. In a new Rasmussen survey, only 26% of respondents say the president is doing a "poor" job handling the BP slick. http://bit.ly/bHLTz5
MICHAEL BROWN UPDATE - Speaking of Katrina, Andy Barr and Patrick Gavin profiled the former FEMA chief and the Gulf Coast's favorite four letter word. "Have any former Bushies called him to ask him to stay off the airwaves and keep Katrina out of the news cycle? 'No, I wish they would -- so I could tell them to shove it,' he said." http://bit.ly/cXQh7s
Curious which representative speaks on the floor the most? Why it's none other than Ted Poe. Sheila Jackson-Lee comes a distant second. http://bit.ly/dxaFsp
JOE THE PLUMBER UPDATE - Sarah Palin isn't Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher's top choice for 2012. The unlicensed plumbing politico wants Herman Cain, a Georgia talk radio host, to get in the race. http://bit.ly/cM3T3a
- Turns out humans did it with neanderthals and some of us still carry caveman DNA. http://bit.ly/9b4947
- For those of you in Arizona who don't want to get profiled, try the "Deprofiler." http://bit.ly/cX2h6q
- A 24-year-old won $1 million for throwing a perfect game...in a video game. http://bit.ly/cttk5t
- A collection of pipe cleaner art. http://bit.ly/bjvqLC
- The most outrageous responses to the oil spill. http://huff.to/9z12qH
- The five greatest pranks of all time. http://bit.ly/cQ4zGx
- A raid on a Mexican drug cartel yielded these diamond-studded weapons. http://bit.ly/dopGI1
- Stick + pickle = Stickle. http://bit.ly/976EaG
@Schwarzenegger Thanks for all the questions. Sorry I can't get to all of them but... I'll be back. http://bit.ly/bfC3fd
@brianbeutler: Time for the Troubled Athens Relief Program. http://bit.ly/clrNU9
@pwgavin: Dear BP: Please order an extra cap. We need to seal up the Dow's leaking. http://bit.ly/cOYnMv
@DavidCornDC: Did HAL 9000 get a job on Wall Street? http://bit.ly/b3dPOy
@mikemadden: True sign that the stock market is in apocalypse mode: Google can't keep up with the Dow's plunge. http://twitpic.com/1lkms8
@edatpost: Awesome: Accd to Press Assoc.: Gordon & Sarah Brown had lamb stew for dinner before PM had a nap; David Cameron spent 2 hours chopping logs. http://bit.ly/dgZFJk
@TimFernholz: Tim Geithner makes a surprisingly compelling case for the usefulness of the #FCIC...after laughing at them. http://bit.ly/bZjTpc
Sarah Palin is on O'Reilly. Rush Holt discusses the oil slick on Ed Schultz. Fox's Trace Gallagher speaks with BP CEO Tony Hayward on Greta Van Susteren. Sen. Robert Bennett is on John King, USA.
Our own Sam Stein drops in on Morning Joe.
5:30 pm: Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) follows in the steps of Ed Whitfield and holds a Chick-Fil-A fundraiser of his own at the Strategic Healthcare Townhouse [Strategic Healthcare Townhouse, 230 Second Street SE].
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Support the next generation of journalists by helping build the Radio Rootz summer media training program http://bit.ly/bqVxIB [Busboys & Poets, 1025 5th Street NW].
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Drink beer and talk climate at "Drink Beer, Talk Climate." A monthly gathering of politicos, journos, activists and anyone who is interested in stemming the tide of global climate change and other environmental issues [Buffalo Billiards, 1330 19th Street NW].
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Moon bounce. Free Chipotle. Beer. Fiesta Del Corcoran. Be there [Corcoran, Downtown Campus, parking lot gate on E street].
7:00 pm: JStreet celebrates the launch of its Metro DC grassroots field program. A good chance to mingle with other D.C. activists and chow down on some finger food. RSVP to Amy Spitalnick at firstname.lastname@example.org [National Education Association, 1201 16th Street NW].
7:30 pm: Laura Bush dishes about the White House. [Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University].
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (email@example.com), Ryan Grim (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nico Pitney (email@example.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e