With Sharron Angle drinking from her fluoride-free cup of victory, Harry Reid's prospects for reelection are improving, so much so that Mitch McConnell is already making plans with the majority leader to see Stephen Strasburg pitch next year. Elsewhere in Congress, Nancy Pelosi announced her party's Wall Street reform conferees, the Senate will vote on Lisa Murkoski carbon proposal and John McCain vowed not to tax Snooki's tanning bed. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, June 9th, 2010:
JUST IN: BP SAYS NO BAN ON MEDIA ACCESS - Responding to a forceful note sent earlier in the week by Adm. Thad Alllen, BP's COO Doug Suttles has released a letter addressed to "employees and volunteers" that reads in part, "Recent media reports have suggested that individuals involved in the clean up operation have been prohibited from speaking to the media, and this is simply untrue. BP fully supports and defends all individual rights to share their personal thoughts and experiences with journalists if they so choose. BP has not and will not prevent anyone working in the clean up operation from sharing his or her own experiences and opinions..." Full pdf: http://bit.ly/c05UeT
Reality check: Multiple reporters have indeed complained about blocked access while reporting on the Gulf spill http://huff.to/boknKX
MURKOWSKI EPA RESOLUTION VOTE TOMORROW - Lisa Murkowski's resolution that would bar the EPA from regulating carbon as a pollutant, as required by law, will be debated starting at 9:30 with a vote in the afternoon. With a veto threat from Obama, the thing's not gonna become law, but the debate itself will be a window for advocates on both sides into where particular members stand. Ed Markey was in the Senate last night whipping opposition and the outcome's still up in the air, so to speak. Murkowski met with reporters today to defend her move. "I don't think that we should be afraid to take the time to do it right, yet we get hung out to dry because, well, 'You haven't passed something. You haven't passed something.'" Truer words have never been laid at the Senate's door.
GRAHAM NOW CLOSER TO INHOFE THAN KERRY-LIEBERMAN - How close is the Senate to a bipartisan climate deal? Here's the Dems' best hope for compromise, Lindsey Graham, at a press conference today: "The science about global warming has changed." "I think the science is in question." "I think they've oversold the stuff." "Does climate change have to be a religion? No, it's not my religion. It is my concern." A reporter asked why, if carbon emissions aren't warming the planet, he was concerned. "There's a reason I don't hang out in traffic jams...It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the stuff floating around in the Gulf doesn't get better for you when you burn it. If you don't want to go swimming in that stuff why would you want to breathe it? I do buy into the idea that carbon emissions are not good for the planet as a whole...but they're not going to get 60 votes to save the polar bears." Or humanity, apparently.
Late-afternoon CBS News bulletin: "FBI official confirms to CBS Mexican forces pointed rifles at American officials today as they investigated border shooting of Mexican teen..."
BERNANKE TO CONGRESS: DON'T CUT SPENDING - Shahien Nasiripour: "'Right now I don't think is the time -- this very moment is not the time -- to radically reduce our spending or raise our taxes because the economy is still in recovery mode and needs that support,' Bernanke testified before the House Budget Committee. Bernanke referred to the nascent economic recovery as 'still pretty fragile' and cautioned that the economy 'may need more assistance.'" http://huff.to/auMhvt
MCCAIN, FEINGOLD INTRODUCE LINE ITEM BILL - NYT: "The concept, known as expedited rescissions authority, is designed as a constitutional alternative to a line-item veto, which the Supreme Court, in 1998, ruled violated Congress's power of the purse. Some Congressional leaders are no less opposed, though growing antideficits fervor in this election year has lawmakers looking for ways to respond." http://nyti.ms/a9FCoZ
George Miller is annoyed at the Senate's extenders shenanigans. Irked that the Senate has apparently removed consumer protections relating to 401(k) fee disclosure from the tax extenders bill, Chairman Miller beefed with the Senate: "It is unacceptable for the Senate to eliminate this key consumer protection for the 50 million Americans who have 401(k) plans. We are going to continue to fight to put back these key reforms in this bill... Once again, this just shows how the heavy hand of Wall Street trumps the concerns of hardworking Americans." HuffPost Hill caught up with Miller Wednesday and asked if he'd oppose the bill over the provision. He said he'll wait to see what actually comes from the upper chamber: "I don't know."
While voicing his opposition to the extenders bill, Ben Nelson, who has never used an ATM, says the government is not an ATM. Open Left: http://bit.ly/dp5w8G
DEM HOUSE CONFEREES FOR WALL STREET REFORM RELEASED - Barney Frank, Paul Kanjorski, Maxine Waters, Carolyn Maloney, Luis Gutierrez, Mel Watt, Gregory Meeks, Dennis Moore, Mary Jo Kilroy, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, Leonard Boswell, Henry Waxman, Bobby Rush, John Conyers, Howard Berman, Edolphus Towns, Elijah Cummings, Member of Committee, Nydia Velazquez, Heath Shuler. Gutierrez, quick out of the gate with a statement, says he'll fight for a strong Volcker Rule and to make sure autodealers are covered by the consumer financial protection bureau. "Even the Pentagon believes this is a matter of military preparedness and national security and is strongly opposed to an auto dealer carve out," he said.
GIBBS WALKS BACK WHITE HOUSE SORE WINNER STATEMENT - Sam Stein: "At Wednesday's daily briefing, Gibbs was asked about the provocative statement an unnamed senior administration official made following Sen. Blanche Lincoln's victory, in which the official accused unions of flushing $10 million 'down the toilet' in their support of Lincoln's challenger, Bill Halter. 'I don't think that the president would necessarily agree with that characterization made by somebody here,' Gibbs remarked.
ABC News caught up with out-of-nowhere South Carolina Dem Senate nominee Alvin Greene (D-Narnia Closet), ask about his newly-discovered felony charges involving "obscene Internet photos". Video: http://bit.ly/9XdHDh
TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - The Hill's Jordy Yager on congressional reaction to his story on how an official flushed a white powder from a plastic bag labeled "Anthrax" down a toilet at the Capitol while hundreds of tourists milled around nearby. ... Roll Call's Paul Singer on how much it costs to run Congress: $30 million for travel; $48 million for outside consultants; $26 million to rent district offices; $600,000 for stenographers; $4 million for office temps; and $25 million for franked mail. Then another $400,000 for bottled water and about $3 million for buffet lunches, doughnuts and pizza to fuel all that legislative wrangling.
Local beat: Politics & Prose up for sale... http://bit.ly/dz4HH7 ... Also, ESPN ZONE closing down...
President Obama will write the forward for Nelson Mandela's upcoming book, "Conversations with Myself." The book is due out October 12th. http://nyti.ms/dhE3A8
@SenJohnMcCain: @Sn00ki u r right, I would never tax your tanning bed! Pres Obama's tax/spend policy is quite The Situation. but I do rec wearing sunscreen! http://bit.ly/afh0Qu
Cute behind-the-scenes video of high schoolers freaking out while meeting POTUS http://ht.ly/1Whx5
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PRIMARY ROUNDUP - Trend BUCKED: Blanche Lincoln defied just about everyone's expectations (including ours) last night by beating Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter in the Arkansas Senate primary. Going into the election, polls consistently showed Lincoln trailing Halter by at least a few points.
How'd Lincoln do it and how did we get it so wrong? Hotline's Amy Walter: 1. Halter's strong union backing made him look more like an establishment pawn than Washington outsider. 2. The media relied too heavily on unsubstantiated historical trends and polling by DailyKos which often skews left. 3. Observers wrongly assumed that a vote for DC Morrison in the May 18th election was a vote against Lincoln. 4. A half-assed organizing effort by labor. http://bit.ly/djycL5
Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen says Lincoln doesn't stand a chance against Republican John Boozman: "Between Barack Obama's unpopularity in her state and her own problems Lincoln is pretty much bound to be the Rick Santorum of this cycle- down a ton early and not ever able to really come close to catching up. National Democratic groups should use their resources elsewhere." http://bit.ly/dxQb9u
THE SEIU seems to to back Lincoln, at least if the tone of its press release means anything: "We'll see if Blanche Lincoln is made a better Senator for having to answer to working Arkansans over these past few weeks. And if you are Larry Kissell (NC-08) or Zach Space (OH-18) or Mike McMahon (NY-13) or Michael Arcuri (NY-24) or another candidate who stopped advocating for the needs of working families once elected, the labor movement is going to be at the side of those voters who demand change." Via Plumline: http://bit.ly/dfTHOG
After successfully throwing his weight behind Lincoln and Mark Critz, is Bill Clinton enjoying a comeback? ABC's Rick Klein: "The victories highlight Clinton's continuing popularity among Democrats, particularly in rural areas that have shown signs of shifting their loyalties toward Republicans. That suggests a continuing role for Clinton as Democrats battle to hold on to their majority in Congress this fall. Many of the same districts that Republicans are targeting are - like the Pennsylvania seat - traditionally Democratic, though not particularly enamored with the current occupant of the Oval Office." http://bit.ly/8Y9Mxr
Harry Reid is celebrating after Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle beat establishment darling Sue Lowden. Media outlets and Angle's opponents are already seizing on some of her more...eccentric policy positions. Sam Stein: "Talking Points Memo reported that Angle once 'spoke out strongly against fluoride, the substance known alternately for improving dental health and as a Communist plot to undermine Western democracy.' Prior to that, The Plum Line's Greg Sargent pointed to an interview that Angle gave to Liberty Watch magazine in February 2010, in which she suggested support for making alcohol consumption illegal. Reid's campaign, Sargent added, was planning to paint Angle as, essentially, crazy." http://huff.to/bA7ohu
In South Carolina, Nikki Haley easily won the GOP gubernatorial primary but couldn't garner enough votes to avoid a runoff. Her challenger, Rep. Gresham Barrett, says he's in it to win it. http://huff.to/clSRiE
To no one's surprise, Carly Fiornia and Meg Whitman won the GOP Senate and gubernatorial noms respectively.
Fiornia, caught on tape this morning, on Barbara Boxer: "God, what is that hair?...So yesterday." http://bit.ly/atTZbH
Elsewhere in South Carolina Alvin Greene (D-Field Of Dreams Cornfield) came out of nowhere to win the Democratic Senate nomination. Mother Jones' Suzy Khimm: "Despite the odds, Greene, who has been unemployed for the past nine months, said that he wasn't surprised by his victory. 'I wasn't surprised, but not really. I mean, just a little, but not much. I knew I was on top of my campaign, and just stayed on top of everything, I just--I wasn't surprised that much, just a little. I knew that I worked hard and did,' Greene told Mother Jones....but despite his lack of election funds, Greene claims to have criss-crossed the state during his campaign--though he declined to specify any of the towns or places he visited or say how much money he spent while on the road." http://bit.ly/aY4XsE
Apparently Greene has an outstanding felony charge for showing a college student "obscene Internet photos." http://bit.ly/dmdhCq
NEW POLLS: CRIST, KIRK IN TIGHT RACES - Two new surveys out of Florida shows everyone's favorite oompah loompah-with-a-pituitary-problem, Governor Charlie Crist, neck-and-neck with Marco Rubio. A Rasmussen poll (http://bit.ly/bGHVz5) has Crist and Rubio tied at 37 percent with Kendrick Meek attracting 15%. A Quinnipiac poll has Crist leading Rubio 37 to 33 with 17 percent for Meek (http://huff.to/a3Pf4S).
Meanwhile, Rasmussen has Mark Kirk edging out Alexi Giannoulias 42-39 in Illinois. http://bit.ly/a6tkIf
DOES MCCONNELL THINK REID WILL WIN REELECTION? - The minority leader is so crazy for Stephen Strasburg that, in the midst of his floor banter with Harry Reid this morning, he said he wants to attend Nationals games with the current Majority Leader...next year. "Mr. President, what one can conclude from [their discussion] is next year, when the Senate is not in session in the evening, both Democratic and Republican leaders will be at the Nats games." Whoops.
OBAMA, ABBAS MEET - The Times: " President Obama promised a $400 million aid package for the West Bank and Gaza on Wednesday, as the United States scrambled to come up with a way out of the stalemate in the Middle East exacerbated by the Gaza flotilla incident last week. Mr. Obama, meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, said that the money would go to housing and schools. White House officials said that the money also would help increase access to drinking water and to help address health and infrastructure needs." http://nyti.ms/bEHky5
SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES NEW IRAN SANCTIONS - WaPo: "The resolution modestly reinforces a range of economic, technological and military sanctions against Iran, and slap an asset freeze and travel ban on the head of a branch of Iran's atomic energy organization, Javad Rahiqi, and 40 entities linked to the nation's military elite, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps." http://bit.ly/bMGP11
GOLDMAN SUED OVER "SHITTY" DEAL - Marcus Baram: "Today, Goldman was sued for securities fraud by an Australian hedge fund, which claims that it was suckered into buying $81 million of toxic subprime mortgage securities, which led to the collapse of the fund, according to a lawsuit obtained by Huffington Post. Basis Yield Alpha Fund claims that Goldman engaged in a series of fraudulent and deceitful acts or practices" and "put profits before integrity," according to its complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. The fund is seeking to recover more than $1 billion in total damages." http://huff.to/bVWyb2
William Thomas, vice chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, spoke to Bloomberg about it's newest Goldman subpoena. "We asked for information from all of the investments banks," Thomas said, "Six of them seemed to respond in a reasonable period of time with what we wanted. Goldman Sachs seemed to think that they could either inundate us or stretch us out." http://bit.ly/c1OMI1
BP STILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGING NEW PLUMES - AP: "BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles continues to insist that no massive underwater oil plumes in 'large concentrations' have been detected from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico...NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said Tuesday that the tests conducted at three sites by a University of South Florida research vessel confirmed oil as far as 3,300 feet below the surface 42 miles northeast of the well site." http://huff.to/av3Gg9
Obama will meet tomorrow afternoon for about 15 minutes with the families of some of those who died when Deepwater Horizon exploded, one of the invitees tells HuffPost Hill
THAD ALLEN TO TONY HAYWARD: POOR FORM, DUDE - "Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen has written to BP CEO Tony Hayward demanding 'more detail and openness' about how the company is handling mounting damage claims in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Allen reminded Hayward in the letter dated Tuesday that the company 'is accountable to the American public for the economic loss caused by the oil spill' and said he recognized Hayward has 'accepted responsibility' for it." http://huff.to/cfLFnD
Rolling Stone: Obama downplayed the oil spill despite his knowledge of its severity: "Even after the president's press conference, Rolling Stone has learned, the administration knew the spill could be far worse than its "best estimate" acknowledged. That same day, the president's Flow Rate Technical Group - a team of scientists charged with establishing the gusher's output - announced a new estimate of 12,000 to 25,000 barrels, based on calculations from video of the plume." http://bit.ly/d1aemQ
Chuck Grassley's solution? Pour some brewskies into the Gulf. "There's a process for making beer -- I don't know if it's the yeast or what it is in making beer. You can put those microscopic things on oil and they die, and all you've got is some methane gas left." Thanks, Chuck! The Hill: http://bit.ly/9aN4Ei
CHUCK SCHUMER GOING AFTER HONEY LAUNDERING - The New York senator is doing he can to protect his 432nd favorite Schumwich ingredient. Quite the bzzzzworthy item. Hope no one gets stung.... sorry. Blame AP: "U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants a national standard for pure honey to sting fraudulent imports from China that are hurting an American honey market valued at up to $12 billion. Schumer is asking the federal food and drug commissioner for a standard that would halt imports of adulterated or mislabeled honey from abroad. Florida and Wisconsin have enacted their own pure honey." http://bit.ly/a8GYr2
Heads up, vultures: Helen Thomas' seat was empty during today's White House briefing. Picture and story from Patrick Gavin: http://politi.co/bV7iUY
Sam Stein reports that Helen Thomas has a new fan: Hezbollah. "On Wednesday, a Hezbollah spokesperson released a statement calling Thomas' remarks -- which resulted in her release from her speaking agency and resignation from the long-time post she held in the White House briefing room -- 'courageous.'" http://huff.to/cwOjlE
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: It will keep raining north and northwest of the city through the evening commute (so anyone north of the Beltway in Maryland will have steady rain through rush hour). Tonight, the back end of the system will hit the rest of the DC/Virginia area, depositing light-to-medium rain with a slight chance of some thunder and lightning. Tomorrow: Expect mid-to-high 80s, and could touch 90 in the late afternoon. Humidity will be relatively low, and partly cloudy. Great night for a Nats game, or are you just going to go when Stephen Strasburg is pitching? Be a fan; don't ride the bandwagon. Thanks, JB!
- Strasburg was good...really good. http://bit.ly/akY2gN
- A program that turns any song into swing music (but sounds more like an Irish jig to us). http://bit.ly/9iuRiA
- Cats reenact the BP oil spill. http://bit.ly/9AC5Bo
- A hole in my heart, a hole in the ground. The Guatemalan sinkhole has a song. http://bit.ly/a1aauu
- THIS is cool: A map indicating whether geotagged photos of New York and San Francisco in Flickr are by tourists or locals. http://bit.ly/bQFiiB
- An orchestra and audience all consisting of the same guy. http://bit.ly/dinXPq
- Snooki and Paris Hilton are friends. In other news, the sun came up. http://bit.ly/dde0e7
- As if in your pocket wasn't enough, 5 places Google shouldn't be. http://bit.ly/9MzCNX
- Creative cake molds. http://bit.ly/drQDIx
@jordanrubin: I hope iPhone 5 will have cameras on either side like a Hammerhead shark. http://bit.ly/dv4rNA
@daveweigel: Is Newsmax interested? RT @mattizcoop: Politics & Prose up for sale. http://bit.ly/cq6QEh
@FakeAPStyleBook: Avoid mentioning the movie "Twister" when writing about tornadoes. We're all trying to forget. http://bit.ly/b1vh6f
John Garamendi and Bill Nelson discuss the oil spill on Hardball. Charlie Melancon talks oil spill and Jim McDermott talks unemployment benefits on Ed Schultz. Ed Markey gives Maddow his two cents on the Gulf disaster.
Edward Markey continues his oil spill media blitz on the Daily Rundown.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: The Congressional Tri-Caucus (Hispanic, Asian, Black) hosts a reception for Summer interns [Rayburn B338].
7:00 pm: "Donnie Darko" is screened as part of NoMA Summer Screen. BBQ, music and Italian ices [L and 2nd Streets NE].
7:00 pm: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, who HuffPost Hill does love so, brings its updated brand of psychedelic rock to 9:30 Club [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Free comedy at Ri-Ra. Cash prizes for the best audience joke and half priced burgers [Ri-Ra Irish Pub, 2915 Wilson Blvd].
8:00 pm - 1:30 am: Costume Karaoke at Solly's. Now's your chance to break out that tar ball costume [Solly's Tavern, 11th & U St].
8:30 pm: The fifth anniversary of iPod Jukebox at St. Ex. Bring your iPod and have your tunes play in the tony restaurant/nightclub [Cafe St. Ex, 1847 14th Street NW].
8:30 pm: Weather permitting, head down to the Mall for a screening of "Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham & the American City" [National Mall at 4th Street NW].
9:00 pm - 2:00 am: It's Pride Week and Phase 1 gets into the action with Jello wrestling [Phase 1. 525 8th Street SE].
9:30 pm: Bonjour, Ganesh! gives a free performance at Wonderland [Wonderland Ballroom, 1101 Kenyon Street NW].
5:30 pm: Nothing says Real America like "Cupcakes & Champagne." Join Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) at her indulgent fundraiser.
5:30 pm: Ask Greg Walden (R-Ore.) how much he loves Real America at his wine and cheese fundraiser [The Home of Congressman Walden, 128 North Carolina Ave SE].
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) hosts reception centered around "Chicago Style Italian Beef," which is also his stage name [Erickson & Co. Townhouse, 38 Ivy Street SE].
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: If you focus real hard, crude tastes a lot like Old Bay. Join Mary Landrieu (D-La.)for her 9th Annual Crawfish Fest [Jones Day, 51 Louisiana Ave. NW].
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