The political arena finished off strong this week with a fresh batch of buzz. Dave Weigel's untimely exit from the Washington Post dominated the Twittersphere, two of our favorite trends, crazy Alabama politicians and crazy military service embellishing, came together in a single story and Rand Paul REALLY wants that underground electric fence built. Happy weekend, everyone: We'll be passing the time staying cool, blowing our vuvuzelas, prepping for next week's SCOTUS confirmation hearing and trying to score tickets to Michele Bachmann's anti-socialism movie. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, June 25th, 2010:
PELOSI SITS DOWN WITH HUFFINGTON POST - The Speaker isn't sure she has the votes for supplemental funding for the war in Afghanistan, she said in an interview today with HuffPost Hill. "I don't know how many votes there are in the caucus, even condition-based, for the war, hands down. I just don't. We'll see what the shape of it is the day of the vote," Pelosi said. The House Speaker recently "traveled into the country even more remotely than Kandahar, and the corruption issue, it's problematic. And you know what? A lot of it is our money."
On Ending The Filibuster - The Senate, she said, is "the 60-vote stranglehold on the future...The Senate has to go to 51 votes."
On whether she'll take responsibility if Democrats lose the House: "Someone was asking me the other day if I would take responsibility for a Democratic hit. And first of all, there's not going to be one, and second of all, I always take responsibility and that's, of course, for the politics and the campaigns and the resources and all that, but we've got to have jobs. I mean, that's just the way life is. And first of all, it's the right thing to do. I'm not sitting here to complain about any lack of enthusiasm on the part of the White House on jobs. They know how important it is. You really have to talk to them about what tactics they use to go from here to there.
Funniest moment: Asked about the the Saturday night letter Obama sent to the Hill asking for billions in aid to states and other job-creation programs, Pelosi and aides in the room laughed. She added: "We welcome the letter to say that they're shining the presidential spotlight, which is unequal in terms of value on this need."
On the jobs bill mess: "If we really don't address this in a very serious way, we could slip back and have another recession, and if we do it's harder to come back." Pelosi didn't offer specifics on what might happen with the jobs bill or its component parts next week but said some within the caucus think extended unemployment benefits ought to be paid for. "One of the debates that goes on now -- which I completely resist, but it's one of the debates going on -- is at the end of the day, these people have to have their benefits, and should we begin paying for unemployment benefits?" Pelosi was headed to a meeting with Sandy Levin to figure out a way forward. Arthur Delaney's writeup: http://huff.to/a79NfY
ROLLING STONE REPORTER: TROOPS ARE HAPPY THAT MCCHRYSTAL WAS SACKED - Michael Hastings tells Huffington Post's Marcus Baram in a phone interview from Afghanistan: "Over here, soldiers were happy that he got fired. I've had a number of people come up to me, I got an email from a Marine this morning [Thursday]: 'Hey man, you did great work. All the guys in my company think it's good McChrystal is not there because he was putting our lives at risk." http://huff.to/cnDR6h
What they mean is that McChrystal had enforced tough rules-of-engagement to minimize civilian casualties. Holding fire is dangerous for soldiers; firing is dangerous for the people being fired on.
In related news: "A military source close to Gen. David Petraeus told Fox News that one of the first things the general will do when he takes over in Afghanistan is to modify the rules of engagement to make it easier for U.S. troops to engage in combat with the enemy, though a Petraeus spokesman pushed back on the claim." http://bit.ly/c6vMSV
MORE: Hastings on the major U.S. offensive in Kandahar - "'I think it's in trouble, in serious trouble,' he says. 'The fighting is really, really heavy and they've postponed the heaviest fighting till the fall. But it's going to be nasty.'"
KAGAN CONFIRMATION HEARINGS BEGIN MONDAY - Supreme Court nominee and wise Caucasian woman Elena Kagan (D-Zabar's) will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday for the start of what most observers anticipate will be a mostly smooth, though not uneventful, confirmation hearing. Politics Daily: "[M]ost of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who oversaw the Roberts hearing are still around today for the Kagan chronicles. And so are virtually all of the active legal issues that captured our attention "way back when," in the fall of 2005...[T]he very same Republican senators who defended the youthful writings of nominee Roberts will criticize the youthful writings of nominee Kagan. And the very same Democrat senators who were so disappointed with the lack of clarity in nominee Alito's responses will play patty-cake with nominee Kagan when she ambiguously expresses her views on big-ticket moral issues of the day." http://bit.ly/bZw8IP
KAGAN V. PORN....IT'S ON - Close the blinds, Politico just posted this salacious tidbit: "A 1993 conference at the University of Chicago Law School on the subject of pornography and hate crimes wasn't your typical legal seminar... Amid that tumult, future Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, then a junior Chicago law professor, gave a well-received, relatively-subdued presentation that would become one of her first and few published law review articles. During a panel discussion, Kagan presented the group with what she portrayed as promising legal strategies to combat the scourge of pornography." http://politi.co/dBeZ5Z
WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP TO DISCUSS ENERGY - The Hill: "Obama rescheduled the meeting that had been set for last Wednesday at the White House but had to be canceled in the wake of the controversy sparked by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Obama 'will meet with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss the process for passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year,' according to White House guidance. Senate Democrats had an opportunity to huddle on Thursday to discuss their own strategy on energy this year, in a meeting some lawmakers described as the best caucus meeting in quite some time." http://bit.ly/bhtDqc
Obama will also huddle with congressional leadership on immigration. Roll Call: "President Barack Obama will sit down with lawmakers Tuesday to discuss immigration reform, a Hill source confirmed. The White House Office of Legislative Affairs on Friday e-mailed select lawmakers to invite them to attend the hourlong meeting at the White House, set to begin at 3:40 p.m." http://bit.ly/9wAJn6
Joe Biden will head to the Gulf Coast this Tuesday to visit the National Incident Command Center in New Orleans, the AP reports. We're crossing our fingers he doesn't make any Bubba Gump Shrimp jokes. http://huff.to/deh2n4
NEWSWEEK POLL: Obama as Reagan-esque 'teflon' president - A new Newsweek poll shows "solid majorities of Americans now disapprove of the way the president is handling almost every major challenge confronting his administration -- a complete reversal from only four months ago, when he enjoyed broad public support on the issues. In February, only 41 percent frowned on Obama's economic leadership; now that number has risen to 58 percent." HOWEVER, the president's personal job approval rating is "holding relatively steady at 48 percent" (up from 46 in February), indicating POTUS's ability to remain a bit above the fray. http://bit.ly/d2XOv2
TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - Washington Post: David S. Broder on two departures from the Obama administration go a long way toward illuminating what is important -- and what is not -- in determining the president's political fate. AND E.J. Dionne Jr. on liberal senators in the Kagan hearings who plan to put the right of citizens to challenge corporate power at the center of their critique of activist conservative judging, offering arguments that have not been fully aired since the days of the Justice Louis Brandeis. Roll Call: John McArdle on National Democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson who organized a conference call last week to promote Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's Senate bid, providing further evidence of his effort to court support in Democratic circles for his Independent campaign. http://bit.ly/dDjSPw
A DCCC e-mail blast this afternoon says GOP House members are getting hit at home for protecting the interests of the oil industry. "House Republican incumbents and candidates are getting hit hard in their hometown papers for their continued support for Big Oil, and Representatives Joe Barton and Tom Price after their outrageous defense of British Petroleum."
Hide the children -- Fox News is on! From host Neil Cavuto's interview with AFL-CIO chief economist Ron Blackwell this afternoon:
CAVUTO: Wait a minute, Ron, you're the chief economist there. Where did you get your degree? A baking school? Where are you cooking up these numbers?
BLACKWELL: Oh that's an insult. You're a joker. You're an asshole. (Video: http://huff.to/cg4Nil)
MICHELE BACHMANN FEATURED IN UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY - America's favorite aunt-after-a-few-too-many is heading to the silver screen. Elyse Siegel reports on the film that melds "The Wealth of Nations" with the Book of Revelations: "The flick, titled 'Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger,' claims to offer a glimpse into 'the real-world results of Marx and his many followers - and why their failed ideas violate God's Word.' Bachmann's documentary debut appearance comes as an anti-socialism expert and amid footage of Stalin, Castro, Mao, and Chavez with clips of President Obama speaking inserted in a film aiming to address: 'Why their failed ideas violate God's Word.' According to the Tea Party darling, if the course the country is on isn't immediately reversed, 'it could mean the sinking of our civilization.'" http://huff.to/bXkXAn
#TEAMWEIGEL - Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel resigned today after his disparaging comments about conservatives on Journolist (an invitation-only e-mail listserve) surfaced on Fishbowl DC and, later, the Daily Caller. Maybe if he published some articles detailing non-existent ties between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, or made up stuff about global warming, he might have been asked to stay. Exclusive video of the resignation: http://bit.ly/nAXGZ
Weigel stopped by our offices this afternoon... probably in an attempt to steal our beer. We are pleased to say he was in good spirits despite the tail-between-legs move by WaPo. Interns were starstruck. Exclusive picture here: http://bit.ly/1sB9jg
Weigel and his hipster cohort are commiserating tonight at -- where else? -- Red Derby.
Journolist Shuttered - Ezra Klein shut down his liberal journo listserv in the wake of Weigel's axing. What should the new online cafe for Washington's lefties be called? One fella already suggested BetterThanEzra. ClownHouse? JournoHouse? Send ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam Stein has a blow-by-blow account of Wiegel's path to journo-martyrdom. http://huff.to/bLAYiR
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com
WALL STREET REFORM PASSES CONFERENCE COMMITTEE - "The two most high-profile provisions were the last items to be considered. Neither emerged intact. One would have forced banks to stop trading financial instruments with their own capital and give up their stakes in hedge funds and private equity funds, named after its original proponent, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The other would have compelled banks to raise tens of billions of dollars because they'd have to spin off their derivatives-dealing operations into separately-capitalized affiliates within the bank holding company, pushed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln. As currently practiced both activities are highly lucrative, annually generating billions for the nation's megabanks."http://bit.ly/1sB9jg
Some tsatsiki with your austerity measures? 46 states are facing Greek-style debt crises, Bloomberg reports. "Even as the U.S. appears to be on the mend -- gross domestic product has climbed three straight quarters -- finances in Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and other states show few signs of improvement. Forty-six states face budget shortfalls that add up to $112 billion for the fiscal year ending next June, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington research institution. State spending is 12 percent of U.S. GDP." http://bit.ly/bnIkA4
Unions and consumer advocates are -- publicly, at least -- pumped. Statements from unions, AFR, Elizabeth Warren and the Center for Responsible Lending: http://huff.to/bGYga5
VERY IMPORTANT RAND PAUL UNDERGROUND ELECTRIC FENCE UPDATE - Mr. Gorbachev, light that sucker up. Sam Stein on Rand's plans: "In a speech before a small gathering of supporters back in May 2009, Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul elaborated on his proposal to build an underground electronic fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, framing it as a cost effective and even respectful way of stopping the flow of illegal immigrants. In a speech in downtown Paducah, Kentucky, Paul pegged the cost of his quixotic idea at somewhere between $10 and 15 million dollars (a relative pittance when compared to other border-fence proposals, and likely far too rosy a projection). The benefits of an underground fence, he argued, were that it would not have the symbolism of a Berlin Wall-like structure and it would be considered less offensive to Hispanic voters who are already fleeing the country." http://huff.to/dCI3If
The AP is reporting that Robert Bentley, candidate for Alabama governor, misrepresented his military service. Was he a farmer? A businessman? A cop? A marine during Vietnam? Does he give a RIIIIPPPP about Alabama? "In a campaign ad, Bentley talks about serving his country 'with honesty and integrity.' The ad's video shows a military aircraft and the words 'Hospital Commander Vietnam War.' Some callers to talk radio shows have complained that they thought he served in Vietnam. Bentley's biography on his campaign website says he joined the Air Force in 1969, but his service was as a medical officer and then the commander of the hospital at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. http://huff.to/dCI3If
@SamSteinHP: Famed labor spokeswoman Lori Lodes (@loril) has left her post at SEIU. The union community is deeply scared that @evale72 remains
RED TIDE: POLL FINDS CONSERVATIVES FAR OUTNUMBER LIBERALS - Nick Wing: "Conservatives maintained and built on their numerical advantage over liberals in the first half of 2010, a new Gallup poll finds. According to the poll, 42 percent of respondents described themselves as either very conservative or conservative, up from 40 percent in 2009. Meanwhile, only 20 percent called themselves either very liberal or liberal, down from 21 percent last year. 35 percent of respondents described themselves as moderate, down from 36 percent in 2009." http://huff.to/aV0TFr
Bros icing Bill: Here's Team USA partying down with President Bill Clinton after their victory over Algeria. http://huff.to/99xw8L
Stay cool, D.C. Here is a listing of outdoor public pools in the District: http://bit.ly/dt4jYL
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Temperatures should stay in the mid 80s, with decreasing humidity all day. In other words, really, really nice. Tomorrow: A high pressure system is working its way east, and will pass over us this weekend. So we're going to see few clouds, and lots of sun. Go to the pool, but wear sunscreen (as always). Sunday: It's going to be a bit hotter and slightly more humid. Look at low-to-mid 90s, and if the center of the high passes by then, we can see scattered afternoon (mild) thunderstorms. All in all, it will be a very nice weekend. Thanks, JB!
Trivia Question Answer: One reader blew my mind by pointing out that 32 and 212 (freezing and boiling temperatures, respectively) were 180 degrees apart, "therefore opposite each other in a 360 degree circle." Two people got the answer right:Qudsia Lone and Kitty Breed. They correctly replied that zero degrees Fahrenheit represents the temperature at which water and ammonium chloride (aka salt) will freeze. Well how 'bout that, JB!
- Just two dudes named Chris making you laugh. Barack Obama's Facebook feed. http://bit.ly/9o3WP5
- No one told us that towing company owners were the creepiest people ever. http://bit.ly/cN7Vxa
- The best roommate, or the BESTEST roommate? http://bit.ly/9ot4FE
- For the person who has everything and still wants to eat their feelings, the $25,000 hot chocolate. http://bit.ly/aDZnMk
- Here's a kitten riding a tortoise. http://bit.ly/cCR6N7
- Your HuffPost Comedy superlative: The stupidest men's products ever. http://huff.to/dohBnO
- Cincinnati police detained a naked man on the run with stolen cheese. http://bit.ly/cnCjWI
- Steve Martin's "leaked" tour demands. http://huff.to/974KUH
@BPGlobalPR: Keep in mind, the more your interest in the oil spill wanes, the less damage the oil does. #outofsightoutofmind #day67 http://bit.ly/974g0G
@owillis: If you're on #teamweigel i have an avatar for you: http://twitpic.com/1zv7ud
@DaveHT91: BREAKING: @daveweigel leaves WashPO with sword,night vision,pistol and goes to the mountains of Pakistan. #legendofdaveweigel http://bit.ly/aZLcMk
@sonjablair: @daveweigel left the cannoli...took the gun #legendofdaveweigel http://bit.ly/c7wZLD
@floridagirlindc: Someone told me @DaveWeigel fixed the Peeps Diorama contest. #legendofdaveweigel
Tonight: Our own Shahien Nasiripour was all dressed up for the first day of school on Ratigan (Bill Nelson was a bit more dressed for the occasion). Jim McGovern, Jerrold Nadler and Jim Moran discussed the president with Chris Matthews. Sam Stein will NOT be wearing a polo shirt on Ed Schultz. Al Hunt welcomes Kenneth Feinberg to discuss the BP relief fund. Sheldon Whitehouse weighs in on Wall Street reform on Olbermann. Ed Markey and Barney Frank discuss oil and Wall Street, respectively on Maddow. TOMORROW: Kenneth Feinberg, Marco Rubio, Mitch Landrieu, Ron Paul and Wesley Clark appear on the Situation Room.
Meet the Press: John McCain, Barbara Lee, Sebastian Junger, Wes Moore, Tom Ricks and Barry McCaffrey.
Face the Nation: Patrick Leahy, Jeff Sessions and Carl Levin (D-MI).
This Week: Leon Panetta, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, David Sanger, Robin Wright and George Will.
Fox News Sunday: Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Huckabee.
State of the Union: John Cornyn and Bob Menendez.
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Jazz in the Garden rolls on with all them pretty people and all that pretty music. Nattybeaux, a jump swing band, performs [National Sculpture Garden, 700 Constitution Avenue NW].
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm: U Street Music Hall pays tribute to Michael Jackson on the one-year anniversary of his death with the appropriately titled "Michael Jackson is Still Alive." A litany of area DJs will be spinning the King of Pop's tunes all evening [U Street Music Hall, 1115 U Street NW].
8:30 pm: Indie rock darlings (sorry, we'll never use that phrase again) Waaves perform at Rock and Roll Hotel. They are joined by Cloud Nothings and Farewell Republic [Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St NE].
8:30 pm - 10:30 pm: The Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival screens the Citizen Kane of the 90s, "Bio-Dome" [Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington].
11:00 am: More pool-age coming your way. The Embassy Hilton opens up its rooftop pool for a beat-the-heat soiree. $10 for entry, no cover between 11 am and noon [Embassy Hilton, 2015 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest].
9:00 pm: Black Cat hosts the always absurd but always fun BIKE PROM. There will be a raffle, bike parking as far as the eye can see, and the coronation of Bike Prom Queen and King [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].
10:00 am - 6:00 pm: We're calling it a day for the Capital Skyline Hotel Spike'd Sundays. It's crowded, too expensive ($15) and we saw the "Real World" cast there WAY too often last summer. We'll be at the Georgia Ave. public pool, instead. Enjoy (?) [Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I Street SW].
A selection of fundraisers and retreats this weekend
Tonight - Tomorrow:
Tonight - Tomorrow: Bro-out like you've never bro-ed out before by standing in knee-deep water all weekend with the most frat-tastic member of the Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant and Animal Health. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) invites you and that $2,500 burning a hole in your pocket to his "11th Annual Fly Fishing and Golf in Big Sky" fundraising rip [Big Sky, Montana].
Tonight - Sunday: David Dreier (R-Calif.) promotes his American Success PAC at his ACTION PAC-ED weekend getaway. For a measly $2,500, you can have the big guy give you a tour of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (standard admission: $12.00), stay at the Four Seasons (standard one bedroom rate: about $275 per night) and participate in a croquet tournament (standard entry fee: being white) [Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village, California].
Tonight - Sunday: Prepare for a weekend of luxury with Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as he hosts a posh retreat in Anacostia, D.C.... JUST KIDDING, OF COURSE. It's in Newport [Hotel Viking, One Bellevue Ave, Newport, Rhode Island].
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ryan Grim (email@example.com) or Nico Pitney (firstname.lastname@example.org). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e