07/08/2010 06:18 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Politics rudely interrupted the lead-up to LeBron James' announcement today. Culprits included Scott Brown, who may decide the fate of the DISCLOSE Act; Sharron Angle, who managed to defend BP and insult rape victims in the same news cycle; and the entire state of Florida, whose candidates are partying with Lindsay Lohan and dropping the illest tracks. Also distracting us was Weatherboy JB, whose new profile piece sheds light on his meteorological genius. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 8th, 2010:

SENATE DEMS WILL GAMBLE ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM THIS MONTH - Human jaw line and Just For Men: Touch Of Gray "After" model Scott Brown's vote is once again a hot commodity -- it's needed this go around to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which cleared the House earlier this month and will come up for a vote in the Senate soon. Sam Stein: "As things stand now, vote counters in the party acknowledged that they don't have firm commitments from 60 Senators to pass the legislation -- which would force groups that spend on the election to make unprecedented levels of disclosure about their funding. The primary target remains Brown, even though the Massachusetts Republican has insisted that it would be 'inappropriate' to consider the bill before the November elections."

DEMS NERVOUS ABOUT ONSLAUGHT OF CORPORATE CASH - There's a huge flood of cash sweeping the GOP to power. Sam Stein: "If they hold true to their pledges, ten groups are poised to flood the zone with more than $200 million in election-focused spending -- roughly $37 million more than every single independent group spent on the 2008 presidential campaign combined. Only, this time around, almost every single penny will be going to Republican candidates or causes."

OBAMA SLAMS BOEHNER FOR ANT/NUKE COMMENT - The Hill: "'You can imagine the movie: The ant that ate our economy. That's a big ant,' Obama said at a Missouri fundraiser for Senate candidate Robin Carnahan. Obama also tied Carnahan's opponent, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), to Boehner and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who famously apologized to BP. 'Barton and Boehner and Blunt. Sometimes I wonder if that "no" button is just stuck in Congress so they can't do what's right for the American people,' Obama said. 'The theory is if I lose, then they win. That's just old brand politics. It just takes us back.'" The Hill:

Boehner responds: The president was "indulging in childish partisan attacks."

More feisty Obama coming up: NBC's First Read hears that the president will also take on Sharron Angle during his fundraiser in Nevada for Harry Reid tonight.

MICHAEL STEELE "AIN'T GOING NOWHERE" - At an appearance with the Colorado Republican Party, the embattled GOP chairman stood his ground despite calls for his resignation after he insisted that land wars in Asia are futile and the Afghanistan conflict is a war "of Obama's choosing." "I ain't going anywhere. I'm here, I'm here. Look, we have too much work to do," he told the gathering. Jason Linkins and Ben Craw recount Michael Steele's totally understated year thus far:

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Today is Day 37 of the congressional standoff on unemployment benefits. From HuffPost's Arthur Delaney: "Outside of Congress, fiscal conservatives actually aren't unanimous that holding unemployment benefits ransom is a smart way to reduce the deficit. Take it from Robert Bixby, president of the Concord Coalition, which exists solely to raise the alarm about big bad deficits: 'As a deficit hawk, I wouldn't worry about extending unemployment benefits...It is not going to add to the long-term structural deficit, and it does address a serious need. I just feel like unemployment benefits wandered onto the wrong street corner at the wrong time, and now they are getting mugged.'''

HUFFPOST HIRING - We're hiring a copy editor for our D.C. office. Candidates should have a working knowledge of national politics and, one hopes, strong copy editing skills. Send resume and references to

TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY: Washington Post: Ex-Bush official Michael Gerson will argue that significant portions of the Republican coalition now believe it is a desirable strategy to talk of armed revolution, embrace libertarian purity and alienate Hispanic voters. With a major Republican victory in November, those who hold such views may well be elevated in profile and influence, he writes, and this could create durable, destructive perceptions of the Republican Party that take decades to change. "A party that is intimidated and silent in the face of its extremes is eventually defined by them."

Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace will air an exclusive interview with Israeli PM Netanyahu this weekend.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES GAY MARRIAGE BAN IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL - AP: "A U.S. judge in Boston has ruled that a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage. U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro on Thursday ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004." AP:

No one invited us to the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival. We had to sneak our way in. Video:

TREASURY GOES WOBBLY ON CHINA - Treasury's statement today that China is not manipulating its currency didn't sit well with American workers and others who operate in reality. "Claiming China doesn't manipulate its currency makes about as much sense as saying LeBron James doesn't play basketball," says Steven Capozzola, spokesman for the Alliance for American Manufacturing. "It's clear that China's announcement before the G-20 last month was nothing more than a charade, but the Administration seems to have fallen for this rather unbelievable promise."

Chuck Schumer's statement on Treasury's report: "This report is as disappointing as it is unsurprising. It's clear it will take an act of Congress to do the obvious and call China out for its currency manipulation."

Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee: "As expected, the Administration has again failed to identify China as a currency manipulator...If the President continues to avoid acknowledging China's currency manipulation and fails to address it in a meaningful way, Congress will have to act."

Geithner: "This president understands deeply that governments don't create jobs, businesses create jobs." Speaking of divorce from reality, Tim Geithner told CNBC that FDR was a fraud, subsidies don't prop up the nuclear or defense industries and Goldman Sachs and Citigroup never needed government help. Or something. Don't blame Geithner, though. He was parroting Obama:

Jess McIntosh is saying farewell to the Hill, leaving Al Franken to go flak for Emily's List. Party next Friday. Stay tuned.
BP: There's really not that much oil. From their website: "Working by foot and by sea, Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) workers comb the Gulf shorelines searching for any signs of oil that has washed up along the coast."

Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis has been tapped to lead Central Command. He will replace General David Petraeus who is now leading the U.S.'s efforts in Afghanistan. If confirmed Mattis will oversee U.S. military activity in Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the Middle East, including Iraq.

WEED WATCH - George Miller, Barbara Lee and Pete Stark tell HuffPost Hill they'll vote yes on California's Prop 19, legalizing pot. Mike Honda's leaning that way and Dana Rohrabacher said he was a yes till he found out employers could discriminate against potheads:"If somebody wants to hire just non-smokers or non-drinkers that's his or her personal prerogative as far as I'm concerned."

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill


Salon with 5 LeBron-ish moments in politics:

OIL WILL GUSH THROUGH AUGUST, SPILL RESPONSE CHIEF SAYS - According to Thad Allen, the Gulf Coast will continue to resemble Smurf Mikhail Gorbachev's at least through August. "My position is that it will be in the middle of August before that well is capped," Allen said yesterday, adding: "The current government estimate is the middle of August." The comments come on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report highlighting comments from BP's Managing Director suggesting the efforts to stem the tide of could be completed as early as this month. The Hill:

A litany of environmental organizations, fishing industry representatives and other concerned parties want better safety precautions in the Gulf cleanup efforts. Robert Kennedy Jr.'s Waterkeeper Alliance, the United Commercial Fisherman, the Louisiana Shrimp Association, Commercial Fisherman of America, the Nassau Sierra Club in Florida and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, among dozens of others, are calling on BP to properly equip rescue workers mired in the toxic muck that has been spewing from the Gulf floor for nearly three months.

Florida Gov. and Senate candidate Charlie Crist has called a special, three-day session of the state legislature to debate a constitutional amendment banning near-shore oil drilling. The state House and Senate will convene July 20-23. Orlando Sentinel:

SHARRON ANGLE CRITICIZES BP "SLUSH FUND" - Greg Sargent: "Looks like Sharron Angle has now had her ultimate Rand Paul moment: During a radio appearance she labeled the $20 billion BP escrow fund secured by the White House as a 'slush fund.' Angle also seemed to agree with a caller who flatly described the fund as extortion, and added: 'Government shouldn't be doing that to a private company.' For good measure, she said Dems are exploiting the crisis to push energy reform and are following 'Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.' Angle made the claims on the Alan Stock show late yesterday. A caller said that Obama had 'basically extorted $20 billion from a private company,' and asked Angle what she thought of 'the $20 billion slush fund.'"

Angle retracted her statement on her campaign website (the new, less crazy one): "Having had some time to think about it, the caller and I shouldn't have used the term 'slush fund'; that was incorrect. My position is that the creation of this fund to compensate victims was an important first step--BP caused this disaster and they should pay for it. But there are multiple parties at fault here and there should be a thorough investigation. We need to look into the actions, (or inactions) of the Administration and why the regulatory agency in charge of oversight was asleep at the wheel while BP was cutting corners."

Sharron Angle thinks rape victims should turn that frown upside down. During an interview this June, the Nevada Senate candidate, in a response to a question about abortion, said a teenager impregnated by her father should try to make "a lemon situation into lemonade" and not get an abortion. On a completely unrelated note, here is where you can purchase stress balls: Sam Stein with the interview transcript:

SCHUMER EFFORT COULD LEAD TO BOOZE MONITORS IN ALL CARS - Sometimes we're glad that Chuck Schumer's not-so-much-about the follow through. His latest idea is to heavily invest in technology that can detect the blood alcohol level of a driver through fingertips on a steering wheel. ABC News: "The senator insists the technology would not be required by the federal government, though states could potentially mandate it. 'The first job is to perfect the technology, Schumer said, according to the Buffalo News. 'Then it will be up to each state legislature to decide whether they want to mandate it in the cars sold in that state or just limited it, and we'll have to decide that.' But critics say there is ample evidence that interest groups will eventually push the federal government to install it in every car in America. And they say that it will mean that even simply having one glass of wine with dinner could make it impossible to operate a vehicle."

@GlennThrush: Some things never change: Chuck Hagel's late for Gallup-New America Foundation lunch -- and his office doesn't know where he is

Word to the wise: if you're partying down on a Caribbean island for New Year's and you see Lindsay Lohan, run. That means you, Democratic Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene. Here's a picture of him with the starlet in St. Barts.

Greene has a new campaign ad out, highlighting his ability to looks at maps and point at things.

Elsewhere in the Florida Senate race, Marco Rubio is edging out Charlie Crist 36% to 34% with Kendrick Meek a distant third, according to a new poll.

A poll out in Illinois finds Alexi Giannoulias leading Mark Kirk 40% to 39%. The survey was conducted by Rasmussen who, liberal commentators will remind you, has a margin of error of +/- 6.66%.

A new survey finds the GOP beating the Democrats 48% to 42% in a generic ballot. That's pretty huge.

SARAH PALIN SET TO UNLEASH LADY BEARS AND PSYCHEDELIC ELEPHANTS ON OUR FAIR REPUBLIC - The former Alaska Governor, in an attempt to bolster the zoo that is the Tea Party movement, will combat godless liberal socialists with circus animals. A new video released by Palin's SarahPAC features her elaborating on how a hoard of enraged female grizzly bears and pink elephants will soon destroy Washingotn, D.C. TREMBLE PUNY MORTALS. Nick Wing:

It's been nearly 10 years since Florida's boy band boom ended. We've often wondered to ourselves what aspiring Floridian heart throbs with a knack for singing do in such a bear market. It turns out, they cut REALLY REALLY BIZARRE campaign jingles for their state representative dads. Check out state Rep. Mike Weinstein's newest campaign spot featuring the musical stylings of his son, Scott. Jason Linkins:

:-) - "In a significant step toward an AIDS vaccine, U.S. government scientists have discovered three powerful antibodies, the strongest of which neutralizes 91% of HIV strains, more than any AIDS antibody yet discovered." WSJ:

:-( - "Sad news from the National Zoo: Their three-week-old red panda cub has died. A keeper discovered the lifeless cub yesterday during evening rounds. He was brought to the veterinary hospital where staff confirmed he had died. Pathologists are working to determine a cause of death."

HUFFPOST HICCUP - Please don't be shy, potential HuffPost copy editors. In yesterday's edition, we accidentally said Michael Steele's "calvary" had arrived instead of "cavalry." "Calvary," according to Wikipedia, "are the English language/Western Christian names given to the site, outside of ancient Jerusalem's early 1st century walls, ascribed to the crucifixion of Jesus." Things are bad for the GOP chairman but not crucifixion bad (yet). We apologize for the word vomit. As a token of our contrition, please accept this photograph of Rachel Maddow in high school:

HARD-HITTING PROFILE ON JEREMY THE INTERN AND HIS PRECIOUS WEATHER - From Fishbowl DC: "Binckes's first weather memory was the Nor'easter of '92. 'It was the prefect storm, you know, the one they made the movie about,' he said, recalling that his father took he and his sister out of school for the day (a storm/snow day if you will) to watch the storm come in. 'We spent 10 minutes watching the water eat away at the dunes, the storm surge had entered the parking lot and was starting to lap at the cars...'" Heartwarming anecdote, JB!

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Stays hot and sticky. A very small chance of a spot shower. Tomorrow: It's going to stay very hot and very humid. Highs in the 90s, yet again. Tomorrow night we may see rain, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Thanks, JB!


- "A Day in the Life of a Congressional Staffer ... During Recess." Depressingly accurate.

- Super Mario Brothers super-imposed on an urban landscape.

- The saddest letter from camp ever.

- From the people that brought you "The hardest punches Mike Tyson has ever thrown," "The dumbest things Lindsay Lohan has ever done."

- What if the Earth actually stood still? A scientific analysis.

- Just a standard day at the Huffington Post DC office.

- A very randy 60-year-old sings the praises of Hedonism II.

- Creatively photobombing just about everyone with money.


@JimPethokoukis: to paraphrase Homer Simpson, "The Fed , the cause of -- and solution to -- all of life's problems."

@andylevy: BREAKING: LeBron to announce he's converting to Judaism. ESPN to air "The Circumcision" tonight at 10 ET.

@chuck_dizzle: BREAKING: LeBron James to retire from basketball to play minor league baseball for the Durham Bulls.

@PatrickRuffini: Was @LebronGlobalPR not available?

@brianbeutler: Maybe Angle wants a "slush fund" to buy frozen lemonade and thinks BP is like a pregnant rape victim?


TONIGHT: World News features a report from David Muir, who spent a week in Haiti and provides a portrait of how desperate the situation remains there. Ed Markey discusses BP on Countdown. Sports Illustrated's Dave Zirin talks LeBron on Maddow (guest host Chris Hayes). UFW President Arturo Rodriguez is on the Colbert Report. TOMORROW: Robert Menendez stops by Morning Joe.



6:00 pm: The Corcoran hosts a reception to promote its "Sensory Overload Exhibition," which features works of art that stimulate two or more of the senses [Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street NW].

7:00 pm: The AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring screens "Clue," the 1985 film about the board game of the same name [AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring].

8:45 pm: The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Underdog Film Festival rolls on with a screening of "Legally Blonde" [Canal Park, 200 M St SE].


5:00 pm - 8:30 pm: Jazz in the Garden and all the accompanying beautiful people [Sculpture Garden, 700 Constitution Avenue NW].

7:00 pm: DC Desi Summer hosts a South Asian comedy night featuring Hari Kondabolu and Aparna Nancherla [Ballroom (second floor), 1628 16th Street, NW].

8:40 pm - 10:30 pm: The I Love The 90s Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival gets about as 90s-y as possible with "Home Alone" [Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway].

9:00 pm: 9:30 Club takes a break from concerts for a dance night featuring DJ LIL'E for its "Lady Gaga vs. Madonna vs. M.I.A." [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].

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