POLITICS
07/12/2010 06:35 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - JULY 12TH, 2010

True to form, one of Congress' first decisions after a week off was to delay Elena Kagan's committee vote so Judiciary Republicans could think it over some more. Wall Street reform advanced when Scott Brown and Olympia Snow threw their support behind the bill. On the campaign trail, Rand Paul declared that the Tea Party is a mainstream movement even as the NAACP prepared to condemn it for being racist and we've developed a new campaign crush: Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Rob Hahn (move aside, Alvin Greene). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 13th, 2010:

BREAKING: OLYMPIA SNOWE TO SUPPORT WALL STREET REFORM - "To ensure we avoid another financial catastrophe such as the one that plunged our nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is imperative that we implement an aggressive overhaul of the American financial regulatory system," Snowe said in a statement just released by her office. "After thoroughly reviewing the 2,315-page financial regulatory reform conference bill during the July 4 work period, I intend to support passage of the legislation when it's brought before the Senate for consideration."

BEN NELSON SAYS HE'S UNDECIDED - Although there is no serious indication that the Nebraska senator will vote 'no,' his statement, made outside the Senate chamber just before HuffPost Hill went to press, briefly threw a wrench into Harry Reid's red zone plan. Nelson explained his indecision: "There's certain uncertainty -- a certain amount of uncertainty related to -- you're going to have regulations written and who's going to be the head of the consumer protection bureau." Some bankers, he said, were lobbying him to vote for it. Tune in to HuffPost tomorrow morning for a look at Nelson's (attempted) spoiler role in everything from the stimulus to banking reform to unemployment insurance extensions.

SCOOP: BIPARTISANSHIP LIVES -- NOW PASS THE CHIANTI - Nelson's colleagues can lobby him at the weekly Monday wine and cheese gathering, which begins in the Capitol after votes conclude and will be attended by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. WaPo Style section editor take note: They happen each Monday and are restricted to senators, HuffPost Hill is told (though it was not leaked on purpose), though both parties have been trying to keep them quiet.

Scott Brown is an 'aye.' The Bay State Buy-Off pays off: Brown's announced support today which brought the total number of expected Yea votes to 60 -- until Nelson backed off. The number also includes West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin's pick to fill Robert Byrd's seat, who will likely support the measure. Manchin, though, said he'll wait on the legislature before making an appointment, meaning it likely won't come until the end of the week. http://huff.to/auJxFZ

Senate Dem leadership is meeting with Obama at 11 a.m. at the White House tomorrow.

SENATE JUDICIARY DELAYS KAGAN CONFIRMATION VOTE A WEEK - Hotline is reporting that Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will use their power to delay the vote a week so they can piss off Pat Leahy consider Elena Kagan's qualifications a bit longer: "The vote on Kagan cannot be delayed again, meaning the panel will likely advance her nomination on July 20. Senate Dems would then have until Aug. 6 to meet their goal of confirming her before the Aug. recess." http://bit.ly/deIUbv

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENSION VOTE DELAYED - From HuffPost's Arthur Delaney: "Senate Democrats will remain one vote short of the 60 needed to reauthorize unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless at least until the end of the week, as West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin says he wants to wait until the state legislature has cleared up the law on how to fill the Senate seat left behind by the late Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). Manchin previously said that he could name a replacement as soon as the beginning of the week, but on Monday his office told HuffPost he'd make his announcement by Sunday at the latest and Friday at the earliest." Groan: http://huff.to/cj9Be1

DEFICITS BE DAMNED: JON KYL WANTS BUSH'S TAX CUTS EXTENDED... - Despite a projected $650 billion-plus price tag over the next ten years, the number two Republican in the Senate told Fox News Sunday that President Bush's tax cuts should be extended. "You do need to offset the cost of increased spending and that's what Republicans object to," Kyl said. "But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans." Huh? Sam Stein: http://huff.to/drn7jL

White House aides were downright giddy about Kyl's remarks on Sunday, and most of the Dem establishment jumped on his comments on Monday, with machine gun-style releases pumped out by the DNC and Harry Reid's office.

ERIC CANTOR AND EVAN BAYH ALSO LOVING THE BUSH CUTS - Appearing on CNBC today, Kyl's House counterpart echoed the call to extend Bush's tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 annually. Interestingly, Evan Bayh, who was appearing alongside Cantor, seconded the House Republican Whip. "We don't need to raise taxes now. Eric is exactly right," Bayh said. "If we're going to deal with those things, we ought to wait until the economy has a full head of steam going, jobs are being created, several hundred thousand a month, then you can deal with some of the long-term issues." Wonk Room: http://bit.ly/dltzZu

In the same CNBC interview, Cantor expressed his belief that his party will regain control the House this November. "I think we're going to retake the House, as Mr. Gibbs suggested yesterday from the White House," he said.

The folks over at MSNBC's First Read think Cantor might be jumping the gun a bit. Their argument, summarized by Political Wire: "1. Unlike in 1994, Republicans have a favorability rating that's no better -- and sometimes even worse -- than the Democrats. 2. Unlike in 1994, the GOP isn't necessarily running on new ideas or even with many new faces. 3. The NRCC has a HUGE financial disadvantage compared with the DCCC and the RNC's political/fundraising troubles won't be able to make up the difference. 4. Winning 39 House seats is a tall order. After all, when Democrats won back the House in 2006 -- during the height of violence in Iraq and after Hurricane Katrina -- they picked up 30 House seats. The GOP will need almost 10 more than that." http://bit.ly/969Z6l

In other Eric Cantor news, ThinkProgress highlights an upcoming jobs fair hosted by the Virginia congressman promoting employment opportunities funded by the Recovery Act. "According to a ThinkProgress review of contracts from the Recovery.gov website, employers at the Cantor job fair tomorrow have received approximately $52,716,129 from the the stimulus...A ThinkProgress report released on the one year anniversary of the stimulus highlights over half the GOP caucus, 114 lawmakers, who voted to kill the stimulus then took credit for its success." http://bit.ly/aqEbmY

CAN WE STOP PRETENDING IT'S ABOUT THE DEFICIT? - Jon Kyl, speaking to reporters off the Senate floor, makes it quite clear that this is an ideological battle. Here's Kyl explaining why tax cuts shouldn't be offset: "The money belongs to the taxpayer, to the people. The money does not belong to the government. And yet that's what this kind of a rigid pay-go rule would assume, that the money belongs to the government and, therefore, if you're going to deny the government some of that revenue through a tax cut, you have to make the government whole because the government can never lose any money. That would mean that you could never reduce the size of government. Each year when it gets bigger, it stays at that level or gets bigger yet, but you can never reduce it. The money doesn't belong to the government. The money belongs to the people, so you shouldn't have to make the government whole every time you do something to reduce the revenue to the government." http://huff.to/aRlBaY

TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - The Hill: Michael O'Brien on how Republicans seized on Robert Gibbs' statement over the weekend that there is "no doubt" the GOP is in striking distance of taking over either the House and Senate. Washington Post: Richard Cohen thinks Michael Steele was right from the start. Enough time has elapsed so that the war in Afghanistan can be seen as Barack Obama's. Roll Call: Stu Rothenberg writes that President Barack Obama must be smiling from ear to ear when he follows the antics of Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, whose endorsements of Senate candidates are giving GOP leaders migraine headaches.

MEL MARTINEZ TO JOIN JPMORGAN - Maybe if the revolving door spins fast enough, some of the oil will be blown away from Florida? Business Wire is reporting that the former Florida senator has joined the financial firm to be its Chairman of Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Democracy! http://bit.ly/csp9z7

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

BP WAS TAKING "RISKS AND CUTTING CORNERS IN PURSUIT OF PROFITS," NYT SAYS - A damning article from the Times today details a culture in BP that helped lead to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. "Despite a catalog of crises and near misses in recent years, BP has been chronically unable or unwilling to learn from its mistakes, an examination of its record shows," it reads. http://nyti.ms/cZWKUC

Robert Gibbs said in his briefing today that President Obama will support continued deepwater drilling if it's proven to be safe. Sam Stein: http://huff.to/ddgHnL

SIX-MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF HAITI QUAKE - Hey remember that tragedy of unimaginable proportions we swore we'd never forget...until we did (file between "Burmese Monks" and "Tsunami")? Today mankind will try to burn a few hundred years off its purgatory sentence before promptly regaining that karmic weight tomorrow in a binge of Mel Gibson stories and Roman Polanski indignation. However, while that devastated nation has our attention, here are a few things to note:

Al Jazeera with a comprehensive overview of the political, social and logistic challenges still facing Haiti: "Destroyed during the earthquake, the presidential palace remains rubble and a symbol of the vast destruction. Port-au-Prince is still covered in debris. About 1.3 million people live in 1,200 makeshift tent camps in and around the capital. According to one estimate, less than 5 per cent of the earthquake debris has been removed. Of course, with 20 million cubic metres of rubble in Port-Au-Prince alone, removing the debris is a massive challenge. If 1,000 trucks were working daily it would take three to five years to remove all this material. Yet, there are fewer than 300 trucks hauling debris." http://bit.ly/dBNYi1

HuffPost blogger Isabel Macdonald reports less than two percent of relief funds promised to Haiti by international have been delivered. Brazil, Norway, Australia are the only countries to have fully paid their pledges. U.S. has given $30M of $1.15B or so pledged. http://huff.to/ddWSaw

The Miami Herald is running a slew of Haiti stories this week in commemoration of the 6-month anniversary. An excerpt from an article by Audra D.S. Burch and Nadege Charles on the plight of Haitian refugees and immigrants: "There are currently 55,000 Haitians whose petitions to immigrate to the U.S. have been accepted but they are languishing on waiting lists dating back as far as 10 years...In the rush to evacuate the wounded and homeless in the wake of the earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000, many entered the U.S. on short-term business and tourism visas. Now some of those permits are on the verge of expiring, but many of 1,300 visa holders living in South Florida have little or nothing to return to in their homeland." http://bit.ly/dCUEr5

WATCH: The Miami Herald, in partnership with the El Nuevo Herald, is also producing a documentary on Haiti's reconstruction. View a three minute preview of the film on the Herald's website: http://bit.ly/9Pesur

DONATE: The Bush Clinton Haiti Fund here: http://bit.ly/8CWGlR

ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE RELEASES PROBE ON ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE HANDLING OF FLOTILLA INCIDENT, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE FINDS ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TOO BAD (OVERALL A BANG UP JOB SAYS ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE). ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE THANKS YOU FOR YOUR TIME - From Haaretz: "The Israel Defense Force committee investigating the navy's deadly raid on a Turkish-flagged aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip found the incident to be the consequence of failed intelligence and a lack of proper preparation for the operation, according to its report released on Monday...The report also found that the navy would have had no means to stop the ship at sea without endangering the vessel, and thus backed the decision to carry out a commando operation. http://bit.ly/9EvFpA

From the report: "The use of live fire was justified" and "the entire operation is estimable."

Despite the IDF report's support for the deployment of commandos, the center-left Israel organization J-Street is encouraged by the report's findings. From Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J-Street, in a statement provided to HuffPost Hill: "We're very pleased to see that the Israeli government - in changing its overall policy toward Gaza and in investigating both the decision to intercept the flotilla and its actual implementation of that decision - has adopted positions far closer to those of J Street than to those of organizations and commentators who lined up in an Israel-right-or-wrong posture in the hours after the flotilla tragedy."

TEA PARTY NOT CRAZY, SAYS GUY IFFY ON CIVIL RIGHTS ACT - This Saturday, Kentucky Senate Candidate Rand Paul defended the sanity of the Tea Party movement, insisting its activists have been wrongly labeled "right-wing lunatics" when, as Paul sees it, most of their policy positions enjoy bipartisan support. "In a 20-minute speech outside the state Capitol in Frankfort, Paul said the tea party is part of the political mainstream because of its emphasis on balanced budgets and congressional term limits. The libertarian-leaning Senate candidate said that those views are popular with Republicans and Democrats alike." http://huff.to/8YzoFR

The NAACP must not have bought Paul's argument. The civil rights organization will vote on a resolution condemning the Tea Party for "racism." "The measure -- which is expected to receive a vote this week by NAACP delegates at the organization's annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. -- requests 'all people of good will to repudiate the racism of the Tea Parties, and to stand in opposition to its drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.' Anita Russell, who heads the Kansas City NAACP local chapter, indicated to the Star that she's "pretty certain" the resolution will be approved." http://huff.to/cMdzT1

@Chucktodd: Sure m not 1st to point this out, but odd that Palin's "mama grizzly" video doesn't showcase a SINGLE '10 woman cand.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a lonely tortoise, bullied into solitude by his fellow tortoises, who found companionship with a plastic turtle: http://bit.ly/9J02np

RASMUSSEN UNDER FIRE FOR REPUBLICAN CRUISE APPEARANCE - Republican cruising isn't limited to bathrooms in Minnesota, apparently. Justin Elliott in his first piece for Salon: "Pollster Scott Rasmussen, who maintains he is reliable and independent despite criticism from Democrats that he tilts to the right, will in November speak for no fee on a post-election National Review cruise to raise money for the conservative magazine...But Rasmussen differs from the other 25 or so speakers who are all professional conservatives -- open about their political leanings. Democrats have criticized Rasmussen's apparent tendency to produce results that are unusually favorable to the GOP." http://bit.ly/d5qj1c

CIRO RODRIGUEZ LOSES IT AT TOWN HALL MEETING - Barely a news cycle removed from Pete Stark's sarcastic put down of conservative immigration policies, the Texas congressman is dealing with an embarrassing YouTube video of his own. After a constituent grilled Rodriguez about the costs of health care reform and suggested he was lying at a recent town hall meeting, Rodriguez, who could take a lesson or two from Stark, became visibly agitated. Video: http://bit.ly/93U37G

OUR NEWEST ELECTORAL CURIOSITY: ROB HAHN - It all started when this item appeared in our Google Reader from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (yet mysteriously led to a dead link): "Rob Hahn, who is writing a novel called Robbob for Governor, is running as an Independence Party candidate for the state's highest office."After a brief search, we found the first chapter of "Robbob for Governor." The opening line: "If I had scheduled a news conference to announce I was a pedophile and was looking for young meat, I undoubtedly would have attracted more attention from the local media." You can read the first chapter here: http://bit.ly/asbvlm

We were intrigued. After further investigation (30-second Google search) we came across a Minnesota Public Radio article on Hahn: "Rob Hahn is a former radio producer who now owns a small publishing company. He's never run for elected office, but during a news conference Thursday to announce his campaign, Hahn explained how his lack of political experience would be an advantage...Hahn said he's writing and publishing a novel about a a fictional campaign for governor. But he insists his campaign is serious and not a publicity stunt." http://bit.ly/aOyjE9

One last thing on Rob Hahn: the dude has some crazy campaign videos. Check out our two favorites: This one parodying "Major Tom" http://bit.ly/az8XqY and this one parodying "Masterpiece Theatre" (note the ascot) http://bit.ly/bvW2cx

Alvin Greene (D - Winkie Country) will give his first public speech since randomly winning South Carolina's Democratic Senate nomination. "Greene said Monday he was invited by a local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to speak at the group's monthly meeting Sunday in his hometown of Manning in the central part of the state." http://huff.to/czQI1C

@jmartpolitico: how many obscure/marginal candidates are looking at all the attn alvin greene is getting and asking: why not me?

LIKE THAT HEATWAVE? YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET - From Stanford University: "Exceptionally long heat waves and other hot events could become commonplace in the United States in the next 30 years, according to a new study by Stanford University climate scientists. 'Using a large suite of climate model experiments, we see a clear emergence of much more intense, hot conditions in the U.S. within the next three decades,' said Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford and the lead author of the study." http://bit.ly/90anBb

Frightening heatwaves-of-the-future map graphic from the study: http://bit.ly/dj5pgn

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - This is going to be awesome. Two fronts are headed towards DC. There's a warm front coming up from the south, and then a cold front coming from the west; a veritable 1-2 punch of rain. Tonight: There's a line of storms moving northeast at an awkward angle. There's a good chance that we can see storms coming through all night. On the bright side, I'm sure you have some of those Twilight books that you haven't yet read. Have fun with those. Tomorrow: Hot and sticky. Really sticky. On the bright side, it will be temporary, as the cold front should come through sometime tomorrow in the late afternoon/early evening. Then again, that will bring thunderstorms. The lesson? When you wake up tomorrow and it's miserable, realize it won't be miserable for long, but keep that umbrella handy. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

-The best and worst moments of World Cup 2010. http://huff.to/bg4vnP

- From the people that brought you the "Sweetest Mother's Day Cards Of All Time" and the "Saddest ASPCA Flyers Of All Time," we present "The Creepiest Fan Art Of All Time." http://huff.to/9mKP30

- The happiest old guy DJ ever. http://bit.ly/az7rjy

- We're pretty sure this guy's cat joined the Galactic Empire. http://bit.ly/b9dHuy

- The world's largest skateboard. http://bit.ly/cduzpt

- A collection of Super Mario Brothers characters that didn't make the cut. http://bit.ly/9o1puW

- The 10 most short-lived gadgets. http://bit.ly/adpAYI

TWITTERAMA

@jimgeraghty: It's hard to understate just how important this fundraising quarter is for Alvin Greene.

@dceiver: I think Clevelanders should maybe reflect, because the loss of Pekar is much greater than the loss of LeBron.

@brianbeutler: Rand Paul: Carcetti from The Wire? Or Andrew McCarthy of St. Elmo's Fire/Pretty in Pink fame? http://bit.ly/deOdLg

@kingsthings: In Anaheim for the All Star Game. The boys will be shagging fly balls during the home run contest. At Disney now having a good time!

THE TUBE

Kevin Brady was on Ratigan. Chris Van Hollen discussed the midterms on Hardball. Luis Gutierrez and Jim Clyburn appear on Schultz. Diane Sawyer, broadcasting from the Gulf, speaks with Thad Allen.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: The Wilson Quarterly hosts a happy hour to promote the publication of its latest issue [Local 16, 1602 U Street NW].

6:30 - 8:00 pm: The Cary Grant Film Series gets underway with "An Affair to Remember" [National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

8:30 pm: ****SCREEN ON THE GREEN IS BACK!!!!!**** For its 2010 maiden voyage, SOTG will be airing "Goldfinger." Get your dancing shoes on for the HBO intro [The Mall].

8:30 pm: In case you wanted ANOTHER movie option, the Crystal Screen Star Trek Film Festival will screen 1991's "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" [18th and South Bell Streets, Arlington].

TOMORROW

2:00pm - 3:30 pm: In many of today's conflict zones, the youth represent over half of the affected population. USIP holds a book launch and panel discussion promoting Stephanie Schwartz's "Youth at War, Youth Building Peace, Youth on the Margins." [U.S. Institute of Peace, 1200 17th Street NW].

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who is super excited to return next year in the majority and prosecute just about everyone and everything, hosts a campaign event with Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) [Jordan's 8, 523 8th Street SE].

6:30 pm: Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) raises the dough at an event benefiting his renomination campaign. John Thune (R-S.D.) provides backup [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street Northwest].

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Nico Pitney (nico@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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