POLITICS
07/19/2010 06:24 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - JULY 19TH, 2010

Parting is such sweet :'-( . Sarah Palin is again at the center of attention -- this time for tweet-comparing herself to Shakespeare and fusing the words "refute" and "repudiate." The only Democrat to receive Tea Party backing has refudiated the group's support. Ever the basketball fanatic, President Obama today made an open court layup by calling for the passage of a bill that will probably pass tomorrow. Two-thirds of us are in Vegas this week for Netroots Nation and to determine whether Sharron Angle's campaign is deader than Nevada's commercial real estate market. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 19th, 2010:

OIL STILL LEAKING, WORD "SEEPAGE" LIKELY TO CREEP YOU OUT FOR A COUPLE MORE DAYS - "A White House spokesman says BP's ruptured oil well is leaking at the top, along with seepage about two miles away. Robert Gibbs also says officials are monitoring bubbles that can be seen on an underwater camera. Leaks could mean the cap on the well has to be opened to prevent oil and gas from escaping elsewhere. The mechanical cap on the well stopped the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday." http://huff.to/c5DZFV

OBAMA URGES SENATE TO PASS UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSIONS - A day before the Senate is widely expected to pass the extensions, the president boldly urged the Senate to...pass the extensions. "These leaders in the Senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from finding a job should talk to these folks. That attitude, I think, reflects a lack of faith in the American people," the president said in the Rose Garden. A Republican aide, to put it mildly, was incredulous: "What the hell? They're going to get that vote tomorrow at 2:30 now that they will have a new Dem Senator. It's already scheduled. It's like the President is going to call for the sun to rise in the east." Arthur Delaney and Sam Stein: http://huff.to/9J9OnO

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER: JIM BUNNING REFUDIATES! - Arthur Delaney: "Hall of Fame cranky Senator Jim Bunning told Delaney last week it's 'not true' that Congress has never offset the cost of extended unemployment benefits. 'Just do your homework. Go back and check historically what they've been doing,' he said. He was right: In 1991, the elder President Bush signed a bill for 13 additional weeks of jobless benefits at a cost of $5.5 billion, fully offset with tax hikes. The New York Times reported at the time that the extension would be 'financed through changes in the tax law that will require higher corporate estimated tax payments, increased taxes on lump-sum pension distributions and a one-year elimination of the personal exemption for high-income taxpayers.' But Congress has never taken a substantial chunk of money from another part of the budget to pay for benefits, as Republicans and Ben Nelson now want to do." http://huff.to/bqMyLr

President Obama will sign the Wall Street reform bill on Wednesday, the White House announced today.

Have you been to a Congressional Cigar Association event? If so, email ryan@huffingtonpost.com

TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - The Hill: Molly K. Hooper and Jordan Fabian on which Republican members have joined the new Tea Party Caucus and how it could pose a dilemma for the GOP. Washington Post: Eugene Robinson notes that when the nation's leading civil rights organization passed a resolution condemning displays of racism by Tea Party activists, leaders of the movement reacted with umbrage so thick you could cut it with a knife -- they demonstrated that the NAACP's allegation was entirely justified.

LOTS OF PEOPLE WORK IN INTELLIGENCE INDUSTRY, PULITZER PRIZE WINNER FINDS - The WaPo expose by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin that is DRIVING THE CONVERSATION is mighty sobering. "The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work." http://bit.ly/bJHHVx

Excerpts:

- "Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications."

- "The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last year as $75 billion, 2 1/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But the figure doesn't include many military activities or domestic counterterrorism programs."

- "SCIF [sensitive compartmented information facility] size has become a measure of status in Top Secret America, or at least in the Washington region of it. 'In D.C., everyone talks SCIF, SCIF, SCIF,' said Bruce Paquin, who moved to Florida from the Washington region several years ago to start a SCIF construction business. 'They've got the penis envy thing going. You
can't be a big boy unless you're a three-letter agency and you have a big SCIF.'"

The House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing tomorrow on military spending. The committee will highlight the findings of "Debt, Deficits, & Defense: A Way Forward," a report requested by Barney Frank, Ron Paul, Walter Jones and Ron Wyden, which features a series of proposed defense cuts.

Elsewhere in belt-tightening, a flack sends us a presser: "Four Members of Congress will announce tomorrow their formation of a new congressional 'Spending Cuts and Deficit Reduction Working Group' and unveil legislation to cut billions of dollars in wasteful spending from the federal budget. Gary Peters (D-MI), chairman of the new working group, Co-chair John Adler (D-NJ) and the groups' other founding members, Peter Welch (D-VT) and Jim Himes (D-CT), have each sponsored legislation to cut billions in wasteful discretionary spending and subsidies from the energy; treasury and housing and urban development; defense; and agriculture budgets, respectively."

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

WEST VIRGINIA SENATE ELECTION CAUSING A STIR IN MOUNTAIN STATE - Thanks to gridlock in West Virginia's legislature, it's increasingly likely that Governor Joe Manchin's appointee for Robert Byrd's Senate seat, Carte Goodwin, may serve until 2012. "Democrats and Republicans are so at odds over legislation to change the state's election code to allow a November special election to fill Byrd's seat that Gov. Joe Manchin (D) may have to proclaim a special election on his own. From the start, the governor's office has worried that step would open a special election to legal challenges despite the fact that the state attorney general's office has concluded Manchin has the authority to proclaim a special election." The Hill: http://bit.ly/9XYtRk

A new PPP survey finds voters are split between the two parties. "We find a 43/43 tie on this month's look at the generic ballot...87% of Republicans are committed to voting for their party this fall, while 84% of Democrats are. Independents say they'll vote Republican by a 38-31 margin...Very few voters are shifting their allegiance from the 2008 election- 8% of Obama voters say they'll vote Republican this time but an almost equal 6% of McCain voters say they'll vote Democratic this time." PPP: http://bit.ly/bbJc2x

Odd, a Gallup survey has the Democrats leading in a generic poll 49% to 43%. http://bit.ly/9h1EYc

Blanche Lincoln is getting absolutely TROUNCED by John Boozman in Arkansas. The congressman is leading Lincoln 57% to 32% in a new Talk Business poll. And the DSCC didn't even get a tough derivatives title for the money it flushed away. http://bit.ly/aIjkKa

A Nevada political reporter this weekend declared Sharron Angle is "dead," citing recent polls putting Harry Reid ahead of the Tea Party favorite. http://bit.ly/beAZnI

Two-thirds of HuffPost Hill are out in Las Vegas this week for Netroots Nation. One-third of us had an early morning MSNBC hit from a subcontracted studio. In true lazy-reporter style, we asked the camera guy if we could interview him about his economic circumstances and how they'd affect his vote in the midterm. Robert Garcia, 58, agreed. He was laid off about two years ago, he said, and has been scraping by on freelance gigs like the one this morning. About 20 minutes into the interview, he paused to think. "It's funny," he said. "Just before I was laid off, I was gonna buy a BMW." He paused for another long moment as his eyes welled up. We asked where he was living now and he broke down instantly, tears pouring over his cheeks, knocking his contact out. "Actually, I'm looking for a place. I'll be right back," he said, leaving to compose himself. When he returned, he said that he's still in his home that's more than 50 percent under water, but would be leaving any day, as soon as the bank approves a short sale. He's applied for 200 jobs all across the country, he said, but at 58, employers want younger workers. He has nothing left, he said, but one bright spot is that the devastation in Vegas is so profound that landlords tell him they no longer check credit reports for short sales or foreclosures. He has very little faith, he said, that Harry Reid can do anything to improve the situation, but he has none in Sharron Angle. "'I wanna get rid of Social Security,'" he recalled her saying. "How stupid is that?" On the ride back to the Rio, our driver, Fabienne Chalaye, also agreed to talk and said she lost 60 percent of her business overnight in the fall of 2008 and hasn't paid her mortgage in 15 months while the bank refuses to renegotiate her mortgage. She said she expects the marshals to be at her door any morning to throw out her, her adult daughter and her daughter's boyfriend. "It's very hard to understand at times why we have to suffer so much in the greatest country on earth," she wondered. She also thinks Angle is nuts, however, and is leaning toward casting a highly reluctant vote in favor of Reid.

In Roll Call tonight, John Stanton and Jackie Kucinich write that Republicans are increasingly convinced that their best selling point for the midterm elections is that a GOP majority can serve as the counterweight to the unchecked power of the president.

POLITICAL DICTIONARY WORD OF THE DAY - Cloture: The only procedure by which the U.S. Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. "The majority leader, eager to attend the Spin Doctors reunion show in Carson City this Friday, filed cloture on the war spending bill today." http://bit.ly/clPjZ3

TEA PARTY CAUCUS OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED BY CONGRESS - "A House committee has approved Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann's proposal to create an official House Tea Party Caucus. Bachmann announced via Twitter that the Committee on House Administration approved her request. The new caucus, Bachmann announced last week, will focus on 'fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution, and limited government.'" CBS: http://bit.ly/aEYpPJ

Mike Pence will join. TPM: http://bit.ly/dsp1CY

TEA PARTY TO HOST SUMMIT ON RACISM - Weight Watchers symposium on fluffernutters and MLB Players Association panel on steroids to follow. Elyse Siegel: "Tea Party leaders plan to hold a summit this summer to address recent charges of racism made against the conservative movement. A Philadelphia, Pa. Fox affiliate reports on the event scheduled to take place on July 31 at Independence Mall in Philadelphia: The rally, called Uni-Tea, will feature white and black Tea Party supporters in all-day event that will feature live music, a web cast and plenty of Obama bashing. The site for the event features 13 speakers, with at least 8 speakers being persons of color." http://huff.to/c5DZFV

@dnewhauser: Dem leadership aide: "We hope that all members of the Republican Conference will join the Tea Party Caucus, starting with John Boehner."

DEMOCRATIC REP. ENDORSED BY TEA PARTY REJECTS ENDORSEMENT - Walt Minnick, the lone Democratic candidate for Congress who has received Tea Party support, has publicly rejected the endorsement. He "announced his rejection of the endorsement in a letter to the co-Chair of the Tea Party Express on Monday -- roughly three months to the date after he became the sole Democrat to earn the group's backing. The congressman cited a fake letter (since removed from the web) that Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams wrote pretending to be a 'Colored People' denouncing Abraham Lincoln for offering welfare to slaves." http://huff.to/dobM3v

Sarah Palin simultaneously offended Muslims and English majors this weekend by tweeting, "Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate." The tweet, in opposition to a proposed mosque near Ground Zero, was quickly taken down and replaced with one that didn't include the refute/repudiate hybrid. She later offered this explanation: "'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!"

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one makes an ironic T-shirt about it within an hour, did it really make a sound resonate in the Twittersphere? "Refudiate" t-shirts are now available. http://bit.ly/9IOvCl

A conservative publishing house is delaying the fall publication of a Sarah Palin biography for children. "Speaking Up: The Sarah Palin Story," which was slated to be the hottest conservative read since "My Pet Goat" has been tabled by Zondervan. The book was one in a series of children's lit profiling prominent Christians. http://bit.ly/9w7Zxv

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Behold, a porcupine that thinks it's a dog: http://bit.ly/aJdp1M

Decades upon decades upon decades upon decades of Bushes. "George P. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush, is one of the co-founders of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas. The group officially launches today at a news conference in Austin. With Republicans George Antuna Jr. and Juan Hernandez, Bush hopes to use the Hispanic Republicans of Texas to 'recruit, elect and support' more Hispanics to the GOP.
Bush, a former resident of Dallas and Fort Worth, now lives in Austin." Dallas Morning News: http://bit.ly/9Ius4g

ALVIN GREENE SPEAKS!...IN PUBLIC!...TO PEOPLE! - Making his first speaking engagement since his surprise primary victory, South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene (D - One Of Those Peeled Away Office Buildings In "Inception") spoke to a local NAACP gathering yesterday. Despite some fidgeting and heavy breathing, it wasn't a total disaster! "Let's get South Carolina and America back to work and let's move South Carolina forward," he told the crowd in Manning, South Carolina. The biggest hiccup came towards the end when he implored the attendees to "reclaim our country from the terrorists and the communists." http://huff.to/980gzJ

CHINA OVERTAKES U.S. AS WORLD'S BIGGEST ENERGY CONSUMER - We're number two! We're number two! "China is now the world's biggest energy consumer, knocking the U.S. off a perch it held for more than a century, according to new data from the International Energy Agency. The Paris-based agency, whose forecasts are generally regarded as bellwether indicators for the energy industry, said China devoured 2,252 million tons of oil equivalent last year, or about 4% more than the U.S., which burned through 2,170 million tons of oil equivalent." What are the metrics on oil spilled into large bodies of water? WSJ: http://bit.ly/czzI6I

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Storms have been popping up all day and I predict they will continue tonight. The atmosphere looks a bit unstable; earlier today, a line of storms moved across the East coast, but I firmly believe isolated showers may light up the sky tonight. Tomorrow: I've seen a few different predictions, but I'm going to follow a regional television station. Their meteorologist believes the jet stream is going to head north, leaving the DC to NY corridor under hot air. Therefore, I'm going to say it's going to be mid-90s, with a slight chance of thunderstorms in the p.m. Thanks, JB!

Where in the world was JB? On Friday, I was in Chicago, north of Tornado Alley, but south of the Minnesota tornado that we saw earlier in this year. The Windy City's reputation for baseball fanaticism and inclement weather is evident in Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs. Located just blocks from Lake Michigan, when the wind blows east towards the lake, pitchers may be prone to illness and hitters will enjoy the high-scoring games as a result. Congrats to Aimee Katz for getting it right! Thanks, Aimee!

COMFORT FOOD

- Stripper poles for the elderly (SFW...and your eyes). http://bit.ly/djllUE

- This guy bowled five days straight. http://bit.ly/9qQZI1

- Apparently a dog can be a pedophile. http://bit.ly/9Zsq1K

- 50 Nintendo games spoiled in a couple of minutes. http://bit.ly/bmmpel

- Now that the Nationals have strengthened their rotation, we've found the Nats' next center fielder. http://bit.ly/aCpyOj

- Dora the Explorer meets "Inception." http://bit.ly/cd7DM2

TWITTERAMA

@DavidCornDC: "You refudiate me." #famousmovielinesviaPalin

@DavidCornDC: "Frankly, my dear, I just don't give a refudiation." #famousmovielinesviaPalin

@DavidCornDC "What we've got here is...a failure to #refudiate."

@thegarance Exclusive 2-year reporting project on nat sec drops + what's WaPo #1 most read? Palin coining word refudiate.

@FakeAPStyleBook: Connecticut - as the middle "c" is silent, you may omit it for space concerns.

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Mike Pence and one-half of the reporting team behind the Post's intelligence story Dana Priest were on Hardball. The always loquacious Sheila Jackson Lee and paragon of human beauty Sam Stein visit Ed Schultz's program. Jeff Merkley talks taxes on Maddow. TOMORROW: Joe Sestak, Evan Bayh and Peter King get some air time on Morning Joe. Diane Sawyer interviews David Cameron on World News.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: AOL hosts a cocktail reception to highlight its Washington-based endeavors including Politics Daily [Sequoia, 3000 K Street].

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: The Cary Grant Film Series continues with a screening of "His Girl Friday" [The National Theater, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW]

8:30 pm - 10:30 pm: Ready, set, brie: The second installment of Screen on the Green features "The Goodbye Girl" [National Mall, 700 Independence Avenue SW].

5:00 pm: Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) wastes no time getting back into the fundraising groove with a campaign dinner [Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

TOMORROW

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: The Canadian embassy hosts its summer reception. We refuse to take the "eh" bait. Just attend (RSVP: http://bit.ly/bIMfWp) [Embassy of Canada, 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

All Day: Dana Perino and Charlie Cook (he dropped out after finding out there'd be hat passing) host a fundraiser for John Thune (R-S.D.)'s Heartland Values PAC. Big guns are scheduled to appear: Mitch McConnell, Richard Burr, John McCain, Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint [Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave NW].

8:00 am: Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), one of the most slur-tastic speakers in Congress, takes his special brand of enunciation to Bistro Bis [Bistro Bis, 15 E Street NW].

12:00 pm: Lamar Smith (R-Texas) hosts a luncheon at the Capitol Hill Club to benefit his Longhorn PAC [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].

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