POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - JULY 23, 2010

07/23/2010 05:59 pm 17:59:13 | Updated May 25, 2011

Our cup really overfloweth on Fridays. Whether it was Zach Wamp hinting that some states may secede or James Inhofe reiterating his position that global warming is a hoax, we really had our pick today. While the liberal blogosphere brings Las Vegas to its knees, we'll be out making things a bit easier for elite white people (Jim Webb says they're under fire) by scouting locations for John Kerry's yacht...free from all the oppression. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, July 23rd, 2010:

PAY CZAR FAILS TO RECOVER BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER-FUNDED WALL STREET BONUSES - Shahien Nasiripour apparently wants you to have a terrible Friday because he filed this: "The federal overseer entrusted with investigating Wall Street pay has declined to take action, arguing that the public wouldn't be served by going after $1.6 billion that 17 financial firms doled out to their employees in the five months after taxpayer-bailouts began in the fall of 2008. Among other duties, Congress granted Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Obama administration's "pay czar," the legal authority to attempt to recover excessive compensation that may have been contrary to the 'public interest.' Though acknowledging the massive payouts were 'ill-advised' and exhibited 'bad judgment' -- some bankers were paid more than $10 million, he said -- Feinberg refused to rule that any of the massive payouts went against the public's interest." http://huff.to/cZHwnV

P STREET PROJECT LAUNCHES - Hills staffers, meet Shaunna Thomas, liberal lobbyist for the newly formed P Street Project, whose creation will be announced tomorrow at a panel at Netroots Nation. Well, we just announced it here, but you get the point. P Street is connected to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which raised more than a million bucks last year by operating outside the orbit of the White House and its allied progressive institutions. Thomas and P Street have been the organizing force behind Carolyn Maloney's letter supporting Elizabeth Warren. It now has more than 60 members signed up and roughly 150,000 folks have signed a petition. It's an example of the type of inside-outside work the group plans to do. "Washington can often be such an inside game. People get cynical: 'Oh, that's never going to happen," Chellie Pingree, who worked closely with PCCC in her and Jared Polis' late push for a public option, told HuffPost Hill. "A lot of times there's a point where people feel the momentum's dead, but having people from your local community call and say do this, and here's a vehicle to do it, really gets things moving."

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

CHARLIE RANGEL ADDRESS ETHICS CHARGES - "The 40-year congressional veteran spoke Friday at his office in Harlem, a day after the ethics panel indicated he may have committed serious violations. The panel did not disclose the allegations and Rangel declined to elaborate. Rangel says he's pleased that the matter will be addressed before the September primary election and the November general election. He says voters in his district deserve to know the truth about the allegations. He says he's eager to be able to tell voters the results of the investigation, 'so that they would know who Charlie Rangel really is.'" http://huff.to/c7Cz8I

BILL REMOVING U.S. FORCES FROM PAKISTAN INTRODUCED IN HOUSE - The chamber might act next week on a resolution introduced last night by Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul that would, citing the War Powers Act, direct President Obama to withdraw U.S. forces from Pakistan. "The administration, like its predecessor, is misusing language in the original post-9/11 resolution to prosecute a wider regional war and Congress is sitting quietly on the sidelines. This must stop," Paul said in a statement.

The BBC has released an infographic that details the location of -- and casualties from -- U.S. drone and Islamic militant attacks in Pakistan. http://bit.ly/cCrN92

Double Suicide In Foreclosed Home? - An AP report in the Las Vegas Review Journal describes the horrific case of a mother and son who burned to death in their family home after it was foreclosed on. The incident has the hallmarks of a suicide: The pair barricaded themselves in the house and an accelerant was used to burn it down. "RENO, Nev. -- Two people found dead in a home that burned in an upscale Reno neighborhood had heavily fortified the foreclosed house, apparently anticipating the sheriff's deputies who came to evict them, police said Wednesday...Deputies serving the eviction notice Tuesday heard what they thought were gunshots after they announced themselves at the front door about 10:40 a.m. They took cover and noticed the house was on fire...No weapons were found, but investigators suspect an accelerant was used inside the house, Nuttall said. He said the bodies were found next to each other in the kitchen in a part of the house that had burned the least." http://huff.to/9kGvtt

SPOTTED OH @!#$^@% LOOK WHO IT IS - On Continental flight 159 from Reagan National to Houston last night (Vegas is for chumps [Editor's note: So's your face]) 1/3rd of HuffPost Hill caught a glimpse of Ron Paul and Ted Poe kicking back in first class. The first class divider (and FAA regulations) prevented HuffPost Hill from asking any questions but we couldn't help but notice that Paul was expanding his horizons by reading the godless, liberal New York Times. Not surprisingly, Poe, the House's most prolific floor speaker, was chatting it up with the flight staff.

TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - Washington Post: Kathleen Parker says the current Journolist controversy that has the blogosphere heaving sparks, and Washington even more self-absorbed than usual, is a tempest in Barbie's teacup. --AND-- E.J. Dionne Jr. contends that the total failure of the Obama administration in the face of the doctored video made public by a right-wing activist should force the president and his entire team to rethink how it does business.

Susan Collins will vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. "Having analyzed her record, questioned her personally and reviewed the Judiciary Committee's hearings, I have concluded that Ms. Kagan should be confirmed to our nation's highest court," Collins wrote in a statement released today. That brings Kagan's Republican backers to three, joining Lindsey Graham and Richard Lugar. No word yet on Collins' Maine counterpart Olympia Snowe. USA Today: http://bit.ly/9kTfCv

@downwithtyranny: With Susan Collins' thumbs up, there are now enough votes for cloture on a GOP filibuster of Kagan... even if Ben Nelson crosses the aisle

MARK KIRK'S ONGOING LOVE OF TRUTHINESS CONTINUES - Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk, who has already had to backtrack exaggerated claims about his military service, is now battling accusations that he is embellishing a story from his childhood. The Chicago Tribune is running a piece today that questions the congressman's story about being rescued by the Coast Guard after his boat capsized in Lake Michigan. "In the most recent instance, the 50-year-old North Shore congressman told a boating magazine that he stood on his overturned sailboat and watched the sun set, when in fact he was rescued in midafternoon on June 15, 1976. Kirk also has said he swam up to a mile in 42-degree water and that he was rescued with his body temperature hovering two degrees from death. Those declarations are questionable, based on interviews with an eyewitness and medical experts." http://bit.ly/b4HrT7

An internal poll from Elaine Marshall's campaign finds she has moved ahead of Richard Burr in the North Carolina Senate race 37% to 35% http://bit.ly/8Yqcho

Blanche Lincoln is facing a steep reelection challenge in Arkansas. A new Rasmussen poll has her trailing John Boozman 60% to 35%. Cue flushing toilets. http://bit.ly/918qIm

From the dude who helped bring you the "Clean Skies Act" comes another delightfully misleading venture. Karl Rove's new 527 group that claims to be a "grassroots organization" is funded almost entirely by billionaires with ties to the oil and gas industry. "And despite the group's description of itself as 'grassroots,' Salon's review of its IRS filings show that four billionaires have contributed 97 percent of the $4.7 million it has raised to date. There are no limits on how much corporations, unions, and individuals can donate to 527 groups." Salon: http://bit.ly/9KNRfC

INHOFE STILL DENYING GLOBAL WARMING IN HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD - If Inhofe can cite snow as evidence against climate change, dammit, we can talk about the heat wave. "Inhofe was still not deterred when ABC's Jon Karl invited the Oklahoma Republican to talk about the issue outside the Capitol building, in 95-degree, humid July heat. 'I say the same thing we said back in January and February when we had the coldest winter in a long time," said Inhofe, from a shady spot in front of the Capitol Building. He is of the opinion that the world is headed into a period of global cooling.'" ABC News: http://bit.ly/cEqYYG

In other say whaaat?! news, Jim Webb says government diversity programs are "marginalizing many white workers.". "WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future," Webb wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published today. http://bit.ly/9yBkBD

Because it's Friday, here's another spit-take. Zach Wamp says that if the government continues to promote President Obama's agenda, certain states may need to secede. "I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," the Tennessee congressman and gubernatorial candidate said in an interview with Hotline OnCall. http://bit.ly/b5I4Uc

GUY WHO LOST TO ONE CLOWN HOPING TO REPLACE ANOTHER ONE - Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, who lost his bid for reelection after a prolonged legal battle with SNL alum Al Franken, wants to wrest control of the GOP from current chairman and lifeblood of this newsletter Michael Steele. Politico: "Coleman is planning to attend the RNC's summer meeting next month in Kansas City, in part to be on hand for a tribute to longtime New Jersey Committeeman David Norcross, who is stepping down from his party post. But senior Republicans say the former senator's appearance at the committee's gathering will also allow him to meet the party members who will pick the next chairman and signal to them that he's interested in the job." http://politi.co/9lATWH

TEA PARTY CAUCUS KIND OF WHAT YOU'D EXPECT - University of Minnesota's Smart Politics breaks down the group's 40 members (assuming they've actually signed up): "As a whole, the caucus represents districts that voted Republican by very comfortable margins in the 2008 election cycle, with an average victory margin of 29.2 points. Two members did not even face Democratic challengers: Rodney Alexander of Louisiana's 5th CD ran unopposed in 2008, while Louie Gohmert (TX-01), won by 75.2 points over an independent. Six members of the caucus, however, did face competitive races in 2008 - the aforementioned freshmen Fleming (LA-04, 0.4 points), McClintock (CA-04, 0.6 points), Jenkins (KS-02, 4.8 points), and Lummis (WY-AL, 9.8 points) as well as Bachmann (3.0 points) and Wilson (7.5 points)." http://bit.ly/aFsBLx

POLITICAL DICTIONARY WORD OF THE DAY - Unanimous Consent. A senator may request unanimous consent to set aside a specified rule of procedure so as to expedite proceedings. If no senator objects, the Senate permits the action, but if any one senator objects, the request is rejected. "Barbara Boxer couldn't get unanimous consent to expedite her bill recognizing the importance of Mother's Day. Ben Nelson objected, citing budget concerns." http://bit.ly/a3gjQE

Programming note: In case you haven't been following the links, these definitions (though not the examples) are culled from Tagaen Goddard's totally awesome Political Dictionary (a nice companion to the Political Wire). http://bit.ly/cibQep

JOHN KERRY USES TAX LOOPHOLE TO AVOID YACHT FEES - Can a news item be so absurd that it causes someone to retroactively lose votes in a presidential election? "Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is docking his family's new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to the cash-strapped Bay State. If the 'Isabel' were kept at the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee's summer vacation home on Nantucket, or in Boston Harbor near his city residence, he would be liable for $437,500 in one-time sales tax. He would also have to pay $70,000 in annual excise taxes." http://huff.to/beRZj5

HILARIOUSLY AWKWARD ALVIN GREENE RAP VIDEO ASSUMED INCORRECTLY BY EVERYONE TO BE ALVIN GREENE'S DOING - A video made the rounds today featuring a rap about mysterious South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene which claimed to promote his candidacy while highlighting some of Greene's less-savory moments. Turns out it wasn't his, although Greene is thrilled with the clip. http://nyti.ms/cAOXY3

The director or the DSCC says the Alvin Greene situation "breaks my heart." Speaking at a Netroots Nation panel, Executive Director J.B. Poersch said Greene's nomination will adversely affect South Carolina's most at-risk citizens. "Because there are parts of SC where unemployment is 20 percent and Jim DeMint is currently getting off the hook. He considers himself as a Republican presidential candidate, that's how he is spending his time, and the state suffers as a result," Poersch said. Sam Stein: http://huff.to/d4ldDF

Speaking of South Carolina and the many laughs it provides, James Clyburn poked fun at Vice President Joe Biden at an event in the Palmetto State today. "Ladies and gentleman, it's a pleasure for me to present to you a mainstream American who is an articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy," the House majority whip said introducing Biden. The quip was a reference to candidate Biden's 2008 description of then Senator Barack Obama. CNN: http://bit.ly/cDDQlb

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Nothing certain looming, but with the heat and humidity in the atmosphere, expect rain to pop up. Saturday: It may just get hotter. With the jet stream to our north, we're stuck in this proverbial oven through Sunday. Showers might pop up in each afternoon.

Viva Las Vegas!: Expect it to be hot and dry, just like it's been. On Sunday, you could see some strong thunderstorms -- just kidding! It will be a carbon copy of the past few days. Enjoy the rest of Netroots Nation!

Don't Go Bonnie-In Your Bridges Just Yet . Bonnie is a poorly-defined storm that will hit Florida, nearly disintegrate, then head into the Gulf of Mexico, which is now seeing strong upper-level winds. These winds are just as dangerous to hurricanes as landfall, and will most likely destroy it. Now, forecasts call for the storm to regain some strength, but it won't get stronger than a tropical depression (wind speeds 35-74 mph).

COMFORT FOOD

- A great tourism video for Pensacola featuring two BP cleanup workers. http://bit.ly/bh4DFP

- Darth Vader robbed a bank (seriously). http://bit.ly/akfb3n

- Less cool, grosser: a lady robbed a McDonald's with a panty mask. http://bit.ly/bTFzLi

- Hal from 2001 debuts his ill rapping skills. http://bit.ly/bUqDnM

- "Transvestite had sex with a dog at English Heritage castle" http://bit.ly/czLO19

- BREAKING: Sun rises in East. The most obvious headlines of all time. http://huff.to/bfaOuq

- We don't usually post late night stuff here but we just had to share Jimmy Kimmel's interview with the double rainbow guy. http://bit.ly/a8K283

TWITTERAMA

@owillis: beck cant pronounce brian urlachers name right? what kind of american r you. seriously. if a lib said they didnt know a football guys name?

@dceiver: @heybecks Shirley Sherrod is saving me from foreclosure on Farmville!

@jmartpolitico: Folks have thots on "Inception?"

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Chris Dodd and Thad Allen talked to Hardball guest host Chuck Todd. Alan Grayson takes on the right wing on Ed Schultz. Arianna speaks with Countdown guest host Lawrence O'Donnell. Anthony Weiner discusses Obama and the paradox that is apparently plaguing him. TOMORROW: The (now) former USAD employee Shirley Sherrod, Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek are on the Situation Room.

SUNDAY SHOWS

Meet the Press: Tim Geithner, David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, Anita Dunn, Marc Morial, Rick Santelli.

This Week: Tim Geithner, Chris Christie.

Face the Nation: Abigail Thernstrom, Michael Eric Dyson, Cornel West, John Fund, Michael Gerson.

State of the Union: Christopher Edley, John McWhorter, Mort Zuckerman, Steve Forbes.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:00 pm - 8:30pm: The Young Lions, a rock/jazz fusion group, perform at Jazz in the Garden [Smithsonian Sculpture Garden, 700 Constitution Avenue NW ].

8:00 pm: As part of its "I Love the 90s" series, The Rossyln Outdoor Film Festival screens "Empire Records" [Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington].

7:00 pm: Netroots Nation attendees' two favorite things, Republicans and the Dave Matthews Band, come together at the group's show tonight for John Shimkus' (R-Ill.) fundraiser [Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].

TOMORROW

11:00 am - 4:00 pm: "Free Summer Saturdays" at the Corcoran. Time to check out that Chuck Close exhibit you keep meaning to see [Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street NW].

5:00 pm: A world of pure imagination...and hipsters: "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is screened at the Atlas Performing Arts Center [Atlas, 1333 H Street NE].

SUNDAY

9:15 pm: Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse hosts a Mad Men Premiere Party. Costumes strongly encouraged [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington].

MONDAY

7:00 pm: Chromeo take their brand of hip-hop/electro-funk to 9:30 Club. Trust us, these shows are fun [9:30 Club 815 V Street NW].

8:00 pm: Al Jazeera presents "Dying Inside- Elderly In Prison." A real romp, we hear [Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th Street NW].

8:30 pm - 10:30 pm: This week's installment of Screen on the Green features "12 Angry Men" [700 Independence Avenue SW].

Fundraising retreats/shindigs this weekend

Tonight - Tomorrow: Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) treats his benefactors to golf (at the third highest-ranked course in America, his invite notes) and a Cubs game (ranking conspicuously missing from invite) [Medinah Country Club, 6N001 Medinah Road , Medinah].

Sunday 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: If you happen to find yourself in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania this Sunday (and why wouldn't you?), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) is hosting a campaign BBQ in her district. A $25 donation is the lowest entrance fee [Schwartz Campaign HQ, 201 Leedom Street, Jenkintown, PA].

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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