HUFFPOST HILL - AUGUST 3RD, 2010
The political arena was rife with discussions of foreigners (or ferners, depending on what side you're on). In the Senate, Jeff Sessions and secret Panamanian John McCain voiced their support for a review of the 14th Amendment as some Latino schoolchildren in the state McCain immigrated to are apparently afraid to attend class. Mike Bloomberg sought to temper fears about the forthcoming mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero with an impassioned speech on religious pluralism. And broadcasting live from La La Land, Rush Limbaugh again raised the "question" of President Obama's place of origin. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010:
REID PUNTS ENERGY BILL UNTIL AFTER RECESS - Despite stripping the bill of its signature provisions including a cap-and-trade system, the Senate still can't muster a vote before the month-long break. Lucia Graves: "Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday that the Senate will postpone the vote on energy and oil spill legislation until lawmakers return from the August recess. 'We tried jujitsu, we tried yoga, we tried everything we could to get Republicans to come along,' said Reid. Republican gripes include lifting the $75-million liability cap on oil companies, a provision that is also opposed by oil industry allies Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska)." http://huff.to/czWbnF
Tomorrow in The Hill: Mitch McConnell says "If there is a mid-course correction in November, I think the president will become a born-again moderate."
CNN breaking news: "Wyclef Jean intends to run for president of Haiti, says a source close to the Haitian-American recording artist."
MAYOR BLOOMBERG GIVES EMOTIONAL DEFENSE OF 'GROUND ZERO MOSQUE' - For weeks now a growing chorus of commentators and politicians have expressed outrage over the proximity of a proposed mosque and Islamic center to the World Trade Center site. A New York City planning commission vote today moved the project ahead, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered some level-headed remarks on the decision. "The attack was an act of war, and our first responders defended not only our city, but our country and our Constitution. We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked ... Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure, and there is no neighborhood in this city that is off-limits to God's love and mercy," he said on Governor's Island.
Read the full speech published on HuffPost by the Mayor's office: http://huff.to/aNRwu5
Peter Beinart today published a scathing critique of the Anti-Defamation League for opposing the Islamic center... http://bit.ly/cPqs4m ADL chief Abe Foxman defends himself here http://huff.to/ctJdli
Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand were not opposed to the center as of a few weeks ago, but their offices have apparently stopped returning calls on the matter. Mayoral prospect Rep. Anthony Weiner and his staff have been ducking questions about it from WaPo's Greg Sargent for two days. http://bit.ly/dAVk8v
BANK WATERS HELPED WAS A STRAIGHT-UP ZOMBIE - OneUnited, the bank that Maxine Waters is accused of assisting to the benefit of her stock-holding husband, was dead as all dead when it got a Treasury bailout, an analysis done Professor Linus Wilson shows. To be eligible for a bailout, banks needed at least a 5% tier one capital ratio. Wilson finds that OneUnited was sitting at -1% when Treasury swooped in with $12.1 million. It has missed five straight dividend payments; if it misses one more, Treasury can appoint two new directors to the board that Waters' husband once served on. "Perhaps the Boston lender is too politically connected to fail," says Wilson. Waters' involvement, of course, doesn't explain why Treasury made the loan.
How catatonic was this bank? HuffPost Hill has an EXCLUSIVE infograph: http://bit.ly/b8Ceop
Tim Geithner will be the featured guest at a CAP webcast on the economy tomorrow from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The event will be moderated by John Podesta and Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
SESSIONS JOINS CALL FOR REVIEW OF 14TH AMENDMENT - The top ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee today told reporters that "we definitely should look at" repealing the birthright citizenship contained in the 14th Amendment. What we have is a situation in which people fly here to have their children and then they automatically have dual citizenship...People do not believe that you should be able to break into America and then the baby becomes a citizen and then the whole family says, well, we can't go home, our child is a citizen...The Constitution is not as clear as it first appears...I continue to hear good Americans explain to me they think it makes no sense...I think hearings is a good way to do it. Let's have somebody draft an Amendment and see what it says. I think that it would be a good thing to have hearings on."
John McCain agrees. Even though any real movement on modifying the Constitution is as dead as the Arizona senator is on the inside, the lawmaker formerly known as Maverick (and Panamanian-born) towed the line today. TPM: "TPMDC asked, 'Do you support the Minority Leader's push for hearings into the repeal of birthright citizenship?' 'Sure, why not?' McCain said briefly. 'Do you support the idea itself?' 'I support the idea of having hearings,' McCain said. 'Do you have a problem with the 14th Amendment?' another reporter asked. 'You're changing the constitution of the United States,' McCain said. 'I support the concept of holding hearings.'" Straight Talk! http://bit.ly/aCX0A3
The 14th Amendment is what has allowed corporations to be treated as if they're citizens. Does the GOP really wanna start monkeying around with this one?
By the way, even Lou Dobbs doesn't want to end birthright citizenship: "The idea that anchor babies somehow require changing the 14th amendment, I part ways with the Senators on that because I believe the 14th amendment, particularly in its due process and equal protection clauses, is so important. It lays the foundation for the entire Bill of Rights being applied to the states." http://bit.ly/a6wDJ8
SCOOP - "The U.S. Army inspector general is investigating whether aides to former Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal were insubordinate when they made a series of derogatory comments about top civilian leaders to a Rolling Stone reporter, McClatchy has learned." http://bit.ly/aeTLC1
BP BEGINS STATIC KILL PROCEDURE, GULF MIGHT NOT RESEMBLE DARTH VADER'S KOI POND MUCH LONGER - "The oil spill 'static kill' attempt is officially underway, as BP seeks to plug the oil spill with mud and cement to stop flow once and for all.
PBS NewsHour tweeted that the static kill attempt began officially today around 4 p.m. EST. BP says the process will take between 33-61 hours if all goes as planned. BP has said the static kill is a chance to stop the oil spill leak without relief wells, which it previously insisted were necessary. Either way, BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said relief wells would be installed at some point to ensure 'the well is dead.' AOL News reports that this is potentially 'one of the final steps to permanently stopping the flow of oil." http://huff.to/bqR3Uy
What Nick Papas is reading: "Wave of health reform provisions coming next month" by AP's Tom Murphy: "Health care reform hits another milestone next month, with new provisions that include a coverage expansion for young adults and restrictions on an insurer's ability to impose annual coverage limits or to reject children with pre-existing medical conditions."
SENATE BEGINS DEBATE OF KAGAN NOMINATION - The Senate today started its
posturing debate over wise Caucasian woman and confirmed New Yorker (gasp) Elena Kagan (B.A., Princeton, J.D., Gray's Papaya). The chamber is expected to vote on the former solicitor general's elevation to the high court on Thursday before it breaks for August recess.
Judiciary's top Republican Jeff Sessions on the floor today: "I believe she does not have the gifts and the qualities of mind or temperament that one must have to be a justice." Ouch.
The Chamber of Commerce's CEO Tom Donahue thinks Elena Kagan meets the standard criteria for Supreme Court nominees...but his organization isn't weighing in on her nomination, despite endorsing every SCOTUS nominee since 1990. In May he told a gathering, "At every Supreme Court nominee, we have a system through our Institute for Legal Reform where we review their qualifications. We do that, and in almost every instance, we support them. If it's the president's choice, if they're approved by the ABA and they're competent people, you know, we're pretty much inclined to support them. We do the process, however, and keep doing it for the occasion once in however many times that everybody might want to rally around that. And I will tell you the chamber hasn't finished its process, but I have no objection to her." http://bit.ly/bYCGnK
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DEMOCRATS OPT NOT TO OVERHAUL SUPERDELEGATE SYSTEM - Newsweek summarizes the Democrats' dysfunctional overhaul of their dysfunctional primary system that chooses who will govern in the traditionally dysfunctional Democratic manner. "[R]ecently a party committee quietly tossed out a plan to take nominating power away from the superdelegates--former presidents, current senators and Congress members, members of the Democratic National Committee, and other party luminaries such as labor leaders. The superdelegates currently have automatic seats at the convention and are free to vote for whichever presidential candidate they please...But the rules committee took a dim view of this proposal. While endorsing recommendations to dilute the superdelegates' influence (mostly by increasing the number of ordinary delegates), it quietly nixed the redefinition of their voting powers at it July 10 meeting. How quietly? Enough that even some members of the change commission hadn't yet heard about it when NEWSWEEK spoke to them last week." http://bit.ly/bYCGnK
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Arthur Delaney rounds up all the little cuts to the safety net over the past few months: "On Wednesday, Senate Democrats hope to pass a bill that, to offset the cost of $16 billion in Medicaid assistance for states and $10 billion to prevent teacher layoffs, will cut $6.7 billion in future food stamp funding. The cut is the latest in a series of drop-in-the-bucket efforts to avoid adding to a federal budget deficit expected to top $1.4 trillion this year. The first cuts came in May, when Democratic leaders hoping to move a broad domestic aid package in the House of Representatives bowed to deficit demands and dropped $24 billion in state Medicaid assistance and $7.7 billion in subsidies for laid-off workers to maintain their health insurance via the COBRA program." And so forth. http://huff.to/cJfM6r
TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - The Hill: Molly K. Hooper on how Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) believes that Rep. Charles Rangel should lose his congressional pension if the New York Democrat is found guilty or admits to breaking ethics rules. Roll Call: John Stanton writes that Sen. Ben Nelson is catching a lot of grief from within his party for opposing his president's pick for the Supreme Court. But the Nebraska Democrat is hearing none of it.
SCOOP: BIDEN IN HIS OWN WORDS ON AFGHANISTAN - Marc Ambinder previews a segment in the upcoming Biden bio, "Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption." "Biden said he often posed this question to national security principals: 'If there was no Al Qaeda and Pakistan was stable, would you be making recommendations to put tens of thousands of troops and sending hundreds of billions of dollars to Afghanistan?' Biden says 'the answer with several of the members was yes. Mine was emphatically no.' So the main disagreement, according to Biden, was whether defeating the Taliban was central, 'was a linchpin,' in being able 'to work toward stabilizing everything from Iran to the subcontinent.' Biden wrote a 20-page, handwritten memo to the president a few days before he made the final decision. In it, he summarized the principles he believed the president had settled upon: a sense of the war as a three-dimensional conflict involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda; a hard limit on the number of troops deployed; a date when the drawdown would begin; a recognition that much of the Taliban could be integrated into Afghan society and that the Taliban, even when integrated, did not pose a threat of regaining control over the country; and an acknowledgment that 'the Taliban was not an existential threat to the United States of America,' and that 'Al Qaeda's return to Afghanistan was unlikely' because they were already comfortable in Pakistan and would be unwelcome in Afghanistan." http://bit.ly/aKA02W
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission will have its final report published by Little, Brown and Company. The panel will present its findings to the president and Congress on December 15th.
While we're all on a 14th Amendment kick, the AP is reporting that some schools in Arizona are reporting lower enrollment levels, possibly related to the state's immigration law. Maybe it's just us, but if a law creates an environment that could make Dora the Explorer hesitant about learning, it might be time to reconsider. "The expected number of students at two districts this year is down by more than 600, based on projections made at the end of last school year, according to The Arizona Republic. Phoenix Balsz Elementary School District took the biggest hit, with 560 fewer students than expected. The southeast Phoenix district had 2,809 students enrolled on the first day of school, but only 2,250 showed up." http://bit.ly/b9hYHz
A recent report from Human Rights Watch finds that immigrants with mental disabilities are often unfairly treated in immigration detainment centers. http://bit.ly/aKHsO2
Mississippi is considering a bill similar to Arizona's SB 1070. "Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and state Rep. Becky Currie, who are both Republicans, discussed the effort Monday night during a meeting sponsored by the tea party and the Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement. 'We've got to know if we have illegal aliens that are here violating our laws,' Bryant told an audience of about 150 people at the Madison County Cultural Center. 'Do you want your ID stolen?'...Legislators would get their first chance to vote on a bill during the three-month session that starts in January...Last week at the Neshoba County Fair, Republican Gov. Haley Barbour told reporters he would sign a bill like Arizona's." AP: http://bit.ly/bHn44o
Rush Limbaugh today: "Tomorrow is Obama's birthday, not that we've seen any proof of that... What? We haven't seen any proof of that! They tell us August 4th is the birthday; we haven't seen any proof of that! Sorry. It is what it is." http://huff.to/b0IKZe
CHARLIE CRIST'S LIEUTENANT TO ENDORSE RUBIO - In a move that may well burn the Florida governor worse than the tanning bed he sleeps in, his own lieutenant governor Jeff Kottcamp has thrown his support behind Marco Rubio. Fox News: "Currently a Republican candidate for Florida attorney general, Kottcamp will make his announcement in an e-mail release on Wednesday, according to senior aide David Bishop. Kottcamp has not spoken to Crist since he left the Republican Party in April to run as an independent in the Senate race after polls showed Rubio with a wide lead in the GOP primary. Crist and Kottcamp won the ticket in November 2006 and took the oath of office in January 2007 as the 44th governor and 17th lieutenant governor, respectively." http://bit.ly/dtedo2
In North Carolina, a new PPP survey finds Richard Burr is only leading Elaine Marshall by two points. Burr is up over Marshall 39% to 37%. PPP: "The main thing that's changed since the last poll, when Burr led by 5, is that Marshall is shoring up her support from within the party. 65% of Democrats say they'll vote for her, up from 57% a month ago. Burr continues to lead because of a 44-25 advantage with independents and because with 73% Republican support his party is more unified around him than Marshall's is around her." http://bit.ly/9EsBwa
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a monkey saving a dog: http://bit.ly/a9K5gq
The Washington Senate race between Patty Murray and Dino Rossi is getting ugly. The Murray campaign has released its first negative spot tying her Republican challenger to Wall Street and big business interests. There's a picture of George W. Bush in there for good measure. We would have preferred seeing Dino Rossi walking on shopkeepers wearing aprons (see: http://bit.ly/d6i34p) but it still makes its point.
Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have announced that they're once again blah blah blah blah. Anyway: http://bit.ly/blFIfE
CONSTITUTIONALIST SHARRON ANGLE DOESN'T REALLY APPRECIATE SINEWS OF FIRST AMENDMENT - If sunshine is the best disinfectant, then Sharron Angle is slathering on the SPF 70. Last night on Fox news, the Nevada Senate candidate told Carl Cameron that she hoped "to have the press be our friend," and voiced her disappointment that the media refuses to "ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported." Sam Stein: http://huff.to/aRv68D
Clearly worried about Michael Bennet's prospects in the Colorado Senate primary against Andrew Romanoff, President Obama will appear in a tele-town hall this evening alongside Bennet. The event is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm Eastern.
Romanoff Flips On Taking DSCC Money - Andrew Romanoff has surged in Colorado since highlighting that he has sworn off all PAC, and went to so far as to say he wouldn't take DSCC money, much of which comes from corporate PACS. "I don't welcome the outside interference," he said, telling the Colorado Statesman that DSCC money was no good here. The new position: Sure, why not? Send it over. Politico: http://politi.co/aRPXz4
It turns out that acquiring the president's endorsement is kind of like blogging for the Huffington Post... you just have to ask. The Hill reports that several House members have cracked the code to President Obama's political good graces. "[Rep. Hank] Johnson, who landed the president's backing in his primary against former DeKalb County chief Vernon Jones and DeKalb County Commissioner Connie Stokes, said he asked the White House for an endorsement and received it a couple days later...An official with Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-N.Y.) campaign described getting Obama's primary endorsement as a 'very simple process.' Maloney had asked the president personally about getting his support and later her campaign manager, Matt Tepper, called the White House's political shop and asked it to sign off on a press release." http://bit.ly/a64Gf3
Oh, hey: Olympia Snowe actually got riled up about something. This excited Senate Republicans so much they featured her in their weekly caucus meeting video: http://bit.ly/butaUc
"Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin reports that Sen. John Ensign has taken the unusual step of registering his legal expense fund as a 527 political organization Monday, according to documents filed with the IRS. Campaign finance experts said the decision is possibly unprecedented, noting that Members of Congress do not typically register legal expense accounts in such a dual fashion." http://bit.ly/aqvNJy
ALVIN GREENE PROBABLY WON'T WIN ELECTION, POLL, COMMON SENSE, FINDS - Today's quantifying-the-obvious award goes to Rasmussen for commissioning a survey of Palmetto State voters about their attitudes towards out-of-the-blue Senate candidate Alvin Greene (D - The TV in "The Ring"). Jim DeMint leads Greene 62 to 20. http://bit.ly/cR4uU7
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Okay, the weather was not what was predicted here yesterday. I was wrong. It was hard to see that it would be cloudy all day. And it's going to rain a bit tonight. To err is human, to forgive is divine. That being said, tomorrow expect a rain band coming through. While a washout is doubtful, slight storms later in the day are more likely. Thanks, JB!
- Paul Rudd in 1992 as a Bar Mitzvah DJ. http://bit.ly/bSeY6v
- Try asking Facebook a stupid question. You'll be pleasantly surprised with its mature response. http://bit.ly/dcIHn4
- Just your run-of-the-mill headline FAIL. http://bit.ly/9FOHsk
- The hugely popular video game Halo...for the Atari. http://bit.ly/bhEmXx
- Old, but still good to us. Ninjas gone wild. http://bit.ly/1au1lG
- A really confusing, and really long park bench. http://bit.ly/9R4vhH
- A petrifying sperm/human robot from Japan. http://bit.ly/bKaKhM
@ddayen: I'm postponing all further tweets until September because I can't get even one Republican to read them.
@AndyCobb: Mayor Bloomberg, you're allright. Not just a stirring defense of human rights, also a chance to use "repudiate" correctly.
@rickklein: only thing that's died more often than Bristol & Levi is the Senate energy bill
@pourmecoffee: Wait, it turns out Favre was announcing he called off his engagement to Bristol Palin. Very confusing.
@spencerpratt I am the NEW WORLD ORDER
TONIGHT: Bernie Sanders discussed Tim Geithner with Dylan Ratigan. One-third of Huffpost Hill was on Hardball. Sherrod Brown, John Conyers and Brian Bilbray are on the Ed Show. TOMORROW: George LeMieux and Bernie Sanders stop by Morning Joe. Debbie Stabenow is on Daily Rundown.
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: A group of California congressional staffers will host a happy hour fundraiser benefiting the Gulf Coast [The Ugly Mug, 723 8th Street SE].
8:30 am - 9:30 am: You line his pockets, he'll line your arteries. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) hosts a "Krispy Kreme Breakfast" fundraiser [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE].
11:00 am: New Hampshire Senate candidate William Binnie (R-N.H.) makes a D.C. trip for a meet and greet [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE].
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who has been contending with some pretty scary poll numbers as of late, throws a pre-primary reception [The Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave NE].
6:30 pm: Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) empties wallets at a dinner in his honor [Bobby Van's Grill, 1201 New York Ave NW].
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