09/09/2010 05:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Today aces were dug out of holes, cards unsheathed from sleeves and bags of tricks more or less dumped onto our national conversation. Adrian Fenty is allegedly buying votes, Barbara Boxer is liquoring up her supporters and an extra-special candidate for Stark County, Ohio treasurer is THIS close to hogtying you in his basement, stroking your hair and whispering that he isn't going to hurt you. Oh yeah, and that whole Quran-burning situation is more bewildering than ever. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, September 9th, 2010:

TERRY JONES SAYS QURAN BURNING OFF, FALSELY CLAIMS PARK51 CENTER WILL BE MOVED - America dusted off its cerebellum today -- sort of -- when Yosemite Sam-with-a-basic-cable-subscription Pastor Terry Jones announced that he has called off his planned "International Burn-A-Koran Day" in commemoration of the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. In a press conference -- flanked at times by someone holding up a 9/11 conspiracy placard -- Jones said he learned that the planned Park51 Islamic center near Ground Zero would be moved. A number of media outlets quickly confirmed that Park51 is not, in fact, moving. For the media's (and America's) sake, Congress can't reconvene fast enough.

Earlier today, the president weighed in on the controversy. "If he's listening, I hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans," Obama told George Stephanopoulos in a Good Morning America interview aired today. "That this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance." HuffPost Hill was trying to steer clear of this one for self-righteous, pretty arbitrary, don't-feed-the-beast reasons. But when the president starts chiming in, even the most Kantian toolbags must cry uncle, no?

Chris Matthews, noticing the 9/11 Truther: "It is a real jamboree of the nut parade down there."

HUFFPOST HILL EXCLUSIVE: THINKPROGRESS TO UNVEIL NEW "EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOUSE EDITION" - A TP friend sends in: "Tomorrow, ThinkProgress is releasing the first report as part of a new project we're calling Extreme Makeover: House Edition, which will look at the extreme people and extreme ideas that would come with a Republican-controlled House. We want to illustrate the real consequences of the choices to be made. Tomorrow's report looks at some of the would-be GOP committee chairs." Thankfully, we're told, Ty Pennington will not be involved.

OBAMA MEETS WITH ELIZABETH WARREN - No, that isn't a title from ThinkProgress' forthcoming fan fiction section, it actually happened. "Elizabeth Warren, whom the left is aggressively pushing to be named to head the new consumer protection agency, met with President Obama on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. The meeting is fueling speculation that the Harvard law professor will be tapped for to lead the agency...The White House has said only that Warren is among the candidates being considered, and Mr. Obama notably declined to strongly back her in a July interview..." CBS News:

Brent Budowsky in The Hill: "If Obama names Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic base erupts like a volcano and votes"

GIBBS: CONGRESS WILL LET BUSH TAX CUTS FOR WEALTHY EXPIRE - Despite President Obama's reluctance to support a veto of any bill including tax breaks for households with $250,000-plus incomes, Robert Gibbs told HuffPost's Sam Stein that it won't come to that. Said Gibbs in an e-mail to Sam: "[On] the question about veto, our belief is that this never comes to that."

BEN NELSON: KEEP THE TAX CUTS UNTIL NEBRASKA'S TOTALLY UNSCATHED ECONOMY MAKES IT THROUGH THIS TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE RECESSION - Human Mr. Potato Head Ben Nelson said during the unemployment debate that his constituents cared more about deficit reduction than jobless aid. The unemployment rate in Nebraska, after all, is 4.7 percent. But today, in a statement supporting 43's tax cuts for the wealthy, deficit reduction takes a back seat. Nelson says he supports "extending all of the expiring tax cuts until Nebraska's and the nation's economy is in better shape, and perhaps longer, because raising taxes in a weak economy could impair recovery."

Robert Borosage, President of the Institute for America's Future, picks apart a Chamber of Commerce "5 Questions to Ask Your Candidates" in a HuffPost blog entry today.

A group of progressive House Democrats have cosigned a petition calling on President Obama to oppose any cuts to Social Security. "Social Security belongs to the workers and their families who have worked hard, paid taxes in, and earned its benefits- it is a promise that must not be broken. Social Security is not the reason for the deficit and it should be protected for today's and tomorrow's beneficiaries," reads the letter signed by Raul Grijalva, John Conyers, Dan Maffei, Chellie Pingree and Lynn Woolsey.

TODAY'S TERKEL TAKEDOWN - From Amanda Terkel: "OH-16 GOP congressional candidate Joe Renacci is facing blowback for his comments at a town hall event this week, where he was caught advocating for less federal government involvement in civil rights issues. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) happened to be traveling to the district today for an event with Rep. Jim Boccieri (D-Ohio) commemorating the landmark Voting Rights Act, and he told the Huffington Post that Renacci's comments call into question his fitness for office: "One would have to be really out of touch with reality on all fronts not to understand that that [civil rights] is almost the exclusive prerogative of the federal government." Renacci's campaign told us that the Republican's comments are being misconstrued, and what he supports is local control over issues like education."

The President will embark on a campaign swing in the lead-up to the midterms. "Obama plans to host a rally in Madison, Wis., on Sept. 28; Philadelphia on Oct 10; Ohio on Oct. 17, and Las Vegas on Oct. 22." AP:

COURT ORDERS HOLD ON STEM CELL FUNDING BAN - Gentlemen, start your scraping: "An appeals court Thursday lifted a temporary injunction barring the federal government from funding research involving human embryonic stem cell research.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted a request from the Justice Department to stay an injunction issued Aug. 23 blocking the funding. In a major victory for supporters of the research, the court said the Obama administration could resume funding the research pending a full appeal of the case." WaPo, with the order:

In case you Twissed it: @BarackObama: Burning a Quran is contrary to our values--this country was built on the notions of religious freedom and tolerance.

@elliottjustin: amazing thing about AP's "don't cover manufactured offensive events" memo is how intensely AP has ignored that policy

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

FENTY CAMPAIGN MIRED IN VOTE-BUYING SCANDAL - With the D.C. Democratic primary just days away and the current Mayor already lagging in the polls, a report today from TBD/ABC 7 about campaign patronage just might cause the Fenty campaign to sink faster than a turd in the Georgia Avenue public pool. According to several sources, Fenty staffers offered young people campaign jobs in exchange for their votes. In one particularly damning episode featured in a report by ABC 7 's Sam Ford, a D.C. resident calls up the campaign to complain about not receiving the promised job, only to have a Fenty representative reply "Unfortunately, I understand how you feel. I had plenty of calls like this today. And they had to stop a certain number of people because they had too many people." Miraculously, James O'Keefe was nowhere to be found. TBD:

MIXED SIGNALS IN KENTUCKY SENATE RACE - Mark Blumenthal on how poll numbers coming out of the Bluegrass State signal a continuing divide this year between surveys querying registered and likely voters. "Yesterday's CNN/Time live interviewer survey of registered voters shows a dead-heat tie (46% to 46%) between Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway. Yet surveys of likely voters conducted in August by Rasmussen and SurveyUSA have shown Paul leading by larger margins (roughly 10 points on average), with the surveys of likely voters conducted with live interviewers by CN2 Politics/Braun Research and Reuters/IPSOS fall somewhere in between (Paul leading by 5 point on average)."

Try and get this web ad from the Iowa GOP attacking Rep. Leonard Boswell out of your head. Seriously, just try:

UNSCOOP ON BAUCUS VERSUS PRIVATE EQUITY - New York Post reports that Max Baucus wants to foist the dreaded Enterprise Value Tax on the private equity industry, on top of the still-looming partial closing of the "carried interest" loophole. "I heard a couple of weeks ago he started pushing back on lobbyists who were trying to influence him on the enterprise tax," an Anonymous Senate Aide told NYP. Here's what our Anonymous Senate Aide said -- TODAY!!! "Senator Baucus has always said he's looking at ideas to close the loopholes investment managers take advantage of and make the tax code fairer. Way back in May he released his own bill that very clearly prevented investment fund managers from using a loophole to pay capital gains rates, instead of the rates firefighters, teachers and American workers pay. There's nothing new here, so it is surprising the paper would report it as news." This stuff, by the way, is what rich PE fatcats Stephen Schwarzman and Daniel Loeb have been Going Galt over all summer.

RAHM LEADING IN POLL OF LIKELY WINDY CITY MAYORAL CONTENDERS - Pollster We Ask America surveyed Chi-Town voters "just for fun" and found that the current White House chief of staff leads a field of ten possible candidates. Emanuel places first with 30 percent of respondents' backing, followed by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart at 14 percent and Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Guitierrez tied at 13 percent. Dark horse "Dead Fish Sent To Political Enemy" wasn't polled.

A little slice of that Capitol Hill Club/Beverly Hills continuum: "Sydney Penny, a former star of the daytime soap opera 'All My Children' 'will be voicing her political views by campaigning with Conservative/Republican Congressional candidate Michael Grimm,' according to a release sent out by the Grimm campaign. Grimm is running for the G.O.P nomination against Michael Allegretti for a [Staten Island] Congressional seat held by Democrat Michael McMahon in a district that has a decent chance of flipping to the Republicans in the fall." Observer:

Thank God all them Mexicans ain't comin' in no more: "The rate of Arizona's population growth continues to be anemic and will probably remain so for years. That's according to projections of utility customers, data from moving companies and other sources cited in an Arizona Republic report on the state's growth. The state appears to be gaining a tad more people than it's losing, even with 6,300 fewer jobs in July than a year earlier. The state's growth rate this year appears to be about 1 percent. Slow growth means fewer people are available to buy up the state's excess housing inventory and reduces the pace at which new homes can be built ."

Similarly, a new report from the Immigration Policy Center indicates that the recent slowdown in immigration is attributable to anemic economic growth and not -- as those border-patrolling war parties would have you believe -- the result of increased law enforcement.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a baby monkey riding a baby pig, baby:

LOCAL CANDIDATE FREAKS OUT: "POLITICS IS WINNER TAKES ALLLLLLLL" - In what may be the most train-wrecky video of the campaign season to date, one of HuffPost's citizen journalists has sent us an...ahem...spirited campaign speech by Republican candidate for Stark County, Ohio Treasurer Phil Davidson. During the six-minute stump speech (community center putsch?) delivered to (spit at?) a local gathering of Republicans, Davidson outlined his political philosophy and railed (and baby, we mean railed) against the Democratic-run treasurer office. Roughly speaking (pun ABOSLUTELY intended), the Minerva, Ohio councilman's oratorical style is defined by a seductive mix of screaming, lip quivering and voice cracking. "I HAVE BEEN A REPUBLICAN, IN TIMES GOOD, AND I HAVE BEEN A REPUBLICAN IN TIMES BAD," yelled Davidson as he really got into the groove about 90-seconds in. Our favorite moment, without a doubt, was his coke-infused attempt at audience participation: "DRASTIC TIMES CALL FOR WHAT???" Davidson screamed at the audience, to which one attendee whimpers, "Drastic measures?" "DRASTIC MEASURES! YES! WHO SAID THAT!? THANK YOU!" Davidson politely screams back. "DRASTIC TIMES CALL FOR DRASTIC MEASURES!!!" (point of reference(s): the whole thing is very "van down by the river"/ Howard Dean scream/ Rick Sanchez rooting for his kid's peewee football team-esque).

The (one day) paperless New York Times is posting celebrity sightings. Someone fetch some oats and salt licks for the four horsemen's steeds.

ANTI-WEED CRUSADER BARBARA BOXER INVITES YOU TO GET WICKED HAMMERED - Even though the senator has repudiated her staffer's attempt to stimulate the economy through Double Gulp slurpee purchases, she seems to have no problem liquoring up her benefactors. Only one day after canning a senior aide for bringing weed into the Hart Senate Office Building, Boxer sent out an invite to a Sept. 20th fundraiser co-hosted by Nancy Pelosi that begins: "Please join Heather & Tony Podesta for cocktails with Senator Barbara Boxer." So Purple Urkle facilitates pink slips while Bombay Safire facilitates $5,000 PAC donations. Got it.

Former Al Franken spokeslady and current EMILY's Lister Jess McIntosh's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be celebrating at Pharmacy Bar, that AdMo redoubt of hipsterdom, tomorrow evening. Everyone's invited.

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: I honestly can't remember the last time it's been overly humid or have had thunderstorms sweep through the area (yes, the two are related), but it will continue. Tomorrow: It might reach 80, might not. It's a huge difference from those days about a month ago where we were closer to 100 than 90. The jet stream has finally dipped south, and has brought in cool, dry air from the north. Thanks, JB!

And now, something you should watch Ever wonder what it's like to watch a tornado touch down from the sky? A Fox affiliate in Dallas got an awesome view of a twister touching down from a traffic helicopter. Here's the video: Crazy, JB!


- "My labradoodle crapped on my mahogany floor:" Just one of many choice lines from "White People Problems."

- An entire website devoted to Pete Campbell's "bitchface." Thank you, internet.

- A landmine-sniffing rat. War On Terror monkeys look out.

- Can dance battles ease NYT/WSJ tensions? Quick, someone activate the Taiwanese CGI Animators signal!

- Well, this video happened.

- Extremist America in disarray: "Has Become a Dangerous Nest of Degeneracy, Effeminacy and Anti-Christian Values?"

- Naughty searches prohibited on the new Google Instant.


@borowitzreport: The Quran controversy has put Sarah Palin in the awkward position of defending a book.

@BobbyJindal: Dear @timpawlenty: Geaux Saints! Who Dat!

@dubouchet: Grandson, I remember a day when the computer auto-drafted our fantasy teams for us, instead of the slaybots molding us into footballs. Bye.

@rainnwilson: In my basement I've started collecting people who collect things. #MetaPsychoKiller


TONIGHT: One-third of HuffPost Hill
was on Hardball. Ed Rendell and our own Roy Sekoff is on The Ed Show.



6:00 pm: Renown composer Philip Glass discusses his storied career and collaborations with the artist Chuck Close [Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street NW].

6:00 pm - 10:00 pm: The DC Shorts Film Festival gets underway and will be screening 90+ shot films over the next seven days. Screenings in Navy Memorial [We said Navy Yard yesterday...our bad] and E Street. Schedule:

5:00 pm - 8:30 pm: This week's Jazz in the Garden features the tooting of Bruce Swaim, a saxophonist [National Gallery of Art, Sculpture Garden, 700 Constitution Avenue NW].

5:00 pm - 12:00 am: More DC Shorts Film Festivalat Navy Memorial and E Street. Schedule:

6:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Fashion Night Out in Georgetown is a street fair in which local stores sell their goods outside. Cirque du Soleil performers will be on hand, along with a cooling station located at the Dean and Deluca on M Street. A great opportunity to buy some Rocawear.

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (, Ryan Grim ( or Nico Pitney ( Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill ( Sign up here: