HUFFPOST HILL - OCTOBER 8TH, 2010
Spin never sleeps, even on Fridays. Bob Gates has nothing but praise for Tom Donilon, that guy he thinks would be a "disaster" as national security advisor. Alvin Greene's lawyer came very close to declaring that stalking victims are playing "hard to get." And folks spun their way through Labor Dept. data showing that just as many Americans wiped their Cheetos-stained hands on their couches while watching "The View" in September as did in August. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 8th, 2010:
EXCLUSIVE: CALIFORNIA'S 'HIGHWAY SHOOTER' FINGERS GLENN BECK... COMING NEXT WEEK - This past summer, as the SF Chronicle reported at the time, a convicted felon named Byron Williams "loaded up his mother's Toyota Tundra with guns, strapped on his body armor and headed to San Francisco...with one thing in mind: to kill workers" at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation, hoping to "start a revolution." On Monday, the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America will release an interview it conducted with Williams in which he explains that Glenn Beck's Fox News show "blew his mind." From the interview:
MEDIA MATTERS: When you talk about how conservative values have been lost in this country you were talking before about the liberal media. You were saying maybe Fox was the exception. You think Fox is worthwhile?
BYRON WILLIAMS: Well, I'm not gonna say anyone is worthwhile. But [unintelligible] I would've never started watching Fox if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind. I said, well, nobody does this.
WHY IS OBAMA CAMPAIGNING FOR CHRIS COONS? - Sam Stein on why the President is going to spot Coons' fish-in-barrel shooting spree. "The explanations run the gamut. One operative said that the White House wants to "shut the door" on the contest, while firming up a Senate ally in Coons. That same operative made the case that there would be good spill-over news coverage in neighboring Pennsylvania, where Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn) is hoping to make inroads in his own Senate race. The more compelling explanation, however, came from a party strategist, who said that the macro-elements of Obama visit were to tempting to ignore. 'Elevating O'Donnell as the face of the Tea Party isn't a bad thing,' said the strategist. 'Think about the tightening [in the polls] after she got nominated. The money that started rolling in. She's Sarah Palin. She causes people to pause and say whoa this is who the Tea Party is do we really want to hand them the keys to the kingdom.'"
JAMES JONES OUT AS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR - Obama on Jones: "Serving as National Security Advisor is one of the most difficult jobs in our government. But through it all, Jim --- like the Marine he has always been --- has been a dedicated public servant and a friend to me."
Obama on Tom Donilon, the incoming national security advisor: "Tom has a wealth of experience that will serve him well in this new assignment. He has served three Presidents and been immersed in our national security for decades. Over the last two years, there is not a single critical national security issue that has not crossed Tom's desk. He has helped manage our national security team and the policymaking process, and won the respect and admiration of his colleagues in the White House and across the administration. He has a probing intellect and a remarkable work ethic -- although it's one that depends on a seemingly limitless quantity of Diet Coke."
Oh good: "A defense source tells ABC News that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates no longer feels that Tom Donilon would be a 'disaster' as National Security Adviser, as Gates is quoted telling National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones (ret.) in Bob Woodward's 'Obama's Wars.'" http://bit.ly/cccdaU
Josh Rogin has a rundown in Foreign Policy on how Woodward showed Jones the door: http://bit.ly/d9uANS
WYDEN, MERKLEY CALL FOR FORECLOSURE MORATORIUM - The Oregon Senate delegation joined calls today for banks to halt foreclosures until they can prove they're not just stealing people's homes. HuffPost Hill wonders: Where is the GOP on this thing?
LABOR DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF NEXT MONTH'S ELECTIONS - The economy added 64,000 private jobs but shed a total of 159,000 positions last month, keeping the stubborn ol' unemployment rate at 9.6 percent. Observers attribute roughly half of the job losses to Census jobs being cut (surely there are jobs in cutting Census jobs, right?).
Steve Benen is getting into the GOTV business: http://bit.ly/chCtoh
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - An apple a day keeps the doctor away...too bad laid-off teachers can't afford either. From Arthur Delaney: "State and local governments laid off nearly 58,000 teachers and other educational workers in September, the government announced on Friday. The layoffs happened even though some have said the $26 billion bill passed by Congress in August was nothing but a sop for teacher unions." http://huff.to/azz9Sh
LET THE GREAT, UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS SPINNING GAMES BEGINNNNNN!!!!
Nancy Pelosi: "Today's jobs report shows our private sector continues to lead our economic recovery. We lost more than 800,000 private sector jobs the last month of the Bush Administration, but America's business owners and entrepreneurs have added more jobs this year than the Bush Administration and its Republican allies did in eight years. Democrats are moving our country forward, and we will and we must do more to strengthen our economy and put people back to work."
John Boehner: "This disappointing jobs report demonstrates the pressing need to immediately enact the Pledge to America and help end the uncertainty caused by Washington Democrats' out-of-control spending spree and job-killing policies."
Austan Goolsbee: "But after 9 months of private sector job growth compared with the 4 million jobs lost in the 6 months before the president took office, I think anybody would have to say that that's clearly the right trajectory. We just need to get the growth rate up. We certainly don't want to go back to the policies that got us into the minus 4 million."
NO SOCIAL SECURITY COST OF LIVING INCREASE THIS YEAR - Pace Alan Grayson, the Social Security's Administration's plan for America in case it gets old is to GRADUALLY SLIP INTO PENURY QUICKLY. Officials with the SSA have informed aides in Congress that the decision will be announced on October 15, just two weeks before the election, according to staffers and people familiar with the SSA's plan. The SSA is waiting for the September Consumer Price Index to be reported, which is why they must wait until next Friday to make the announcement, the day that the Labor Department releases its CPI numbers. The CPI would have to show a remarkable uptick in price to effect the SSA's decision not to provide the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) which, by statute, is based on the rate of inflation. (If there is no measurable increase in the cost of living, then there is no adjustment, a rationale that unsurprisingly placates roughly zero beneficiaries.) http://huff.to/aTMXUj
TODAY'S TERKEL TAKEDOWN - From Amanda Terkel on that former Real World contestant that's running as a Republican House candidate: "The race in WI-7 is heating up, with Democrat Julie Lassa now calling on her Republican opponent Sean Duffy to denounce the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for airing an attack ad displaying her home phone number. The ad tells viewers to call and tell Lassa to 'stop voting for job-killing tax hikes.' A source close to the Lassa family said that the day the ad went up, they had to unplug their phones because of all the calls. A spokesman for the Chamber pointed out that Lassa's home phone number is already publicly available on her state legislature home page, listed as her 'district telephone.' The Lassa campaign charges back that the Chamber 'made a conscious and deliberate decision to use her personal number and not her office number.'" http://huff.to/au5flX
Townhall's Mary Katharine Ham is heading to the Daily Caller, where she will produce video shorts.
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JOE MILLER: MITCH MCCONNELL OPEN TO CLOSING THE GOVERNMENT - In a National Review interview out today, Joe Miller says he has been assured by Mitch McConnell that Senate Republicans are open to shuttering the government in the event of a budget standoff. "There was a comment made at breakfast this morning about shutting down the government, and he reacted in a positive way," Miller told the Review's Robert Costa. "I'm not going to quote him, but I think that he recognizes that that's on the table." After some equivocation from McConnell's office ("I don't know what reacting in a positive way means or what the comment was," said McConnell's spokesperson. "So it's tough for me to hypothesize on it."), the statement was quickly squashed...in that Washington, door left slightly ajar kind of way. McConnell's office later produced a statement that he "has not called for shutting down the government. What he has noted is that Republicans are united in their view that the government spends too much, taxes too much and has too much debt--and that Republicans are equally united in doing all we can to restore fiscal sanity to Washington...We can get there without shutting down the government, but it will require Democrats to join our effort." In other words, if Democrats don't cave, we'll shut down the government. Sam Stein: http://huff.to/cZIVA2
DAVID VITTER RELEASES THE "GONE WITH THE WIND" OF RACIST IMMIGRANT ADS - With campaign spots from Sharron Angle and David Vitter instilling in America a Pavlovian fear of Mexican dudes in work clothes, the Louisiana senator has somehow set a new low bar in fear mongering. His new campaign video features a group of Mexican-looking men passing through a fence (advertised by an "Enter Here" neon sign). The Mexicans are then greeted by a group of mostly white people (there's one African-American woman in there) holding a sign that reads "CHARLIE MELANCON Welcomes You to the USA. Bienvenidos a los USA." Also greeting our menacing migrants are a group holding a check, upset looking cops, a marching band and a chauffeur with a limousine...all white. Great job, David. Greg Sargent: http://wapo.st/btmuvY
KENDRICK MEEK SAYS HE'S NOT CONSIDERING DROPPING OUT OF FLORIDA SENATE CONTEST - A Wall Street Journal article this morning reported that Kendrick Meek was considering dropping out of the Florida Senate race so that Charlie Crist would have a fighting chance against the far more conservative Marco Rubio. Today Meek said that, much like Crist's fastball, the article missed the mark. "I'm taking a stand against the radical right. Marco Rubio has always been the Tea Party candidate and yesterday Charlie Crist says he wants to crash the Tea Party, too. I'm the only candidate who's fighting for the middle class and I'm not going anywhere except the United States Senate." TPM: http://bit.ly/9somsa
A Rasmussen poll out today has Rubio handily defeating Crist and Meek. Rubio earns 50 percent of respondents' support with Crist and Meek earning 25 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Ouch.
MOVEON.ORG GOING AFTER CHAMBER-BACKED DEMS - That rumbling you hear is the sound of millions of TOMS-clad feet marching against corporate lackey Democrats. Sam Stein: "MoveOn.org has decided to target Democratic candidates who are being aided in their elections by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Acting on reports that the business lobby is using foreign contributions for its election funds, the progressive advocacy organization began organizing members to press Democratic recipients of Chamber support to condemn the ads being run on their behalf. The targets are a select number of Democrats whom the Chamber chose to back once reports of their foreign funding hit the press. MoveOn sent an email to members in those specific districts, urging them to contact their representative." http://huff.to/aXXI4f
MANY CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGNS SADDLED WITH DEBT - If anyone sees Rep. Laura Richardson at the local pawn shop trying to hawk the congressional seal from outside her office, here's why: "While upward of 470 candidates are reported to have some type of debt - the amounts range from three digits to seven digits - 174 candidates have committees running negative amounts (when cash on hand and debts are subtracted). Fewer than 30 of these candidates do not have loans causing their debts. For those who are utilizing loans, most of the lending comes from banks and are no different than any other commercial loan, McGehee explained. There are no special terms or agreements because the person is running for political office." Open Secrets: http://bit.ly/b5STdD
John Dingell is at risk of losing his House seat that he's held since Don Draper was selling Armor All. "A new independent poll has the dean of the U.S. House, Rep. John Dingell, trailing his Republican opponent, Rob Steele, by 4 percentage points.The automated phone survey of 300 people in the 15th Congressional District showed Steele getting 43.8% of the vote. Dingell, a Dearborn Democrat and the longest-serving member of Congress, got 39.5%. About 11% were undecided. The gap is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points. The poll was conducted Monday. Dingell's campaign said the survey -- conducted by the Rossman Group of Lansing and Team TelCom -- is a Republican front and is contradicted by other polls in recent weeks." http://bit.ly/cpfYTe
Because how can you boost the economy if your Islamic center doesn't have $12 Bud Lights?: "Just 4% of Republican voters support building the Ground Zero mosque. But 21% say they would support a Ground Zero strip club!" http://bit.ly/dnGgOM
KRYSTAL BALL IS SORT OF SORRY - "As you know, over the last several months, seniors groups, high schools and civic organizations have been begging my opponent, Republican Rob Wittman, to debate the issues in front of voters in this district. He has consistently refused. However, far right wing blogs closely associated with his campaign instead decided to publish private photos of me and my ex-husband at a Christmas Costume party. These were a gross invasion of privacy for my ex-husband, who is a wonderful, kind man and for my friends who attended the party and never intended to be public figures. For the hurt that this whole incident has caused them and their families, I am so deeply and profoundly sorry." Since when is Gawker a right wing blog?
ALVIN GREENE: PORN INCIDENT WAS JUST FLIRTING - Seriously, these aggravated assault charges are totally absurd. We were just making small talk with our fists. And that police brutality charge? Just a butterfly kisses with mace. AP: "South Carolina Democratic Senate nominee Alvin Greene was just trying to flirt with a teenage college student when he allegedly showed her online pornography in a campus computer lab last year, his attorney said Thursday. 'He was attempting to flirt with a young lady who had no interest in him,' Eleazer Carter told The Associated Press. 'While the charges are very serious, I think it boils down to, when a lady turns you down, has it reached a criminal offense?'" http://huff.to/a6b8Ka
From the people that brought you "Dog rose bloom unaffected by Blitzkrieg": "A new study finds the mold that pervaded New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina didn't lead to a general increase in mold allergies." http://bit.ly/aqa7oQ
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Enjoying the nice weather? You should! It's going to be a beautiful weekend, with the highlight Tomorrow. It could hit the 80s. A perfect day to get out and do something. And if you can't, don't worry. You'll always have Sunday, which will be another carbon copy of today. You can thank a high pressure system and the jet stream well to our north. Or you could thank me. Whatever is best for you. Thanks, JB!
You also have the weekend to answer our Trivia question: There are roughly 21 names for Hurricanes, but what happens when the number of named storms exceeds 21? It happened recently, and thy came up with an odd solution. What was the name of the last hurricane in the longest season on record? Winners get a shout-out. Submit by Monday morning to see your name right here in HuffPost Hill.
- A throwback documentary about UFOs. http://bit.ly/ceZ1OD
- A collection of photographs of 1960s USSR. http://bit.ly/dncUNG
- A cool stop motion video of the Coachella festival. http://bit.ly/b5sEFg
- 10 scariest hot sauces. http://bit.ly/bJMpwN
- The one where ae 90-year-old lady calls into C-SPAN and asks the African-American anchor why "colored" people don't thank white people more often and the anchor DOESN'T FLINCH. Now that's restraint. http://bit.ly/aviHRH
- We're happy to report that civilization has finally jumped the shark: http://bit.ly/caOwQy
- Man the early 90s were such a terrible, terrible time. http://bit.ly/ceZ1OD
- This is one tenacious turtle. http://bit.ly/aCzcvg
- British people rapping about burritos. The new knife crime? http://bit.ly/aRAeS8
@jmhattem: Matt Damon is 40 years old today. That is too old for Matt Damon to be. I say we all just pretend he is actually 25.
@jondaly: Congrats to Liu Xiaobo for your Nobel Prize! Since you're in prison, do they just give you 1.4 million cigarettes? (I await your answer)
@kingsthings: What are you supposed to say when God sneezes?
TWITTER ETIQUETTE FAIL: @WhipClyburn: I'm 3 followers away from 1,000! Who wants to put me over the top? #FF
Meet the Press: Alexi Giannoulias, Mark Kirk, Peggy Noonan, Joe Klein.
This Week: Linda McMahon, Richard Blumenthal, Pervez Musharraf, Christine Lagarde, Paul Krugman, Tavis Smiley, Amy Walter, George Will.
Face the Nation: David Axelrod, Ed Gillespie.
State of the Union: Chris Van Hollen, Kevin McCarthy, Michael Hayden, Whit Ayres, Celinda Lake.
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Help benefit The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis support and suicide prevention resources to LGBTQ youth. $10 admission and you get discounted rail drinks all night [18th and U Duplex Diner, 2004 18th Street NW].
8:00 pm: Bob Saget, the wholesome Full House Danny Tanner/ America's Funniest Home Videos host-turned-profane comedian, performs [Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave NW].
11:00 am: The annual Taste of Georgetown features food stands from some of Gtown's finest eateries. There will be wine parings and a performance by Blues Alley [Georgetown, we're guessing M Street/Wisconsin].
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