HUFFPOST HILL OCTOBER 15TH, 2010
Bad news -- like an unappetizing deficit report -- is often broken on a Friday. Sometimes, bad ideas are as well. Charlie Crist's new campaign spot assailing Marco Rubio's views on abortion could just have well come from one of Charlie Crist's previous opponents. The Pentagon is telling our LGBT soldiers to keep it in the closet lest it doesn't actually have to pretend to be accepting. And Lisa Murkowski is laying the groundwork for a series of posthumous Ted Stevens/Tupac duets. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 15th, 2010:
TREASURY HONCHO: HAMP IS A SUCCESS! - Phyllis Caldwell, chief of Treasury's Homeownership Preservation Office, said that the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program has gone off rather well, contrary to indications otherwise. "You have to think about HAMP in the context of who it was supposed to help and why," she told Ezra Klein. "It set a framework for evaluating mortgage modifications that moved the industry to a standard modification able to reduce payments and gave more than a million homeowners immediate relief through trial modifications that had the potential to become permanent. So what it set out to do worked." When President Obama announced HAMP, he said it would "enable as many as three to four million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure." It has delivered 448,937 "permanent" five-year modifications so far, and 663,538 homeowners have had their trial modifications canceled. Just sayin'. http://wapo.st/9tgdPs
Treasury officials fudged the original goal of HAMP in an interview with HuffPost back in August: http://huff.to/aHs8Ht
PENTAGON TELLS GAY AND LESBIAN SOLDIERS TO SHUT UP - Increasingly sounding like a counselor at a scared-straight readjustment camp, the Pentagon is urging closeted soldiers to keep it that way. Josh Gerstein in Politico: "My colleague Gordon Lubold passes on a memo the Defense Department's top personnel official sent the heads of the military services Friday instructing them to comply with U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips's order. However, the directive from Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley also includes language that encourages commanders to urge their troops to let the smoke clear a bit before coming out of the closet. 'In light of the appeal and the application for a stay, a certain amount of uncertainty now exists about the future of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law and policy,' Stanley wrote. 'We note for service members that altering their personal conduct in this legally uncertain environment may have adverse consequences for themselves or others should the court's decision be reversed.'" http://politi.co/bvswxb
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION REPORTS $1 TRILLION-PLUS DEFICIT - "The Obama administration said Friday the federal deficit hit a near-record $1.3 trillion for the just-completed budget year. That means the government had to borrow 37 cents out of every dollar it spent as tax revenues continued to lag while spending on food stamps and unemployment benefits went up as joblessness neared double-digit levels in a struggling economy. While expected, the eye-popping deficit numbers provide Republican critics of President Barack Obama's fiscal stewardship with fresh ammunition less than three weeks ahead of the midterm congressional elections. The deficit was $122 billion less than last year, a modest improvement." http://apne.ws/9u2H8b
LAWMAKERS CALL FOR AUDIT OF GOVERNMENT-BACKED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS - Reps. John Conyers, Marcy Kaptur, Raul Grijalva and Alan Grayson have penned a letter to the special inspector general for TARP demanding that he "aggressively investigate the nation-wide foreclosure flawed and fraudulent paperwork debacle, which has heightened our concern of the potential for systemic wide fraud in the housing finance industry." "Aggressively," they tell you.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From Arthur Delaney: "The nation's top bank regulator doesn't believe homeowners are being directly harmed by an ongoing foreclosure fraud scandal, despite press accounts of banks mistakenly evicting homeowners even though they aren't in foreclosure. Nancy Jacobini, for instance, she had been working on a mortgage modification with JPMorgan Chase after falling four months behind when the bank sent somebody to change the locks. 'I did not receive any information at all in reference to a foreclosure,' she told CNN. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency does not view an anecdotes like Jacobini's as evidence of consumers being harmed by the unfolding foreclosure fraud scandal. (There are several other similar anecdotes.) 'The core issue remains the improper completion and submission of paperwork required by state law before foreclosing on seriously delinquent borrowers when alternatives to foreclosure are not possible,' said Kevin Mukri, a spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in an email to HuffPost.
Fred Davis, he of the demon sheep and "I am not a witch" ads, tonight on John King USA: "It's my job, I think, first and foremost, to make you remember my clients' ads at the end of the day."
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LIEBERMAN COULD BE THE DECIDING VOTE IN THE 112TH CONGRESS - The Hill's J.T. Rushing anticipates a charred, post-apocalyptic legislative wasteland where even resolutions acknowledging the contributions of Boys and Girls Club volunteers are held up for months so one light bulb-headed man can take more time to mull over how it will aide and abet Hezbollah. "Polling suggests Republicans could pick up as many as nine seats this fall, making a 50-50 split between the two parties a distinct possibility. A nine-seat gain for the GOP would give Democrats the slimmest possible majority: a caucus of 50, made up of 48 Democrats and two independents, Lieberman and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.). Vice President Joe Biden would become the crucial tie-breaking vote in the Democrats' favor. But that one-vote majority would hinge on Lieberman continuing to caucus with the Democrats. Under that scenario, the Democratic Party's love/hate relationship with Lieberman could reach a critical juncture. Lieberman is facing a tough reelection fight in 2012 and could be tempted to caucus with the Republicans -- or switch parties outright -- during the next Congress." http://bit.ly/aMm41D
NEW ENGLAND REPUBLICANS LESS ENDANGERED THIS CYCLE - Look out, Tim Pawlenty. Matt Laslo in the Atlantic on the reemergence of LL Bean outlet Republicans: "This year the tide looks to have turned back to the GOP. [Charlie] Bass is among a handful of moderate Republicans who have strong chances of winning in New Hampshire, Connecticut and possibly even in Massachusetts...The rise of these moderates will have far-reaching ramifications for the party, especially if Republicans regain the majority by only a slim margin. The glue that's uniting Tea Party supporters with mainstream Republicans from all regions of the nation is fiscal policy, but simmering beneath that unity are internal Republican Party disagreements that could cause serious tremors in the party's ranks. Besides being pro-choice, many of these Northeastern Republicans are pro gay marriage and want to unwind the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. Many support federal funding for stem cell research, want to see global warming taken more seriously, and oppose privatizing social security." http://bit.ly/a4d7Ra
Not all is lost for the Democrats, apparently: "African-Americans are fired up and ready to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections, and a large black voter turnout could upend predictions of a drubbing for the Democratic Party, experts said Friday. Eighty percent of black Democrats said they were as interested or more interested in the November 2 vote than they were in the 2008 election that saw Barack Obama become the first African-American president, according to a survey by the Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. If black voters turn out in the same record numbers as in 2008, they will help cut Democratic Party losses and could even help Obama's party hold its majority in the House of Representatives, said David Bositis, a senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (JCPES)." AFP: http://yhoo.it/azhF7C
CHARLIE CRIST IS PRO-HAVING AN OPINION ON ABORTION - In a new campaign spot the Florida governor and Senate candidate states that he is "fighting to stop Marco Rubio's extremist agenda to roll back Roe v. wade and cut your Social Security." Take it away, Hotline On Call: "Here's a quick rundown of Crist's past positions on abortion. When he first ran for office, he said he was 'pro-choice' but not 'pro-abortion.' When he ran for governor in '06, he shifted to saying the 'pro-choice' characterization was a lie, saying he was 'pro-life.' He even went so far in that campaign as to say the he would sign legislation that would ban abortions except in certain instances. This year, when he left the GOP during the primary, Crist scrubbed his website of all pro-life language -- something that abortion opponents quickly picked up on. Then, in a move to court pro-choice Democrats that completely alienated the right, he vetoed legislation that would have required women to pay for an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus before having an abortion." At least he has some skin in the game, right? http://bit.ly/cisPPe
Jon Ralston dropping some CW on last night's Nevada Senate debate (no one has explained to us why it was held in a circa-1960s Italian talk show set): "Let's get the easy part out of the way first: Sharron Angle won The Big Debate. Angle won because she looked relatively credible, appearing not to be the Wicked Witch of the West (Christine O'Donnell is the good witch of the Tea Party) and scoring many more rhetorical points. And she won because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looked as if he could barely stay on a linear argument, abruptly switching gears and failing to effectively parry or thrust." http://bit.ly/aizAbJ
@markknoller: Sen. Ted Kaufman says Chris Coons will prove to be "the witch slayer" by defeating Christine O'Donnell in the Delaware Senate race.
SARAH PALIN REALITY SHOW TRAILER - TLC has debuted the first trailer for Sarah Palin's forthcoming reality show *
"Little People, Big State"* [CORRECTION: "Sarah Palin's Alaska."] The trailer is more or less a smorgasbord of "oh yah"s, b-roll of family time and videos of bears fighting (!?). "I'd rather be doing this than in some stuffy ol' political office. I'd rather be out here and be free" she says as music from some Jewel-esque singer -- who is probably not singing about repealing the 17th Amendment but you can't really tell because Palin is too busy calling seaplanes "flippin' awesome" -- plays in the background. Takeaway: Vote Alaska Independence Party. WaPo: http://wapo.st/9BJFb3
Lisa Murkowski has debuted a new ad featuring an endorsement from Ted Stevens, taped shortly before the former Alaska senator's death in a plane crash this August. In the minute-long ad, Stevens' daughter, Sue Covich, addresses the sensitivity of the issue before her father's remarks are aired. "Some Alaskans don't know that my father made a campaign commercial for Lisa that was scheduled to run just days after we lost him," says Covich. "Putting our family before her campaign, Lisa made certain the ad did not air out of respect for Dad and our family." Tastefully done, just so long as there's not a series of Rick Rubin-produced Ted Stevens post-mortem albums in the works. CNN: http://bit.ly/aM97l3
JINDAL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who really killed it in last night's live episode of 30 Rock, was in the Granite State yesterday for a campaign event in support of gubernatorial candidate John Stephen. The only thing left to do at this point is for Jindal to pick a secretary of commerce. The State Column: http://bit.ly/9RTBZX
TODAY IN 'BLATANT 2012 PRIMARY PIVOTING' - John Thune: "I am in the West and I like the West obviously. It's a part of the country I am very comfortable in and states like mine and Iowa, which is next door, the constituency there is very much like mine, and they are people I am very comfortable having a conversation with." http://bit.ly/9CZdY6
DraftChristie2012.com is live and featuring an image of the Statue of Liberty burning the American flag. #outofthegatefail
SCOTT V. SCOTT - Who needs a HuffPost Divorce vertical when you have HuffPost Hill? Roll Call: "The sharpest exchange that occurred at Thursday night's debate between Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) and state Rep. Austin Scott (R) took place moments after the event ended. As the crowd was beginning to file out of the debate hall at the Georgia National Fairgrounds, Marshall and Scott were still onstage, less than a foot apart, pointing their fingers at each other, clearly in the midst of a heated discussion. Although the two were out of reach of a microphone, Scott's louder voice could be heard repeatedly demanding to know whether the Congressman had made a state open records request concerning Scott's divorce proceedings. Scott's 6-year-old divorce records have become a subject of heightened interest in the 8th district contest ever since a Democratic activist filed a motion earlier this month asking that they be unsealed. A state Superior Court judge has scheduled a hearing on the motion for the week before Election Day." http://bit.ly/aegdYu
St. Cloud, St. Cloud it's a helluva town: "Minnesota politics just got a bit more dramatic, with the introduction of "Michele! A Musical Bachumanntary," a satirical musical from left-leaning thespian James Detmar." TPM: http://bit.ly/b4KhZy
Prop. 19: Former Police Chief Strikes Back At U.S. Attorney General - From Lucia Graves: "Former San Jose Chief of Police Joseph McNamara said Friday that 'Californians are not going to let politicians in Washington, DC tell them how to vote.' McNamara's statement comes in response to Attorney General Eric Holder's vow that the DOJ will 'vigorously enforce' federal drug laws prohibiting the use of marijuana even if Proposition 19 passes in California on November 2." http://huff.to/daBXV1
TODAY IN 'CAULKING THE GLASS CEILING:' BARBARA BOXER'S FACELIFT - Or do you Safelite Repair, Safelite Replace the glass ceiling? Anyway, 1,000 demerits for the Orange County Register: "U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer has had work done on her face, and now she needs more, several cosmetic doctors say. Four doctors who analyzed photos of her face said she appears to have gotten a facelift, and a fifth said she needs one. Many doctors suggested therapies such as Botox, filler injections and laser skin treatments. Dermatologic surgeon Dr. David Sire of Fullerton said her face has lost volume, both in tissue and bones, which is a common effect of aging. He recommends that she counteract that with injections of fat or a filler such as Sculptra, Artefill or Radiesse." NO BIT.LY FOR YOU, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.
Looks like Republican lawmakers have something new to awkwardly square-peg-round-hole into their speeches: "President Barack Obama's polygamist half brother in Kenya has married a 19-year-old woman more than 30 years his junior." http://apne.ws/9WaHn5
Everyone meet the teen who has taken time from prepping for the PSAT, band practice, hanging out with his girlfriend and donating blood to denounce the Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to @christyNHC for the heads up. http://bit.ly/c9YDB8
THIS WEEK'S BEST POOL REPORT - Courtesy of TWT's Kara Rowland: "After an uneventful 27-minute motorcade, pool arrived at 5:07 p.m. at the home of retired Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning for a private fundraiser to benefit the DCCC and two-term incumbent Rep. Ron Klein. Pool did not see POTUS but assumes he arrived as well...Pool is holding now in the unfinished basement crawl space of Alonzo Mourning. As one might imagine, it is vast and contains a wide array of possessions. Spotted by pool are dozens of pairs of size 17 sneakers piled up, a huge stack of Christmas decorations, tires and what appear to be childrens' toys. Some old treadmills are stacked in the corner of the room."
@ariannahuff: Taping a segment for tonight's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with Jimmy, Lester Holt, and Ed Norton http://twitpic.com/2xuwol
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: It's going to be one of the first coat-needed weekends. It will remain cloudy until late. Saturday: Leave your toupees at home, folks, because it's going to be pretty windy. Out of the strong low pressure will come strong winds through most of the day. Temp-wise, it will be in the mid-60s, with it feeling like 50s. Sunday: The wind dies down, the mercury creeps up a bit, and everyone will enjoy the mid-70s sunny day. Thanks, JB!
- A kid rapper brings us the hottest new track: "Stop Looking At My Moms." http://bit.ly/c4TLBD
- Elsewhere, in humanity. http://bit.ly/dCrrp0
- A really cool light show marking the 600th anniversary of Prague's Astronomical Clock. http://bit.ly/cBrTWj
- These cats really enjoy these kitty throw pillows, or whatever they are. http://bit.ly/amG7wD
- Move over, Rich Whitey: http://bit.ly/cRtZp2
- This cat's bunny sneak attack didn't go so well. http://bzfd.it/b1ZLvu
- Here's your chance to buy some Bill Murray art. http://bit.ly/c7Qnlk
- Happy weekend: Here's a really drunk guy dancing to "Single Ladies." http://bit.ly/dblOdQ
@PElliottAP: Second press release of the day from Toomey campaign that includes "poop" in the headline. #18days
@lehmannchris: Condolences to all the Nevadans who'd been hoping both their Senate candidates would spontaneously combust last night.
@jdickerson After watching the Nevada Senate debate I really wish that what happens in Vegas could stay in Vegas
TONIGHT: John Garamendi talked foreclosures on Ratigan. Sherrod Brown is on Hardball. Scott McAdams, Alan Grayson and Barbara Lee are on The Ed Show.
Meet the Press: Robert Gibbs, Michael Bennet, Ken Buck.
This Week: Maria Shriver
Face the Nation: Howard Dean, Liz Cheney, Lindsey Graham, William Galston
Fox News Sunday: John Cornyn, Claire McCaskill, Carly Fiorina
State of the Union: David Axelrod
9:45 pm: Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse screens Inception and Salt, the one with Angelina Jolie where she runs around in tight clothing and kicks things [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington].
11:00 am - 6:00 pm: Hunt DC is the city's largest scavenger hunt. Info: http://unitedsocialsports.com/huntdc/
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Hey D.C.: Here's your chance to take a break from securing pork by learning how to cure it. 3 Bar and Grill in Claridon hosts a bacon curing class [3 Bar and Grill, 2950 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington].
7:00 pm: The New Pornographers play the 9:30 Club. They are joined by Tokyo Police Club [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].
Two -- very different -- Mad Men finale viewing options
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Bourbon Steak at The Four Seasons Hotel hosts a Mad Men Finale Dinner Party. For $60 you can attend a cocktail party, then a three-course meal and finally munch on truffle popcorn while watching the show [Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave].
9:00 pm: Jimmy Valentine's hosts a Boardwalk Empire/Mad Men viewing. There will be PBR [Jimmy Valentine's 1103 Bladensburg Rd NE].
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