POLITICS
10/21/2010 05:08 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - OCTOBER 21ST, 2010

The Republican National Committee is going to have to start cutting Cash4Gold commercials as it is burning through millions faster than MC Hammer. The Department of Justice seems to think a staff sergeant partial to Bravo programming is worse than Yellowstone being turned into into a giant tent revival. And our Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist wants to atone for his sins by vacationing in Prague. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, October 21st, 2010:

KOCH MEETING ATTENDEES HAVE DONATED MILLIONS TO POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS - Sam "Primetime" Stein: "The publication of an invitation that Koch Industries sent to top conservatives for a private strategy session in January lifted the curtain, however slightly, on the deep-pocketing funders betting on the Republican Party's re-emergence...But exactly how deep are their pockets? The good-government group Campaign Money Watch ran the names of those who attended Koch Industries most recent gathering in June 2010 and found that they had contributed at least $35 million to federal candidates, parties, and political committees over the past 20 years. Coming from a pool of nearly 170 attendees, the total is still a remarkable figure. That said, more than $15 million of the $35 million came from just ten attendees. Not all of the money went to Republicans. The Koch brothers, for instance, have given a small portion of their political donations to Democrats. But a vast majority was directed at the GOP. And in releasing their finding Campaign Money Watch makes the assertion -- not illogically -- that Koch Industries and its guests are likely aiding some of the anonymous ad campaigns that are dominating the current electoral cycle." http://huff.to/dsYALE

DURBIN: DEFICIT COMMISSION CAN'T WORK IN PARTISAN CLIMATE - Good news for our nation's senior citizens as there are only so many Wal-Mart greeter jobs to go around. Jordan Fabian in The Hill: "It will be 'extremely difficult' for President Obama's fiscal commission to pass significant recommendations to bring down the nation's long-term deficits and debt, the second-ranking Senate Democrat said Thursday. Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the majority whip and a member of the commission, said in an interview that the 'toxic' political environment created by the midterm elections threatens to undermine the proposals the panel is expected to make in December...In order for the bipartisan commission to authorize a proposal, it must be approved by 14 of the 18 members, which Durbin said will likely be an uphill climb...In order for the bipartisan commission to authorize a proposal, it must be approved by 14 of the 18 members, which Durbin said will likely be an uphill climb." http://bit.ly/b6kBO4

IS DOJ EXHIBITING A DOUBLE-STANDARD ON GAY RIGHTS? - "Primetime" Sam Stein reports: "Less than a week before the Obama administration's Department of Justice appealed a judge's ruling that the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy is unconstitutional, it elected to let stand a court ruling allowing religious groups to proselytize in federal parks. In a little-noticed decision last Thursday, the DoJ let stand a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that small groups wishing to gather and demonstrate at national parks no longer have to obtain a permit from the National Park Service. The Department's decision to let that ruling stand while challenging, days later, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' decision to overturn DADT on constitutional grounds are not topically related. But it did spur another round of criticism that the administration is either insensitive or hypocritical when it comes to gay rights." http://huff.to/9SO93f

SCOTUSblog: "A hearing in the Ninth Circuit Court on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 -- a state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage -- has been set for 10 a.m. (Pacific time) on Monday, Dec. 6, the Court announced Thursday. Each side will have one hour for argument. The hearing will be a combined one on the appeals of the backers of Proposition 8 and by Imperial County (dockets 10-16696 and 10-16751, respectively). Both cases carry the title Perry v. Schwarzenegger." http://bit.ly/cXtyq6

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST WANTS TO HAND SELF OVER TO CZECH AMBASSADOR - HuffPost Hill's very own Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, after spending a fruitful Thursday filling out his Lobbying Disclosure Act forms for the third quarter and pasting his likeness onto urinal cakes, sent word of his latest conundrum. He doesn't understand why his "non-lobbying" work as a gatherer of political intelligence is outside the LDA's purview. "I represent billionaire investors that day trade on congressional activity," he wrote in an email to HuffPost Hill, apparently having replaced the tear-stained keyboard that short-circuited. "Since I don't lobby, I only gather intelligence (and therefore don't have to register) from eavesdropping on White House staffers and their lobbyist buddies at Caribou Coffee across the street from the White House. I want to turn myself in to the Ethics Czar, but Norm Eisen won't meet with me because I'm a lobbyist." Thanks, PSLGOPL! PS: Another reason Norm Eisen won't meet with you is that, having successfully helped Obama "change the way we do business in Washington," Eisen has been removed from the Ethics Czar gig and named ambassador to the Czech Republic, and the position of Ethics Czar has been eliminated. Heckuva job, Norm!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The California government's slowness in launching health care reform's high-risk pool provision for the uninsurable is worrisome for Mary Duffy, who is hoping the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board will hurry up and provide the coverage she applied for this summer. "I'm waiting for Mr. Mib," said Duffy, using the term she hears from the MRMIB's staff when she calls to ask when she can expect coverage. She initially expected coverage to be available at the beginning of August, but that deadline passed without a chance to apply. Once she applied, she expected coverage at the beginning of September. Then the MRMIB's website said it would be ready by Oct. 7. Now it says simply that "the expected start of PCIP coverage has been delayed." Duffy, who lives in Redwood City, Calif., said she's become especially anxious because on Thursday she is going to the doctor for a biopsy. She is afraid that she may have cancer again. Without health insurance, she said, "If it turns out I need surgery, I think I'm going to wait." http://huff.to/bTbAuy

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EARLY VOTING FAVORING DEMOCRATS - "Election Day is already over for more than 3 million Americans, and a surprising number of them are Democrats. Republicans clearly are gaining ground in turning out early voters compared with their showing two years ago, but figures from the first batch of states that offer clues about 2010 early voting patterns still give Democrats an edge in a number of states and big counties." http://huff.to/9bo36r

RNC IN DEBT - Taking a page from the MC Hammer playbook, the Republican National Committee is operating under debt even as it is poised to take the country by storm next month. NYT: "The Republican National Committee raised close to $10 million in September but ended the month essentially under water financially, with only about $3.4 million in cash on hand but $4.6 million in debts and obligations. The struggling national party committee also took out a $2.5 million loan. By contrast, the Democratic National Committee ended the month with almost four times as much cash on hand, $13.4 million, with $7.7 million in debt. Both committees have continued to raise millions more in the first two weeks of October." http://nyti.ms/9UvoAn

Seriously, do we need to sign Michael Steele up for a Mint.com account or something? Hotline: "The Republican National Committee wrote a $15,000 check to Guam in September, spending money in a U.S. territory in advance of an election in which the party is already hunting for new sources of cash. The RNC made the transfer on September 24, according to reports filed late Wednesday with the FEC. That money will go to help elect Sen. Eddie Calvo (R), who is running to replace term-limited Gov. Felix Camacho (R) in the island territory's governor election." http://bit.ly/9N2xaO

GOP HOUSE CANDIDATE MUM ON SPEAKER BOEHNER - Even as a bloc of conservative House Democrats are abandoning Nancy Pelosi in favor a less progressive Democratic speaker, there are indications that John Boehner's potential ascent to speaker won't be turbulence-free. Nick Wing: "South Dakota GOP congressional challenger Kristi Noem said Wednesday that she isn't ready to promise her vote to promote Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) to Speaker of the House if Republicans were to take the House in November. 'There could be several people running,' Noem told the editorial board of the Argus Leader when asked about who she'd support for Speaker of the House. 'I can't say specifically on John Boehner because I don't know what my other options are...If there was another person that was running that represented South Dakota better, and more with South Dakota's industries and interests
and values, I certainly would support them too.'" http://huff.to/b5vwDK

A new video attacking John Boehner's attitudes towards organized labor answers the question of what would happen if Jacob Riis had access to iMovie and Doonesbury cartoons. Americans United For Change's new video highlights criticism from an Democratic Ohio state lawmaker that Boehner thinks there is "no reason for organized labor." The video then splices a picture of Boehner thinking said sentiment (is that even allowed?) over images of run-down ,turn-of-the-20th-century factory workers. http://bit.ly/bDfOcD

GOP HOUSE CANDIDATE TIES ARAB-AMERICAN OPPONENT TO TERRORISM - Nick Wing: "West Virginia Republican Spike Maynard continued to drive a highly controversial line of attack targeting his 3rd District Opponent, Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, over what Maynard says are Rahall's connection to a group with 'terror ties.'
In a new ad, Maynard makes claims that Rahall, a West Virginian of Lebanese descent, 'has taken campaign cash from a group with terror ties.'... But there are a few problems with the brutally negative ad. It's worth noting, for instance, that most of the report's information appears to come from a book called 'Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America,' a controversial and notably anti-CAIR book published by Joseph Farah, founder of ultra-conservative website WorldNetDaily." http://huff.to/aTlDt7

JOE MILLER AND HIS STRAINED RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MEDIA - Exhibiting the same cocktail of tension, hostility and revenge-lust normally reserved for a Josh Schwartz TV drama, Joe Miller's volatile relationship with the press is really the stuff a Fox 9 pm spot. Alexandra Gutierrez in Salon: "Miller has borrowed a tactic that Sharron Angle, Rand Paul and other Tea Party candidates have employed -- ducking 'mainstream' media outlets and shunning some traditional aspects of campaigning -- and given it a twist, adopting a stance of naked hostility toward the Alaska media. But the blowback he's experiencing highlights another reality: You can ignore the media, but you can't make it go away. While the national press has shown more interest in Angle and O'Donnell, Alaska-based reporters have aggressively tracked Miller, producing a stream of stories that have reduced his poll standing, to the point that one survey now shows him running even with Murkowski. Fighting against the media may rally his conservative base, but it's also driving off many of the moderate Republicans and independents he needs to win this unpredictable race." http://bit.ly/aHlWhR

Charlie Crist is running out of cash: "Charlie Crist's once sizable financial advantage has collapsed, the potential for him to finish up the campaign with a massive TV buy gone. The independent U.S. Senate candidate spent $7.4-million since Aug. 5, and as of Oct 1, had just $1.39-million on hand, according to his latest campaign report." http://bit.ly/btbSbY

MURKOWSKI: GOP SECRETLY WANTS ME TO WIN - In an interview with the Anchorage Press, the Alaska senator said she thinks her colleagues want her to defeat a guy who travels with his own war party and presents himself as Mr. Rogers with a subscription to Soldier of Fortune. "[T]hey need my vote. And let me tell you--when you win, it's a whole different story out there," she said. "Because then you're a player. Right now I'm a write-in candidate and I'm not my party's nominee and [Republican leaders] are looking at the situation and saying, 'We have to stick by the process, so they're doing about what I expected of them, which is they're standing by the party nominee. They may not be doing it gladly but that's what they're doing." http://bit.ly/9n73HF

Lisa M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I's campaign seems to hinge increasingly on whether Alaska voters can read and write ("A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, a 'Goodnight Moon' in every toddler's crib"): "Voters looking for information about Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's election guide won't find it. Murkowski filed paperwork to run as a write-in candidate last week. Her campaign says state law doesn't allow for write-in candidates who file after the July publication copy deadline to be included in the guide, which is mailed to households statewide. Murkowski says that while she's disappointed in not being included, there are other ways for Alaskans to learn about her positions, including on her campaign and Senate websites." AP: http://bit.ly/cZU968

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - A kitty swimming...IN THE AIR. http://bit.ly/9gD4Fk

Today in "Proceed At Your Own Risk:" "Patty Murray's Meat Dress Gets Seattle Weekly Issue Banned From Washington State Ferries" http://bit.ly/dzcMac (Meathat tip to @SuzyKhimm)

HOUSE CANDIDATE TRIES AND FAILS TO GET ARRESTED - "Libertarian candidate Jim Berns said he did his best to get arrested outside last night's 1st Congressional District debate - but failed. Berns is angry at not being invited to the debate, which featured feisty exchanges between Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus and Republican challenger Steve Chabot. (The debate sponsors, which include the Enquirer, rely on the League of Women Voters criteria for debate inclusion.) 'The place was crawling with cops and I got very confrontational with them, but I think they were under orders not to arrest me,' Berns said." We wish this guy were a more high-profile candidate so his opponent could run a hilarious "broken promises" attack ad ("Is the House ready for a man who can't even get himself thrown into the Big House? 1st District voters deserve better."). Cincinnati Inquirer. http://bit.ly/aqMhRE

The first sentence of Berns' press release: "Despite his best efforts, Jim Berns was not able to be arrested at The School for Creative and Performing Arts Wednesday evening at the Chabot/Driehaus joint news conference."

Texas Monthly on the state of the Lone Star State: "To look back at the Bush years in Texas is to realize how much the Republican party has changed since 1995. In fact, he would not recognize it if he were running today. Hardly anyone in Texas except political junkies and the media paid much attention to the election of 1998. The transition from Bush to Perry was a turning point, the moment at which Texas completed its evolution into an indelibly red state and plunged into the politics of ideology, where it has remained mired ever since. During the Bush governorship, the Texas Republican party was primarily an establishment party, dominated by conservatives in the Houston and Dallas business communities. The Democratic party grew increasingly irrelevant and has remained so to this day." http://bit.ly/c1epan

Wouldn't placing a few moldy couches and car parts on the front lawn of the governor's mansion suffice? "[Texas gubernatorial candidate Bill White] says his first bold move would be into a mobile home. In another jab at Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who is costing taxpayers $10,000 a month by renting a mansion outside Austin, White vowed during a swing through East Texas on Wednesday to move into a trailer home if elected. The millionaire businessman and former Houston mayor currently lives in a 4,122-square-foot home appraised at $2.1 million, but said he would be the portrait of frugality the moment he took office." AP: http://bit.ly/atgq5c

We eagerly anticipate a Boston Tea Party reenactment with corn dog rollers, wings and taquitos dumped into the Anacostia: "In the District, we already pay 5 cents for each disposable bag we take when shopping anywhere that sells food items. But what if we had to pay the same fee for carryout containers as well? That's just one idea that's come out of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A's ongoing quest to push a new 7-Eleven to do more to prevent the trash it produces from ending up on the ground along the H Street NE corridor. A draft of a proposed agreement between the ANC and the convenience store contains a clause asking 7-Eleven to: "... impose a surcharge of $0.05 per container for all food items that are heated in the store." TBD: http://tbd.ly/bKe0zH

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Colder. Now it's time for the jacket. We hit the 40s. Otherwise, a clear night. Tomorrow: Sunny, but low-60s. A bit of the cooling is due to a cold front which has been sweeping through the area, as well as the jet stream bringing cold air from the north. Thanks, JB!

Everyone, Richard: A reminder that hurricane season still exists. Tropical storm Richard (I'm going to take the French pronunciation, Ree-chard) is coming up the Cancun-Cuba alleyway and is predicted to hit the Yucatan Peninsula after strengthening to hurricane-force winds. You'll recall that this area birthed the last Hurricane, Paula. Ay Caramba, JB!
COMFORT FOOD

- The first ever Rick Roll FROM SPACE. http://bit.ly/ayzgPg

- This puppy might be suffering from a bit of gigantism but its still very, very cute. http://bit.ly/93Z5q3

- Well, this animal exists. http://bit.ly/bLeDQR

- This cat would really appreciate it if you didn't film it while giving a massage. http://bit.ly/9auau8

- This hotel made of large, plastic bubbles is truly an architectural wonder. http://bit.ly/c4TLBD

- The Guggenheim in New York was the backdrop for a really cool light show. http://bit.ly/9knMYs

- A very low budget, Streeg Fighter-esque video game featuring a cat and mouse. http://bit.ly/9ssn0K

- "A 300-pound chimpanzee escaped from its owner Tuesday afternoon and ran rampant through a Kansas City neighborhood, scaring walkers, pounding on passing cars and breaking a police car's windshield." http://bit.ly/dxg6CU

- There really is a place in the buzzkill hall of fame for this kid. http://bit.ly/9irSJF

- This dog must be having the worst dog nightmare EVER. http://bit.ly/a0jtDt

TWITTERAMA

@borowitzreport: In honor of Christine O'Donnell, I am designating November as Lack of Awareness Awareness Month.

@mikemadden: I'm no bigot, but if I see a cable news pundit walking toward me on the street, I get nervous.

@brianbeutler: Hi Muslims? Howdy. Juan Williams here. Salaam aleikum. I'm just calling to see if you're ready to do the mature thing and apologize.

@pourmecoffee: I hope they at least gave Juan Williams a tote bag.

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Joe Sestak does a Hardball hit. Harry Reid talks to Ed Schultz. Nancy Pelosi is on Countdown along with HuffPost's Howard Fineman. TOMORROW: Showtime Sam Stein is on Morning Joe.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

8:00 pm: Nothing complements Northeast DC quite like electro-dream pop, no? School of Seven Bells performs at Rock and Roll Hotel [Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St NE].

8:00 pm: We've always maintained that breakups would be easier if backed by horns and a rock-solid rhythm section. Mayer Hawthorne puts this to the test with his take-me-back-gurl lyrics and soulful instrumentation [Black Cat, 1811 14th St NW].

TOMORROW

11:00 am - 11:00 pm: Red Velvet Cupcakery is opening its third area store and is celebrating by doling out free cupcakes all day [11939 Democracy Drive, Reston, VA].

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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