Christine O'Donnell, a GOP power grab and Michele Bachmann: What a fitting news cycle for the last HuffPost Hill of 2010! Christine O'Donnell publicly commented on her perennial arch nemeses (George Soros, the federal government and rent). Paul Ryan might soon be America's fiscal austerity Leviathan. And Michele Bachmann wistfully looked back on her days as a Godless, radicalized Jimmy Carter supporter. This is a holiday HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, December 30th, 2010:
MURKOWSKI CERTIFIED AS WINNER OF ALASKA SENATE CONTEST - After Joe Miller had exhausted every avenue of appeal short of taking his case to Supreme Court or Texas Justice, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (with a name like that we're guessing he was conceived by a snowmobile and slab of cured salmon) have at long last certified Lisa Murkowski's reelection to the U.S. Senate. [HuffPost]
Programming note: We're off tomorrow. Happy New Year! See you in 2011.
BEHOLD THE AWESOME POWER OF CONGRESSMAN PAUL RYAN!!! - Tremble, mortals! A proposed House rule that would grant the incoming chair of the House Budget Committee an unnerving amount of influence over the budget in the 112th Congress has Democrats fuming. Erik Wasson: "The proposed rule would allow the Budget Committee chairman to set spending ceilings for 2011 without a vote by the full House. By approving the rules package, the House would give authority to the new Budget panel chairman to set budget ceilings at a later time and his decision would not be subject to an up-or-down vote on the floor. In practice, this would give power to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the incoming chairman of the panel, to impose deep spending cuts since spending bills cannot exceed the budget ceiling for the 2011 fiscal year." Democrats, though, have only themselves to blame. For the first time since 1999, they didn't pass a budget resolution in 2010, so the House has no roadmap by which to go by. And House Republican rank-and-file probably won't be clamoring to vote for spending that exceeds whatever limit Ryan would set anyway. The fun question will be where they think they'll find $100 billion in savings in half a year's budget come this spring. [The Hill]
"The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee has dismissed a complaint alleging that Sen. Christopher Dodd obtained a cottage in Ireland at a low price as an improper gift from a businessman." How unsurprising is it that Dodd owns a cottage in Ireland? [AP]
UDALL: CONSENSUS FORMING AROUND RULES CHANGES - Amanda Terkel, datelining from Buffalo, reports that Tom Udall believes his filibuster-reform gang has a lot of support for three key changes to Senate rules: 1) End the filibuster on the motion to proceed; 2) End secret holds; and 3) Re-establishing the "talking filibuster." The third is the most direct threat to the status quo and faces the steepest climb.
On the heels of Chris Christie's absence during the Northeastern blizzard, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has debuted WheresChristie.com. The website is essentially a meme catalyst featuring photoshopped images of the New Jersey governor wearing a Where's Waldo? hat. Funny stuff, but we're still waiting for the edition that features a land of a million Chris Christies (hint: the real Chris Christie wears striped socks).
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - 99er Paladinette responds to the Vice President's mass e-mail soliciting sign-ups for an automated Obama thank-you note: "Please tell the President to keep his worthless CARD! He SHOULD have helped the 99ers - that would have been worth something to me." Actual subject line: "Where should we send your card, from the President?" C'mon, guys.
Laura Bassett highlights the efforts of the National Veteran's Foundation and "The Goods," a joint venture from HuffPost Impact and Causenet that connects potential donors to reputable charities. You've got today and tomorrow to give, people.
Just in time to soak up those end-of-year donations, FireDogLake is launching the FDL Writers Foundation, which'll support young authors. FDL isn't settling for tote bags: With $100 donation, you get one of five books, including one that we hear is a real tour de force on the nature of the American relationship with drugs and drug use. [FDL]
MoveOn is also raising end-of-year funds for three charities chosen by their members as most worthy. (If Rep. Joe Pitts voted in this survey, he was clearly outnumbered.) [MoveOn]
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
PEOPLE NOT EXACTLY FEELING THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN - Maybe it's all the narco-barons that Hamid Karzai is freeing. Or maybe it's the mounting American casualties. Or maybe it's the creeping influence of the Taliban on virtually every aspect of Afghan society. Whatever the case, Americans are seriously souring on The War of Obama's Choosing (vote Steele!). Sixty-three percent of respondents to a CNN/Opinion Research survey say they now oppose America's military involvement in Afghanistan. What's more, 56 percent of those surveyed say that "things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan." Land wars in Asia really don't win the morning, do they? [HuffPost]
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL DENOUNCES FEDERAL PROBE - On Good Morning America today the former Republican Senate candidate responded to news that federal investigators are looking into whether she improperly used campaign funds for personal means. "There's been no impermissible use of campaign funds whatsoever," she said. "You have to look at this whole thug-politic tactic for what it is." "As long as the investigation doesn't interfere with her efforts to shop around the pilot for "Christine O'Donnell's Rehoboth Beach," (remember, TLC, she's you) we say let justice be served. [HuffPost]
@jimacostacnn: O'Donnell claims CREW is a Soros-funded front group that's out to get her. She said the same to me in Oct. Sit Room at 6p.
AMERICA APPLAUDS HALEY BARBOUR'S LATEST STAND FOR CIVIL RIGHTS - The country's kitchen tables were coated in spit-take coffee this morning after news emerged that Haley Barbour had reviewed the conviction of two African-American women and deemed that their crime wasn't "that bad." Barbour, who moonlights as governor of Mississippi and chair of the Republican Governor's Association when he's not acting as the nation's foremost Jim Crow apologist, suspended the life sentences of two women convicted in 1994 of an armed robbery that injured no one and yielded an $11 takeaway. Despite charges that the action was politically motivated, Barbour's office claims that the decision has been under consideration for some time. NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous told CNN that "There certainly has been a lot of conjecture...[but] the reality is that we've been going back and forth with [Barbour's] office" about the sentence reduction "for a very long time...And we were anticipating this [decision] weeks ago." [NPR]
Fare thee well: "Geraldine Hoff Doyle, the inspiration for 'Rosie the Riveter,' died on Sunday at the age of 86 due to complications from arthritis, the Washington Post reports."
MARCO RUBIO THE NEXT GREAT THING...BUT NOT REALLY - A new Public Policy Polling survey suggests that all the hoopla surrounding incoming Florida Senator Marco Rubio might be a wee bit overblown. Even though the elders speak of a charismatic Republican leader who will unite the country and shepherd in decades of a GOP supermajority where it is illegal to leave Massachusetts without wearing an identifying orange hat (thus fulfilling "the prophecy"), it appears that Rubio might not be the one. A PPP poll out today finds only 43 percent of Sunshine State voters view him favorably while 41 percent have a negative view of the senator-elect. More troubling for Rubio is his 28/52 percent favorably among independents. Sorry about your low midichlorian count, dude. [PPP]
Has your state legislator flipped parties recently? Find out! (Not applicable to the resident's of colonial Washington)
MICHELE BACHMANN REFLECTS ON HER JIMMY CARTER-SUPPORTING PAST - "I was a reasonable, fair-minded Democrat. And another secret you need to know: My husband and I met in college. We worked on Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign. It's true, it's true," Bachmann said at a gathering of Michigan Republicans Tuesday night. "Until I was reading this snotty novel called 'Burr,' by Gore Vidal, and read how he mocked our Founding Fathers...And at that point I put the book down and I laughed. I was riding a train. I looked out the window and I said, 'You know what? I think I must be a Republican. I don't think I'm a Democrat.'" To be fair, Bachmann's diatribe kind of has us nostalgic for the early days of HuffPost HIll when we were just a humble offshoot of the Phyllis Schlafly Report. Anyway...what? [TPM]
Justin Elliott: "Some prominent opponents of the 'ground zero mosque' have launched a boycott of teen pop star Justin Bieber. But it turns out they were taken in by a hoax website that falsely claimed Bieber had spoken out in favor of the tolerance and the mosque." [Salon]
BECAUSE THERE'S NO COMFORT FOOD OR TWITTERAMA THIS WEEK - Someone already made a short film about the blizzard.
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