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HUFFPOST HILL - Reverend Al And Tim Geithner -- Of Course!

First Posted: 01/13/11 06:35 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

Huffpost Hill

As if Pluto's demotion from "planet" wasn't bad enough, HuffPost Hill is suddenly no longer a Taurus. What the hell? Back in this terrestrial realm, we apparently have the Live Music Capital of the World to thank for Tom DeLay's legal difficulties. Man-bot Mitt Romney had an emotion chip installed so he can feel your pain during his presidential campaign. And Mullet-bot Tim Pawlenty has plenty to say about the Ivy League and "don't ask, don't tell"...but The Huffington Post leaves him speechless. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 13th, 2011:

GIFFORDS UPDATE - "Giffords is now able to open both eyes, move her arms and legs, and appears to be becoming aware of her surroundings, the doctors explained at a news conference...Meanwhile, previously unseen documents shed new light on alleged shooter Jared Loughner. For four years, Loughner was an unremarkable college student, commuting to classes near his home where he studied yoga and algebra, business management and poetry. But last year, his classroom conduct began to change. In February, Loughner stunned a teacher by talking about blowing up babies, a bizarre outburst that marked the start of a rapid unraveling for the 22-year old, who is accused of slaying six people and wounding 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. After his first flare-up, campus police decided not to intervene." [HuffPost's Liveblog]

REVEREND AL, CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS MEET WITH GEITHNER, DONOVAN ON FORECLOSURES - The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Al Sharpton, union reps and consumers groups met with the heads of HUD and Treasury today to suggest how they could fish the HAMP program out of the toilet. HuffPost Hill's advice: flush the thing and start over. Don't you have a $30 billion left in TARP money? Also at the meeting: Wade Henderson, Chanelle Hardy, Janet Murguia, Alfonso Pollard, Damon Silvers, Randi Weingarten and several others. Wait. Randi Weingarten??

Tim Pawlenty signed a copy of his book for Sam Stein. His message? "To Sam and the Huffington Post: What can I say?"

RNC MEETS TOMORROW TO UNDO TWO YEARS OF TPM HEADLINES - Michael Steele's steady leadership of the Republican National Committee may be cut short tomorrow when the committee convenes in Washington to, among other things, elect a chairman. The voting process is somewhat arcane so don't be surprised if it lasts 327 rounds and Mishka the talking husky ends up leading the committee in the next election cycle. Jay Newton-Small: "As it stands now, according Hotline's excellent tally, Steele is trailing Wisconsin GOP Chair Reince Priebus, a former Steele ally who ran Steele's 2009 campaign for chairman. Priebus has 41 confirmed votes, including today's endorsement by the powerful outgoing New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman John Sununu. Priebus is hoping to take the lead on the first ballot; in 2009, Steele's first ballot advantage over former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan set the tone and gave him momentum. Steele currently has 17 confirmed votes followed by Saul Anuzis and Ann Wagner with 14 votes apiece and Maria Cino with 12 votes. Which means the largest bloc - 70 votes - remains undecided." [Time]

A brief note to RNC members voting for a chair tomorrow: It's never too late to write in "Phil Davison".

RECESSION FORCING PEOPLE TO LIVE WITH THEIR INSUFFERABLE RELATIVES - HuffPost's Laura Bassett: "According to a report released Wednesday morning by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a 3 percent uptick in homelessness and a 20 percent increase in foreclosures from 2008 to 2009 contributed to a 12 percent increase in the number of families who had to 'double up' in the homes of their extended family and friends. [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Elderly poverty is much higher than in the official stats, it turns out, if the government accounts for things old people like, such as medicine. The cost of pills and other necessities omitted from the Census Bureau's official poverty stats push the elderly poverty rate to 16.1 percent in its alternate measurement, up from just below 10 percent. "Our rolls are swelling. There are more and more people on our rolls, there are more and more people in need of our services," said Enid Borden, CEO of the Meals on Wheels Association of America, which delivers a million meals every day to people over 60. "The other side these numbers don't tell is the fact that seniors in this country are going hungry. How can we let that happen?" You know what we can't let happen? We can't let Social Security continue to explode the deficit. Vote for Hugh Jidette! [HuffPost]

@AdamSerwer unemployment is never going down http://ampro.me/h99bqh

TREASURY DOES GOOD (!) - From Zach Carter: "Poor people -- known as the "unbanked" -- frequently do at least one of two things around tax time that end up costing them a lot of money. They take their refund to a shady check-cashing service, which charges them an insane sum for the privilege of converting this check into cash they can spend. Or they get a loan based on the refund amount a few weeks before it comes, paying a staggering interest rate. As a result, the tax refund system ends up subsidizing predators at the expense of the poor. And Treasury is fixing it! It announced today it is rolling out a new debit card program which will perform most of the basic functions bank accounts do--deposit and withdraw money. That lets Treasury directly deposit tax refunds quickly, with no predatory middlemen taking a cut. It's even good for taxpayers, since processing electronic payments is way cheaper than mailing out checks."

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PRESIDENT OBAMA LUXURIATES IN THE WARM GLOW OF FAVORABLE CW - The country responded well to the president's stirring address at last night's memorial for the victims of the Tucson shooting -- and rightly so. We were genuinely moved. It was good. No, it wasn't just good, it was great. 2008 great. Maybe-we-should-get-some-Roman-columns -for-the-backdrop-to-compliment-this-soaring-rhetoric -and-play-"City-Of-Blinding-Lights" -until-we-vomit great. It was the sort of thing that inspires people to unselfconsciously refer to the country as a "Republic" because it sounds more profound. Just...bang-up stuff. We wouldn't be surprised if Will.i.am is -- as we speak -- splicing the speech into a by-the-numbers hip-pop ditty to help young people who think "World of Jenks" is cutting-edge television feel like they're part of something bigger. Anyhoo, the mediasphere has responded in kind. "President Obama's address at the memorial in Tucson was really two speeches in one. The first speech was brilliant. The second was courageous," gushed Marc Theissen. "It is a president's responsibility to salve a national wound. President Obama did that on Wednesday," noted the Times' editorial staff. "President Obama rose to the occasion yesterday," began the Journal's editorial. Hell, even Pajamas Media liked it! "This one time, Obama managed to sound like he thought he was President, not of his constituency, but of everyone," a shocked Charlie Martin sputtered, chunks of humble pie spewing forth with the words. So bravo, Mr. President. We look forward to this period of renewed brotherhood. Here's hoping it won't be ruined by a senator wondering aloud whether the country would be better off had Sherman not captured Atlanta or Texas passing a law requiring Hispanic Americans to check-in to Foursquare whenever they visit an immigration lawyer.

@mlcalderone Nielsen: 30.7 million watch Obama speech across 7 networks. http://bit.ly/hPkMVI

Brian Beutler cuts Speaker Boehner some slack for not attending the memorial: "Yesterday, House members attended a vigil for victims of the Arizona shooting spree in an auditorium underneath the Capitol Visitor's Center. As they trickled in, a House aide provided reporters, including me, a glimpse at the program of events and list of speakers. There was one small revision to the schedule, though: Minority Whip Steny Hoyer would be reading Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's portion of scripture, because she was on her way to Tucson with the President. If Boehner had accepted the invitation, then the leaders of both parties would have missed the Wednesday vigil." [TPM]

@jeffzeleny: NYT's Rutenberg reports that Palin will do her first post-shooting interview Monday w/Sean Hannity on Fox. http://nyti.ms/eLsbwk

GLENN BECK MISSED MEMO ON NEW TONE - Beck's show today warns his crowd that Cass Sunstein is more or less Edward Bernays brought back to life -- seriously -- and is "the most dangerous man in this administration" who is "eager to change society" and "will change society in profound ways over the next 100 years." Asks Beck: "So what do we do with that?" We're not sure, but Glenn Beck should NOT be allowed to buy a firearm.

ROMNEY RESIGNS FROM BOARD, HIRES POLITICAL AIDES...WILL HAVE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT IN APRIL - Human chin dimple Mitt Romney is making a series of moves in preparation for a 2012 White House bid. The robotic former Massachusetts governor -- famous for his dramatic transformation from moderate state executive to conservative presidential contender and that time he had his motherboard upgraded to better process this sensation you humans classify as "love" -- has hired Republican operative Rich Beeson as his political director and Public Opinion Strategies' Neil Newhouse as his pollster. Romney has also resigned from Marriott's board of directors. In case things aren't clear enough for you, Ben Smith is reporting that camp Romney has been informing establishment Republicans that Romeny will likely launch his presidential campaign in April. [RealClearPolitics, AP and Politico]

GUY WHO MADE A POINT OF GROWING A MULLET TAKES AIM AT EDUCATED TYPES - Sam Stein: "Speaking before the National Press Club on Thursday, in what was yet another tease at a forthcoming presidential run, Gov. Tim Pawlenty defended fellow GOPer Sarah Palin against critics who he deemed highbrow elitists. The Minnesota Republican, in a late stage of his book tour, had caused a mild sensation days before when he dared to cast doubt on Palin's decision to use crosshairs to label the House races she was targeting in 2010. But he made up for it by inferring that those who criticized the former Alaska governor were either overly-privileged or condescending. 'There is also, I think, a double standard at play here because if you've had different kinds of experiences ... you went to say a certain more prominent school in a different part of the country, or you were the law review editor of some journal or something, then all of the sudden that is more valuable in the discussion than if you are in a place like Alaska or Minnesota because there's a little bit of a sense that maybe that's not quite up to our standards in some people's eyes. I don't buy that. I don't agree with that.'" [HuffPost]

Pawlenty, himself jonesing for the White House, also said today that he'd reinstate "don't ask, don't tell."

HUTCHISON NOT RUNNING IN 2012 - The tyranny of having to remember to not to call her "Hutchinson" will soon be over. The Texas senator today released a statement confirming that she will not run for reelection. "I intended to leave this office long before now, but I was persuaded to continue in order to avoid disadvantage to our state," Hutchison wrote. "The last two years have been particularly difficult, especially for my family, but I felt it would be wrong to leave the Senate during such a critical period." Translation: I was WAYYYY crankypants after losing the gubernatorial primary to Rick Perry. She continues: "Instead of putting my seat into a special election, I felt it was my duty to use my experience to fight the massive spending that has increased our national debt; the government takeover of the our health care system; and the growth of the federal bureaucracy, which threatens our economy. Translation: I had to stay lest I be permanently branded a crankypants after reversing on my original plan to step down. Texas has a really deep bench of Republicans who could step up and run in this solidly-GOP state. There's Louie Gohmert, who thinks lawmakers should be allowed to carry loaded guns in the Capitol. Or Tom Delay, who will be in jail. Or Rick Perry, who is pretty sure he doesn't want to secede from the union. If nothing else, we hear that coyote Perry shot is looking for work. [Senatus]

Google News' photo analytics seem really confused about Kay Bailey Hutchison's announcement

BILL DALEY ONCE DONATED TO CANDIDATE OBAMA'S PRIMARY RIVAL - Oops! Looks like incoming White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley has something in common with all those antebellum losers who made out checks to PETER CARTWRIGHT PAC in 1846*. Christina Bellantoni reports that Daley donated over $5,000 to Dan Hynes, a primary opponent, between 2003 and 2004. The last donation, for $5000, came just one week before Obama won the Democratic Senate nod. Then there's this: "He's helped Democratic leaders, giving donations to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), Assistant Leader James Clyburn (S.C.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), and Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.)...But campaign finance records dating back to the 1970s did not show any donations to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)...The incoming chief of staff has already shown a bipartisan reputation, donating to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) in 2004 and former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) in 2002 and 2005." [Roll Call]

*Look it up.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a baby elephant having a better day than you.

NFL PLAYERS LOBBYING HILL - Chris Frates: "As the specter of a year without pro football looms, the National Football League Players Association is taking its case to the halls of Congress -- mounting an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign urging lawmakers to push the owners to strike a deal before the March 3 deadline...[O]n Tuesday, about 30 players are expected to use their star power to take that message directly to lawmakers and their staffers. In the past year, the players have made about 100 visits to congressional offices, with union officials making an additional 200. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth said it's important for lawmakers to meet the "people who get their hands dirty." Foxworth, who is on injured reserve, said if there's a lockout, he, his wife and newborn baby would lose their health insurance." [Politico]

"Ilyse Hogue, who for the past three-plus years has served as the Communications Director for MoveOn.org will be leaving in the next few weeks to join the progressive media watchdog group, Media Matters, as a senior adviser in program coordination, declining to pursue an opening with Discovery's Shark Week." [Sam Stein]

TOM DELAY: CRUNCHY AUSTIN HIPPIES PUT ME IN THE SLAMMER - "I was tried in the most liberal county in the state of Texas, and indeed in the United States," the former House majority leader said to Matt Lauer in a Today Show interview this morning. Delay, who was convicted of money laundering and recently sentenced to three years in prison, is out on bail while appealing his conviction. Appearing next to his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, DeLay also weighed in on the gun control debate that has developed in the wake of the Tucson shooting. "If I was still in congress I would welcome and urge those who can carry to come to my town meetings, I'd feel safer having them there," he said. "Gun control and grandstanding doesn't help anyone." A shame he's not around anymore! [HuffPost]

BRAD THE INTERN HAIKUS THE NEWS

Hutchison Sunset

KBH, tea ex.
Public servant for oolong,
re-elect odds steep

Thanks, Brad!

COMFORT FOOD

- Now why would you go and do a thing like that to your face, Gucci Mane? [http://bit.ly/hZ76Je]

- WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US ABOUT THE VIDEO OF THE CAT ATTACKING A JUSTIN BEIBER PHOTO UNTIL NOW??? [http://bit.ly/e7yJVS]

- Meanwhile, this cat is quite fond of this llama [http://bit.ly/fDwAAb]

- Do you like memes? Of course you do. They're memes. Apparently the latest one involves rap music being dubbed over old videos of people dancing. [http://on.vh1.com/ijYvoF]

- This dubstep remix of "The Office" reminds us how much we love "The Office"...and how much we hate dubstep. [http://bit.ly/dHYXa8]

- Wherein New York reaches its resonant frequency when a rat wakes up a sleeping homeless person on the Subway [http://bit.ly/f4VCfa]

- A cat in a kimono daintily eats sushi. Get a job, humanity. [http://bit.ly/ikezIl]

- Where's Waldo? In Dubai. Oh. [http://bit.ly/gGpM26]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: Already? Who could have predicted??!?? http://plixi.com/p/69759961

@pourmecoffee: Mourners, please form a single file line and cable news pundits will grade your sorrow. Keep the line moving, please.

@geneweingarten: Is it a problem that our computers invite us to "reload"? Is this contributing to the Climate of Hate?

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Friends and colleagues of Jen Howard celebrate her departure from the FCC to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. It will be a well-regulated good time [Current, 1215 Connecticut Ave NW].

TOMORROW

8:30 pm: Das Racist take the stage at Rock & Roll Hotel. Have at it, hipsters [Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H Street NE].

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 Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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Filed by Eliot Nelson  |