Political journalists were glued to C-SPAN today, watching both Michael Steele and a sizable chunk of their readership fade away. Meanwhile, MSNBC spent its Friday convening panels to discuss a rat on the New York Subway. It wasn't all mind-numbing committee procedure and disease-ridden rodents trying to reduce their carbon footprint, however. Dead people, apparently bored of voting in Illinois, are now donating to the Tea Party! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 14th, 2011:
HAVING SUCCESSFULLY REACHED 'URBAN-SUBURBAN HIP-HOP SETTINGS,' RNC ELECTS REINCE PRIEBUS AS CHAIRPERSON - After four ELECTRIFYING rounds of voting, Michael Steele announced that he would be releasing his votes and urged his supporters to back Maria Cino. That didn't happen at all. At that point, it was Priebus 58, Cino 28. Despite our last-minute Twitter-plea that committee members throw their support behind a Jimmy McMillan write-in campaign, Priebus ultimately prevailed in the seventh round with 97 votes. Expect about 70,000 process stories in the coming week about how the committee snubbed John Boehner, who backed Cino.
Priebus: "We have to get back on track and we can beat Barack Obama together in 2012...While I may be the CEO we must all remember that each of us is still an employee to Republican voters."
In what might be the most fitting final act of anyone doing anything ever, Steele's final words: "And now I exit stage right." He then walked stage left.
FEDS THREATEN TO SUE RED STATES OVER ANTILABOR LAWS - A federal-state showdown is brewing over Red-state efforts to restrict the ability of workers to organize into unions, just as organized labor faces one of the most effective assaults in its history. Four states -- Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah -- recently approved amendments to their state constitutions that prevent workers from forming a union without undergoing a secret-ballot election. Federal law, meanwhile, allows workers to form a union in two ways: Either through a secret-ballot election or by persuading an employer to recognize the union, which is generally done by based on a majority of workers publicly indicating a desire to do so. The state amendments would close off the latter avenue, a longtime goal of the business community. The states don't have that legal authority, the National Labor Relations Board informed the four attorneys general on Friday. If they push forward in implementing the amendments, the NLRB, an independent federal agency, added, it will go to court to block them. The laws, said the NLRB in a statement, "conflict with federal labor law and therefore are preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution." A spokesperson for the Chamber of Commerce tells HuffPost Hill that it had no part in the push for the amendments and no plans to get involved.
Programming note: We're off on Monday for the MLK holiday. See you Tuesday!!!
DEAD WOMAN DONATED THOUSANDS TO TEA PARTY EXPRESS - "Joan Snyder Holmes has been dead for nearly four years. But during the past two years, she's managed to make thousands of dollars in donations to one of the country's premier Tea Party organizations. Those donations, uncovered by the Center for Responsive Politics in a report released Friday, gives an alternate, more cryptic meaning to the term grassroots. According to the money-in-politics investigative organization, Tea Party Express' PAC reported receiving three donations from Holmes in autumn 2009 for a total of $2,500. An additional lump-sum donation of $5,000 was made in September of that year." [Primetime Sam Stein and Downer Delaney]
"A military advisory commission is recommending that the Pentagon do away with a policy that bans women from serving in combat units", breathing new life into a long-simmering debate...The newest move is being recommended by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, established by Congress two years ago, and expected to send its report to Congress and President Barack Obama in the spring. The Army is doing its own internal study of the question as well." [AP]
GLENN BECK RIGHT, OBAMA EASING CUBA RESTRICTIONS - Brendan Farrington: "President Barack Obama plans to loosen Cuban travel policy to allow students and church groups to go to the communist country, a senator's office said Friday.
The State Department briefed Sen. Bill Nelson and his foreign policy staff on the plans to lift restrictions put in place by President George W. Bush, said the senator's spokesman Dan McLaughlin. McLaughlin said the changes will be made within the next three weeks.
Under the plan, any American will be allowed to send as much as $500 every three months to Cuban citizens who are not part of the Castro administration and are not members of the Communist Party. Also, more airports will be allowed to offer charter service. Right now, only three airports in Miami, Los Angeles and New York City can offer authorized charters to Cuba. That will be expanded to any international airport with proper customs and immigration facilities as long as a licensed travel agencies asks to run charters from the airport." [AP]
HOW HIRING DISCRIMINATION WORKS - "An Indianapolis restaurant posted a Craigslist job ad on Dec. 15 for a bar manager who must be able to handle the guests, give outstanding service, ensure excellent product from the bar and food side.' The ad lists one other important requirement: 'Must be currently employed!' Such ads, several of which appear on job sites every day, showcase a not-so-subtle approach to hiring discrimination. There are more secretive and systemic forms of hiring discrimination. 'As a recruiter, you get an HR director on the phone, and they tell you point blank, 'We want somebody in this age bracket, or this particular gender, currently has a job. We don't want to see a resume from anyone who's not working.' It happens all the time," said a staffing industry vet. Or, '[A company] will say, 'We want somebody with small hands' for this administrative position, meaning they want an attractive woman.'" [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]
Per Ben Smith,Mitch Daniels is targeting Facebook ads at New Hampshire folks. Ben, HuffPost Hill's favorite Washington reporter who doesn't live in Washington, has started an email list. To get on it, write him at email@example.com
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A Nevada man who's been out of work nearly two years wrote on his blog Thursday that he's tired of being tired. "As I see my life winding down in about three more weeks I have pondered the absence of relevance in my past life, and the lack of significance my passing will be to the world," wrote Bud Meyers, a 55-year-old former casino bartender. Bud's out of money, he wrote, and facing eviction in less than a month. "I'm tired of hoping when after all I've had for over two long years has been isolation, loneliness, disappointment, anger, frustration, and depression while engaging in useless efforts to find work and survive. But no matter how difficult that has been, now I must face the stark reality of the last three weeks of my life." This was apparently construed by somebody as a suicide threat. Bud told HuffPost two police officers paid him a visit yesterday. "They said one of my Facebook friends contacted them and feared I might try to kill myself because of that article," he said. "I said whoever read my article misconstrued it." CNN's Ali Velshi said on-air today he saw Bud's story via Twitter. "Bud, I think you're listening, so hang in there," he said. "You're not forgotten by everyone. You're in our heart and thoughts." Hang in there, Bud! [PRLog]
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BIDEN NAMES FORMER CLINTON AIDE BRUCE REED AS NEW CHIEF-OF-STAFF - "The Obama White House is beginning to look like a reunion of the Clinton administration. On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden announced that Bruce Reed will be his new chief of staff. Though not a household name, Mr. Reed is well known in Washington for his role as a senior aide to President Bill Clinton and for his continued leadership in centrist policy circles. He recently served as executive director of President Obama's bipartisan deficit commission, and since 2001 has been chief executive officer of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council." [CSM]
Centrist senior staffers make PCCC ANGRY!!!!!!: "It's unfortunate that this Administration keeps gravitating towards individuals who push policies that benefit big corporations over regular Americans. Bruce Reed most recently worked as Executive Director of the Bowles-Simpson Commission, a widely discredited commission that advocates cutting Social Security and raising the retirement age. Americans want less -- not more -- of this out-of-touch thinking in the White House, and appointments like this will only lead to policies that hurt middle-class families and hurt Democrats in 2012."
LOUIE GOHMERT: UNARMED LAWMAKERS ARE 'SITTING DUCKS' - Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert this week proposed legislation that would allow lawmakers to carry concealed weapons in the Capitol complex. Seeing as how this is the same legislative body that fought rising fuel costs by extending Daylight Savings Time by three weeks, we can't think of a thoughtful and responsible group of people more deserving of loaded 9s. "We're sitting ducks," Gohmert said in a Fox News appearance today. "Unless you're in leadership, you walk through the criminal capital of the country, because D.C. leaders have continued to try to ban guns so that the only people in Washington, D.C., that have guns, besides law enforcement, are the criminals," he said. So clearly the only sensible solution, then, is to make Gohmert a member of the Republican leadership. Frankly, we're still waiting for the amendment allowing members of Congress to pack heat on the Green Line. [Fox News]
TUCSON SHOOTING VICTIM SPEAKS OUT: BLAMES PALIN, BECK AND ANGLE - "It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target," Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old veteran who was shot in the back and knee on Saturday, said in an interview with Democracy Now! "Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled -- senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all, even 9-year-old girls," he said. [Democracy Now!]
Jason Linkins and Ben Craw look back on the first and only season of Sarah Palin's Alaska with a highlight reel that will blow your mind, dontcha know
PENTAGON OFFICIAL: MLK WOULD HAVE SUPPORTED THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN - As Americans spend the long weekend reflecting on the life and mission of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Pentagon wants us to remember that if America's foremost practitioner of non-violence were alive today, he would think drone attacks are totally sweet. "I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation's military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack," DOD's General Council Jeh Johnson said at an event honoring the civil rights hero, adding, "Every day, our servicemen and women practice the dangerousness -- the dangerous unselfishness Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968." Also, the White House is rumored to be finalizing the language for a press release touting Joan D'Arc's support for the Deficit Commission. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
TREASURY WON'T BLACKLIST WIKILEAKS & JULIAN ASSANGE - Sara Jerome is reporting that the Treasury Department is denying Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King's request to place the transparency organization and its founder on a list of sanctioned people and businesses. Had Treasury complied with King's request -- a potential blow to the American hair care, online dating and skin-tight black pants industries -- Americans would be forbidden from conducting business with Assange or his organization. "We do not have evidence at this time as to Julian Assange or WikiLeaks meeting criteria under which OFAC [the Office of Foreign Assets Control] may designate persons and place them on the SDN [Specially Designated Nationals] list," a Treasury spokesperson said. [The Hill]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - - Heh. Dogs are silly.
TUNISIA IN TURMOIL: PRESIDENT LEAVES COUNTRY, ARMY IN CONTROL - MoJo's Nick Baumann explains: "Violent riots and protests have spread across the country over the past four weeks. Now Ben Ali's totalitarian government seems to be collapsing...[Tunisians] don't have much freedom. But there also just aren't enough jobs. Official unemployment is 13 percent, but it's probably actually much higher. The combination of a repressive regime and a faltering economy is often bad news for the regime. Plus, the regime has diverted a lot of the country's wealth to Ben Ali's family and friends, so people are really upset about official corruption...On December 19, authorities in the small, central city of Sidi Bouzid seized the produce cart that 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi was using to make a living. So Bouazizi set himself on fire. Young people in the small, central city of Sidi Bouzid rioted, and police moved to seal the city. In early January, Bouazizi died, becoming an early martyr for the cause." Editorial clarification: The founder of Ben's Chili Bowl is not the Tunisian leader. They are different people. [Mother Jones]
DOG SHOOTS MAN - A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday. [Reuters]
BRAD THE INTERN HAIKUS THE NEWS
Come Back Soon!
"Off the hook," despite
discipline and direction.
Exeunt stage right.
HUFFPOST HICCUP For the one or two people who didn't notice it and email us, a story we quoted yesterday mixed up "infer" and "imply" yesterday, a pretty elementary error. The rest of you seemed to infer that you weren't very happy about the mistake.
- Huzzahs are in order for whoever engraved the periodic table of elements on a single human hair. [http://bit.ly/h2EVr8]
-For anyone born between 1970 and 1990, we highly recommend you buy one of these external hard drives. [http://bit.ly/dNz0FO]
- Dogs and cats aren't the only stupid animals that will chase a laser dot around. Turkeys will, too! [http://bit.ly/ijlQiT]
- In retrospect, we're kind of surprised the "White People Rapping Poorly" Tumblr didn't come into being earlier. [http://bit.ly/eDtDZr]
- Having a movie night with the boyfriend/girlfriend? Why not pop the popcorn with LASERS [http://bit.ly/gX2WJP]
- "Oh is your coffee getting cold? Let me heat it up with my HAND/FLAMETHROWER." [http://bit.ly/eW5bM3]
- The weekly update of Barack Obama's Facebook feed. [http://slate.me/hvqQY9]
- Starring in a popular film franchise has its drawbacks [http://bit.ly/eIHlmN]
@delrayser: Scientists report we've reached Peak Steele; after today's RNC election, world's most abundant source of hilarity dries up.
@brianbeutler: Here's an idea, and don't judge right away: Joint SOTU speech, Obama, Boehner alternate sentences, maybe French kiss a little.
@pourmecoffee: Steele drops out of RNC Chair race, a blow to struggling bondage-themed strip clubs.
Meet the Press: Chuck Schumer, Tom Coburn, Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Sharpton,Tim Shriver, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan.
Face the Nation: Rudy Giuliani, Ed Rendell, Kirsten Gillibrand, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jeff Flake.
This Week: "After The Tragedy: An American Conversation Continued."
State of the Union: Tim Murphy, Grace Napolitano, Fred Frese, Pete Earley, Dr. Lisa Dixon.
Tonight, 8:30 pm: Das Racist take the stage at Rock & Roll Hotel. Have at it, hipsters [Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H Street NE].
Saturday and Sunday: The Phillips Collection celebrates the start of their 90th anniversary countdown with a weekend of free admission [Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW].
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