Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Obama Pulls Back On Social Security Cuts

Posted: Updated:

Washington lawmakers scrambled to find a date to the State of the Union lest they have to consult the back pages of Washington City Paper for companions. Virginia isn't just for lovers, anymore -- it's also for unreconstructed bigots. Hiding some of your stuff in a hard-to-reach location is a great way to let Red know to find you in Zihuatanejo, but not a great way to establish your residency in Chicago. And while Paul Ryan might have a roadmap to America's future, Tim Pawlenty has the blueprint to a bus that can't go under 50 mph. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, January 24th, 2011:

STATE OF THE UNION TOMORROW, OBAMA WON'T CALL FOR SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS - With the party-blind seating gimmick only mildly successful, and no one taking our bipartisanship-fostering suggestion to adorn the speaker's dais with scented candles and play light jazz throughout the speech, President Obama will address the Congress and the country tomorrow. Hero Intern Daniel Hernandez, enjoying his well-deserved Sully Sullenberger-level fame, will be seated with First Lady Michelle Obama. (Sorry, Chaffetz.) That crunching sound you heard earlier today was Lori Montgomery's teeth gnashing as she typed out her scoop on the White House deciding against calling for cuts to Social Security in the State of the Union. Count it as a rare victory for progressives, who whooted the news but quickly returned to a defensive a crouch. [HuffPost]

JARED LOUGHNER PLEADS 'NOT GUILTY' TO TUCSON SHOOTING CHARGES - Appearing before a U.S. district judge in Tucson, Jared Loughner pleaded "not guilty" to charges that he attempted to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides. Today's hearings were in held in connection to Giffords and her two aides, only. He also faces state charges relating to the other victims of the January 8th shooting. Asked by Judge Larry Burns whether Loughner had any difficulty understanding the charges laid against him, defense attorney Judy Clarke said he did not. [ target="_hplink">HuffPost]

OBAMA TO NOMINATE WHITE HOUSE LAWYER TO BE NEXT SOLICITOR GENERAL - "President Barack Obama will nominate White House lawyer Donald Verrilli as solicitor general, filling a vacancy left by Elena Kagan when she became a Supreme Court justice last year, the White House said Monday. The solicitor general oversees the government's litigation at the Supreme Court. Since Ms. Kagan's departure, the post has been temporarily held by Neal Katyal. Mr. Verrilli is credited with helping to draft the administration's policy on state secrets during a stint at the Justice Department. In private practice, he represented Hollywood studios and the Recording Industry Association of America in copyright infringement cases." [WSJ]

FRESHMAN CLASS PACKED WITH MILLIONAIRES - This gang likes to talk a poor-man's game -- Did I mention that I'm sleeping in my office?? -- but Jennifer Yachnin dug through their financial disclosures: "More than one-third of the freshman lawmakers in the 112th Congress are millionaires, and as many as 15 are likely to rank among the richest Members of Congress this year...Individual wealth varies widely among the new House and Senate lawmakers, from a handful of lawmakers who report deficits of up to several hundred thousand dollars to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who tops the list with a minimum net worth of around $64 million. At least 40 freshmen Members reported a minimum net worth of $1 million more. Among those lawmakers, at least 15 have minimum net worths of $5 million or more, likely placing them among the 50 richest Members of Congress." [Roll Call]

MELANIE SLOAN STAYING AT CREW - After months of speculation Han Solo Melanie Sloan has decided to pilot the Millennium Falcon into the field of battle and take Darth Vader's personalized TIE fighter unawares, thus allowing Luke Skywalker to fire his photon torpedoes into the Death Star's exhaust port stay on at the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Sloan had drawn the ire of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Washington watchdogs when she turned her back on the Rebel Alliance her life's mission and set out to pay off her bounty to Jabba the Hut and seek riches as a smuggler in the dark corners of the Galactic Empire accepted a lucrative job at Lanny Davis' law firm, an entity that is regularly accused of breaching the ethics CREW tries to uphold. In an e-mail discussing her change-of-heart Sloan said, "You're all clear, kid, now let's blow this thing and go home!...Great shot, kid, that was one in a million!" "I am dedicated to the organization I co-founded and have built over the past 8 years...Lanny Davis is a terrific political and media strategist and a wonderful person. He remains a friend and I am sure his firm will be a great success."

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST HEARTBROKEN BY SLOAN NEWS - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who forces his kids to put a dollar in a jar every time they are ethical, is heartbroken that Sloan is sticking with Team Ethics. "Hey Huff Post! Shouldn't Ms. Sloan lose some of her ethics street cred anyway? I mean she was literally days away from accepting blood money from someone much worse than Charlie Rangel." Woah, PSLGOPL, watch the blood libel.

Ezra Klein's brave, apologetic response to Friday's news that Evan Bayh is heading to Apollo Global Management, seemingly contradicting his earlier statement that the former Indiana senator is an "extraordinary retiree."

@badler: Evan Bayh left politics because he missed bipartisanship and "honorable" work. He went into private equity. Hey, at least its bipartisan.

@jasoninthehouse: If I sit with a RINO, does that count? Better not get stuck with Rep Weiner! Perhaps the First Lady needs a date?

EARTH SAVED - The Dow Chemical Company is spending $10 million and teaming with The Nature Conservancy to begin to develop ways that it and other companies can "recognize, value and incorporate nature into global business goals, decisions and strategies." Humanity can either do that or burn through everything we have, turn to cannibalism, and then die of starvation.

ANTIWAR Rs TARGET TEN FRESHMEN FOR GENTLE PERSUASION - Amanda Terkel: "Three Republican lawmakers who have been outspoken on the war in Afghanistan are trying to push their party to start debating alternative policies and will be convening a meeting next month to start the debate. Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.), Ron Paul (Texas) and Jimmy Duncan (Tenn.) sent a letter to every Republican House member on Monday inviting them them to a Feb. 16 briefing with Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist -- all of whom have been critical of the direction of the war....Organizers are especially interested in talking with 10 freshmen House members that a prominent Tea Party-affiliated group has identified as persuadable on the question of continued U.S. involvement in Afghanistan: Justin Amash (MI-3). Sandy Adams (FL-24). Chip Cravaack (MI-8), Sean Duffy (WI-7),, Steve FIncher (TN-8), Frank Guinta (NH-1), Nan Hayworth (NY-19), Raul Labrador (ID-1), Mick Mulvaney (SC-5), Rich Nugent (FL-5) and Steve Southerland (FL-12).

THE SMALL BUSINESS LOBBY'S ASSAULT ON SMALL BUSINESSES For years, the National Federation of Independent Businesses has enjoyed a reputation as "The Voice of Small Business" in America. Unfortunately for small firms, the NFIB has also become completely captured by the Republican Party. During the Bush years this wasn't awesome, but it wasn't always that bad -- small business owners still got tax cuts. But over the past two years, the NFIB has actively lobbied against policies that directly benefit small firms in order to curry favor with the GOP -- where the vast majority of the NFIB's lobbyists used to work. It's ugly. It's Washington. It's the Small Business Lobby actively sabotaging small business. [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - There are 1.4 million "very long-term unemployed" who have been out of work for 99 weeks or longer, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service. The report shows that very long-term unemployment is more likely to afflict older workers than younger ones. Of jobless workers older than 45, 10.7 percent have been unemployed for 99 weeks, compared to 6 percent of workers younger than 35. And 44.4 percent of the very long-term unemployed are older than 45. Once long-term unemployment sets in, even a college degree is often of little help. Even though the national jobless rate for college graduates is just 4.8 percent, CRS says "unemployed workers at all educational levels were equally likely to have been looking for work for more than 99 weeks." [HuffPost]

FED CAVES ON PREDATORY LENDING - Zach Carter: "The Federal Reserve has quietly abandoned its push to eviscerate the key federal remedy for predatory lending, according to consumer advocates. The Fed had hoped to eliminate a consumer's ability to rescind loans that have been proven to be illegal, but consumer groups raised a ruckus, on HuffPost and elsewhere, and now the Fed is hoping the whole mess will just go away. But HuffPost Money refuses to drop it. Gutting predatory lending rules after the mortgage crisis requires some serious doublethink, and the Fed had plenty of input from consumer groups, who met with staffers three times to tell the central bank the plan would screw homeowners and help banks that had broken the law. Somewhere, Alan Greenspan is crying." [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

COURT RULES RAHM EMANUEL CAN'T RUN FOR MAYOR: LADY JUSTICE IS SOOOOOOO ^@%#$@#% DEAD - A state appellate court today ruled that former White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel does not meet the residency requirements to be a candidate for mayor. For Emanuel to have been considered a Windy City resident, he must have lived in the city a year. "We conclude that the candidate neither meets the the municipal code's requirement that he have 'resided' in Chicago for the year preceding the election in which he seeks to participate nor falls within any exception to the requirement," the ruling stated. Ruled homeless, Emanuel will now begin life anew as a nomad, roaming the dunes in search of precious water, shielded from the starry night sky only by the finely woven goat hair of his Bedouin tent. The case now goes to the state Supreme Court. [HuffPost]

Sam Stein reports: "The potential for legal problems is immense. As of now, no ballots have been printed or mailed to Chicagoans with Emanuel's name on them, Emanuel's aide Ben LaBolt confirmed. But ballots will have to be printed before the early voting begins on Jan. 31. The state Supreme Court will, in all likelihood, expedite its hearings (should it take up an appeal of Monday's ruling). But there remains the possibility that the debate over Emanuel's residential status won't be resolved by the time ballots are printed." [HuffPost]

@RahmEmnauel: Today at 5: meet at the Chicago BOE to rally for Rahm's right 2 b on the ballot and let Chicagoans choose. Dearborn/Washington, 5 pm

SENATE RULES REFORM BEING SCALED BACK - Thank the deflated hopes of countless government reform activists for that gust of wind you feel. Sam Stein: "Lawmakers have generally agreed that the Senate should eliminate the use of secret holds, which allow members to stop votes on nominations anonymously. They have also found some agreement on a deal that would limit the majority leader's ability to 'fill the tree,' a parliamentary maneuver to prevent the minority party from offering amendments, 'in exchange for filibustering less,' a senior aide said. There also appears to be an informal deal to reduce the number of judicial and executive-branch nominations requiring confirmation. All of those elements are contained in a package that was introduced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in early January. What are missing, according to the top aide, are the more far-reaching suggestions, including a proposal 'guaranteeing post-cloture amendment votes for each side.' There was some bipartisan agreement on scrapping that proposal, which had Democrats worried that Republicans would use it to force tough or embarrassing votes. Other aides said it's all but certain that lawmakers would drop another element of the Udall-Merkley package that would require a filibustering party to explain, on the floor of the Senate, the reason for their filibuster." [HuffPost]

Running tomorrow in The Hill: "Alexander Bolton on Sen. Charles Schumer's strategy of countering the GOP's budget message."

YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, AMERICA: GEORGE ALLEN RUNNING FOR SENATE - Comebacks aren't just reserved for drug-addled pop stars or professional athletes who force dogs to engage in blood sport or even honey-voiced transients in Columbus, Ohio. George Allen, the former Virginia Senator who culled from Racism Deep Cuts when he used an antiquated, colonial-era Indian slur to describe a Jim Webb tracker, announced today that he is running for his old seat. "Friends, it's time for an American comeback," Allen said in a video announcement. "Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. You know me as someone willing to fight for the people of Virginia and I would like the responsibility to fight for you again." [HuffPost]

The "National Moratorium On Using This B-Roll Video For Your Political Campaign" starts now. Are our patriotic children so under-documented?

Freshly-convicted Tom Delay in an interview with National Journal's Major Garrett: "I'm trying to stay out of prison, obviously."

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - The fastest rap ever.

@pwgavin: Kenny Loggins to appear at Recording Academy music briefing Wed. on Cap Hill

BIDEN REPORTS FOR JURY DUTY, JAY LENO WRITERS TAKE MUCH-NEEDED BREAK TO RUN ERRANDS - The guy who once validated Barack Obama's presidential candidacy by referring to the would-be 44th president as an "African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" might have to impartially judge a fellow citizen. The vice president reported for jury duty today at the New Castle County courthouse after receiving a summons. This is now the third most important public service Biden performs for the country, right below "suck in oxygen" and "break ties," and right above "congratulate NCAA tennis champions." It's a big @$#&%# deal! "Biden and several Secret Service agents waited with other prospective jurors in the jury assembly room. During a break, staffers and security poured in from a side door to consult with the vice president. Biden said he had to make several calls on a secure telephone during the break, including one to President Barack Obama." [HuffPost]

This new, very epic Tim Pawlenty web video has our hopes up for Secretary of Health and Human Services Megan Fox.

But seriously, here is Ezra Klein's actual response."

An anti-American anthem was performed by a Chinese pianist during last week's events marking Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit. The song, "My Motherland," was often performed during the Korean War to generate support for China's involvement in that conflict, the Daily Caller reports. Now the president will probably have to go over to Beijing and obsequiously bow to every single member of the Communist party leadership. Also the president is a Muslim and wasn't born here. Also ACORN ACORN ACORN ACORN ACORN ACORN ACORN HITLER. [Daily Caller]

But seriously, how many songs in the official Chinese cannon DON'T glorify efforts to topple America and its evil capitalist malefactors?

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Look at the bright side; the freeze will stop! Tonight: Tonight is it; the last night of the freezing weather. Temperatures will be in the low-30s (even high 20s), with wind chills feeling much colder. Bundle up. Tomorrow: Here's where it gets much better. While the sun will not come out, the mercury should rise to the high-40s, as the arctic blast moves out. It's not exactly shorts weather (for most people, anyway), but it's a much better trend than last week. Thanks, JB!

And while you were freezing, I was in San Diego. No one guessed it, so no one wins. Nice to visit, but the weather is way too boring to live there. Who wants to be where it's 70 every day? Jealous, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Oh good, James Franco belts out an obscene version of the Three's Company theme. [http://bit.ly/ibxoyl]

- Museum fatigue must be especially taxing at the computer game museum as none of its patrons ever exercise. [http://aol.it/eycHRg]

- For anyone who ever wished their NERF gun had more oomph, this New Zealander has a solution for you. [http://bit.ly/fDs9Cs]

- Belgium is really messed up. Just take it from this hyper-sarcastic YouTube video. [http://bit.ly/erjpAP]

- Hotels just became even lonelier: Marriott is removing adult cable channels in its new hotels...probably to help former board member Mitt Romney. [http://aol.it/eG0MQN]

- Flat screen, LED TVs are all fine and good but nothing makes a baller apartment quite like the world's largest grand piano. [http://bit.ly/hzAZtr]

- We all love the QWERTY keyboard but did you know that its a raging anti-Semite? [http://bzfd.it/hCEuD8]

- The operatic background music almost ruins this video of an ape walking upright like a human. Almost. [http://bit.ly/i8QHDd]

SPECIAL 'SORRY, RAHM' TWITTERAMA

@MayorEmanuel: Double birds to the motherfu*king world. TO THE MOTHERFU*KING WORLD.

@MayorEmanuel: sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t

@MayorEmanuel: Every fu*king thing in this motherfu*king apartment is going through the front fu*king window right fu*king now.

@MayorEmanuel: Holy fu*k, we're so not getting the security deposit back on this motherfu*king apartment.

@MayorEmanuel: Throwing that chair through the window wasn't the best fu*king decision in the world just now. Now we're fu*ked AND it's cold.

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Katie Couric Interviews Mike Bloomberg and Martin Luther King III on Evening News. Bernard Sanders and Mark Udall are on Last Word. Charlie Rose is one the Colbert Report. Countdown does not exist anymore.

ON TAP

TOMORROW

11:30 am - 1:00 pm: Pete Sessions passes the hat at a campaign function to help bankroll his Western Values PAC. Nothing represents the strong moral fiber of the West quite like the Associated General Contractors of America Townhouse. [Associated General Contractors of America Townhouse, 53 D Street SE].

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Ah, yes. Time for another Martinis and Mayhem benefiting the always zany James Sensenbrenner. Bring your own lampshade to wear (honk honk!) [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Joe Barton spends his evening at a "Constituent Pot Luck." Guests are invited to mingle with the congressman while munching on an array of Texas delicacies for a $25 dollar donation to his reelection campaign....Totally kidding. He'll be at R.B. Murphy and Associates for a dinner fundraiser hosted by Jeff MacKinnon, Jeff Kimbell and Bud Albright. $1,000 a plate. Whoops! [R.B. Murphy and Associates, 220 E 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