The media set its phasers to "navel gaze" today. Hosni Mubarak turned the Internet back on, allowing Egypt's citizens to finally learn about how snowed-in America is. The White House Correspondents Association took a break from chastising the host of its next dinner for making a joke he/she hasn't made yet. Dan Snyder's crusade against Washington City Paper is the best-coordinated offense from the Redskins in ages. And the downfall of print newspapers portended by The Daily's launch has our nation's puppies wondering what exactly they'll pee on next. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011:
The health care reform repeal vote just failed in the Senate. 47-51. Freedom and democracy were nice while they lasted.
EGYPT: MUBARAK SUPPORTERS GET VIOLENT, WHITE HOUSE GETS IMPATIENT - Thousands of Pro-Mubarak supporters -- some wielding clubs and whips, some on horse and camelback -- attacked anti-government protesters in Cairo, hours after Internet access resumed. The administration dialed up the heat on Mubarak today: "[Egyptians] don't want to see appointments," Robert Gibbs said during his press briefing today. They don't want to hear speeches. They want to see concrete action by their government, and I think that's what the world waits for...'Now' means 'yesterday.' When we said 'now,' we meant 'yesterday'... that's what the people of Egypt want to see."
From the Department of "Mr. G tr down -> wall, plz": @SenJohnMcCain: Regrettably the time has come 4 Pres. Mubarak 2 step down & relinquish power. It's in the best interest of Egypt, its people & its military.
The Senate shot down Carl Levin's 1099 repeal amendment this afternoon, but passed Debbie Stabenow's version, giving cranky business owners one less thing to complain about. The chamber will continue working through amendments tomorrow and reward themselves with a retreat next week after the exertion.
Sheldon Whitehouse is calling up an amendment to the FAA bill to ban aiming laser pointers at airplanes. At least it's germane!
The remaining Blue Dog Democrats in the House are also getting ready for their "issues conference" retreat this weekend. Will Erik Komendant, the top Blue Dog staffer who just left to join the insurance lobby, be there? Why not.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The recession is to blame for the first-ever year-to-year decrease in child support collections, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office released Wednesday. The GAO found that in fiscal 2009, child support collections declined by 2.1 percent from the previous year, and the average amount of child support collected dropped 3 percent to $1,670. That's "about $26 billion in child support payments on behalf of more than 17 million children, almost one in four children nationwide," the GAO said. "I think it's clear that the decline in collections isn't due to a failing on the part of child support enforcement administrators, but due to the economy," Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy told HuffPost. "And it would have been a bigger drop without the extended unemployment insurance benefits, which helped many noncustodial parents meet their obligations. One unanswered question is the degree to which the child support obligations were modified or if parents who lost their jobs are building up large arrears." [GAO]
BURNING QUESTION - What happens to the 248 Wisconsinites who enrolled in the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan now that their attorney general, JB Van Hollen, proclaimed that "the federal health care law is dead" in Wisconsin? Does that mean you're going to stop 248 people from receiving coverage after they signed up and paid for it? Thanks, JB!
TONIGHT IN ROLL CALL: GOP LEADERSHIP IGNORING BACHMANN - Writes Jessica Brady: "House Republican leaders have a simple strategy for dealing with Rep. Michele Bachmann: ignore her. Despite her fundraising prowess and conservative following, the Minnesota Republican has nothing more than a casual relationship with the GOP leadership team. The media attention Bachmann garners outside the Capitol has not increased her sway inside the building, and if anything her efforts have drawn groans from Members and aides alike."
REID TO TEST RULES REFORM AGREEMENT WITH JUDICIAL NOMINEES - The Senate will vote on 11 "non-controversial" judicial nominees tomorrow to see if the upper chamber's gentlemen's agreement will hold or devolve into a firestorm of assholic behavior. If no Republicans oppose a unanimous consent agreement to confirm the judges, then Harry Reid might try to confirm more controversial ones later. Gentlemen's agreements typically connote gentlemanly behavior -- they are entered into by parties who have differences but still wish to coexist peacefully in a social capacity. For example, warring gangs don't enter into gentlemen's agreements until they've slaughtered enough of each other; railroad tycoons sharing a bottle of port while divvying up territory love a good handshake deal. Republicans are digging the agreement: They lived up to their side of it by letting FAA reauthorization go to the floor without a filibuster (Thanks, GOP!) and quickly used their new-found freedom to introduce amendments to tack on a REPEAL OF HEALTH CARE. Hey, nobody said it'd be pretty. Watch the confirmation votes to see how the handshake is holding up. [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
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WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS UPSET WITH OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OVER ACCESS - The White House Correspondents Association -- an entity typically dedicated to politicizing seating arrangements as if it were a wedding planner on speed -- has lodged a complaint with Robert Gibbs for allegedly limiting reporter access since the unrest in Egypt began. Journos' frustrations boiled over when the White House only allowed photojournalists into the Oval Office for the signing of the new START treaty, thereby preventing reporters from asking the president questions. "Prior to the President's statement Tuesday night, the press corps had not received a substantive update from the White House all day on the situation in Egypt," the letter reads. "In addition, the press corps did not have an on-camera briefing, or an off-camera gaggle, with you yesterday to ask the White House about its decision-making process during this major foreign policy crisis. Now for two straight days the full press pool is being shut out of events that have typically been open and provided opportunities try to ask the President a question." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
Oh yeah: President Obama signed the new START treaty today. In the event of global nuclear annihilation, those cockroaches under your oven now have slightly less charred flesh to nosh on. Rejoice.
@StewSays: By unanimous consent, the Senate today passed a bill designating a new courthouse in Yuma, AZ the "John M. Roll United States Courthouse"
Ben Nelson's leading challenger was kind of a huge hippie as recently as law school. According to documents first uncovered by Bold Nebraska and reprinted in National Journal, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning was an outspoken progressive in law school during the early 1990s. "I would love to persuade you that trickle-down economics was a farce or that Ronald Reagan was incapable of understanding complex policy arguments," he wrote in a school publication while getting his JD at the University of Nebraska. His writing also reveal a strong belief in reproductive rights, gun control and an affinity for Hillary Clinton. Then there was this item about a U2 concert: "I also will admit I joined arms with the people next to me and sang Elvis' 'Falling In Love With You' with the band as they left the stage." A real early-90s lefty would have been trading String Cheese Incident bootlegs at an Indigo Girls show while wearing his favorite Keith Haring t-shirt. Poseur. [National Journal]
RAND PAUL DELIVERS MAIDEN SENATE SPEECH, COMPARES TEA PARTY TO ABOLITIONISTS - Despite the well-established fact that John Brown spent his years dressing up like a minuteman, proudly not voting for his senator and bringing his own collapsible lawn furniture to political rallies, Senator Rand Paul felt the need to reiterate his movement's similarity's to America's anti-slavery activists today. "Those activists who didn't compromise -- [William Lloyd] Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglas, Cassius Clay -- are heroes because they said slavery was wrong and they would not compromise," Paul said on the Senate floor. "Now today we have no issues, no moral issues that have equivalency with the issue of slavery, yet we do face a fiscal nightmare, potentially a debt crisis in our country," he continued. "Many ask: 'will the Tea Party compromise? Can the Tea Party work with others to find a solution?'" [HuffPost]
PENTAGON SPENDING BILLIONS ON FRAUDULENT CONTRACTORS - Perfectly good warlord bribing money, down the drain. Amanda Terkel: "The military paid a total of $285 billion to more than 100 contractors between 2007 and 2009, even though those same companies were defrauding taxpayers during that period, according to a new Defense Department report. What's perhaps most shocking is that billions of dollars went to contractors who had been either suspended or debarred for misusing taxpayer funds. The Pentagon also spent $270 billion on 91 contractors involved in civil fraud cases that resulted in judgments of more than $1 million. Another $682 million went to 30 contractors convicted of criminal fraud. The analysis was mandated by a provision that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) inserted into the defense bill last year. The measure also requested that the Defense Department recommend additional ways to punish the violating contractors, but the Report to Congress on Contractor Fraud concluded, 'The department believes that existing remedies with respect to contractor wrongdoing are sufficient.'" [HuffPost]
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning an early Spring. Two hours later Washington was eerily tropical. Now is as good a time as any to mention SPRING PAC's substantial contributions to the groundhog.
WE REPORT, YOU GAWK: THE DAILY LAUNCHES - News Corp's iPad-only newspaper The Daily launched today to considerable fanfare from its 100,000-or-so corporate cousins. Fox News cut away from its Egypt programming to broadcast Neil Cavuto's interview with Rupert Murdoch and the New York Post heralded the maiden voyage of the "pioneering" publication in an article that was 80 percent quotes from -- or attributions to -- News Corp or Apple officials...We're sure Modern Fishing also had something nice to say about it. The publication will cost $.99 weekly and $39.99 annually. Despite our 'tude, we are very excited about the launch and wish The Daily and its staff all the best. Although if it does kill print newspapers, it will be awfully hard to wrap gifts in iPads when we run out of wrapping paper. Plus you'd have to be a high-roller to stokes fires with a $600 tablet computer. [New York Post]
Even though The Daily has rendered print dead forever, The Hill is launching a new weekly edition. The Hill -- Start The Week will hit newsstands every Monday when Congress is in session. It will feature lookahead items like polls, commentary and various aggregated stories. Newsstands are, of course, what people used before The Daily.
The Daily is tablet-only, right? So, um, what is this?
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - When we're bored, we channel surf. When this guy is bored he video clones himself and records the Ren and Stimpy theme all by himself.
OHIO GOVERNOR HIRES MINORITY -- SADLY, THIS IS NEWS - Governor John Kaisch has hired Michael Colbert, an African-American, as his Department of Job and Family Services director. After not tapping a single non-white person to be in his cabinet, Kaisch came under intense scrutiny from Democrats, civil rights group and anyone with the gift of sight and the ability to formulate abstractions. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Kasich would have been the first Buckeye governor since 1962 to not have a racial minority in his cabinet. And that was, like, DECADES before No Labels. [Plain Dealer]
Redskins owner Dan Snyder is calling for the dismissal of a Washington City Paper writer over a (must-read and dead-on) cover story that claims Snyder is, well, the worst. Snyder is also threatening legal action. Dave McKenna's November 2010 "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder" outlined Snyder's various trespasses since taking over the team in 1999. McKenna's cover story was mostly a compilation of his years of reporting thoroughly trashing Snyder. Did it have to hit the cover for Snyder to notice? [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]
The offending piece by McKenna. Enjoy.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Rain. That's all that we got. Impressive, huh? While the Midwest was pounded with feet of snow, the East Coast got spared. blame (or thank) the eastern side of the storm that brought up the warm air from the south. And we were left with sun and 50-degree weather. The niceness will continue into the evening, albeit a bit colder. But hey, no snow is a plus. Tomorrow: Sunny, with temps in the low-30s. A bit colder than today, but clear skies are nothing to shrug off anymore.Thanks, JB!
- Pasty white kid drinks Capri Sun, pets his dog with a rose and then raps incredibly fast about his asthma, among other things. [http://bit.ly/gA9D9v]
- OvenAlly is a soon to be launched website that allows people to sell homemade food to buyers in their area. Kind of an Etsy for food. [http://www.ovenally.com/]
- No Ad: New York is an interactive program begun by Morgan Spurlock that allows users to Photoshop out ads from New York's streets [http://bit.ly/e1CCDi]
- But ads can be cool! This ad/game on the New York Times' iPad version interacts with the page's content. [http://bit.ly/edZRL2]
- One of the more messed up sports pep-talk montages we've seen. Bonus points for the Little Giants inclusion. [http://bit.ly/eDDa11]
- Demon Cat has fiery red eyes and speaks in tongues yet these people are laughing when all they should be doing is getting holy water. [http://bit.ly/igpn0j]
- Thanks to observations made by the Hubble satellites, we have images of the early universe. Here's a picture to demonstrate. [http://bit.ly/dIy4np]
- The most ridiculous sexual harassment stock photography. Do you think there's a model somewhere that has a line on their resume which reads "Inappropriate shoulder massage guy #3"? [http://bit.ly/i0ftXe]
@pourmecoffee: Ayn Rand's birthday. Everybody vigorously pursue their own interests
@dancow: holy sh*t, the @daily shows the temperature outside RIGHT NOW, with a picture of sun and partial cloud cover @daily > @nytimes
@CJR: The Daily has no idea who its audience is. "People who own iPads" is not an answer.
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: The National Security Network hosts an off-the-record cocktail reception for hill staffers, reporters, academics and others to discuss Iran policy. There will be hors d'oeuvres -- and nothing lubricates discussion about institutionalized Holocaust denial quite like cheese tarts. [Restaurant Nora, 2132 Florida Avenue NW].
6:30 pm: Busboys and Poets host "Egypt on the Brink: Townhall Dialogue w/ Al Jazeera English," a panel discussion featuring representatives from Al Jazeera English and the Institute for Policy Studies [Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St NW].
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