02/07/2011 06:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - Pleased To Meet You, AOL

Happy news! AOL is so much more than the ISP grandmothers use to e-mail about things they see on The Weather Channel... and now it's the newest member of our professional family! Despite charges that changing our business model from "corporate-owned and ad-driven" to "corporate-owned and ad-driven" will undermine our tree-hugging street cred, we can safely report that our private jets won't have leather seats (gotta keep it cruelty-free, people). And a note to Paul Ryan: when we tell AOL's subscribers what you want to do to Medicare, you better believe they won't be worrying about MTV and baggy pants anymore! Winning the dusk as always, this is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, February 7th, 2011:

WE'RE MERGING WITH AOL, KEYWORD: SUCCESS - The word is out: The Huffington Post and AOL will be merging to create the Huffington Post Media Group. This new entity, led by our very own Arianna Huffington, will merge AOL's constellation of content providers with HuffPost's current editorial structure. What does this mean, beyond us landing a bit part in Nora Ephron's upcoming romantic comedy, You've Got Lindsay Lohan Slideshow and incorporating an a/s/l check on HuffPost Hill's sign-up page? In short: the HuffPost you know and love -- the one that is a leading source of political news and publishes all those Charlie Sheen updates you pretend not to read -- isn't going away. We'll now have new, and pretty awesome, resources at our disposal, like AOL's much-vaunted TechCrunch and Moviefone (our campaign to make Arianna the new automated voice for that service begins now). We haven't figured out how to incorporate MapQuest yet, but we're fantasizing about a default home page map centered on Bradley Manning's solitary confinement cell. Thanks, AOL! [HuffPost]

AOL shares were down three and a half percent on the news. Guess we're not getting that executive washroom now. Damn, someone disinvite the guys from Monsanto.

SENATE CONFIRMS JUDGES, RULES AGREEMENT HOLDS - This afternoon the Senate voted to confirm three of President Obama's judicial nominees. The first, Marco Hernandez of Oregon, was confirmed by unanimous consent to be the next U.S. District Judge for the District of Oregon. The other two, Diana Saldana of Texas and Paul Kinloch Holmes III of Arkansas, were approved by standard roll call votes (94-0 and 95-0, respectively).

Slovenia's Prime Minister Borut Pahor visited the Senate today, Twitter could barely keep up.

DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COUNCIL FOLDING - Like the Teminator lowering himself into that giant vat of molten steel after successfully protecting John Connor, the Democratic Leadership Committee -- the moderate think tank once synonymous with Clinton centrism -- will likely call it quits this week. The group flourished during the 90s, when it helped lay the "intellectual" groundwork for Bill Clinton's election and reelection, but floundered as the Democratic base grew ever more frustrated with President Bush's economic and foreign policies. Plus the aughts were a time of discovery, when we were just beginning to learn how removing labels can solve everything. [Politico]

@kenvogel: Rubbing it in. Email offers reporters interviews w/ Third Way execs about rival Democratic Leadership Council closing its doors.

Hey Paul Ryan, wait till we tell AOL's readers what you have in store for Social Security.

HELP FOR THE 99ERS - Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) are reintroducing legislation this week to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for "99ers," the long-term jobless who have exhausted their benefits and still haven't found work. Awwww!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Given Republican hostility to additional deficit spending, the effort to help 99ers will likely amount to little more than a reminder that long-term unemployment persists even though much of the nation's political discourse is focused on signs of economic recovery. "If you're serious about helping Americans on unemployment, you need to show how you'll pay for the cost with cuts elsewhere," a House GOP aide said. "If you don't do that, you're looking to issue a press release, not to actually help people." :( [HuffPost]

The drift has begun. We were RTed by Donald Rumsfeld today. @RumsfeldOffice My 1966 encounter w/ LBJ on Vietnam left an impression. @HuffingtonPost has the scoop & documents: http://huff.to/gXAHPC

GOP REP DIGS CONGRESS FOR THE CHICKS - Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who spells his name wrong and sits in the Staten Island seat vacated by Vito Fossella, is a joker. "'I'm single,' Grimm quipped [when asked what the best perk of Congress is]. 'It's all the ladies. I get little notes, so-and-so wants to go out to dinner. That's it.' "But seriously, folks, Grimm said that all the House rules and regs make serving his country 'more restrictive than you could ever imagine.' [Daily News]

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

SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE PLANNING TO DEFEND DODD-FRANK - Reuters: "The uphill push faced by Republicans in trying to roll back last year's Dodd-Frank law was made clear on Monday by a memo from the Senate Banking Committee pledging to protect financial reforms. The agenda memo, obtained by Reuters, showed the Senate committee, still under the control of Democrats, will examine much the same issues being targeted by its counterpart panel in the Republican-controlled House -- but with different goals. Oversight of Dodd-Frank by the Senate panel will focus on assuring that 'the letter and the spirit of the law are being implemented by the regulatory agencies,' the memo said. The Senate panel will seek to ensure that public comment is being considered; that the new law is being enforced; that legitimate concerns regarding the act are considered; and that 'regulators have adequate resources to perform their work and are using the resources efficiently,' it said." [Reuters]

Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is engaged in a PR blitz to sell Republican lawmakers on his policies, reports The Hill's Bob Cusack. Since the midterms, Bernanke has only met with one Democrat, Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, but has had tete-a-tetes with a number of leading Republicans. "Bernanke has also met with several of the new House GOP committee chairmen, including Reps. Dave Camp (Mich.), Spencer Bachus (Ala.), Darrell Issa (Calif.) and Paul Ryan (Wis.). Bernanke, who was nominated by President George W. Bush and renominated by President Obama, also held meetings with Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) in December. The Fed chairman dined last fall with Senate Banking Committee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) at Tosca, an Italian restaurant in Washington. Shelby and Thune voted against Bernanke's confirmation last year, while Johanns approved it." Yawn. Wake us for the tearful Oprah appearance. [The Hill]

JANE HARMAN TO RETIRE, HEAD UP WOODROW WILSON CENTER - California Rep. Jane Harman will announce tomorrow that she is retiring to serve as president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, making her the second Harman to head up an obscure, middle-of-the-road bastion of centrist thought. With Harman's departure for the moderate, D.C.-based think tank, the number of Blue Dogs in the House dips to 25, down from over 50 in the last Congress. We look forward to Woodrow Wilson's integration of a weekly winners/lowers CW column and eventual buyout by Daily Beast (WoodBeast? NewsWood? DailyWood?). [HuffPost]

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal totally stomped on the patriarchal glass floor today when he became the first male author of an EMILY's List post. "We're standing with EMILY's List, and we're standing together, because this is not only a women's issue," Blumenthal and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote in an op-ed opposing health care reform repeal. "When we talk about access to health care facilities and services, we're talking about the health and safety and stability of all American families." You go, boy. [EMILY's List]

OBAMA SPEAKS AT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - President Obama today aggressively courted some of the nation's top business executives...he also went to the Chamber of Commerce to give a speech (hey-oh!). Actually, the president used the event to defend his agenda and called on businesses to outsource fewer jobs and appealed to FDR's relationship with the business community as a model of cooperation between the private and public sectors. "[H]e explained that he was going to head up what would become the War Production Board. And he said to his family, 'This country has been good to me, and I want to pay it back,'" the president said. "And in the years that followed, automobile factories converted to making planes and tanks. And corset factories made grenade belts. A toy company made compasses. A pinball machine maker turned out shells. 1941 would see the greatest expansion of manufacturing in the history of America. And not only did this help us win the war; it led to millions of new jobs and helped produce the great American middle class." Obama's mistake, here, is believing that his audience shares the goal of a "great American middle class" -- the type of class that organizes into unions and demands more wages. [HuffPost]

EXCLUSIVE unedited video of President Obama's speech

Robert Gibbs announced today that this will be his last week as White House press secretary. Fingers crossed that he ends his final briefing by trailing off mid-sentence, locking eyes with Jake Tapper, softly muttering, "I'm free," and then passionately embracing the ABC correspondent. Our hopes aren't high.

JOHN LEWIS TO WRITE GRAPHIC NOVEL - Not content to be a civil rights hero, a well-respected author and all-around upstanding dude, John Lewis has just inked a deal to write a graphic novel about his experiences as an activist for racial equality. With "March," -- to be published by Georgia-based Top Shelf Productions -- Lewis will become the first member of Congress to publish a graphic novel. Plus our nation's teenage burnouts who spend Martin Luther King Day reading the Sandman series while downing four liters of Mountain Dew will have the opportunity to learn about our country's struggles with racism. Roll Call is reporting that an illustrator hasn't been chosen and that Lewis aide Andrew Aydin will co-author the book. Any info on Virginia Foxx's attempts at manga should be sent to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com [Roll Call]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - When Family Feud contestants start free-associating "marijuana," it might be time to reconsider America's drug policies. [target="_hplink">http://bit.ly/fDYlHv]

BOB BENNETT WORKING ON A BOOK, TAKES TEACHING JOB - Former Utah Senator Bob Bennett, who has already accepted a job at Arent Fox as a non-lobbyist lobbyist, says that he is in the early stages of writing a book, currently titled Great Issues, Great Diversions. "I have found in politics that there are great issues, but we spend most of our time arguing over things that don't matter," Bennett said at a forum co-hosted by the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics -- where he will teaching -- and KUER. Well-paid lobbyists at Arent Fox are kind of diverting, right? [Daily Utah Chronicle]

Reminds us of this gem from fellow Arent Fox non-lobbyist lobbyist Byron Dorgan back in January: "As you know, I've written two books."

In case you missed Ben Quayle's wistful recollection of Ronald Reagan in Politico this weekend, you didn't miss much. Except this: "When I was a child, President Ronald Reagan was the nice man who gave us jelly beans when we visited the White House. I didn't know then, but I know it now: The jelly beans were much more than a sweet treat that he gave out as gifts. They represented the uniqueness and greatness of America -- each one different and special in its own way, but collectively they blended in harmony." Translation: Jelly. Beans. Are. The. Most. Delicious. Gelatinous. Sugary. Treat. In. History. You WERE raised right, Ben! Right and delicious! [Politico]

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Clouds lead to rain later on, with temperatures just shy of the 40 mark. Tomorrow: Some clouds, with temperatures similar to this evening. Now, that being said, tonight is the Beanpot, and tonight, Boston University will defeat our archenemies, Boston College, in a battle for Boston supremacy. All I have to say is, GO TERRIERS! Thanks, JB!


- 22 manly ways to reuse an Altoids tin. [http://bit.ly/fwI9vl]

- A photo essay on how the Rolls Royce hood ornaments are made. We thought they used the Creepy Crawlers machine. Guess not. [http://bit.ly/dH3H4E]

- Someone wrote a short, operatic piece about Pirate Booty, the cheese puff snack. [http://bit.ly/hMuAuO]

- Who says the Internet is for porn and low art? Check out this cutting-edge video: "Freaky The Farting Snowman." [target="_hplink">http://bit.ly/dQAy9r]

- A website has compiled a collection of sound files, each one a recording of a different hard drive crashing in a very specific way. [http://bit.ly/g4Ck]

- Here are all of the Super Bowl commercials. Some of them didn't involve throwing soda cans at people. Some. [http://bit.ly/g61MjG]

- Turn your VCR...or your kid...into cash now! [http://bit.ly/gthx54]

- ...ANNNDDDD to round things out here's a dog who tap dances when you scratch its belly [http://bit.ly/esePai]



@dcjourno: Just looked up some insight on Harman's district from the Almanac of American Politics that I will soon be passing off as my own




7:00 pm: Deerhoof, America's greatest pretty ugly-sounding band and that group you pretend to like to impress that girl in the office with the , takes their lovely cacophony to 9:30 Club. [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].


6:30 pm: Chris Lee defends his upstate New York turf with a campaign function at Art and Soul. The restaurant claims to offer a "modern regional cuisine with southern accents" which might be the most generic way to describe 80 percent of District restaurants [Art and Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave NW].

7:00 pm: Brett Guthrie hosts a fundraiser at Carmine's. Some of their garlic dishes come with pasta [Carmine's, 425 7th Street, NW].

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