HUFFPOST HILL - Your Friendly HuffPost Hill Union Busting Update
Celebrating Egyptians are demonstrating that you don't need to elect a black guy president or have the Lakers win the NBA Finals to flood the streets in wild-eyed euphoria. Robert Gibbs doesn't agree with the premise of your farewell but ISN'T redirecting it to the relevant agency. NFL players are learning that the union -- like human growth hormones -- makes us strong. And Egyptians will be the frontrunners for "Person of the Year" until TIME buckles to conservative pressure and awards it to the founder of Zipcar. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 11th, 2011:
HOUSE ENDS UNNECESSARILY LONG DEBATE ON UNNECESSARY REGULATIONS - After much fanfare over John Boehner and Eric Cantor's reforms of how the House of Representatives conducts its business, the Republican leadership really shined today when the lower chamber finished its nine-and-a-half hour debate on a resolution that would instruct ten House committees to investigate unnecessary regulations. After two days of debate, the chamber barely passed the measure, 391-28...a real squeaker. Some Democrats had voiced concerns that the vote was unnecessary, as each committee has the agency to undertake the investigations themselves. All 28 "nay" votes were from Democrats, the rest (142) voted for the bill. [The Hill]
Countdown To No Kickoff: There are 19 days until the NFL's 32 team owners lockout the players for no reason except the owners want more money. These 32 Dan Snyders already pocket some 40 percent of the post-expense revenue the NFL brings in. The rest goes to the players, whose careers average three-and-a-half years (plus five years of free labor in college) and are often followed by debilitating neurological and physical ailments and a shortened lifespan. The lockout will also put thousands of stadium workers out of jobs so that Dan Snyder can get richer. Not that we're taking sides on this one.
Come gather 'round people, wherever you roam/And admit helmet hits really screw up your dome...
A hoard United Steelworkers member roamed the Hill yesterday lobbying on behalf of the players.
It's after 6:00 and House Republican leaders still haven't dumped their spending resolution on the press, despite last night's attempt at consensus. The debate over the CR will continue next week along with finalization of those PATRIOT Act extensions so Palantir and HBGary don't have to do all the work.
The Senate votes on two judicial confirmations Monday and deals with FAA amendments the rest of the week, likely finishing the week after. PATRIOT Act bidness could come up, too.
NJ's Amy Harder scoops that a Shell executive told Ed Markey that Big Oil actually doesn't need the oil subsidies we give them with prices so high. Note to Big Oil: Congress doesn't give you money because you need it, but because you bribe them.
EGYPT: MUBARAK STEPS DOWN, MILITARY IN CHARGE - Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, the reform-minded head of torture policy in Egypt, announced today that Hosni Mubarak has resigned as the country's president, leaving the military in charge in the government. "In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic," Suleiman said. "He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor." Reports from Cairo and elsewhere indicate Egyptians are euphoric. Meanwhile, everyone on Twitter -- from journalists to Egyptian activists -- could barely contain their excitement. Even though a military-controlled government never does anything bad -- just ask Libya and Myanmar -- here's hoping the world can keep its focus on Egypt long enough so it can transition to a functioning democracy. Basically, if Michael Jackson doesn't rise from the dead and die again, sparing Egypt an Iran-style interest deflation -- the country should be in the clear. [HuffPost's Liveblog]
President Obama: "By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change. But this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It's a beginning. I'm sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered. But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks."
@LindsayLohan: And I pray Egypt maintains it's treaty with Israel and sets the trend for its neighbors to create peace with Israel and the entire region
ROBERT GIBBS BIDS FAREWELL TO WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS - Robert Gibbs held his final briefing as White House press secretary today. As a farewell gift, President Obama presented Gibbs with a tie that he borrowed right before giving his landmark speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. "Ten minutes before we were about to go on stage, we were still having an argument about ties. I had bought five, six ties. And Michelle didn't like any of them," Obama said. "And then somebody -- I don't remember who it was -- turned and said: 'You know what? What about Gibbs's tie? What about Gibbs's tie? That might look good'." Former Time editor and Vice President Joe Biden's Communications Director Jay Carney will take over the podium starting Monday. Gibbs will now
take his gold watch and enjoy a relaxing retirement in Boca, wasting the days away with hours-long shuffleboard competitions and mixers at the JCC serve as an outside adviser to President Obama's reelection effort. [ABC News]
The Senate Budget Committee launched its redesigned website today. The New York Times, Reuters and the Huffington Post Media Group all merged in response, hoping to compete.
Jim Manley Sellout Watch - Lawyer Bob Bennett, the man who makes people rich in this town, is working with the former top Harry Reid spokesman to make him rich. Meanwhile, Manley will be bound for Europe next Friday. We're looking forward to the slideshow of coffeeshop goodies he'll share when he gets back. [AP]
PAGING HOWARD ZINN: WISCONSIN GOV BRINGING IN NATIONAL GUARD TO BREAK PUBLIC UNION - Republican Scott Walker is pulling a Pullman in the Badger State, threatening to bring in troops to battle teachers, cops and other public workers he considers overpaid. Walker doesn't even bother to argue that the goal is to improve education or public safety -- it is explicitly to bust the union. AP: "Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees. Walker said Friday that he hasn't called the Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services, like staffing at prisons. Walker says he has every confidence that state employees will continue to show up for work and do their jobs and he's not anticipating any problems. His plan would require higher pension and health insurance contributions and remove bargaining rights except in a limited way over wages."
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The government's health insurance program for Americans excluded from the private market because of preexisting conditions continued to increase its enrollment last quarter, according to the latest report from the Obama administration. Enrollment figures for the new high-risk pool program -- formally known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, created by the 2010 health care law -- inched upward to 12,437, the administration reported. There are as many as 25 million Americans uninsured because of preexisting conditions. D'oh. [HuffPost]
"Obama was supposed to have this image that he was for the everyday person," said Karrin Herring, a resident of Beaver County, Pa. who received $300 for her heating bill from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in the fall. Herring's peeved that the Obama administration wants to slash LIHEAP funding from $5.1 billion to $2.57 billion in the 2012 budget, potentially delivering BRRR to 3.5 million households. Herring, 56, said she's still in the president's corner, but she's pissed about this LIHEAP business. "For him to go straight to a program like this, especially when there are so many unemployed people out here now, a lot of times through no fault of their own, and more people needing the LIHEAP, I just couldn't understand why he would even think about this program in particular. They can find someplace else to cut some money if they really wanted to."
@digby56: @ArthurDelaneyHP Don't worry. This hurts him more than it hurts her. It's tough being "tough"
A bipartisan group of 32 senators, including Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe, have sent a letter to the White House protesting the LIHEAP cuts.
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GOVERNMENT TO WIND DOWN FANNIE AND FREDDIE - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced this morning that the government will phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage backers. The Obama administration concurrently released a "white paper" outlining three possible routes for government involvement in the mortgage market. Naturally, it did not specify which one it wants to implement. That's a lot of work and -- like emptying rain gutters, Swiffering under your bed or cleaning the bathroom -- the White House would rather do it later ... like this afternoon or something. Shahien Nasiripour outlines the options: "The first option calls for a private system in which lenders and investors fund new mortgages, with a limited role for existing federal agencies to subsidize home loans for the poor and other special groups, like veterans. The second proposal calls for much of the same, but it includes a government backstop for mortgages during times of market stress. If the market froze, the government would step in and guarantee home loans. In the third option, the administration outlined a much broader government role. Under this alternative, taxpayers would insure securities backed by home loans." [HuffPost]
Mitch McConnell won't play favorites, at least not publicly, in Lamar Alexnader and John Cornyn's race to be the next Republican Senate Whip.
MIKE LEE WON'T ENDORSE ORRIN HATCH - Utah's junior senator won't endorse his senior Republican counterpart. "It's not my intention to support any candidate until the democratic process has had a chance to play itself out in Utah," Lee said on MSNBC this morning. "That's not up to me; that's up to the voters of Utah once we get into 2012." Hatch, who supported Bob Bennett's doomed renomination effort last year, has had a strained relationship with Lee. What's more, Hatch is an unabashed tree-hugging, parrano cheese-eating,Pitchfork-reading liberal who has alienated his party's base by opposing health care reform, gay rights and wall street overhaul. Sheesh, put down the bong, Orrin. [Salt Lake City Tribune]
Hatch made an appearance at CPAC today. In his speech -- littered with first-personal plural references to the "conservative movement" -- he called for the adoption of a balance budget amendment...go figure.
OLYMPIA SNOWE GETS TEA PARTY CHALLENGER - Prominent Tea Party activist Andrew Ian Dodge announced at CPAC today that he will challenge Olympia Snowe for the Republican Senate nomination in Maine. Snowe is known for occasionally clashing with her party over some of its more extreme views, like whether the commander-in-chief was born in this country. Obviously, she must be crushed. Snowe already has to contend with businessman Scott D'Amboise, who announced his primary bid last year, and the Tea Party Express, which has placed her on its 2012 target list. Tea Party-friendly governor Paul LePaige is expected to endorse Snowe. [TPM]
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will not run for the Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl. "You can bet that I'll be following the 2012 race closely as it has serious ramifications for Arizona," Brewer said in a statement released yesterday. "I will not, however, involve myself in this contest as a candidate. Arizona faces serious issues and needs a full-time governor, and I intend to see this state's recovery to completion." Brewer originally attempted to deliver the statement at a press conference but she couldn't stops staring at her hands while chuckling.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - In case you've forgotten the story of Oedipus, let these vegetables act it out for you.
No better way to spend Valentine's Day with your sweetheart...and dozens of your most generous political benefactors. Sunlight Foundation: "On Monday, Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) is putting on a couples-themed, early-evening, wine bar event with his wife, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA). The congressional pair wanted to put on an event for other couples, said GOP Fundraiser Rob Jennings, who is accepting checks for the affair. 'They thought it would be fun to have a one hour reception before votes and try to get people together to celebrate Valentine's Day,' he added. The event is also an occasion for PAC representatives and lobbyists to let the congressman know their love equals $1,000. But, Jennings said, the event is just like many others in the nation's capitol. Also on February 14, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) is luring lobbyists and donors with chocolate. The Democrat is asking PACs for between $1,000 and $5,000 to attend his lunch at the Caucus Room." [Sunlight Foundation]
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Your weekend forecast: There is no shortage of sun or warm weather, as it's going to be sunny and in the 40s all weekend long. Enjoy it everybody! Thanks, JB!
- We just discovered "All the Buildings of New York," one artist's attempt to draw every single edifice in the Big Apple. [http://bit.ly/cwqCBX]
- A list of the top 20 food trucks in America. [http://bit.ly/ejQIWp]
- An NYU professor who had a camera installed in the back of his head as part of an art project has had it removed because his body apparently rejected the device. Whoops. [http://nyti.ms/gNrgc7]
- A somewhat maliciously-edited video from 1999 of Britney Spears talking about her first album. Spearsologists will be interested in what the chanteuse has to say about "E-mail My Heart." [http://bit.ly/fQJYAt]
- Sixteen ways to use your wrist now that watches are obsolete [http://bit.ly/g2WhPD]
- A Tanzanian child recited the plot from Commando with painstaking details. Adorable. [http://bit.ly/gF6IeU]
- Google has launched a wedding planning service. Yahoo will now have to counter with a divorce settlement service. [http://tcrn.ch/en4ZJq]
- A software company has digitally rendered what the average woman looks like in 41 countries. Conclusion: Women are beautiful. [http://on.mash.to/hy3wdu]
@delrayser: Prediction: In 200 yrs, Egypt's Tahrir Party will form & totally misconstrue today's events for their own political ends.
@brianbeutler: Having just read Egypt's Wikipedia page, I'm announcing my availability to discuss today's developments on TV.
@JakeTapper: congratulations to Jay Carney -- VP Biden today used the word "literally" literally
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Politicians and Jewish 13-year-olds. The only people we know who celebrate their birthdays by getting a boatload of checks. Kay Granger marks her birthday with a b-day fundraiser hosted by her PAC, Common Sense Common Solutions [Bobby Van's Grill, 1201 New York Ave NW].
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Rep. Albio Sires takes a break from working in a chamber where adults yell at one another so people will give him money by visiting another chamber where adults yell at one another so people will give him money. [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].
8:00 pm: If you find yourself in Los Angeles, you could go to the Grammys with Rep. Howard Berman. That's all fine and good, but ask yourself, what grown person spends a thousand dollars to watch Justin Bieber perform...with Congressman Howard Berman? [Staples Center, 1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California].
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