America concluded from video footage that the portrait of Bill Frist unveiled at the Capitol today is not in a persistent vegetative state. Joe Biden is going to have to hype himself up extra hard for upcoming budget negotiations now that First Staters won't name primary schools after him. And the Lincoln Bedroom might at long last become a confessional if Jon Huntsman takes his documentary crew with him to the White House. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011:
WISCONSIN DEMOCRATS START GOP RECALL EFFORT - With Wisconsin's legislature still locked in a stalemate over a proposal to strip public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights, the state Democratic party has begun an initiative to recall Republican senators. In an email to supporters, the party made its intentions clear: "This morning citizens from around the state took the first steps by filing recall papers against key Republican Senators who have stood with Scott Walker and pushed his partisan power grab...," it said. "In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back by recalling the Republican Senators who have decided to push Scott Walker's divisive attack on the rights of workers and his assault on schools, universities and local communities." Wisconsin is somewhat lacking in celebrities for a California-style recall bonanza. Therefore, all eyes are on Prince Fielder, last year's winner of the state fair's cattle exhibition, and cheddar sculptures of the cast of Happy Days to launch third-party Senate contests. [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
WaPo is reporting that Tim Kaine will make his Senate intentions known next week
AMBINDER SCOOP: BRADLEY MANNING CHARGED WITH "AIDING THE ENEMY," 21 OTHER CHARGES - The Pentagon announced today that Julian Assange's alleged source of classified information has been hit with an additional 22 charges. "Aiding the enemy" can come with the death penalty, but the military says they're not seeking it. HuffPost Hill is wondering if we'll also be charged for basing reports off of the cables he allegedly leaked. [FDL]
The best police incident report? Or the BESTEST police incident report? "A Madison Police officer, assigned to the Capitol Square protests Tuesday afternoon, cited a 23-year old Chicago man for disorderly conduct after the suspect unplugged extension cords from the side of a Fox News vehicle. A Fox News staff member said the cords were plugged into AC outlets, and feed power to lights and cameras during broadcasts. He said they were not broadcasting at the time of the crime. No permanent damage was done, and the cords were plugged back into the news vehicle." [City of Madison]
House Republicans may be more active on Twitter, but Pelosi took them to school on this one: @NancyPelosi "I know,up on top you are seeing great sights,but down here at the bottom we,too,should have rights." #DrSeuss cc @govwalker
TOP LIEBERMAN AIDE OUT, LAUNCHING GOURMET TAKE OUT JOINT - Over the summer Danielle Vogel, a top Lieberman aide in the middle of the climate change negotiations, opened up to the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza for his story on the collapse of the legislation, in which she appeared under her maiden name, Danielle Rosengarten. Her willingness to speak on the record was a major (and welcome) deviation from the norm of anonymity on the Hill, but it cost her among her colleagues. She's leaving on her own terms, but the combination of Lieberman's retirement, the end of any hope for climate change talks and the heat she got for the Lizza item made sticking around less attractive. Instead, she'll be opening her own gourmet prepared food shop in Clarendon, following in the footsteps of her father. Glen's Garden Market is set to open in the spring of 2012.[Lizza's piece on Vogel]
Two Hill staffers have now opened up to Lizza and both are out. The second was Kurt Bardella.
Tonight in Roll Call: "Vulnerable Democrats beware: The bipartisan well is about dry, writes Nathan L. Gonzales. Last cycle, Democrats saw their percentage of the Republican vote drop dramatically, and that could spell trouble for incumbents relying on that vote to survive in 2012. Sen. Ben Nelson is at the top of the list. The Nebraska Democrat received a whopping 42 percent of the GOP vote in 2006 when he cruised to re-election, but with two GOP statewide officeholders already running against him, the Senator's narrow victory in 2000 is a better road map for a third term."
George W. Bush joined Bill Frist at the Capitol today for the unveiling of the former Senate majority leader's official portrait. "It takes a really good friend to get me to come back to Washington," Bush said during his remarks. The event was also notable as it was the first time in his life George W. Bush actually heeded a request from Congress. Congrats, G-Dubs.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Freddie Mac remains unmoved by Ty Powell's sob story of identify theft, as reported by the DDD in January. The Casa Grande, Ariz. homeowner said someone took out a phony mortgage in his name on a house he owns outright. The Identity Theft Resource Center tried to intervene on Powell's behalf, supplying supporting documents from banks and municipalities attesting to the fact that Powell had been a victim of fraud. Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick lobbied for him as well. It didn't work. Far as Freddie Mac knows, it's their house now, and Powell said he expects to finally be kicked out today or tomorrow.
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SENATE PASSES, AND OBAMA SIGNS, TWO-WEEK BUDGET CR, SHUTDOWN TEMPORARILY AVERTED - President Obama this afternoon signed into law a two-week budget continuing resolution to fund the government that the Senate passed 91-9 this morning. Congressional Democrats have forfeited their place at the bargaining table to Joe Biden, who will lead the negotiations for Democrats. Orrin Hatch, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Mike Crapo, James Risch, Tom Harkin, Carl Levin, Patty Murray and Bernie Sanders voted against the CR. Although the measure overwhelmingly passed the Senate, Murray's "nay" vote stings just a bit more as she is Harry Reid's number-four in the Democratic leadership. [HuffPost/AP]
@markknoller: Here's a US map illustrating locations of 14,000 federal buildings Govt wants to sell. (Source: OMB/WH) http://twitpic.com/45g82v
SEC VOTES FOR VETO-POWER OVER WALL STREET BONUSES - It wasn't so much the gold sinks that irked them as it was the his and hers gold sinks. The Security and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 to move ahead with an initiative that would require Wall Street firms to disclose their bonuses for its approval.The vote was one of a series held today on provisions put forth in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. "This is an area where we want to be very attuned to unintended consequences," SEC Chair Mary L. Schapiro, said in a statement. "As with any such undertaking, there is a challenge involved in finding common means to appropriately address Congress's mandate." [NYT]
@elise_foley: Turns out a former Koch exec owns the company that makes those styrofoam cups at the Capitol http://huff.to/goXkQt
ED PASTOR MULLING SENATE RUN IN GIFFORDS' ABSENCE - The Arizona congressman tells The Hill that he might run for the Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl if his fellow rumored-candidate, Gabrielle Giffords, does not recover in time from the gunshot wound she sustained on January 8th. "That's one of the things that you look at, how she's doing," the veteran lawmaker told the publication. "You look at a multiple number of things." [The Hill]
GATES: LIBYAN NO-FLY ZONE WOULD REQUIRE NUMEROUS AIR STRIKES - In an appearance before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee today, the defense secretary said that instituting a no-fly one over Libya would necessitate air strikes to cripple the country's air defense infrastructure and might divert forces from Afghanistan. "If it's ordered, we can do it," Gates said, but cautioned, "All of the options beyond humanitarian assistance and evacuations are complex....If we move additional assets, what are the consequences of that for Afghanistan? For the Persian Gulf? And what other allies are prepared to work with us in some of these things?" Terror from above don't grow on trees, people. [CBS News]
Hosni Mubarak has cancer and is receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia, according to the state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper. [AFP]
FREE SPEECH AIN'T PRETTY: SUPREME COURT RULES FOR WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH - The Westboro Baptist Church, the single most disgusting thing in the entire Universe, can protest at the funerals of U.S. servicemen and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the high court ruled today. The justices ruled 8-1 that the group is protected by the First Amendment. "Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and - as it did here - inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker," Roberts said, writing for the majority. "As a nation we have chosen a different course - to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate." Samuel Alito cast the one dissenting vote. We're still trying to track down the Amicus brief from Satan. [HuffPost/AP]
Someone buy The Hill's photo editor a beer because that person won the afternoon with this front page image
TOM COBURN CONTINUES 'ANYONE-BUT-NEWT' CAMPAIGN - In an interview on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," Coburn voiced skepticism about his former boss in the House, Newt Gingrich. "He is undoubtedly the smartest man I've ever met. He has a great vision," Coburn said. "The question to me is does he have the capability to lead the country. ... We need somebody that's soft and [eyes-wide] open and is stable and learned and is going to consistently bring us together." This comes on the heels of Coburn's far more critical statement last year that Gingrich is the "last person I'd vote for for president of the United States." He added that "His life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president." Did Newt say something disparaging about beards or something? [HuffPost's Elise Foley]
For whatever reason, Fox News has suspended its contracts with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich until they make a decision about the 2012 presidential race. We're guessing that Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Josh Bolton haven't said anything disparaging about Bernard Kerik's nomination to be Homeland Security secretary lately. [NYT]
Want HuffPost Hill as your landlord? We're renting a 3 bedroom apartment in the U Street area, departing for Shaw to keep our hipster cred now that a new Y is coming. $2,500 a month. Email firstname.lastname@example.org [1444 W St. NW]
JON HUNTSMAN BEING FILMED FOR SELF-FUNDED DOCUMENTARY - Jon Huntsman is the subject of a forthcoming, Jon Huntsman-produced documentary, Reuters reports. The documentary about the U.S.'s ambassador to China and likely presidential aspirant is intended to highlight
neglect in our nation's schools, the environmental risks posed by hydraulic fracturing, the origins of the financial crisis how plain awesome Jon Huntsman is. We're looking forward to the promotional campaign where Huntsman grows out a beard, starts a rap career and makes a bizarrely taciturn appearance on the The Late Show With Dave Letterman. [Reuters]
White House Press Office email FAIL: "UPDATED: Press Secretary Gibbs to hold briefing at 1:00PM EST"
Annnnd there it is: "CORRECTED UPDATE: Press Secretary Jay Carney to hold briefing at 1:00PM EST"
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - An addictive web game that presents objects from famous movies and asks you to fill in the name of the film, hangman-style. [http://bit.ly/eVa8Et]
FOX SCOURING NATION FOR B-ROLL OF VIOLENT UNION PROTESTS - Not content to simply lie about their reporters getting assaulted by 60-year-old social studies teachers dressed in North Face fleeces, Fox News is apparently presenting violent footage of protests from California to demonstrate the thuggery of union members in Wisconsin. That is how strong the network's bloodlust for injurious lefties is. We're pretty sure that if you cite only one or two cases of ANYTHING, you can extrapolate just about any conclusion (Look how effing crazy people in windbreakers are! Are our children safe from bald people?!?, etc). [TPM's Brian Beutler]
A big fu*kin' snub: "The News Journal (DE) reported yesterday that Brandywine School District officials asked local residents to vote on a name for a new elementary school that is being built on the former site of Hanby Middle School in north Wilmington. Biden's name ended up as one of the finalists, but ultimately Delawareans voted to keep the same name. The new school will be Hanby Elementary School." [ABC News]
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Okay, it's going to be chilly. That's the bad news. The good news is that there's no bad weather coming through in the near future. Tomorrow: Not as warm as today was, but it's stil beee-autiful! Mid-40s means crisp, but calm otherwise. Thanks, JB!
- The gang at Slate V reedited a therapy session clip from Two and a Half Men to include clips from Charlie Sheen's recent incoherent ramblings. [http://slate.me/fgW7un]
- The New Yorker has published a posthumous short story from David Foster Wallace. Read the whole thing here: [http://nyr.kr/eETeNN]
- Instead of "Poor" "OK" and "Strong," this web application rates your password strength with a lady in a bikini in eight-bit graphics. [http://bit.ly/g1C1vu]
- HuffPost Comedy has another one of their "Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now" lists. Hooray [http://huff.to/dK6RZ8]
- "Downhill urban mountain biking" is every bit as intense and awesome as it sounds [http://bit.ly/fmKuXw]
- The "Church Forests" of Ethiopia are small wooded areas intended to recreate the Garden of Eden. Not unlike our offices. [http://bit.ly/gYqEKN]
- Here's a .GIF of a cat hugging a teddy bear. You're welcome. [http://bzfd.it/fXOxzD]
- 54 cereals that have departed this earth. R.I.P. [http://aol.it/ik4KzQ]
@pwgavin: Very funny person emails: "I have BCC'd Leibo on this" is the new "sorry for iPhone typos."
@delrayser: I bet those 9 Senators who voted against the CR did it just so they wouldn't have to go back to debating patent reform.
@elise_foley: Forming a horrible DC journalist band called Flack Rage. It's gonna rage. About flacks. That is all.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Now that the White House isn't defending DOMA and traditional marriage's defenses are down, THE GAYS ARE RUSHING IN!!!! David Cicilline is the guest of honor at a "LGBT Community Reception" featuring representatives from various gay-rights groups and other power brokers in the LGBT community. [The W Hotel, 515 15th Street NW].
7:00 pm: Michael McCaul generates some campaign cash at his "High-Tech Dinner." In our minds, a "High-Tech Dinner" is a meal where everyone sits in flawlessly white pods suspended in mid-air by electromagnetism and eat nothing but high-nutrient pellets. We're guessing it actually has something to do with the high-tech sector. [Acqua Al 2, 212 7th Street Southeast].
12:00 pm: Just a guess, but don't expect any campaign literature from Geoff Davis touting his fundraiser at AFLAC's offices [AFLAC, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave - Suite 300].
6:00 pm - 8:00pm: Only a man who really likes to drink would host a "Countdown to St. Patrick's Day" fundraiser. That or a man who really likes to raise thousands of dollars in political donations. Join Gerry Connolly for a campaign function, Irish style [Kelly's Irish Times, 14 F Street NW].
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