The Huffington Post's reporting staff convened a symposium on reality and the cosmos after the New York Times' executive editor reported we don't exist. A House committee wants to take the "P" out of the EPA. Jan Brewer is learning that there are ways to handle awkward silences beyond acting like Cartoon Network's target late-night audience. And Rand Paul tried to belittle abortion restrictions by comparing them to toilets but instead accidentally disclosed that he has an overly-fibrous diet (never change, Rand!). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 10th, 2011:
WISCONSIN UNION SUPPORTERS RALLYING AFTER DEFEAT, GEARING UP FOR RECALL BATTLE - After a surprise move by the Republican-controlled Senate last night to pass Governor Scott Walker's anti-collective-bargaining bill, Wisconsin Democrats and union supporters today reassessed their options and vowed to continue to fight the bill. Democrats in the state are targeting six Republican lawmakers for recall, reports Sam Stein. "Of those, three were considered top tier 'gets:' Sen. Randy Hopper (District 18) who won his last election by 184 votes, Sen. Alberta Darling (District 8) who won her last election with 51 percent of the vote, and Sen. Dan Kapanke (District 32) who also won his last election with 51 percent of the vote, in a district where President Obama won 61 percent of the vote in 2008. The other three, according to the list were Sen. Robert Cowles (District 2), Sheila Harsdorf (District 10), and Luther Olsen (District14)." [HuffPost]
No surprise there: The Wisconsin assembly approved the anti-collective bargaining bill passed by the Senate last night. Governor Walker is expected to sign it soon.
Anecdote from a senior Treasury official from a meeting with bloggers and progressive media today: Tim Geithner was shopping in the Whole Foods in Logan Circle recently when two women asked if he was the Secretary. They informed Geithner that they love him and were eager to know whether he has seen the documentary "Inside Job." The admirers insisted Geithner would love the film but wanted to know exactly why President Obama employed so many Bush administration officials, like Larry Summers. Heh.
Geithner has not yet seen the documentary
HOORAY: GABRIELLE GIFFORDS TO ATTEND HUSBAND'S SPACE SHUTTLE LAUNCH - Happy news: Fox News has confirmed that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is currently in a Houston rehabilitation center recovering from the the January 8th shooting in Tucson, will attend the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor -- piloted by her husband Mark Kelly -- on April 19th. Wow. When Giffords is fully recovered and her life-rights are sold, the movie about her miraculous turnaround is going to have the most off-the-hook recovery montage, EVER. Keep it up, congresswoman. [New York Post]
The CBO released a report today finding that the amendments in H.R. 1 repealing health care reform would cost nearly $6 billion to implement. To be fair, you have to rent a really big crane to get the government off your back. [CBO]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Bud Meyers, the laid off Las Vegas bartender whose blog post on the misery of joblessness captured the media's attention for 15 seconds in January, has a new dispatch from the other side. "Over the years I've noticed that people with commonalities tend to congregate together. Whether it be because of race, national origin, or a language they share," Meyers wrote. Same goes for marital status, he continued, and for economic status. Rich people hang with rich people and poor people hang with poor people. "But unemployed people and people who have jobs maintain a separation from one another. The unemployed network with each other, while people who have jobs seem to keep their distance from the jobless...as though they had a fatal or contagious illness." [Bud Meyers' blog]
REID: DEMOCRATS READY TO LEARN 'LESSONS' OF FAILED BUDGET VOTE - After a greater number of Democrats defected from their own party during yesterday's budget votes than Republicans, Harry Reid conceded today that his bargaining position has been weakened. "We accept the lessons of yesterday's vote," Reid said during his opening remarks on the Senate floor this morning. "We know we'll have to make a sacrifice to reach consensus, and we are willing to do that." [The Hill]
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PETE KING'S MUSLIM RADICALIZATION HEARINGS UNDERWAY - The House Homeland Security Committee today began its investigation of radicalization in the Muslim American community. Considering America's bang-up history of congressionally-sanctioned witch hunts, people were paying extra-close attention to this one. Peter King, the committee chairman, defended himself against charges that he is instigating a prejudiced investigation. "To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this community: to protect America from a terrorist attack." King said. Keith Ellison, the only Muslim in Congress, testifeid before the panel. "We've seen the consequences of anti-Muslim hate," Ellison said. "The best defense against extreme ideologies is social inclusion and civic engagement. ... I fear these hearings may undermine our efforts in this direction." Ellison broke down as he recounted attempts to vililfy Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a 9-11 first responder who was accused by some of being a co-conspirator with the hijackers. "He should not be remembered as a Muslim, but as an American who gave everything for his country," he said. Much to our surprise, Scooby Doo and the gang never busted into the committee room, pulled off Pete King's mask, and exposed him as a radicalized Muslim. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]
The networks pulled away after King finished his opening remarks. Statements from Ellison and Rep. John Dingell were heard only by online viewers and folks in the committee room. It was only when Ellison burst into tears that the networks start cut back in. Ellison should really consider registering for the 2012 New Hampshire primary.
A guy accused of trying to bomb a march honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movment was arrested today. Good thing we're focusing on all those violent Muslims.
HOUSE PANEL PASSES EPA RESTRICTIONS - The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power (which sounds like an entity that subsists entirely on Clif bars and whey protein) today approved a bill that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gasses while simultaneously rejecting the agency's report that increased levels of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere threaten public health. "EPA's regulations are a back-door attempt by unelected bureaucrats to implement the highly unpopular cap-and-trade legislation that was rejected last year," Chairman Fred Upton said before the vote. Mother Earth couldn't be reached for comment but her spokesman said she's out slapping a NRDC bumper sticker on her Prius. [Bloomberg]
DEAR 99ERS: CONGRESS JUST ISN'T THAT INTO YOU - Barbara Lee and Bobby Scott announced yesterday they're willing to abide by the House GOP's cut-as-you-go rules in their effort to give the long-term unemployed 14 more weeks of benefits, which would be a pretty big concession since Democrats tend to insist that UI bennies be deficit spending. So far, nobody seems very interested in the offer. "The wealthy and powerful didn't have to wait for their unpaid-for tax breaks and there is no reason why these workers should have to wait for this aid that they urgently need," said Lee spokesman Joel Payne in a statement. "And if Republicans are principally opposed to providing aid for these unemployed workers to help them make ends meet and contribute to our economy, they should just say so." Just say so, you guys!
ETHICS COMMITTEE OFF TO A SLOW START - Jennifer Yachnin: "Although the Ethics panel has taken small steps in 112th Congress -- issuing committee rules in February, posting wanted ads for staff vacancies -- sources familiar with the panel, as well as government reform advocates who monitor the committee, agreed the panel is moving slowly...Among the problems that Gilbert cited are staff vacancies that account for nearly a third of the panel's authorized staff...In addition, as of Wednesday, Republican and Democratic leaders had yet to announce the slate of Members who could be called to carry out investigations for the Ethics panel." [Roll Call]
"Amid bitter partisan acrimony over the budget, Planned Parenthood, Muslim "radicalization," and public radio, a bipartisan pair of senators has introduced the least controversial bill: tax cuts for microbreweries. Sens. John Kerry and Mike Crapo introduced the Brewers Employment and Excise Relief Act on Wednesday."
RAND PAUL: WOMEN HAVE MORE ABORTION OPTIONS THAN I HAVE TOILET OPTIONS - Turns out Aqua Buddha might be more than just a bong. At an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing today, the Kentucky Senator somehow found a way to equate government regulation of home energy consumption and the right to terminate a pregnancy. "[Y]ou come...with fines, threats of jail. ... This is what your energy efficiency standards are," Paul told Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant energy secretary for efficiency. "I think there should be some self-examination from the administration on the idea that you favor a woman's right to an abortion, but you don't favor a woman or a man's right to choose what kind of light bulb, what kind of dishwasher, what kind of washing machine." Then it got really good: "We have to flush the toilet 10 times before it works," Paul said. "I've been waiting for 20 years to talk about how bad these toilets are and this was a good excuse today."* [TPM's Brian Beutler]
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was cut short during a speech yesterday when her teleprompter cut out. Rather than stare at her hands and giggle like she had just inhaled the air at a Phish concert -- as she did last year during a televised gubernatorial debate -- Brewer calmly remarked, "Well, the Teleprompter went dead." Good job, governor. You're learning. [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - This video of a dog trying to get the attention of a horse set to "Puppy Love" is so insanely stupid that it manages to transcend the idiocy continuum and winds up being good. [http://bit.ly/fmFwDg]
CHRIS CHRISTIE MAKES STUFF UP, SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY LOOKED INTO IT DISCOVERS - The Times ran a piece early this morning on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's above-average tendency to embellish, skew or outright gloss over basic facts. "Mr. Christie, a Republican who took office in January 2010, would hardly be the first politician to indulge in hyperbole or gloss over facts," Richard Perez-Pena writes. "But his misstatements, exaggerations and carefully constructed claims belie the national image he has built as a blunt talker who gives straight answers to hard questions, especially about budgets and labor relations." News blogs have been pulling muscles all day trying not to employ the phrase "big fat lie/liar" when referencing this piece. Most have failed. [NYT]
JERMEY'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: The strong bands can come through, bringing lightning, thunder, and strong winds. It's the bad part. Tomorrow: Cloudy, with the possibility of high winds. Thanks, JB!
- On the heels of yesterday's Comfort Food item on pruney fingers, here's a time-lapse video of grapes shriveling into raisins. [http://bit.ly/fwap6v]
- An MIT lab created a logo based on an algorithm that can generate 40,000 variations of itself [http://bit.ly/fdUwoC]
- Cap'n Crunch, maybe the least healthy cereal in history, is being discontinued. [http://bit.ly/fpNxmr]
- HuffPost Hill, if you haven't noticed, is kind of obsessed with space news. This up-close picture of the sun absolutely blew our minds. [http://bit.ly/hCmd7S]
- Here are some striking aerial photos of parking lots because, well, just because. [http://bit.ly/i8tQwQ]
- "Person(s) dancing in public place where people usually don't dance" videos are always enjoyable. Here's a guy dancing in the subway. [http://bit.ly/fMYbsM]
- The original Super Mario Bros. but with real life sounds spliced in. Now you can learn what it sounds like when a dude is shot up a green pneumatic tube. [http://bit.ly/gzoob0]
- We really want to hang up these intense photos of a volcano eruption around our office to mess with peoples' heads. [http://bit.ly/iciJCg]
@daveweigel Still time for Peter King to bring in Boehner for pinch-hit crying and WIN THE AFTERNOON
@drgrist: I really love the mental image of dragging a few redneck militia types up to Congress and asking them to defend white people.
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Tim Walz gets an assist from Al Franken at his fundraiser at the Strategic Healthcare Townhouse. If you pay $1,000 can you request Al Franken do Stuart Smalley? [Strategic Healthcare Townhouse230 Second Street SE].
6:30 pm: Chris Lee was supposed to have a campaign event at the Rupli Townhouse. Whoops.
8:30 am - 9:30 am: The DCCC, getting itself off of the mat, raises some dough with the help of Betty Sutton, George Miller, and Linda Sanchez [National Democratic Club, 30 Ivy Street SE].
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Steve Israel, who's been catching flack from the CBC, takes a breather by relaxing with the completely besieged union community at his "Labor Luncheon." That guy needs a vacation [ Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Townhouse, 25 Louisiana Ave NW].
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Michael Grimm, the rare New York City Republican, passes the hat at a campaign luncheon. Eric Cantor makes an appearance [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].
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