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HUFFPOST HILL - Obama: We're Promoting Democracy In Libya

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Now that the president says we're bombing Libya to promote democracy, we're counting down the hours until someone says our Tomahawk cruise missiles are being "greeted as liberators." Joe Barton is so obsessed with defending old light bulbs that you'd think they dumped millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf Coast. And we hope for Anita Hill's sake that Ginni Thomas figures out quick that the name of her new employer ISN'T "The Daily Call-Her." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, slightly delayed as we SCRAMBLED for one more Heath-Shuler-was-a-bad-QB joke:

WE'RE PROMOTING DEMOCRACY IN LIBYA...APPARENTLY - The White House press office this morning sent around a readout of the President's call with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip. These emails are usually pretty perfunctory, relaying how the president hopes to continue the two countries' ongoing efforts to promote economic growth and monitor some issue of regional importance (in this case Libya). However: "They underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that respects the people's will," it reads. Democracy through military action? Didn't the president sort of campaign against that? Somewhere George W. Bush is wearing sweatpants, watching The Sandlot, eating Bugles and chuckling to himself.

As if Republicans needed another reason to love warfare, it looks like the cost of operations in Libya could offset the GOP's proposed budget cuts, likely leading to renewed calls for fiscal "austerity." As Russell Berman and John Bennett note: "GOP leaders have trumpeted enacted spending reductions that amount to more than $285 million per day since the beginning of March. But defense analysts say the Pentagon could be burning through more than $100 million per day in Libya, putting those budget savings at risk." Are you thinking what we're thinking? ESTATE TAX RATE CUT, EVERYBODY!!! [The Hill]

Emily Hershenson Missing: "A friend of FishbowlDC wrote us this afternoon with a startling request...so we're turning to you to help find Emily Hershenson. Some of you may know Emily from her days as a press secretary on the Hill. She has been missing since Monday morning, March 21, and a police report has been filed (DC Metropolitan police CCN 038-202). Emily left for work at 6:30am on March 21, and that was the last confirmed sighting. She last spoke to her husband, Tom, at approximately 9:30am. Her SmartTrip card was last used at Georgia Ave and W streets NW (near Howard Univ) at 12:42pm yesterday...If you want to help, go to 1840 Biltmore St NW where there will be people outside with flyers and maps. They 're starting now and will go thru 8 PM." [Fishbowl DC]

Running tomorrow morning in The Hill, the inspiration for the long-awaited political version of Space Cowboys: "Debbie Siegelbaum on how the old bulls of the House Democratic Caucus aren't ready to be put out for pasture, vowing to run for reelection and expressing confidence they will be soon be back in the majority."

HOUSE GOP WILLING TO CHAT ABOUT 99ERS - Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have agreed to meet with two Democrats to discuss longshot legislation for the long-term unemployed. Barbara Lee and Bobby Scott initially received zero support from Republicans for their bill to create another 14 weeks of jobless aid because doing so would add roughly $16 billion to the federal budget deficit. Lee and Scott later announced they'd be open to finding budget cuts to offset the cost of the benefits, so House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have agreed to meet with them sometime in the next few weeks to discuss possible cuts to fund the benefits. [HuffPost]

Jay Newton-Small has written a touching obituary for her mother, Sue Newton-Small.

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST IS CONFLICTED ABOUT CLAIRE MCCASKILL'S FUNDRAISER - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who hears Ginni Thomas asking him to apologize... in his head... every day, suffered a mild conniption after receiving an invite to a breakfast fundraiser for tax-confused Claire McCaskill. "I'm considering supporting this $1,000 egg breakfast...but only if I can earmark my contribution towards her private jet tax avoidance compliance," wrote PSLGOPL, who we should mention refuses to read his children Green Eggs and Ham due to the implied pro-environment message in the title. Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Tom Kuzdal has a question for Social Security reformers. "These people who tell you that the middle class is gonna have to work until they're 70 or 72 -- I got a question: Doing what?" Kuzdal, 57, said he lost his job as a plant manager for a marketing firm in 2008 and hasn't been able to find work since. Kuzdal's predicament reflects a gloomy fact about the job market: People in their 50s are less likely to lose their jobs, but once they lose them, they're more likely to get stuck unemployed. "I think the United States is just in for a tough time," said Kuzdal, who lives in New Britain, Conn. "I never thought I'd be unemployed like this."

HUFFPOACH - Reason's Radley Balko has been named Criminal Justice Reporter; Rebecca Carroll has been named Culture Editor of Black Voices; The New York Times' Maura Egan has been named Deputy Entertainment, Culture and Lifestyle Editor; GOOD's Amanda Millner-Fairbanks has been named Education Reporter; and The Miami Herald's Jaweed Kaleem has been named Religion Reporter. Flack alert: They're joining Jon Ward, Andrea Stone and David Wood, HuffPost's new hires from last week.

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

DENNIS KUCINICH OFFERS SPENDING MEASURE TO PROHIBIT GROUND TROOPS IN LIBYA - The Ohio rep will offer an amendment to the next budget bill the House considers that would explicitly prohibit the allocation funds for the deployment of ground troops in Libya. However, as the President made clear in the item above, we're looking to spread Democracy to Libya, and Americans NEVER use ground forces to do that. Therefore, Kucinich is just being completely irrational, as extremist peacenik lefties are wont to do. "We have already spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires," Kucinich wrote in a Dear Colleague letter to House members. "Now, the President is plunging the United States into yet another war we cannot afford." [Roll Call]

Heath Shuler is helping his team, for once. Amanda Terkel notes that Blue Dog Democrat Heath Shuler was one of the 93 Democrats to vote for Kucinich's Afghanistan withdrawal bill. Terkel writes that some anti-war activists see Shuler's support as a sign of moderates' growing frustration with the conflict. [HuffPost]

Good thing Nancy Pelosi survived her reckless foray into socialized medicine after that Italian hospital visit yesterday: "A new survey by Democracy Corps in 50 of the most competitive battleground Congressional districts - nearly all of which gave a majority to Obama in the last presidential election - shows the new Republican majority very much in play in 2012. The Republican incumbents in these districts, 35 of them freshmen, remain largely unknown and appear very vulnerable in 2012 (depending on redistricting). In fact, these incumbents are in a weaker position than Democratic incumbents were even in late 2009, or Republican incumbents were in 2007 in comparable surveys conducted by Democracy Corps." [Democracy Corps]

We sort of figured that Ed Rendell would spend his post-gubernatorial years doing what he does best: Scrapbooking with Chris Matthews and drinking domestic beer in various VFW halls across Pennsylvania. Boy did we read him wrong. At a Bloomberg-sponsored event on state and municipal finances, the gruff and seemingly-blue collar politician praised New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his efforts to neuter public unions. If Governor Christie is going after them, it's the right thing to do," Rendell said, apparently with a straight face. [Bloomberg]

CLARENCE THOMAS' WIFE JOINING DAILY CALLER - Apparently Jon Ward's not as irreplaceable as we thought. Thomas' wife, Ginni, is joining the Daily Caller as a reporter. First: Didn't she think about the unrelenting torrent of Twitter jokes that would be unleashed by joining an organization with the word "Caller" in the title? Second: You know...that whole subversion of the judicial branch thing. Third: Brian Beutler spoke to DC Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson who explained his decision. "She was talking to [DC Co-Founder Neil Patel] about all these not-so-well known political figures who might be interesting to interview...freshmen members, or people who are involved in the political process who don't get a ton of attention." [TPM]

Union Station is covered with corporate graffiti blaring: "Cutting your commute time is wishful thinking. Cutting government spending shouldn't be." Biking is quicker, just fyi. [PHOTO]

Rand! Paul! Rand! Paul! Rand! Paul! Rand! Paul! Rand! Paul! is going to run for president maybe. In South Carolina last night he told a crowd that he hasn't ruled out running for president but added: "The only decision I've made is I won't run against my dad." Well, okay, then. [HuffPost]

"Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday."

SO BEGINS THE GREAT WAR FOR LIGHT BULB INDEPENDENCE - Joe Barton, best known for apologizing to BP executives last year after the Gulf oil spill and now CLEARLY trying to get his face on a coin one day, is making it his life's mission to do away with government regulation of light bulbs. "This is about more than just energy consumption," Barton told the Fort Worth Star Telegram (and isn't it ALWAYS about more than energy consumption with a guy who apologized to a company that devastated an entire aquatic ecosystem?). "Voters sent us a message in November that it is time for politicians and activists in Washington to stop interfering in their lives and manipulating the free market. The light bulb ban is the perfect symbol of that frustration [Editors Note: We shall overcooooomeeeee]," he continued. "People don't want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use." AMEN. [Miami Herald]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - To help you get over the passing of Knut the polar bear, here are some photographs of Vicks, a polar bear cub.

Paying six-figure salaries to certifiably crazy, maybe homeless former mayoral candidates who only earned 200 or so votes (but might actually live in Maryland so it wouldn't matter, anyway) doesn't come cheap. "The District of Columbia announced Tuesday that they plan to sue four major travel booking websites for millions of dollars of unpaid hotel taxes, the Washington Business Journal reports. Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and Priceline will all be named in the suit. The District alleges that the sites charge the city's 14.5 percent hotel tax on the price booking agents paid for rooms, not the price the traveler paid. The city is seeking to obtain that difference." [TBD]

"Exaggerated U.S. Border Violence? Hardly" - By Chuck Norris

CARLY'S CANNABIS CORNER: "The Garden State is about to get a lot more horticultural. Yesterday, Dirty Jerz's Department of Health and Senior Services licensed six lucky organizations to operate medical marijuana dispensaries. As Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director of the Drug Policy alliance, put it, "the most important thing is to get medicine into the hands of sick and dying patients." But if The Situation puts the Green in GTL, how long can he keep that six pack?"

DALE PETERSON LAUNCHES PAC - Dale "Don't Give A R-I-I-I-P About Alabama" Peterson is getting back into electoral politics. The former candidate for Alabama agriculture commissioner -- who presented himself to the electorate in his now famous ad as the Marlboro Man if the Marlboro Man gained 70 pounds and complained about his adversaries stealing yard signs in the dark of night -- has established America Get Up PAC to support conservative candidates across the country. "Much like Senator DeMint's Senate Conservative Fund PAC, Dale's not afraid to play in the primaries and with DeMint sitting the primaries out this go-around, folks like Dale will fill that void," Peterson aide Ali Akbar told Politico. We can't wait for Alvin Greene to start a PAC named after one of his timeless Tweets ("where can i see this tiger costume? tiger is a lame costume PAC," "I am Against whats happening in Egypt PAC," or, our favorite, "is gallager on twitter PAC"). [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- This Jaws - Big Lebowski hybrid poster is probably the best faux-movie promotional material we've seen yet. [http://bit.ly/g2dLPE]

- Penguin gets lost and winds up in Peru. Friendly Peruvians take care of penguin and return penguin to home. Awwwww. [http://bit.ly/e9olUC]

- The worst wedding video ever. Here comes the bride...we think. [http://bit.ly/hjSg4N]

- A time-lapse video of a painter at work. The painting is kind of meh but the video is pretty sweet. [http://bit.ly/fpS5fu]

- "The Stupid Orchestra" is an orchestra made up of old appliances. [http://bit.ly/g8FzZ2]

- "Badger Dubstep" is every bit as....weird as you'd expect. [http://bit.ly/fly2s6]

- With economic hardship on the rise and Democracy on the wane, Russia may have fallen on hard times. At least its soldiers can still induce an avalanche with artillery fire. [http://bit.ly/f0Tl57]

- On second thought, Russia also has this low-budget remake of How I Met Your Mother (In Russia, mother meets you!). [http://bit.ly/hsw2DI]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: Waiting for Bill Keller to bash HuffPo by pointing out he came up with the idea of "hiring reporters"

@sethmeyers21: I just signed up to get GInni Thomas' "Daily Caller" articles delivered to my voicemail at 7:30 AM on Saturday mornings.

@TheOnion: NEWSWIRE: FDA Deems New Drug As Safe As Anything Can Be In This Crazy World

ON TAP

TONIGHT

8:30 pm: Show some love for one of D.C.'s longest-running acts. For (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope perform at Black Cat. [Black Cat, 1811 14th St NW].

TOMORROW

5:30 pm - Whenever: Pete Stark staffer Brian Cook celebrates his departure from Stark's office with a shindig at Washington's most beloved Capitol Hill gay country western bar. We hear rumors of karaoke [Remmingtons, 639 Pennsylvania, SE].

6:00 - 9:00 pm : Liberals are gathering on the roof deck of Local 16 for the Progressive Network Happy Hour, which has been going on FOREVER. [Local 16, 16th and U Sts. NW].

6:00 pm: Steve Israel takes a break from trying not to alienate the CBC and CHC (see Monday's HuffPost Hill) to attend a district fundraiser [Oheka Castle, 135 West Gate Drive, Huntington, NY].

6:30 pm: If you're lucky enough to be on vacation in Southern California, what better way to pass your time than with Mike and Kitty Dukakis? Brad Sherman is the guest of honor at a fundraiser hosted by the former presidential cnadidate and his wife [The Home of Michael Mahdesian, 13075 Blairwood Drive, Studio City, CA].

7:00 pm: Arlington Young Democrats host a charity date auction. Don't worry, ladies. Not all Arlington dates take place at Legal Seafoods. [Clarendon Grill, 1101 N Highland St, Arlington]

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