Spencer Bachus' weak attempts at humor make Ben Quayle seem ready for Catch A Rising Star. George Allen thinks all black people play sports, meaning he's probably the only person alive who believes Neil deGrasse Tyson could win a pick-up game of anything. Staffers are readying for a shutdown by choosing which golf ball they want Vijay Singh to sign. And If some members of Congress are to be believed, a government shutdown will not only harm our troops and result in the massacre of thousands of innocent civilians, but probably lead to a Nazi invasion of the continental U.S. Good to know! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 7th, 2011:
HOUSE PASSES DOOMED ONE-WEEK CR - The lower chamber this afternoon OKed the GOP's stopgap spending measure that has absolutely no chance whatsoever of passing the Senate and being signed by President Obama. Along with cutting discretionary spending by $12 billion, the bill extends defense funding through the rest of the year, amounting to a total of $6 billion in cuts (the defense spending costs an extra $6 billion). The vote was 247-181. Steny Hoyer's bill to continue funding the government at current levels for another week failed. The Republicans who voted against the CR were Justin Amash, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mick Mulvaney and Joe Barton. The White House this morning issued a policy statement that essentially made public the president's intentions to veto the measure should it reach his desk. [HuffPost's LiveBlog]
LOOK, ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES, PLANNED PARENTHOOD - After a hard-fought national campaign over the merits of giving federal money to Planned Parenthood so that it can provide affordable pap tests was won by the Tea Party in November, it's only natural that House Republicans would shut down the government to carry forward the anti-family-planning mandate voters so clearly handed to them. Democrats plan to use the Senate floor this evening to drive home the message that Republicans are on the brink of shutting down the government over longtime social policy disputes, plus some anti-EPA stuff, Chuck Schumer told reporters this afternoon. "These are fights that have nothing to do with the deficit. We've been fighting over abortion for forty years. The EPA issues have been out there for a long time," he said. Senate Democrats, he said, will likely offer bills to cover the troops and/or fund the entire government for a week, but Republicans are expected to object. That's assuming no deal is struck tonight at the White House.
Harry Reid was none too optimistic during his floor speech this morning: "The numbers are basically there. But I am not nearly as optimistic -- and that's an understatement -- as I was 11 hours ago." Reid and John Boehner are scheduled to go back to the White House at 7:00 pm tonight. [HuffPost's LiveBlog]
Reid met with the Democratic caucus this afternoon and hang-dog members trickled in, with the hangingest-dog member of them all, Joe Lieberman, emerging to pronounce Reid "pessimistic."
"I'm hopeful that we'll get a deal. I'm hopeful that the toothfairy will deliver dental care. I'm hopeful that my prince will arrive," said Barbara Mikulski. "We look like we're heading to the red zone."
Eleanor Holmes Norton is not happy about D.C. getting the short end of the stick during a shutdown: "District residents are being treated as colonists of the Congress of the United States. We are absolutely outraged. This is the functional equivalent of bombing innocent civilians."
@mayorvincegray: During a shutdown, MPD will still be issuing parking tickets. MPD's offices for civilian fingerprints and records will be closed.
Hal Rogers also went there: "If you vote against this bill you are voting against the troops."
And Allen West REALLY went there: "Mr. Speaker: Will we be Chamberlain or will we be Churchill?...Some would argue that comparing World War II to the debate on the budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is not an appropriate comparison. However, I would argue that Winston Churchill was prepared to lead his country courageously, in the way that would ensure England's future. Today we are also faced with the question of protecting America's future."
@Kasie: There's a Facebook movement afoot to dump DC's trash on congressional lawns if the gov't shuts down. http://j.mp/g5BlYT
She got @Kasie? Really?
Things that really shouldn't be emailed to staffers as the government prepares for a shutdown (thanks to an anonymous tipster for this): "Golf season is back! To kick off the year, the Congressional Staff Golf Association will be hosting a Meet and Greet with PGA executives and other folks from the golf industry! This is a great opportunity for members to get reacquainted and to meet some of the faces of golf. The event will take place April 13th, at 8 a.m. in 2362-A of the Rayburn House building, coffee and donuts will be provided."
PARANOID SELF LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST SUPPORTS THE TROOPS - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who doesn't care if a government shutdown halts trash collection because it won't interfere with his hoarding hobby, is appalled that Democrats would not support the GOP's stopgap budget proposal, a bill that Supports The Troops. "You know what's extreme? Voting against the Troop Funding Bill. And more extreme than that? Never allowing it to be voted on only because a couple of 'leaders' think they might lose the vote if it were to take place." Thanks, PSLGOPL!
MOVEON MEMBERS WHIPPING RYAN BUDGET - MoveOn.org is having its members call congressional offices and ask if they oppose Rep. Paul Ryan's attempt to do whatever bad things he's doing to Medicare in his Roadmap to Gomorrah. This isn't a professional whip operation -- like the House one that really nailed that Patriot Act vote -- so take its count with some skepticism, but the MoveOn callers found both Sen. Jon Boozman (R-Ark.) and Alabama's Mike Rogers opposed to the Ryan plan. They found a bunch of others in support, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). [The whip count.]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - House Speaker John Boehner had to cancel a planned meeting with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) to discuss possible legislation for the long-term unemployed on Thursday. Instead of chatting about "99ers" - people who've exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment benefits without finding work -- Boehner visited the White House for more shutdown talks with President Obama. "We're disappointed Speaker Boehner had to cancel the meeting," Lee spokesman Joel Payne said. "We hope it can be rescheduled for next week." [HuffPost's LiveBlog]
FEDERAL WORKER POLITELY REQUESTS DIGNITY - "I am looking at the possibility of a furlough for as long as it takes for Congress to reach an agreement. It could be days or it could be weeks, but regardless of how long, I am more concerned at how much. How much will this affect my family? How much will it hurt us financially? The uncertainty is maddening as I, and my fellow federal workers, watch the stage show that is called Washington Politics gamble with our way of making a living." [HuffPost]
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RAND PAUL: REGULATING BLACK LUNG TOO PRICEY FOR BIG COAL - HuffPost's Dave Jamieson, with his maiden offering: "With American miners still succumbing to black lung disease, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has proposed a plan to reduce the number of such deaths through the stricter regulation of mining sites. But at a congressional committee meeting last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voiced concern that the new regulations may not be worth the cost to coal companies -- even though pockets of his state have been designated black lung 'hot spots' by the federal government." [HuffPost]
SPENCER BACHUS' TRIES TO MAKE A FUNNY - We believe that fake news reports are the third rail of comedy. Anyone who dares attempt them will inevitably be compared to The Onion and chances are the comparison won't be favorable. A rash of them came out of D.C. on April Fools Day and, suffice it to say, they were all REALLY unfortunate. It's the humor equivalent of trying to wear a fedora. Everyone thinks they can at one point or another but no one ever pulls it off. House Financial Services Committee Chair Spencer Bachus clearly didn't get the our memo. After Ranking Member Barney Frank attacked Bachus for misrepresenting his views on reforming Dodd-Frank by joking that a Barney Frank impersonator must be roaming the halls of Congress, Bachus retaliated with a ... ::face palm:: ... fake news report. "BREAKING: Video of Apparent Barney Frank Impersonator Surfaces!," the title of the press release Bachus' office circulated today read. "Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus announced a videotape of the apparent impersonator has surfaced. Chairman Bachus on Thursday made the videotape available to the press." The release included a video attachment of Frank making a statement that Bachus' office says backs up their claim that Frank wants to reform Dodd-Frank. Frank, in the speaker's lobby today, told reporters he believes the impersonator may still be at large.
Sarah Palin's favorability has cratered. In a new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, only 25 percent of respondents view the erstwhile Alaska Governor favorably. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed view her in a negative light. [WSJ]
GOV. WALKER DOWNPLAYING JUDICIAL ELECTION - After progressive favorite JoAnne Kloppenburg declared a razor thin (albeit upset) 204-vote victory over conservative Justice David Prosser in Tuesday's Wisconsin election, Governor Scott Walker has been trying to play down the implications of Kloppenburg's win. "You have two very different worlds in the state," Walker said at a press conference yesterdays. "You've got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else, the majority out across the state of Wisconsin. What that tells me is...Wisconsin is not a red state, it's not a blue state. In many ways, it's a purple state. And it's divided on these issues. What we're charged with having to do, I believe, is finding ways to bring this state together." Hearing Scott Walker talk about the need to bridge the divide in a moderate state is a bit like that Australian bully body slammer imploring his cohorts to use words, not fists. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
Wisconsin Democrats say they have over 150 percent of the signatures needed to trigger a recall election of state Senator Randy Hopper.
ARKANSAS HIGH COURT STRIKES DOWN GAY ADOPTION BAN - Amanda Terkel: "Arkansas' high court struck down the state's law barring same-sex couples from adopting on Thursday. In an opinion published without dissent, the court argued that the law violated individuals' right to privacy. Supporters of the law are expected to fight the ruling.
Arkansas voters approved Act 1 as a ballot measure in 2008. It prohibits unmarried couples who live together from adopting children, in effect shutting out gay and lesbian couples, who are not allowed to marry in the state. 'Act 1 directly and substantially burdens the privacy rights of 'opposite-sex and same-sex individuals' who engage in private, consensual sexual conduct in the bedroom by foreclosing their eligibility to foster or adopt children, should they choose to cohabit with their sexual partner,' concluded the court in the ruling." [HuffPost]
GEORGE ALLEN ASSUMES BLACK GUY PLAYS SPORTS - You should never judge a book by its cover. Just because George Allen looks like he is the spawn of a Vineyard Vines catalog and a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, we don't go off assuming that the guy is a racist. "NBC 4's reporter-anchor Craig Melvin is a tall African-American. Which apparently led to this exchange with former Sen. George Allen, according to Melvin's Twitter account Tuesday night: 'For the 2nd time in 5 months, fmr. gov. and sen candidate George Allen asks me, 'what position did you play?' I did not a play a sport.''... UPDATE: The son of former Redskins coach George Allen apologized to Melvin." [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - "Access Main Computer File" is a Tumblr that only posts screen shots of movie renderings of computer programs. [http://bit.ly/97Ocve]
Freshman Rep. David Rivera's staff is locked in a heated battle with Wikipedia. Marin Cogan: "On March 16 at 6:40 p.m., a Wikipedia editor with the handle 'Lmveiga' decided to do some maintenance to Rivera's Wikipedia page. First, Lmveiga removed a précis of the congressman's legislative career, replacing it with a six-point list of 'Rivera's Legislative Accomplishments,' taken directly from his campaign website. Then, Lmveiga removed the entire "controversies" section...Wikipedia editors quickly restored the controversies section. And 'Lmveiga' again deleted it. Lmveiga is the twitter handle of Rivera's press secretary, Leslie Veiga." [Politico]
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT- Tonight: Rain coming through, bringing a bit of relief to the area. Tomorrow: More rain through the day. Temperatures bearable, though. Thanks, JB!
- Next time you humping through the Red Line or the 6 Train (or whatever) at rush hour, be glad you're not one of the people in these ten videos of crowded subways. Or maybe you are. [http://bit.ly/fiw4YT]
- "Baby laughing hysterically at thing" videos are a growing fan favorite. This baby can't get enough of fake sneezes. [http://bit.ly/hvqTX3]
- Video of Nirvana's first-ever performance of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." [http://bit.ly/dXuw87]
- A jaw-droppingly detailed diorama of the Muppets stage. Oh the things people will do. [http://bit.ly/gmVdHa]
- The always entertaining George Takei's audition tape for the disastrous Spider-Man musical. [http://bit.ly/ezycmZ]
- Getting meta, in an aesthetically pleasing way: A infographic about infographics. [http://bit.ly/idBs8N]
- Man, we remember all the uproar over Mortal Kombat in the early 90s but we don't remember the game being THIS intense. [http://bit.ly/fjJjrz]
- Centuries-old stone tsunami markers in Japan indicate urge people not to build below their location. [http://bit.ly/dIRlIc]
@wexler: Amused by flurry of press conferences and breaking news alerts to report that absolutely nothing has changed in budget talks.
@pourmecoffee: I hope to at least pick up some good bargains at Crazy John Boehner's Going-Out-Of-Governance Sale
@samsteinhp: Who's having a worse April, the Red Sox or Planned Parenthood?
7:00 pm: For a $1,000 check made out to his Forging the Future committee, you can attend the Knicks/Nets game with Rep. Donald Payne. Think of it this way, $1,000 isn't that much when you realize it's the cost of three or so arena beers [Prudential Center, 165 Mulberry Street, Newark].
9:00 pm: Indie darlings The Black Lips take their brand of garage rock to the Black Cat. The Vivian Girls who we frankly thought were big enough (and AWESOME enough) to headline, open [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].
All Weekend: If you were at all offended by Ben Quayle's Congressional Correspondents Dinner speech or by his behavior in general, you'll be pleased to know there won't be much talking at his weekend fundraiser get away. It's a golf outing [Phoenix, AZ].
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