Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Senate Punk-Off Continues to Escalate

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President Sarah Palin may not bring peace and prosperity as our next president, but she might nominate the producer of "Faces of Death" to be CIA director. If our write-in campaign succeeds, C-SPAN will change its go-to quorum call music from Haydn's Quartet No. 7 in A major, Op. 2, No. 1 to the Baha Men. House Republicans reminded women that their bodies are no less autonomous than gay people's bedrooms. ¿Y ha sido lastimado en un accidente? Llame al 1-800-LAWYER-1 para que el abogado famoso, Charlie Crist, luche por usted. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 4th, 2011:

DEBT CEILING TALKS BEGIN TOMORROW - Like the resident of a 7,000 square foot Sarasota McMansion, the United States of America is threatening not to pay back loans that were made to it because, well ... there's actually no reasonable way to finish that sentence. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is meeting tomorrow at the Blair House to hash out a set of conditions before signing off on paying back money they've already spent. HuffPost Hill is meanwhile refusing to pay its credit card bills. Just because. [Sam Stein]

DEMS TO FORCE OIL SUBSIDIES VOTES - Once again, Senate Democrats are resorting to the legislative version of taking your adversary's hand, thrusting it at his face and screaming "STOP HITTING YOURSELF! STOP HITTING YOURSELF!!!" Tomorrow, Harry Reid will force a vote on subsidies to the oil industry in an attempt to embarrass Republicans for supporting tax breaks for some of America's most profitable companies. The play is intended to coincide with a House vote on expanding domestic drilling to include wilderness areas, sensitive shoreline and, presumably, the National Mall. This comes as both parties are readying votes on Paul Ryan's budget and the one originally proposed by President Obama, an attempt by each party to force the other into supporting divisive items. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

HOUSE PASSES SWEEPING ANTI-ABORTION PACKAGE - Women, that most cunning and nefarious special interest group, is at long last losing its stranglehold on American politics. In a 251-175 vote, the lower chamber this afternoon passed H.R. 3, a bill that would dismantle the monopoly these political malefactors have over their own bodies. Here's Laura Bassett -- one of those evildoers -- with a more thorough description: "H.R. 3, also known as the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act,' would go beyond making the Hyde Amendment, which has already banned federally-funded abortions for the past 30 years, a permanent federal law. The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), would also enact strict procedural requirements for private insurance companies that cover abortions and deny tax credits to small businesses that purchase health insurance plans offering abortion coverage. Eighty-seven percent of private insurance plans currently include such coverage." [HuffPost]

WHITE HOUSE OPTS NOT TO RELEASE OSAMA CORPSE PHOTO - The White House is not releasing the photographic evidence of Joseph Stalin's new bunkmate's earthly remains. During his press briefing, Jay Carney released the president's statement on the matter during his 60 Minutes interview to be aired this Sunday. "It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool," the president said. This sort of contradicts Al Pacino lookalike Leon Panetta, who said that there wasn't "any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public." Of course, Panetta's statement may yet come true, as many expect the photo to be leaked. Just wait, at some point Ed Henry will eventually speculate about bin Laden's demise and then ... PRESTO: More dead terrorist than you can shake a stick at. [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

@SarahPalinUSA: Show photo as warning to others seeking America's destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama;it's part of the mission

PALIN 2012: You Ever Seen A Dead Body Before?

SENATE GOP WHIP CONTEST COOLING OFF - Running tonight in Roll Call form David Drucker: "The contest for Senate Republican Whip has chilled following a backlash of rank-and-file GOP Senators, who are upset that a very public intraparty power struggle might sew discord and alienate voters in the midst of a national fiscal crisis."

Chellie Pingree launched a petition demanding Obama start leaving Afghanistan now that that guy is dead. [HuffPost]

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

HOUSE GOP LAUNCHES ENERGY TASK FORCE WITH DUMBEST NAME IMAGINABLE - House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, in conjunction with Energy Chair Fred Upton and Natural Resources Chair Doc Hastings, has launched a new energy policy task force: the House Energy Action Team or HEAT for short. Just to make it plain: The party that has vigorously denied the existence of global warming has named its new energy panel "HEAT." Short of the Democrats starting an anti-grade school bullying campaign, "Democrats Working to End Elementary Bullying (DWEEB)," it doesn't get much worse than this. "HEAT will consist of a committed group of House members to promote Republican energy policies that will address rising energy prices, create thousands of good jobs and enhance our national security by promoting energy independence for America," McCarthy's spokesperson said in a statement. "HEAT will clearly demonstrate that House Republicans are on the side of the small businesses and families who are increasingly harmed by record high energy prices." *Face palm*

C-SPAN is considering updating the music it plays during quorum calls and other breaks in legislative activity. The folks at Roll Call, jokesters that they are, have put together a video testing out some chamber music alternatives. [Roll Call]

SENATE GOP FAILS TO DERAIL JUDICIAL NOMINATION - The Senate today voted 63 to 33 to limit debate on U.S. District Court judge nominee John McConnell, thwarting Republican efforts to torpedo his nomination. Spurred on by an unprecedented objection from the Chamber of Commerce, Republicans claimed McConnell's ties to the trial industry -- a historical Democratic ally -- make him unfit for the position. His nomination passed 50 to 44. [LA Times]

GINGRICH AIDE: NEWT WILL BE A CANDIDATE BY NEXT WEEK - The patron saint of using presidential campaign speculation and tax-exempt charities to advance professionally WILL run for president, according to one of his staffers. Rick Tyler, a spokesman for the former speaker of the House told Jim Galloway that Gingrich will declare before a Georgia state GOP meeting on May 13. "By the time Newt speaks to the Georgia convention, he'll be a candidate," Tyler said. We'll believe it when we see it (meaning being a "candidate" for a job at Skadden doesn't count). [AJC]

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Gabrielle Giffords with a comfortable lead over Jeff Flake in a hypothetical Senate match-up. Giffords -- who continues to heal at such an astonishing rate that we're inclined to believe she'll evolve into an amorphous being of pure thought by early next year -- leads Flake 48 percent to 41 percent. What's more, Giffords commands strong favorables among independents at 64 to 12 percent. Even 36 percent of Republicans have a positive impression of her, slightly more than the 30 percent who don't. If nothing else, the low number of Republicans willing to express an opinion means some 20 to 30 percent of them will feel too guilty to vote against Giffords. [PPP]

BLACKWATER NAMES JOHN ASHCROFT AS ITS ETHICS ADVISOR - This reminds us of the time we contracted Lynndie England to teach HuffPost DC about workplace etiquette. The man who championed the Patriot Act, accused administration opponents of aiding and abetting terrorism and unleashed this massive pile of crap on society is now advising Xe, formerly Blackwater, on ethics. Xe has named Ashcroft as the new chair of its "subcommittee on governance." "This is a company with a strong history of service to its country, and a reputation of best-in-class offerings to its public and private customers," Ashcroft said in a statement about a company synonymous with some of the worst wartime violations in recent memory. "I look forward to helping USTC enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward." [Wired's Spencer Ackerman]

HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT? CHARLIE CRIST WILL FIGHT. FOR. YOU. - He used to be the chief executive of one of America's largest, most diverse and politically volatile states. Some wondered aloud whether the White House was in his future. Now he's one step away from cutting daytime advertisements for that catheter delivery company. In a new ad being run in the Sunshine State, former Governor Charlie Crist shills for dial-a-lawyer firm Morgan & Morgan. If that weren't bad enough, he's not listed as "Governor Charlie Crist." Instead, the Chyron reads "Attorney Charlie Crist," as if he's best known for filing class action suits against your local hospital. What's more, the backdrop answers the question of what they did with the early-90s Entertainment Tonight set. "If you need help sorting out your legal issues as a result of an accident or insurance dispute," Crist says, "visit me at Charlie@forthepeople.com. Morgan and Morgan: For The People." Cool. [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Despite the events of Sunday, this dad catching a foul ball WHILE holding his daughter might be the most American thing to happen this year. [http://bit.ly/iUaVWb]

CARLY'S CANNABIS CORNER (BIN LADEN EDITION) - Carly Schwartz: "Reporters have scrambled to collect details about the Pakistani compound that comfortably shielded Osama bin Laden for years, and today, CNN's Nic Robertson unearthed Cannabis Corner's favorite discovery yet: Pot plants! That's right, patches of the leafy green goodness -- high grade, as it turns out -- sprouted just yards away from the Terrorist In Chief's luxury home amidst decidedly more humdrum crops like cabbage and potatoes. While the blogosphere had a field day speculating on whether bin Laden smoked the weed to ease his well-known kidney problems, Cannabis Corner prefers to believe he was hosting rousing board game nights in the basement. What aspiring world-dominator doesn't love a good game of Risk now and again?" Thanks, Carly!

KEVIN THE INTERN'S 'THIS DAY IN HISTORY' - May 4, 1970: Ohio National Guard Takes Suppression Too Far : In just thirteen seconds, Ohio's National Guard killed four Kent State students and wounded nine. The U.S. had denied expanding the Vietnam war into Cambodia, but it came out in late April that bombing operations had taken place. Several protests were held at the university, and 1,000 Ohio Guardsmen were sent to enforce a ban on demonstrations. A trial in 1974 dropped all charges against the Guardsmen, but from the point of the incident onward, no National Guard unit wanted to repeat that incident, and public opinion on the Vietnam war began to sink. Thanks, KB!

The U.S. bombed a country without telling the public or getting congressional approval? Glad we don't do that anymore, KB!

COMFORT FOOD

- A flip book made of popping balloons. It'll make sense once you watch it. [http://bit.ly/jXDU9v]

- Reimagining Kafka's The Metamorphosis as The Meowmorphosis. [http://chzb.gr/kwoEu4]

- Will Ferrell, playing George W. Bush, responds to the recent news out of Pakistan ... uh ... his yard. [http://bit.ly/jjSZ3l]

- If you're going through a divorce, best to have a sense of humor about the thing. [http://bit.ly/m3ibO2]

- A stylish and precious (emphasis on precious) live-action performance of tweets. [http://bit.ly/lq3bi3]

- May the 4th be with you: Alpaca stormtroopers. [http://bzfd.it/kgLyob]

- This exceptionally annoying music video really should make Finland the next target in the War on Terror. [http://bit.ly/i6pSaH]

- Epic Meal Time makes a grilled cheese tower with DJ DeadMau5. [http://bit.ly/l5kPFm]

TWITTERAMA

@kasie: Jokes, already. RT @ricanderson Guy goes into bar & orders a bin Laden. Bartender: "What's a bin Laden?" "Two shots and a splash of water."

@OsamaInHell: I can't believe there's a local Patch editor here

@BenjySarlin: God just like a liberal to shoot Bin Laden in the face, dump his body to the sharks, then pussy-foot all over the place.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm: G K's BBQ BDAY!G K Butterfield -- a week late (we checked) -- hosts an "Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Birthday Bash." If you're willing to drop $1,000 on a candidate, is the food really going to make a difference? What's the threshold dollar amount at which people are swayed by that? $500? $100? [Glover Park Group, 1025 F Street NW, 9th Floor]

TOMORROW

8:00 am: Eating cod at eight in the morning might not be the most palatable thing imaginable. But currying favor with the chairman of the HELP committee? Yum. Say hi to Tom Harkin for us. And try the cod [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW #175].

8:00 am: If eating cod for breakfast doesn't tickle your fancy, why not sample the delicacies at the Dutko Group? John Barrasso will be [Dutko Group, 412 First Street SE, Suite 100].

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Why in God's name would you pay $500 to go on a run? Allen West must have the answer, because he's hosting a "Run West" fundraiser. It's a little condescending that $1,500 donors are "Marathoners," $1,000 donors are "Joggers" and $500 donors are measly "Treadmills." They gave you $500! That's so passive aggressive! [Reception and run staging ground: Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE]

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Filed by Eliot Nelson