HUFFPOST HILL - Geithner Reportedly Ready To Drop The Mic

06/30/2011 05:20 pm ET | Updated Aug 30, 2011
  • Eliot Nelson Eliot Nelson is a politics reporter and editor in the Huffington Post's D.C.bue=reau

Anthony Weiner has resigned and Mark Halperin-gate will eventually fade from our minds. At that point, reporters will comb through debt ceiling reports for dick jokes. The White House announced President Obama will host a Twitter town hall, meaning a "Tumblr Lolz Cat Photo-Off" is the only social media meet-up the commander-in-chief hasn't attempted yet. And Van Jones, Media Matters and George Soros waited eagerly for Glenn Beck's last Fox News show to end so they could launch their worldwide media government takeover. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 30th, 2011:

REPORT: GEITHNER PLANNING TO LEAVE AFTER DEBT CEILING IMPASSE RESOLVED - Hans Nichols: "Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has signaled to White House officials that he's considering leaving the administration after President Barack Obama reaches an agreement with Congress to raise the national debt limit, according to three people familiar with the matter. Geithner hasn't made a final decision and won't do so until the debt ceiling issue has been resolved, according to one of the people. All spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private discussions...Geithner, 49, has told associates that he needs a break from government service after dealing with the turmoil that followed the collapse of Wall Street firms including Bear Stearns Cos. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., first as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then as Obama's treasury secretary. Family considerations also are playing a role in Geithner's deliberations, according to the people. His son has decided to finish his final year of high school in New York." [Bloomberg]

Hey, you know what is located in New York and isn't considered government service?

GEITHNER CITED 14TH AMENDMENT IN DEFAULT TALKS IN MAY - Ever since Thomas Jefferson agreed to have the federal government absorb the states' debt in exchange for setting the nation's capital in a hot, nasty part of Maryland filled with swamps, swarms of mosquitoes, expensive brunch spots and Chris Cillizza, the sanctity of the national debt has been more or less accepted as absolute. In fact, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution stipulates that "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." President Obama sidestepped the issue during his press conference yesterday, telling reporters that, "I'm not going to put my constitutional law professor hat on here." His Treasury secretary, however, has no problem with a metaphorical chapeau. Geithner whipped out a copy of the Constitution during a Politico-hosted interview on May 25th and read the passage. "I think there are some people who are pretending not to understand it, who think there's leverage for them in threatening a default," he said. "I don't understand it as a negotiating position. I mean really think about it, you're going to say that-- can I read you the 14th amendment?" [HuffPost]

Michael Abromowicz wrote a paper in 1997 arguing that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional.

DAVID PETRAEUS CONFIRMED AS CIA DIRECTOR - The four-star general's nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency was approved 94-0 today by the Senate. An impressive margin, but it wasn't the perfect game that Leon Panetta threw when he was voted 100-0 to run the Pentagon We'll call it a complete game shutout. [AFP]

Good things can happen: Folks serving disproportionate crack cocaine sentences may be eligible for release, per the Sentencing Commission.

Glenn Beck's last show on Fox News aired today. As usual, there were accusations of lefty fascism/socialism/etc and Glenn got emotional. To our friends at Media Matters, we're told that stamp collecting is a good way to pass the time. Or crocheting, maybe? Hang in there.

@glennbeck: CNN has holograms, we had a chalkboard. And food. And tears. #FoxFinale #GBTV

STAFFERS TO GATHER FOR DEBT CEILING PARTY - It wouldn't be a potentially cataclysmic political event if Hill staffers didn't use the occasion to ironically get drunk (on a similar note, we estimate roughly 5,000 intra-office affairs were consummated in the lead-up to the budget agreement). A staffer sent us an invite to an Yvette Clarke staff-hosted bipartisan "Debt Ceiling Hall Party" with the tagline "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Staffers are encouraged to bring delicacies from their districts. There's no mention of alcohol but ... c'mon. It's set for August 2nd at 6:00 pm in Longworth. The staffer joked that it it would've been funnier if the party were titled "Raise the Roof." Agreed. [Invite]

STEPHEN COLBERT SMITES DEMOCRACY - A triumphant Stephen Colbert announced to a cheering crowd of fans outside the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday that the commission had approved the formation of his Super PAC, named, appropriately, "Colbert Super PAC." "I am here to represent your voice so you can all hear what you have to say through my mouth," Colbert said to laughs before announcing to cheers, "I'm sorry to say, we won!" [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - After this week, workers laid off through no fault of their own will not be eligible for any of the extended unemployment benefits layoff victims have received from the federal government since 2008. States typically provide the first 26 weeks of unemployment insurance and Congress has provided extensions during every recession since the 1950s. But the current extensions, which give the unemployed an unprecedented 73 additional weeks of aid in some states, are set to expire at the beginning of January. Remember what Jim McDermott said in December? "The unemployment benefits -- we're gonna be fighting that one this time next year, right in the middle of when [Republicans] are in control. What chance do we have then? Zero." [HuffPost]

How I Got A Job After Two Years Without One - "After being unemployed for two years, I am working again. But before you start jumping up and down with joy on my behalf, let me add: instead of being one of the nearly 14 million Americans who are unemployed, I am now one of the 8.5 million Americans who are under-employed. That is, I am working part time, earning about a third of what I was making before I was laid off in early 2009." [HuffPost]

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RICK PERRY GAUGING AMERICA'S APPETITE FOR CRAZY - Everything is bigger in Texas ... except for the political espionage. That's still pretty low-key. Jon Ward reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry is keeping a close eye on Mitt Romney's fundraising totals and is apparently dispatching operatives to measure Michele Bachmann's. "As Bachmann took questions, a local political operative named Joe St. John --- a former Mike Huckabee supporter who identified himself Wednesday as working for Perry -- moved around the room, taking photographs with a digital camera. St. John, who works for local and state political candidates, could not be reached for comment. His presence and affiliation with Perry was confirmed by others at the event. It was evident that St. John was gathering front line intelligence for the Texas governor about Bachmann's momentum, as well as potentially scoping out the contours of what a Perry event in the area would look like." Many Bothans died to bring Rick Perry this information. [HuffPost]

CORNYN BASHES OBAMA FUNDRAISERS BETWEEN HIS OWN FUNDRAISERS - Sam Stein: "Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) has been particularly scornful of the president for hitting the fundraising circuit, going so far as to say he thought Obama 'has diminished' the office of the presidency for giving campaign like speeches about the debt ceiling while heading to Philadelphia to raise money for his reelection campaign. It would be a seemingly more effective argument if Cornyn wasn't doing a bit of fundraising himself. The Texas Republican, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, is set to attend a reception for Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.) at the NRSC's headquarters from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m." This is the stuff that makes life pointless. [HuffPost]

MARK HALPERIN CALLS OBAMA 'A DICK' ... EVERYONE LOSES IT - On today's "Morning Joe" -- MSNBC's rise-and-shine program that showcases members of Washington's intellectual leisure class and their love of Starbucks, business-casual attire and PG-level banter -- Time reporter and MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin dared to call President Obama a "dick." "Are we running the seven-second delay today?" Halperin asked. "I wanted to characterize how I thought the president behaved." Then, after fifteen seconds of giddy encouragement from hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Halperin LET LOOSE. "I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday," he said. Scarborough and Brzezinski immediately erupted into a sort of adult version of tee-hee-heeing and Halperin awkwardly chuckled as he appeared to tense up so hard that the circulation to his folded hands probably cut off. Twitter exploded, Halperin later apologized and Scarborough tried to defuse the whole thing with a lot of nervous joke-making. After the program, MSNBC suspended Halperin and Time issued a public apology and rebuked the reporter. "Mark Halperin's comments on air this morning were inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time's views," the statement released by the publication read. "We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable. Mark has appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter and on The Page." David Axelrod responded to Greg Sergent by saying that he disagreed "with his analysis." [HuffPost]

@katephillips: NYT's is now 'derogatory remark.' RT @ethanklapper: NYT calls Halperin's comment a "slur." Daily Beast calls it a "diss." ....

In its write-up of Obama-is-a-dick-gate, the Times originally didn't use the "D" word. It was later updated to include the entire quote from Halperin, "dick" included. In our mind, Brian Stelter and Jeremy Peters actually wrote the original lede with the word "douchenozzle," giggled to themselves, high-fived and then wrote the Times-appropriate version. [NYT]

SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS BACK - The dicks on Wall Street aren't content to make fat commissions and bonuses for losing their clients money. They want Social Security, too. A proposal to slow the growth of payments, which accumulates into a giant cut over time, is back on the table.

MINNESOTA LAWMAKERS LOCKED IN BUDGET SHOWDOWN - Right next door to Wisconsin, where a budget showdown crippled the state government and depleted Governor Scott Walker's political capital, Minnesota lawmakers are facing off over how to resolve a $5 billion budget gap. "[Governor Mark] Dayton is proposing progressive income tax increases to fix the state budget, which faces a huge gap over the next two years, while the GOP is demanding further spending cuts. Both sides said they were attempting to compromise. But time is running out, and even if an agreement is reached Thursday, it may not come soon enough to avoid a partial shutdown. If the shutdown occurs, "It's the largest single layoff that's ever occurred in the state of Minnesota," said Jim Monroe, head of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE). Monroe estimates that more than 8,000 of his union's members would be temporarily out of a job, and the effects on the state as a whole would be 'almost unimaginable.'" [HuffPost]

Gawker uncovered a Nixon strategy memo from the early 1970s. The memo, titled "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" and written by then Nixon aide (and now Fox News honcho) Roger Ailes and other advisers, outlines a strategy to combat supposed liberal/Democratic bias in the media. It's prescient, to say the least. "Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit -- watch -- listen. The thinking is done for you." [Gawker]

MISSOURI SENATE CANDIDATE: 2+2 = 3 (AND VICTORY) - Former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman sent out a fundraising email blast encouraging supporters to donate to her campaign for Claire McCaskill's seat. See if you can find what's wrong here: "I need your help TODAY to defeat McCaskill! I need 1000 friends to contribute $100 each to raise $10,000 by midnight tonight. That will send a strong message to McCaskill to STOP THE MADNESS." Here's video of the candidate talking about her training as an economist.

OBAMA TO HOST TWITTER TOWN HALL - The White House announced today -- via Twitter, of course -- that it will host its first-ever "Twitter town hall" on July 6th. "BREAKING: 1st Twitter @townhall w/ Pres Obama at the WH on 7/6 @ 2ET. #AskObama your Qs on the economy & jobs:" the administration tweeted. President Obama has already held digital townhalls over YouTube and Facebook, so the decision to branch out into the microblogging service comes as no surprise. How the commander-in-chief will handle such hardball twestions as, "Hi, I've found really great deals on the iPad 2!" and "BECUZ UR RUINIGN TEH ECONOMY W/ UR STUPID SOCIALEST POLICIES" will keep Washington insiders buzzing for the next week. [TechCrunch]

IT'S HAPPENING - @RuPaul: RuPaul For President - Drag For America!

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Bruce Springsteen's eulogy for his longtime sax man, Clarence Clemons. []

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: It's quiet, as we're experiencing some beautiful high-pressure-inspired weather. Temperatures for the next few evenings will be in the high 80s and clear -- a 72-hour clear streak is expected. And yes, that includes tomorrow's 88-degree day. Oh yeah, there's a tropical storm. Let's say "hi" to Arlene. She lasted about a day before slamming into Mexico. It'll die off soon, and we'll look forward to... Bret. Yes, that's Bret with one "t," which makes him seem like a dick ... I apologize for calling that weather system that name. It's not a pro forma apology. It's heartfelt. It was a mistake, and I will never compare Bret to the male appendage ever again. Thanks, JB!


- Well, it took ten years, but "The Matrix A Capella" is finally here. Rest easy, kids. [PUBLICATION]

- Musical furniture, for the person who absolutely has tohave some kind of stimulation when not in front of a computer. []

- Peter Serafinowicz cut a creepy but hypnotic fake commercial for KFC. Not "comforting," but it's about "food." []

- "Six Pets Who Love Watching TV" chronicles the softening of our domesticated animals' minds. []

- Injured penguin learns how to walk again. Prepare your heart for phase 1 of melting. []

- The Wikileaks' Mastercard spoof video is both amusing and a testament to how Julian Assange's ego is reaching Bono-like levels. []

- Every Michael Bay movie, condensed into a handy one-minute video. []

- "Walking for Kisses" fuses viral videos and performance art in a really creepy (but kind of amusing) way. []


@daveweigel: Our culture is like 3 years away from a pundit saying "HERE'S what I thought of that speech" and then farting

@rainnwilson: Dear @NewtGingrich: because of the many Newt/Schrute rhyme options, I humbly offer my services as your new campaign manager.

@NewtGinrich: @rainnwilson We have a campaign manager. What about assistant TO the campaign manager?

@LEBassett: It's probably refreshing to be called a dick every once in a while when you're used to people blowing sunshine up your ass all day.



5:30 pm - 8:00 pm: If you find yourself in the H Street NE area, head to the main drag for ART Ventures on H Street, where visitors to the area's participating art galleries will get their "passport" stamped. Each stamp equals a two-percent discount to various H Street restaurants (good ones, too!) [H Street NE].

7:00 pm: Dean Heller is back with another fundraiser. Hey, House money can't win Senate elections, y'know? [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE]

8:45 pm: If you're looking for a good date activity, the Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Film Series screens Shakespeare in Love. If that sort of thing isn't to your liking, they're playing The Social Network next week [100 Tingey Plaza SE].

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