HUFFPOST HILL - Senate Does Impression Of Itself

07/06/2011 05:26 pm ET | Updated Sep 05, 2011

We give it a year until our senators roam the streets with clipboards asking passersby if they can spare a moment for charity. Eliot Spitzer has been doinked from CNN's primetime lineup (... heh, "doinked"). President Obama hosted a Twitter town hall while Joe Biden tried with all his might not to wander into a 4chan thread. And we're peeved that the president didn't respond to our question about whether he's ever watched The Wizard of Oz synced to "Dark Side of the Moon." Heavy stuff, man. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 6th, 2011:

THE SENATE SPENT THE DAY BEING MEEK - We know, we know, "You mean it's a Wednesday?" Ha ha. We get it: The Senate ALWAYS sucks. But it was especially sucky today. Harry Reid was thwarted yesterday in his attempt to bring up a resolution supporting the U.S.'s involvement in the NATO-led mission in Libya. Unable to even pass a non-binding resolution supporting America's ongoing destruction of stuff with bombs -- which is, like, AMERICA'S FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD -- the upper chamber spent A SIZABLE CHUNK OF THE DAY debating (debating!!!) a non-binding resolution asking millionaires to contribute to deficit reduction. Seriously. This is still a step up from yesterday's floor activity, in which senators showed up to register their presence for a quorum call. No word on whether Jeff Sessions is plotting a second-degree amendment clarifying that Reid's suggested tax hike is "pathetic."

While the Senate was begging rich people to maybe think about moving their money from offshore tax havens to the Treasury Department, PPP released a poll finding 80 percent of voters in Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Minnesota want taxes increased on individuals making more than $1 million annually.

SIREN: DEMOCRACY IS DYING - Tonight: "Roll Call's Amanda Becker writes that going into next year's elections, participation by taxpayers is at an all-time low, the available funds are a pittance compared with what candidates can raise themselves, and the only eligible candidates this year will probably be hard-line anti-government conservatives who wouldn't take the money anyway."

@jbendery: Just saw NYT's David Brooks pass through WH briefing room and disappear into the West Wing. Hmm.

FEDS LOOKING AT BANK LAWSUITS - Shahien Nasiripour, later tonight in HuffPost: "Federal bank regulators are scrutinizing more than 150 home loan-related lawsuits directed at lenders and mortgage servicers, underscoring the threat faced by the largest banks for faulty and improper mortgage and foreclosure practices, a top official at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will say Thursday. The revelation will likely add to large banks' woes, as the five biggest servicers -- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial -- currently face up to $30 billion in penalties from state attorneys general and federal agencies for wrongful foreclosures and other mortgage-related misdeeds." [PDF]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - It's now been two years since the United States economy started its recovery from the Great Recession spanning December 2007 to July 2009. What a sucky recovery.

Bud Meyers, a long-jobless Las Vegas bartender, has written a novel.

WE'RE IN UR PAYCHECKS, STEALIN UR WAGES - Late last year, advocates for low-wage workers in Florida's Palm Beach County made what they thought was a modest request of their county commissioners: pass a wage-theft ordinance that would make it easier for working people to reclaim unpaid wages from employers who stiff them. But that seemingly simple request is now in limbo, as Florida's business interests have begun campaigning strongly against such ordinances. Some local clergy in Palm Beach are wondering what's so controversial about making sure working people are paid what's owed them. "I had a much higher opinion of our business community," said Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church Deacon Peter Mazzella, who's part of a coalition of religious leaders advocating for the law. "Being paid for one's efforts -- the salary that's agreed upon for one's work -- is something very foundational to our whole economic system." [HuffPost's Dave Jamieson]

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

OBAMA HOSTS #BORINGTWEETS TOWN HALL - And it wasn't boring just because he didn't answer our question about whether Bill Daley really smells of lavender and freshly-baked cookies. The tweets the president did receive were relatively manageable questions that had passed through the screening process. Also, despite a torrent of ironic questions ("Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"), the president didn't answer any real ha-has. Republicans tried to swamp the #AskObama hashtag with politically embarrassing questions. "With 9.1% unemployment & 'shovel ready' jobs a bust, will you admit the 'stimulus' was a mistake? http://bit.ly/oTK17f #askobama," Boehner tweeted. "We're excited the President is taking questions on jobs and the economy," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck told Jen Bendery. "He's got a lot of questions to answer -- starting with, 'Where are the jobs?'" [HuffPost]

@samyoungman: love it. "eventually the speaker will see the light" followed by "here's a question from Neo"

@ShepherdCNN: Obama answers at least twice as many questions at twitter @townhall than he usually answers at news conf in same time.

MSM May Be Not Be Interested In 14th Amendment, But Twitter Is - A week after saying he wouldn't put on his con law professor hat and discuss using the 14th Amendment's capacity to solve the debt ceiling impasse, the President put the chapeau back on, leaving the door wide open. "I don't think we should even get to the constitutional issue," the president said in response to a twuestion about the possibility. "Congress has a responsibility to make sure we pay our bills. We've always paid them in the past. The notion that the U.S. is going to default on its debt is just irresponsible, and my expectation is that over the next week to two weeks that Congress, working with the White House, comes up with a deal that solves our deficit, solves our debt problems and makes sure that our full faith and credit is protected." [HuffPost]

Bruce Bartlett, the most outspoken proponent of the 14th Amendment exit from the default freeway, has been invited by Nancy Pelosi to address a Democratic panel tomorrow at noon in Cannon, ratcheting up what Obama called "the constitutional issue." [FDL]

FrumForum is leading with push back against the 14th Amendment line

Because L.A. doesn't have enough white dudes in cardigans with funny-colored glasses, Tim Fernholz has been named GOOD's new business editor

REP. TIM SCOTT THREATENS IMPEACHMENT IF OBAMA INVOKES 14TH AMENDMENT - In a classic Washington moment today, a member of Congress threatened to invoke his chamber's constitutional right to impeach the president if the president invokes the Constitution. "This president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us. My position is that is an impeachable act from my perspective," the South Carolina lawmaker said about the president potentially citing the 14th Amendment -- which states that "The validity of the public debt of the United States...shall not be questioned." -- to end the debt ceiling stand-off. We heard Rosa DeLauro recently drove through an intersection on a yellow light. Someone contact The Hague. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel, via Patch]

DC Mayor Vince Gray is not scared of Obama, will go forward with the city's medical pot program despite administration threats. [WTOP]

GOVERNMENT'S TOP ANTITRUST LAWYER TAKES JOB WITH OTHER SIDE - Thomas Catan and Gina Chon: "Christine Varney, the assistant attorney general who spearheaded the Obama administration's drive to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement, plans to step down next month to join the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP...As a Cravath partner, Ms. Varney will work on antitrust issues related to mergers and acquisitions. Cravath is one of the top M&A law firms in New York, working on deals such as the $3 billion sale of retailer J. Crew Group Inc. to a group of private-equity firms including TPG Capital, and on last year's merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines." [WSJ]

TAMMY DUCKWORTH RUNNING FOR CONGRESS AGAIN - Tammy Duckworth, the Iraq war veteran, former Veterans Affairs assistant secretary and erstwhile congressional candidate who lost her Illinois House race in 2006, will file papers with the Federal Election Commission this week. She will seek to unseat Republican Joe Walsh, who currently represents the recently redrawn 8th Congressional District. It is still unclear whether Walsh will run for reelection in the 8th or challenge Randy Hultgren for the Republican nomination for the 14th district, which might prove to be friendlier to a Republican. "My father served in Vietnam, my brother served in the Coast Guard, and my husband continues to serve on active duty because our family believes in this great nation," Duckworth said in a statement. "There are plenty of folks in Washington who serve political ideology and personal ambition. I want to continue serving our country." Duckworth lost her legs and the use of one of her arms when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq in 2004. Republicans will no doubt paint her as a proactive hater of America, seeing as how she isn't a white male Republican businessman with strong opinions on offshore tax shelters. They've tarnished the reputation of an amputee Democrat before. They can do it again. It's kind of the Republican special move (Hit A then B then Z then summon your mudslinging spell, etc). [WaPo]

BACHMANN SURGES TO SECOND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE POLL - A new survey from PPP finds that Mitt Romney leads Granite State primary voters with 25 percent support and Michele Bachmann coming in second with an impressive 18 percent. That's a 14-point gain over the last three months. Among self-identified Tea Party voters, Bachmann commands an impressive 25 percent with Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney tied for second with 16 percent apiece. This is basically a way of saying that we should all get super excited for March 2012 when it's just Bachmann and Romney duking it out in some gloriously awkward debates. [PPP]

Mitt Romney has fallen far short of his goal to raise $50 million in the first half of 2011. His campaign today disclosed that the former Massachusetts governor had, in fact, only raised $18.25. Oops [Politico's Jonathan Martin]

Because America needs another reason to make dick jokes, CNN has canceled Eliot Spitzer's CNN program. The struggling network will replace Spitzer's "In The Arena" with Anderson Cooper 360, which will move to the 8:00 pm slot. Erin Burnett will be given a new show in the 7:00 pm spot, bumping "Jon King USA" to 6:00 pm and moving "The Situation Room" to 4:00 pm. Fans of Parker Spitzer will love the ex-governor's next venture: That Guy From Public Access Television Who Sings Opera In His Underpants Spitzer. [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Corgis -- apparently HuffPost Hill's favorite breed of dog -- stage a jailbreak.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: While the first line of storms passed through the area earlier this afternoon (and left D.C. mostly undisturbed), there's a good chance we see a line coming through. The District will be left unscathed, a trend due to this year's lack of direct hits. But we'll see some storms to the west and south. Tomorrow: Similar to day, with hot and sticky sun followed by scattered storms. Thanks, JB!


- FIND ME THE FASTEST LAWN MOWERS IN AMERICA ... and The Daily delivers. [http://huff.to/q37txK]

- Chicago canceled its fireworks display this year but that didn't stop Chicagoans from launching illegal fireworks like there was no tomorrow. [http://huff.to/mVGFHs]

- For you "Mad Men" fans who can't wait until next year for Season 5, try checking out
"The Hour" on BBC America. It's set in a 1950s British TV newsroom. [http://huff.to/qxhuTx]

- A massive dust storm blanketed Phoenix. Here's some amazing footage of, as one YouTube commenter put it, "...and the dust said:'OMNOMNOM!'"[http://huff.to/qgRuCW]

- "Customer returns three-legged duck" is not the name of a Victorian-era joke but something that happened. [http://huff.to/pMLM3M]

- A group of Canadians have been bested by some Americans who prepared the world's largest hamburger. [http://huff.to/on9Tar]

- Speaking of big things, paleontologists have uncovered a 2.5 million year old fossil that apparently belonged to a wombat the size of a car. [http://huff.to/oEbWuX]

- How to make an origami dog in case you're jonesing for an origami dog. [http://huff.to/nUSqto]


@jmhattem: Isnt that what Twitter's for? RT @TheFix You want a live blog of the #askobama Twitter town hall? We've got you covered. ow.ly/5xZfI

@OsamaInHell: Why is Guantanamo Bay still open? RT @HuffPostHill: How wicked awesome would it be if @OsamaInHell asks a question? #AskObama

@TheTweetOfGod: I hope today's "Twitter Town Hall" remaineth civil, but in today's partisan climate I fear it may grow caps-locked.



6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Heather Wilson is the beneficiary of a wine tasting fundraiser. Only $100 suggested contribution, so it's probably pretty cheap wine [Capitol Hill Tower, 1000 New Jersey Ave SE].

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: What better way to honor Mike Ross and his small part in the current do-nothing congress than watching the Chicago Cubs play baseball? Congress and the Cubs ... you know? [Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].


8:30 am - 9:30 am: Joseph Crowley, Richard Neal, Jim Himes and John Carney attend a "DCCC Business Council Breakfast." Maybe it's just us, but a one hour breakfast isn't really long enough to get to know four different lawmakers [Democratic National Headquarters, 430 South Capitol Street SE].

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Nita Lowery attends a fundraiser lunch with "the Labor Community." That conjures an image of Nita Lowery sitting at a giant boardroom table across from dozens of construction workers. Probably not [National Democratic Club Townhouse, 40 Ivy Street SE].

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