Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Court Gives 2009 Republicans A Big Win

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Americans might view their pets as a "last resort" in this economically volatile time, but they don't blame President Obama for it. There's a good chance that Herman Cain's favorite poetry anthology is "Now That's What I Call Music!" And an appellate court ruled against the individual mandate, which was the thing that was destroying America last year (this year it's tax increases on people with seven-figure incomes). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 12th, 2011:

ANOTHER HEALTH CARE REFORM COURT RULING: THIS ONE FOR THE GOP - We're losing track of them ourselves so don't feel bad if you have absolutely no idea what's going on (not that reading this fart joke/puppy video digest will really help that problem ... btw, have you seen this ADORABLE puppy video?). In a two-to-one decision, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause but that the rest of HCR can stand as is. One of the judges who voted down the individual mandate was a CLINTON-appointed Democrat (New Dems!!! FTW!!!) and the one dissenter was a REAGAN-nominated Republican, who Clinton must've noticed becoming a flaming lefty on the bench and so elevated him to the circuit court. "Quite simply, the majority would presume to sit as a superlegislature, offering ways in which Congress could have legislated more efficaciously or more narrowly," dissenting Judge Stanley Marcus wrote, apparently unaware that the Super Congress is already staffed up. "This approach ignores the wide regulatory latitude afforded to Congress, under its Commerce Clause power, to address what in its view are substantial problems, and it misapprehends the role of a reviewing court. As nonelected judicial officers, we are not afforded the opportunity to rewrite statutes we don't like, or to craft a legislative response more sharply than the legislative branch of government has chosen." [TPM]

HCAN LOVES THE RULING - HCAN, the White House affiliated movement-in-a-box that came together to fight for health care reform, apparently still exists. And it likes the ruling, highlighting that it cleaved the mandate from the rest of the act. "The 11th Circuit corrects the lower court's extraordinary judicial overreach and upholds the major benefits and consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision makes clear that the courts will not undo health care reform...As for the individual responsibility provision, four courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, found the law constitutional."

Sure, President Obama's national approval rating would make Spencer Pratt scoff but at least Americans don't blame him for the economy!. A McClatchy/Marist poll finds that 59 percent of registered voters don't blame the president for their current Ramen-and-Pibb Xtra diets and newfound ability to look busy in a coffee shop at 2:30 pm on a Tuesday. Hope! [Marist]

BITTER LAZY OVERPAID BUREAUCRAT STARTS THE WEEKEND RIGHT - HuffPost Hill's own BLOB, who'd stop giving a coworker CPR if the clock stuck five, sent us her second update. "I worked from home today (a.k.a. started a long weekend): Stayed in bed until 10am.. Had a lovely breakfast on the patio at my neighborhood coffee shop.. Skimmed through a heated 63-email exchange between coworkers arguing semantics on one sentence in a 50-page report that no one is probably going to read, anyway.. Made the long trek up to REI in the pedestrian-unfriendly Rockville and jaywalked across a busy 6-lane highway, a close substitute for the thrill of skipping conference calls.. Made some personal phone calls on my government-issued blackberry (my friends and family pay taxes, so it's technically their phone and thus my obligation to call them from it).. Now I'm off to quickly hit the gym before meeting a BLUR (bitter, lazy, underpaid reporter) to enjoy the beautiful weather with some early afternoon drinks. Percentage of the day spent actually doing work: 0.5. Percentage of that work that could have been done by someone making less than half my salary: 100. Probability of going to work late on Monday: medium." Thanks, BLOB!

BEST GAY GOP REP STORY YET - We usually resist linking to stories of closeted Republicans humiliating themselves after an ill-advised dive into the Craigslist pool, but this one's just too good. The sister of an 18-year-old that an Indiana state representative (allegedly) tried to get with wound up with the guy's phone. And his wife called. Hilarity stained with heartbreak ensued. Indianapolis Star: Megan Gibson said that on the drive back, she began receiving a series of calls on the BlackBerry, including one from a woman who said she was Hinkle's wife. "I was like, 'Your husband is gay,'" Megan said. "And then she was like, 'You have the wrong person.' " Megan read her the email address: phinkle46 @comcast.net. The line went silent. "Just for a couple seconds," Megan Gibson said, "and the first thing she said was, 'Please don't call the police.'" [IndyStar]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Monster.com sent a legal nastygram to USAction demanding the liberal advocacy group cease and desist its campaign to get the job listing site to quit posting ads that discriminate against unemployed people. "Monster.com does not engage in any discrimination in hiring," the letter said. Duh. "Saying they don't discriminate against the unemployed in hiring is kind of a technicality without a moral distinction," responded USAction's David Elliot. "They may not, themselves, discriminate in terms of the people they hire at Monster.com, but they're still running these ads. So we're going to keep continuing, we're not going to cease and desist when it comes to telling the world about this unfair and outrageous practice, a practice that should in fact be illegal." [HuffPost D.C. intern Jordan Howard]

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

PERRY SUPPORTERS SETTLE ON A SUPER PAC - Sadly it's not the Stephen Colbert one. A group of leading Rick Perry donors have agreed to rally behind the dramatic-movie-monologue-ish "Make Us Great Again" (which actually sounds like the working title of We Are Marshall). Danny Yadron: "The political action committee, set up by former Perry chief of staff Mike Toomey, announced Thursday it snagged two fund-raisers from another pro-Perry group, Americans for Rick Perry: Elizabeth Blakemore a Houston fund-raiser who runs a consulting firm, and Cynthia Wiedemann, a Dallas-based fund-raiser who worked for Sen. Rand Paul's 2010 Senate campaign in Kentucky. Robert Schuman, founder of Americans for Rick Perry, said the two groups have decided that Mr. Toomey's group, not his own, will take the lead. 'To the extent that there is an official PAC... they're it,' said Mr. Schuman, a California businessman." [WSJ]

The chairman of Iowa's Republican Party doesn't take offense to Rick Perry's decision to announce the day of the straw poll. "Historically the straw poll has served as a winnowing event. I'm a sports guy," Matt Strawn told Jon Ward. "Two-a-days are over and the straw poll and Iowa caucus process is kind of that first game. And then after that first game the campaigns look at film, retool their organizations -- you know, those that continue --- in how they're going to proceed." It was Strawn who cast the deciding vote to keep Perry off the ballot so the guy might have reason to not entirely alienate a guy who could easily be his party's nominee. [HuffPost]

For chrissake, Palin, just do something or shut up already: "There is still plenty of room in that field for a common-sense conservative ... Watching the debate, not just last night, but watching this whole process over the past year, it has certainly shown me there's plenty of room for more people." [National Journal]

Oh: "One of the weirdest moments of last night's Republican debate probably slipped completely under the radar for most viewers. This moment occurred in Herman Cain's closing statement, when the former pizza-chain CEO recited a favorite inspirational quote: 'A poet once said, 'life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it's never easy when there's so much on the line.'' Nothing strange about that on the surface, until you Google the quote and you realize that these words of wisdom were uttered not by a poet, but by disco queen Donna Summer in her song 'The Power of One.' Even more bizarre, this isn't even one of Summer's classic hits -- she recorded it just over a decade ago as the theme song for Pokemon: The Movie 2000." [NY Mag]

Is Herman Cain just extremely high-level performance art? You know, like Borat, or Joaquin Phoenix or something like that?

AXELROD DISMISSES ROMNEY PERSONAL ATTACKS REPORT - During a "Morning Joe" appearance today, the president's former advisor and current campaign lieutenant discounted a Politico article that outlined Obama 2012's alleged plan to engage in a series of Mitt Romney-centric attacks, many centered on his supposed weirdness. "I would if someone used words like weird I would certainly do that, yes," Axelrod said, when asked if he would fire a staffer using the dreaded W word. "I thought that was totally inappropriate." He continued: "Anyone who purports to be a source of the Obama campaign who makes those remarks who made those kind of comments should be removed from those reporters rolodexes..." So yeah, anyone who doesn't think a guy who sees a lot of similarities between people and corporations is at least a little weird is coming out of our rolodexes. Wait, what's a rolodex? [ABC News]

HILL STAFFERS TAKE SUSPICIOUSLY LONG TRIP TO HAWAII, DAILY CALLER COVERS IN SUSPICIOUS FASHION - Isn't traveling long distances a drag? First, you have to get situated in your hotel. Then you need a bit of time to get over jet lag. Then you have to grossly misuse taxpayer funds. It's awful (and we didn't even get into the hassle of checking in early!). Anyway, The Daily Caller, in what might be an instance of "AHHHHHHH GOVERNMENT WASTE" gun-jumping but seems suspicious enough to mention, has run a piece about how the press team for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is spending a full week (at least) in Hawaii when the purpose of their visit is a committee field hearing next Wednesday. A staffer told the publication that the reason for the early arrival is "mostly because it's his [committee chairman Sen. Daniel Akaka's] home state." We were hesitant to cry bullshit on this story, if for no other reason than this sentence: "Committee staff declined to answer specific questions about why the field hearing was scheduled in Maui." Let's turn to the Indian Affairs website! "The Committee has jurisdiction to study the unique problems of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples and to propose legislation to alleviate these difficulties." As we established in the last presidential campaign, Hawaii isn't part of the United States. So what gives? [Daily Caller]

Last night's debate was kind of a dud with the kids. Emily Swanson and Mandy Jenkins: "Gym-tan-laundry over taxes-jobs-politics? From a look at social media, at least, eyes were turned to the Jersey Shore over the Ames Republican presidential debate Thursday night. In the absence of polls to find the instant reactions of the debate's viewers, though, data on the few Twitter and Facebook users who were spending their time watching the debate last night could give us a hint about how the debate played out for the GOP presidential hopefuls." [HuffPost]

GALLUP: DEMOCRATS TAKE LEAD IN GENERIC BALLOT - Success for the Dems! Their "Let's bicker among ourselves and wait for the GOP to go off the deep end ... and then continue to bicker among ourselves" strategy has paid off ... again! The hive mind never fails! Someone give Steve Israel a raise! That guy sure can connect with voters! Fifty-one percent of likely voters say they would vote for their local Democratic candidate while 44 percent prefer the Republican one. "The seven-percentage-point edge for Democratic congressional candidates, nationally, contrasts with ties or Republican leads in most Gallup polls leading up to the 2010 midterm elections. However, the Democratic advantage is not as large as those they enjoyed in the 2006 and 2008 congressional election cycles -- each of which produced a Democratic majority in Congress." Thanks, Local Voters! [Gallup]

HERE'S SOME STATE NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - Courtesy of HuffPost D.C. intern Tyler Kingkade: "The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has a handy chart to show you that state and local governments are collecting less and less revenue, hitting historic lows since the end of WWII. States have introduced more than 7,000 immigration bills in the past five years. Downgrades continue: Moody's Investor's Service downgraded several communities in Massachusetts. New Jersey has received a downgrade, as did Nevada earlier this year. Other states now beg for mercy from our rating agency overlords. Have you met Tea Party Wisconsin state senate candidate Kim Simac? She believes public schools are too much like the "Nazi regime" and wrote a children's book called "With My Rifle By My Side." The Badger state has a chance to elect her on Tuesday." Thanks, Tyler!

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Adorable one-year-old boy is interviewed

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Don't worry about the clouds, as the next 36 hours should be nice. We're in the comfortable 70s this evening. Tomorrow: Sunny and warmer. We could hit 90, so we'll be on the cusp of "mildly irritatingly warm." Still, not hot, just really warm. Sunday: We'll be under the threat of rain for most of the day, with thunderstorms most likely popping up during the afternoon. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- "Windoodles" is a Tumblr featuring drawings on windows that blend with the window's view. [http://huff.to/p127gi]

- The 30 most biting filmmaker-on-filmmaker putdowns ever ("Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung-fu film."). [http://huff.to/nHIO0T]

- Visualizing the growth of the United States through the opening of post office branches. [http://huff.to/mPbCBD]

- The moon in HD. You know how HD makes everyone look less appealing? Well the Moon, unlike all ouf our ugly asses, actually benefits from the technology. [http://huff.to/oSSisM]

- An artist's interesting playing card designs. It's kind of what the Tsar's deck might have looked like. [http://huff.to/oOpAJM]

- A group of dudes dressed as gladiators has been attacking the Colosseum in Rome. Hey, whatever work you can get, right? [http://huff.to/neO4oU]

- The Nickelodeon's schedule from 1991 compared to its current lineup. "Wild and Crazy Kids" was the jam. [http://huff.to/owbfi7]

- What if the original Super Mario Brothers had been designed in 2010? [http://huff.to/oN6wVD]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: Gingrich on soapbox: "This isn't about what I would do in 2013 if I was president." Oh.

@pourmecoffee: If Bert liked it, then he should of put a ring on it.

ON TAP

Tonight, 6:00 pm: Kirsten Gillibrand continues her statewide fundraising tour with a campaign event in New York's turn-of-the-century upstate playground, Saratoga Springs. Big Apple residents know it as "The OK Upstate" [Saratoga Springs, NY].

Today - Sunday: You can never get started on that reelection too early: Harry Reid takes his donors to the Godfather 2 side of Lake Tahoe for a weekend retreat. Sheldon Whitehouse and Bill Nelson join the majority leader [Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Incline Village, NV].

Today - Sunday: North Dakota Senator John Hoeven who -- oh, yeah! -- Exists, takes his donors on the "Second Annual Weekend in Park City, Utah." This is a good time to remind you of the saddest Wikipedia line ever, which happens to be about North Dakota: "North Dakota is considered the least visited state, owing, in part, to its not having a major tourist attraction." Womp womp. [Park City, UT].

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Filed by Eliot Nelson