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HUFFPOST HILL - What Is It With Republicans And Air Traffic Controllers?

First Posted: 08/17/11 06:42 PM ET Updated: 10/17/11 06:12 AM ET

Private jet owners skipped today's cooperate jet industry protest of Washington politicians ... probably because they were too busy influencing Washington politicians. Roughly the same percentage of Americans who like Good & Plenty approve of the way President Obama is handling the economy ... so, yeah, basically no one. And to say that "a Michele Bachmann staffer was once arrested for smuggling weapons in Uganda" would be harsh. Really, the guy was just doing a little "Second Amendment Proselytizing." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, August 17th, 2011:

President Obama is currently talking about all the lessons he's learned aboard his Darth Vader/Evil Icelandic Hockey Team From D2: The Mighty Ducks tour bus: "I can tell you, nothing's more inspiring to me than the kind of trip I've been taking over the last few days. You know, you're driving on this big bus and it is all -- you can't see out except when you are standing in front. So I'm in front and, you know, having breakfast in the diner, and going to football practice, and you're passing rows of kids with flags and grandparents in their lawn chairs, and mechanics out in front of their shops. Farmers waving from their fields. It inspires you."

BACHMANN UPSET THAT PEOPLE WHO PREVENT MID-AIR COLLISIONS ARE APPROPRIATELY COMPENSATED - During the partial FAA lockout, we joked that Republicans weren't concerned because "the invisible hand of the market can land your plane" or some such. Michele Bachmann, Zach Carter and Amanda Terkel report, actually kind of believes that. This past Sunday, Bachmann took aim at what she believed was government largess. "We had one employee at the federal Department of Transportation that made $170,000 a year at the beginning of the recession," she said on "Fox News Sunday." "We had the trillion dollar stimulus, and 18 months into the recession, we had 1,690 employees making over $170,000." Except the stimulus has nothing to do with that fact. "While it's true that the number of Transportation workers making $170,000 or more a year increased after Obama took office, the boost, authorized under President George W. Bush, was caused by a modest pay raise for highly-trained employees, not a hiring spree associated with stimulus spending...The boost in the employees making $170,000 came from a modest salary increase, most of which went to air traffic controllers, expert professionals responsible for the lives of thousands of airplane passengers each day." [HuffPost]

A Bachmann staffer was arrested in Uganda in 2006 for weapons smuggling. The circumstances of his arrest and detainment are still somewhat murky, but one thing remains clear: The Michele Bachmann campaign continues to morph into the next Coen brothers movie. This guy will be played by John Goodman. [The Atlantic]

SUPERCASH - A rundown of the top donors funding campaigns for members of the Super Congress charged with reaching historic compromise on how to push grandma off a cliff. [HuffPost's Alex Becker]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Arizona Department of Economic Security recently told long-term jobless claimants they could quit filing their claims for Extended Benefits. Previously, the agency had told them to keep filing in case state lawmakers reached a deal to preserve the federal benefits that don't cost the state a dime. Never mind: "Legislation was not enacted, which means that no benefit payments will be made for EB claims filed for weeks that ended after June 11, 2011," said a notice on the department's website. "Even if you had a balance remaining in your EB account, there are no additional benefits available." Reminder: The state legislature spent the final hours of its regular session picking a state gun full knowing these benefits would run out this summer. Then they failed to cut a deal during a special session called by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. [AZDES.gov]

EVERY MAN A KING - National People's Action has a plan to cure the housing crisis and create a million jobs. The plan is this: Take the $709 billion worth of mortgage debt that is underwater and do some extraordinary rendition on it. That'd save the average underwater homeowner $543 per month, money that could instead be plowed back into the economy to the tune of $71 billion a year, which NPA says would create 1.05 million jobs. It's not clear exactly where that money would come from, since of the $10 trillion in outstanding mortgage debt, more than half is held by federal and related agencies. But at least it's an idea. Hooray ideas!

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

POLL: APPROVAL OF OBAMA'S HANDLING OF ECONOMY AT ALL-TIME LOW - As America's parents readjust to life with their jobless, college graduate children at home (and having their rec room converted into their kid's "T-shirt print studio/Music blog HQ"), a Gallup poll finds Americans aren't happy with president's attempt to get those kids out of the house and on with their lives. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed disapprove of the president's handling of the economy while only 26 percent (i ay caramba !) approve. [Gallup]

@matthewstoller: Disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy is 71%. To put that in perspective, that's SEVENTY ONE PERCENT.

RICK PERRY REBOUNDS FROM BERNANKE THREAT BY APPEALING TO FIREDOGLAKE READERS/RELOVEUTION - Days after Rick Perry made waves by calling Ben Bernanke treasonous for printing money (You know who else hurt people by doing his job? Hitler.), he offered a more measured -- and liberal-pleasing -- critique yesterday. "They should be transparent, so the people of the United States know what they're doing, how they're doing it," Perry said in New Hampshire. "And frankly I think the mistrust that is there today, if they would simply open up and be transparent with the American people, I think it would go a long way towards either finding out whether or not there is some activities that are improper or that they've been handling themselves quite well." Campaign strategist Alan Grayson couldn't be reached for comment. Audit the Fed! [NYT]

"Are you ready for floating libertarian city-states?"

LIEBERMAN IN TOP FORM: CONSIDERING PERRY ENDORSEMENT - Fine, the last go around the guy just wanted to show some love to his friend John McCain. But Rick Perry? "I'm going to approach this 2012 election as the independent that I am and therefore I don't know who I'm going to support at this point," the outgoing Connecticut senator said on Fox News but added that Perry is making "some very good first impressions." GOOD FIRST IMPRESSIONS?!?! All Perry has done so far has been to threaten a leading government official and express regret for helping women fight cancer. Why does Lieberman feel he needs to do all this to spite the president? Can't he just throw his support behind "Tarack Lobama" and be done with it? [CBS News]

"Hoping to curb what has become a growing distraction to his political ambitions, Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder today talked more about his strip-club visits and how he came to be photographed with a stripper he knew."

NEWT GINGRICH CAMPAIGNING IN HAWAII NEXT WEEK - Because as goes the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, so goes the nation! Heh. Can you believe this clown? Sorry, we usually aren't that abrupt but ... JESUS. Gingrich's campaign released his upcoming schedule this morning and, yes, it did include a three-day jaunt to America's island paradise and the fake birthplace of our Kenyan president. Gingrich will hold two public events: A meeting with conservative activists at a church and a lecture at a school. When Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond was asked by NBC News why the former House speaker is allotting so much time to "campaign" in a state that really couldn't have less impact on the Republican nomination if it were populated only by PR reps for Alec Baldwin, Hammond replied that Gingrich will be "fundraising." Assignment editors might want to think about yanking their reporters from the Gingrich campaign and reassigning them to Buddy Roemer. [NBC News]

Nikki Haley renewed her claim that she does not want to be anyone's Veep pick this cycle. Haley, the governor of South Carolina and one of countless female Tea Party-friendly politicians whose craziness has been obscured by people making sexist/objectifying comments about her, discussed the matter on Laura Ingraham's show. "It's not something I'm interested in," Haley said. "We need someone on this ticket who is ready." [The Hill]

POLL: TEA PARTY'S UNPOPULARITY EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS WHEN YOU GET CREATIVE ABOUT IT - A New York Times op-ed today points out that the Tea Party's low support among voters is even more remarkable when you compare it to other groups of people that red blooded Americans have historically been nervous about. "The Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about -- lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like 'atheists' and 'Muslims.' Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right."
Wow. Muslims? Atheists? You might as well compare the Tea Party to the solidified contents on the sneeze guard at your local Golden Corral. Jeez. [NYT via Think Progress]

Conservative zing! "A Daily Caller source who spoke anonymously told FishbowlDC, 'If Sarah Palin wants to monitor the Caller that closely, but not so closely that she doesn't take everything out of context, then maybe she could apply for a job at Media Matters. They'd get along famously.'" [FishbowlDC]

WE SHALL OVERCOME: CORPORATE JET MANUFACTURERS FIGHT THE HATE - Because corporations are people, and because Democrats have been giving private jet owners are hard time, America's most besieged industries group of people is fighting back. WITH RALLIES. Amanda Terkel: "The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) held a rally at the Rockwell Collins Flight Operations Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, attended by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Iowa Reps. Tom Latham (R), Leonard Boswell (D), Steve King (R) and Bruce Braley (D)...At the rally on Wednesday, GAMA President Pete Bunce told workers to speak out in defense of their jobs, according to the Associated Press. He said Obama needs to know that 'if you go after our customers, you go after every one of us.'" [HuffPost]

Will Tiffany and Co. fight back with a rally of its own to deflect the attacks on Newt Gingrich?

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby does Freddie Mercury impression

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: It's staying under 90, which is a plus. Other than some ominous-looking clouds, there should be no problems getting home. So don't be scared. Tomorrow: We hit 90s, with a good chance of afternoon thunderstorms popping up. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Winnebago Man is a documentary about a notoriously angry YouTube sensation. Something like this was bound to happen. [http://huff.to/pTMOnh]

- For whatever reason, David Byrne created some fake iPhone apps. They're pretty funny. [http://huff.to/n9WtSo]

- "The most ridiculous 1960s Batman Gifs" can only be a beautiful, beautiful thing. [http://huff.to/pYuBX0]

- Darth Vader sightings in everyday objects. [http://huff.to/pBL2Ns]

- Tom Waits Cookie Monster mashup has been a loooooong time coming. [http://huff.to/oooAcu]

- A toaster, which is basically an adult jack-in-the-box, frightens a cat. [http://huff.to/pWSlj5]

- The always addictive (and true to its word) "7 Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now" from HuffPost Comedy. [http://huff.to/rqGTyd]

- Tiny Computer is tiny, functional. [http://huff.to/psW5na]

TWITTERAMA

@jbendery: Why does this "I'm gonna go boy-girl, boy-girl" thing Obama says during Q&A always gets laughs from the crowd? #groundhogday

@AndrewRomano: Dear reporters: all profiles of Rick Perry must end, forebodingly, w/ the phrase "He's never lost an election." Thanks for your cooperation.

@theharryshearer: @daveweigel @HuffPostHill There's a Tiffany's in Hawaii?

@PaulBlu: Christie said to consider helicoptering and driving, but not running, for the Republican nomination.

ON TAP

TOMORROW

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Mike Michaud celebrates the summer and his constituents the only way he can: By boiling alive some live creatures at his lobster bake fundraiser [Casco Bay, 33 Island Avenue , Peaks Island, ME].

Beer week!

4:00 pm: Bread and Brew hosts "Doggy Yappy hour" which features drink deals and representatives from Canine Rescue who will be on hand with dogs who need homes [Bread and Brew, 1247 20th Street NW].

5:00 pm: Radius hosts a "Starr Hill Beer 101 Class" for all of you that still need an excuse to drinks all kinds of beers in one sitting [Radius, 3155 Mt. Pleasant Street NW].

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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Filed by Eliot Nelson  |