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HUFFPOST HILL - Democrats Give In Two Weeks In Advance

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Texas' tax code is actually pretty great, unless you can't afford a place with a foyer and a guest house above the garage, in which case it actually sucks. Most Republicans oppose ending the EPA, so no one tell them that the "Protection" part has nothing to do with guns. And Tom Coburn thinks too much government regulation is prolonging the war in Afghanistan, so we guess it's high time we stop swamping our predator drones with paperwork.This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 19th, 2011:

DEMOCRATS TO TRICK REPUBLICANS BY ACTING LIKE REPUBLICANS - Genius! Alexander Bolton: "Senate Democrats, who are desperate to stimulate the economy but don't have the money to pass traditional stimulus legislation, will turn to cutting business taxes when they return to Washington this fall. In doing so, they will try to drive a wedge between business interests and the GOP leadership, who has tried to block almost every element of the Democratic agenda, by pushing a round of corporate tax breaks, say Senate Democratic aides...But the plan is not without pitfalls. Democratic leaders could find centrists and liberals within their caucus divided over how to structure the tax cuts and whether they must be paired with infrastructure spending programs, as some liberals might demand. " [The Hill]

HuffPost Hill is going dark for two weeks. Our Twitter account, @HuffPostHill, will remain active while we toil away in the office, working on some actual, honest-to-God journalism. You know, the kind with no Comfort Food.

Kids don't read good: Help HuffPost Hill's sister raise money for her classroom. Donate

TEXAS' TAX CODE NOT EASY ON THE POORS - Laura Bassett: "While Texas is generally considered a low-tax state since it doesn't impose a personal income tax, a new analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds the state's tax laws actually 'redistribute income away from ordinary families and towards the richest Texans.' Taxes paid by the poorest 20 percent of Texas households -- those with incomes averaging $11,200 a year -- are actually the fifth highest in the nation, even though none of those households make enough money to owe federal income tax. 'With poverty rates on the rise, the Texas tax system is actually pushing families further into poverty,' said Meg Wiehe, ITEP's State Tax Policy Director. According to the Tax Policy Center, three-fourths of the 46 percent of U.S. households that pay no federal income tax earn $30,000 or less per year. But those families pay the same share of gasoline taxes, payroll taxes, excise taxes, property and sales taxes as the wealthy, so they end up paying the government a larger percentage of their incomes." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Staffers for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called police on Thursday evening to disperse unemployed protesters staging a sit-in at his Kenosha, Wis., office, according to the protesters and police. Two protesters told DDD they're unhappy with Ryan's proposals to gut social programs and also his new policy of not holding free public meetings with constituents during the congressional recess. During the summer of 2009, Ryan hosted some 17 town halls. Admission to Ryan's one town-hall style event in his district this summer will cost $15, according to the Whitnall Park Rotary Club, which is hosting the Milwaukee-area event on Sept. 6. "People don't realize that they have every right to stand up and talk to their congressman," Shanon Molina, 31, told DDD on Friday. They do? [HuffPost]

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A group of Tim Pawlenty supporters (and were there really so many Pawlenty supporters that they could break into factions? C'mon.) are waiting to see whether Chris Christie enters the presidential race before they support another candidate.

PRO-BACHMANN PAC UNDER SCRUTINY FOR 2010 ACTIVITY - Did it get arrested for arms smuggling in Uganda, also? We do know that corporations are people, so it's certainly possible. But do PACs qualify as corporations? Let's just say they're half-corporations. So they're half-people...like elves. But could elves smuggle guns? The sheer strength required for an elf to do such a th...OK, we're losing sight of things. Anyway, Citizens For A Working America, the Super PAC that is fundraising on behalf of the Minnesota congresswoman, isn't exactly squeaky clean.. Paul Blumenthal: "Citizens For A Working America was formed in 2010 by Norman Cummings, a long-time Republican strategist and Blackwell's former campaign manager. All the funds for the group came from a single $250,000 donation from an organization called New Models, a Virginia-based public opinion outfit run by Tim Crawford, the treasurer for Sarah Palin's Sarah PAC and a former Blackwell staffer. The New Models contribution came with no identifying information about group. The organization is registered as a corporation in Virginia, but has been referred to in court papers as a nonprofit, despite not having registered as such with the Internal Revenue Service. New Models also has a bare-bones WordPress website with no 'about' page." [HuffPost]

According to this Al Jazeera interview with an ex-boyfriend of Bachmann's, said boyfriend had to memorize Bible passages before he could date the would-be congresswoman. Also, the report is kind of creepy.

Actually not a bad song ---> @Chris_Moody: So there's a Ron Paul punk rock anthem now bit.ly/obdUqB!

FEINGOLD WON'T RUN IN 2012 - Now that progressives have vigorously rubbed their teeth and punched the walls after snorting the 8-ball of Elizabeth Warren's exploratory committee, they are coming down fast with the Quaalude of Russ Feingold's announcement that he will not seek office in 2012 (eh, it was worth a shot). "While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012," Feingold said in an email sent out by his political organization, Progressives United. There had been considerable chatter about a possible Feingold candidacy to replace Scott Walker or to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl. "This was a difficult decision, as I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in both the State Senate and the U.S. Senate, and I know that progressives are eager to reverse some of the outrageous policies being pursued by corporate interests at both the state and federal levels. I am also well aware that I have a very strong standing in the polls should I choose to run again for the U.S. Senate or in a recall election for governor. After twenty-eight continuous years as an elected official, however, I have found the past eight months to be an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective." [HuffPost]

COBURN: OUR LAND WAR IN ASIA WOULD END IF WE WOULD JUST DRILL, BABY, DRILL - At least we hope he was referring to drilling regulations and the like, 'cause otherwise Tom Coburn thinks repealing the individual mandate will end the war in Afghanistan. Not that either idea is tethered to reality. "If in fact we were energy independent, if in fact we had our economy going again, our foreign policy would be different than what it is today. The best way to get us out of Afghanistan is to grow our economy, change the regulations, have a vibrant, growing America where people are afraid to come against us," Coburn said at a town hall meeting in Oklahoma yesterday. "It is not an easy answer. You should be frustrated. I am frustrated. But I'm not ready to say I know enough that now's the time to get out, given the other complications -- 200 nuclear weapons in Pakistan." So maybe if we [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

MOST REPUBLICANS OPPOSE ENDING THE EPA ... ::SPIT TAKE:: - Weird, right? We might as well have said that the manager of your local Barnes and Nobel supports the homeless guy that always uses the bookstore's bathroom. But, yeah, you read that correctly. Lucia Graves and Jordan Howard: "Continuing to provide the current level of funding to the EPA is popular among a majority of Republicans, according to the most recent polling, and even [a plurality of] Tea Party supporters: A full 49 percent favored extending federal funding to the regulatory agency. Yet leading Republican presidential candidates have continued to call for cutting federal funds to the agency, perhaps because of an inherent inconsistency in the polls: Surveys have shown half of Tea Party supporters want to continue funding the EPA, but when polled, they still support candidates who would gut it. Presidential hopefuls have heeded the data on the campaign trail, repeatedly linking environmental regulation to the beleaguered economy." [HuffPost]

Rep. Michael McCaul is now the wealthiest member of Congress, according to Roll Call's annual ranking of the Capitol's wealthiest lawmakers. McCaul "a fortune worth at least $294 million, a vast increase over last year that was apparently the result of large transfers from his in-laws." Nice in-laws. [Roll Call]

HERE'S SOME STATE NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - Courtesy of Tyler Kingkade: "Most of the emails from Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his transition team during his time as governor-elect have been deleted, possibly in violation of state law. Reports say the electronic files were deleted around the same time a Florida newspaper requested them in January. In an effort to raise money to rebuild Rhode Island's infrastructure, the state has formally applied to charge customers a toll on I-95 near the Connecticut border. Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo have also agreed to increase a toll at Port Authority, the area people travel through to cross from New Jersey to Manhattan. Speaking of New Jersey, Fitch downgraded their credit rating this week. Big Plastic Bag won over school officials in a successful lobbying effort to change environmental curriculum to include positive messages about plastic bags. The positive additions now include 'Plastic shopping bags are very convenient to use. They take less energy to manufacture than paper bags, cost less to transport, and can be reused.' Even after a judge ruled Kansas could not cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Peter Brownlie said the state is still with holding funds. Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder addressed allegations he's been hanging out in strip clubs. 'Like most people, I am not proud of every place I have been,' Kinder said. And liquor stores in Washington state will start offering free samples.." Thanks, Tyler!

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Orangutan cools itself like a person.

JERMEY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Waves, I mean waves, of thunderstorms in the area. There's a very good chance that something sweeps over the area. When and where? It's not so certain; these are all popping up. Tomorrow is the nicest day of the weekend. There's a small chance of a pop-up shower, but otherwise, it should be smooth sailing. With a high of 93 and some humidity, though, bring some water with you when you go out. Sunday: You can expect another batch of thunderstorms in the early afternoon. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- How to make fire .... FROM ICE. This redneck needs his own Bear Grylls-style show. [http://bit.ly/oWLeuj]

- Guy does a weak impression of 1980s rock stars. He still nails it ...(?) [http://bit.ly/qcdXRL]

- "Student Project Cleverly Explains A Kindle To Charles Dickens" [http://bit.ly/nsMP4N]

- You've had a long week. Let this stop-motion video of California vistas ease you into the weekend. Good stuff this week, champ! [http://bit.ly/oJ58J7]

- Banana drives a car ... beware of our soon-to-be-our-overlords bananas! The only thing ripe is their lust for revenge [http://bit.ly/oRE5RJ]

- "Pizza Made From Pizza-Flavored Snacks." We give up, China. You win. [http://bit.ly/oyJIQA]

- Guy goes all Fred Flintstone and tries to stop a car with his feet. Yabba dabba ... you're going to jail. [http://bit.ly/q7xLcn]

- "89 Things I Learned At The Gathering Of The Juggalos" will frighten you. Fair warning. [http://bit.ly/mTAtwR]

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: Mitt Romney would like you to know that if you are more extreme than Mitt Romney, there is plenty of time to get in race.

@meredithshiner: "[Unintelligible quote]." -- Harry Reid #mumblebrag

@aseitzwald: They find anything good? I'd google it myself, but...maybe later. RT @aterkel: My coworker was just googling "how not to procrastinate."

ON TAP

Today - Saturday: Olympia Snowe plays hosts at a "Friends and Family" weekend. Man, if we wanted to spend a weekend with our friends and family, we wouldn't have them pay $1,500 for the pleasure of our company. Snowe must be popular [Colony Hotel, 140 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, ME]

Today - Sunday: Does the image of Sander Levin paddling around in a canoe make you laugh? Well it makes us laugh. The Michigan lawamaker and Ways and Means ranking member invites his donors to a "Weekend Trip to Mackinac Island" [Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI].

Today - Sunday: Sure, the president might be taking a vacation to Martha's Vineyard, but everyone knows that REAL money goes to Nantucket. Bill Keating tries to rake in some real money at his weekend fundraiser on the posh island [Nantucket, MA].

Tomorrow - Monday: Because dressing up in pastel polo shirts and weird fabric belts isn't quite the same in his Oklahoma district, John Sullivan heads to the Palmetto State for his "Annual Charleston Weekend." We hear Fig is good [Charleston, SC].

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Filed by Eliot Nelson
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