POLITICS
09/21/2011 06:02 pm ET Updated Nov 21, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - Google Probably Not Plus-1ing Today's News

Eric Schmidt testified before a Senate antitrust committee that Google's apps help the market, prompting the panel members to Google "app." Congress is telling an agency to do more with less in its ongoing mission to tell other agencies to do more with less. And former venture capitalist and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney suggested that he is part of the middle class. You know, like Ted, your neighbor who works as a floor manager at the plant and splits his free time between his bowling league and weighing the pros and cons of a leveraged buyout of a semiconductor manufacturer. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, September 21st, 2011:

HOUSE CAN'T PASS CONTINUING RESOLUTION, ANOTHER %$#&ING SHUTDOWN LOOMS - The lower chamber has failed to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past September 30th. The measure failed 195-230, largely due to strong Democratic opposition and 48 really conservative Republicans who wanted even more cuts. Calls by Democrats to restore $1.5 billion in spending that had been offset to balance additional FEMA funding had been ignored by Republicans, so Steny Hoyer urged his caucus to vote against the measure. Heads up to staffers: this might not be the best weekend for that apple picking trip.

GEORGIA REENACTING ITS GLORY DAYS - Right around the time you're reading this, the state of Georgia may be executing a perfectly healthy and quite-plausibly-innocent man. All attempts to halt the execution have so far failed. We're guessing this is one of those not-so-proud-of-my-country moments Michelle Obama was referring to.

Fun fact: Georgia's state motto is "Wisdom, Justice, Moderation."

GOOGLE EXECUTIVE APPEARS BEFORE SENATE ANTITRUST PANEL - The Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, no doubt in the pocket of Big Altavista, grilled Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today about his search engine's ongoing efforts to make free will less cumbersome (HuffPost Hill is written in Google Docs, so we presume Schmidt has already read everything that follows). "We also need to recognize that, as the dominant firm in Internet search, Google has special obligations under antitrust law to not deploy its market power to squelch competition," subcommittee chairman Herb Kohl said during the proceedings (stepping out of his usual role of "that guy who questioned the Supreme Court nominee while you were off using the bathroom"). Ranking Republican Mike Lee was particularly rough with Schmidt, as was Al Franken. This will be the last time the two of them will agree on anything, ever. Chuck Schumer, because he's Chuck Schumer, randomly asked Schmidt whether he could bring broadband to the Hudson Valley. "Absolutely," Schmidt replied. Gold stars for everyone. After the hearing, Schmidt spoke to reporters outside and complained (accurately) that Microsoft had been lobbying Congress to bring the hammer down on it. Our big story that we promised yesterday on that? Yeah. Tomorrow. Sorry. [AP]

(Disclaimer: We are owned by AOL, which owns a whole host of Google competitor products that we never use. )

SCHMIDT SAYS HE KNEW ABOUT GOOGLE STEERING FOLKS TO ILLEGAL CANADIAN DRUG SITES - News was actually made at today's hearing. Ten gallon hat tip to Big John Cornyn, who asked Eric Schmidt about the $500 million settlement Google reached with the Justice Department over illegally advertising Canadian prescription drugs to Americans (not that we think there's anything actually wrong with that). "Was it the result of oversight or inadvertence or were there some employees in the company that were doing this without your knowledge or..." asked Cornyn (R-Texas). "Certainly not without my knowledge. Again, I have been advised -- unfortunately, I'm not allowed to go into any of the details and I apologize, Senator, except to say that we're very regretful and it was clearly a mistake." Thanks, Eric!

Line-standers -- poor and working class people paid by lobbyists to stand in line so they get a seat at a hearing -- started lining up at 6 a.m. outside Herb Kohl's Senate antitrust subcommittee hearing room in Dirksen today. Two of them said they were getting $5/hr, well below the minimum wage. A lobbyist said he'd paid $40/hr to a company that provides the service, so it makes sense that about $5 of that trickled down. Class linefare!!!

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST TAKES ON CREW
(AGAIN)
- HuffPost Hill's own Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, whose two favorite things to do when he's bored are investigating the eyes on the bus advertisement that follow him and making fun of Melanie Sloan, today took a potshot at the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's executive director. Upon learning that CREW wants to file a brief in support of former Senator John Edwards' motion to dismiss charges of violating campaign finance law, PSLGOPL sent us this: "Very honorable. I'd rather she spend a little time looking into Lanny Davis' involvement with congress and murderous dictators though." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

@samyoungman: Sen. Rand Paul will join POTUS on Air Force One to Kentucky tomorrow. The plane is that cool

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Life is unbearable.

DOUBLE DOWNER! Even as labor advocates delivered a petition against jobless discrimination to Capitol Hill, online job postings that stipulate applicants "must be currently employed" are as numerous as ever. [HuffPost]

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

AGENCY THAT SAVES GOVERNMENT MONEY IS GETTING ITS BUDGET CUT - Congress wants to cut the budget of the Government Accountability Office, the agency tasked with, among other things, cutting budgets. What's even more insane about this is that the GAO will need MORE money because it has been tasked with cutting MORE budgets. The cuts, totalling $50 million, are part of the larger package of spending reductions in the government funding bill moving through Congress (maybe). Bill Nelson doesn't care. "It is about shared sacrifice, and it is about proper utilization of these agencies," he said. "And if we don't set the standard for cutting on Capitol Hill, then I've got to say we can't ask others to cut back on their budgets." Okay, that makes nooooo sense! [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

MITT ROMNEY INSINUATES HE'S MIDDLE CLASS - Willard Romney was talking at a bunch of people who don't have interior decorators today when he made a perplexing statement about his station in life. "And that's the middle class," he said in Miami while discussing the allegedly harmful effects of President Obama's tax policy. "It's not those in the low end; it's certainly not those in the very high end. It's for the great middle class - the 80 to 90 percent of us in this country." As a rule, you probably aren't in the middle class if you've ever worked in an executive capacity for a company that has the word "Capital" in its title. As CBS News notes, Romney's net worth is valued somewhere between $190 million and $250 million. Sure, he might not have meant it like that but...c'mon, Mitt. [CBS News]

WHY REPUBLICANS SHOULD BE AFRAID OF AMERICAN BRIDGE - A flack for the Democratic-aligned super PAC sent us an email highlighting a comment Ann Romney made while at a New Hampshire public library yesterday. The wife of former Massachusetts governor and current presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that she and her husband "have a little place in Wolfeboro." Not only did American Bridge's oppo team quickly note that "Romney's New Hampshire Main House Is 5,400 Square Feet And Accompanied By a Boathouse and Guest House," but someone there went the extra mile and ACTUALLY RESEARCHED ONE OF THE BOOKS THAT ROMNEY WAS ARBITRARILY STANDING IN FRONT OF. Seriously! It's called "The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Change." Be sure to switch cabs if you ever leave a meeting at Bridge's offices. And don't throw anything away there. [YouTube]

A new Rick Perry ad attacks President Obama for the nation's lackluster job growth. A series of scary-looking abandoned locales are flashed on the screen (Oh no! A riderless swing set! A shuttered factory! An abandoned gift card aisle!...what?). Then, the ad abruptly switches from Final Destination mode to a full-on JERRY BRUCKHEIMER EXPLOSION: Distorted images of Rick Perry on TV, shaky shots of American flags, images of Earth from space, distorted images of Rick Perry in what appears to be some kind of NASA control room, military helicopters. It's all there. Takeaway: President Obama hasn't created any jobs and Rick Perry will dispatch a team of deep-core driller spacemen to destroy the asteroid. [Rick Perry Tube]

REP. JOE WALSH WILL RUN IN ANOTHER DISTRICT, SETTING UP POTENTIALLY HILARIOUS REPUBLICAN PRIMARY - Redistricting in Illinois has basically rendered Republican noise generator Joe Walsh's political situation untenable. Today Walsh announced that he will primary Rep. Randy Hultgren, whose 14th district absorbed the most Republican parts of Walsh's district. "If the Democrat map stands, I will be running in what is the new 14th district," Walsh said. He called Hultgren a "good conservative" but added that "There are also healthy differences between the two of us, we've both had a very different initial tenure in Washington, and the voters in the new district will decide which one of us will best be their voice in D.C." [WaPo]

Tonight in Roll Call from Shira Toeplitz: "Democrats hailed Illinois' new Congressional map as a work of redistricting art earlier this year, but now the three black Democrats in the delegation are wavering in their support for it. Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr., Bobby Rush and Danny Davis expressed concern recently whether the new map adheres to the Voting Rights Act, and the trio is hesitant to help Democrats defend it from a GOP lawsuit, which argues that it does not provide ample representation for Hispanic voters."

Ron Paul said he'd consider nominating Dennis Kucinich to a cabinet position if he becomes president. "Being pragmatic is about forming coalitions," Paul said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. "I probably work with coalitions better than the other candidates. I don't think I've said anything negative here about the president."[The Hill]

FOX NEWS MOSTLY IGNORES DADT NEWS - The U.S. military this week formally did away with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy which forbade LGBT servicemembers from serving openly. Along with the integration of the armed forces and the incorporation of women into combat operations, the decision is one of the greatest civil rights victories in U.S. military history. However Fox News was too busy covering the ongoing War Between The Classes (the battle wages on) to really give a shit. According to ThinkProgress, the conservative cable news outlet mentioned "don't ask, don' tell" 16 times on Tuesday, compared to 66 times on CNN and 84 times on MSNBC. To be fair, the folks at Fox News had to cut away quite often to their Class War correspondent who was embedded with the Fourth Pitchfork and Torch Regiment. [ThinkProgress]

REPORT: DOJ EMPLOYEES NOSHING ON $16 MUFFINS - An internal audit of the Justice Department finds that it has forked over cash for some unnecessarily expensive items like $16 muffins and $8 coffee. Honestly, if money spent on overpriced baked goods and that boutique coffee that some Polynesian cat shit out are the most shocking things an internal report can reveal about an entire department, that's probably a good thing. Still, it's great material (How do you make a government muffin? Add three parts flour, two parts sugar and one part F-35 alternative engine program). Oh yeah, have you seen the Muffin Man? Because Chuck Grassley is going to put a boot up his ass. "Sixteen dollar muffins and $600,000 for event planning services are what make Americans cynical about government and why they are demanding change," the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement. "People are outraged, and rightly so." [Reuters]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Kitten begs for food.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Overcast skies, with temperatures staying firm. Tomorrow: Still more clouds, with some thunderstorms in the afternoon. It could be worse though, you could be hit with a falling space satellite. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Still our favorite thing ever, HuffPost Comedy's "7 Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now." [http://huff.to/pm8Z7O]

- A Belgian English phrase book released at the end of World War II ("Nous vous avons attendus si longtemps"). [http://huff.to/oSm98E]

- Muhammad Ali talking about the possibility of a black president. [http://huff.to/nP94xC]

- There is a disturbing rhythm to this video of choreographed North Korean festivities and dance music. Via @CorbinHiar. [http://bit.ly/pZ1Nqy]

- A British guy says he's created a perpetual motion machine, but it doesn't look too promising ("The machine, called the Alpha Omega Galaxy Freefall Generator (AOGFG), is largely made from leftover bicycle parts"). [http://huff.to/qCEzAX]

- These photos of Chevy Chase hanging out with people are exceedingly charming. [http://huff.to/qEnV2I]

- If computer problems were real life problems. Zany, but enjoyable. [http://huff.to/mPwwxO]

- "High School Football Player Does Ninja Flip to Score Winning TD in Double OT." [http://huff.to/o3TKv4]

TWITTERAMA

@ModeledBehavior: Old Ben Bernanke? That wizard's just a crazy old man. Now, tomorrow I want u to take that R2 unit to Anchorhead and have it's memory erased

@FakePewResearch: When asked what the greatest problem facing the country is, 88% of all ex-girlfriends responded, "Oh...nothing. *sigh*"

@ryanjreilly: Chuck Schumer telling Senate hearing about "off the record" conversation he had about Google.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Pretty much every member of Congressional Hispanic Caucus is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for the group's CHC Bold PAC...that means Raul Grijalva will be there...which means it'll be a party. [Podesta Townhouse, 131 C St SE]

6:30 pm: Jim Inhofe is the guest of honor at a campaign fundraiser at the c2 Group, which might sound like a graphic design studio but is actually, *sigh*, a lobbying firm. [c2 Group, 101 Constitution Ave NW Suite 900]

6:30 pm: John Boehner and Joe Lieberman attend a fundraising gala for the Consortium of Catholic Academies, which raises money for some parochial schools in the D.C. area. That sounds nice, but the event is being chaired by reps from PhRMA and Goldman Sachs so .... politics! [Capitol Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW]

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Heath Shuler and Jim Matheson attend a fundraiser hosted by the Blue Dog Victory Fund, which is kind of a contradiction in terms. [Morton's the Steakhouse, 1050 Connecticut Ave NW]

TOMORROW

6:30 pm: Agriculture madness! Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts is the beneficiary of a dinner fundraising function featuring an appearance from his House Agriculture counterpart, Frank Lucas. [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW]

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Kevin Yoder is the guest of honor at a HUGE gathering of (mostly freshman and sophomore) GOP Housemembers. Also, Yoder's PAC is called "YOPAC" which makes us laugh. [American Trucking Association, 430 First Street SE]

6:30 pm: Sometimes, the acronym just isn't worth it, especially when it means that to spell "PETE," you need to call your PAC the People for Enterprise, Trade and Economic Growth."
Anyway, go say hi to Pete Sessions. [Fiola Ristoranta, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. 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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