HUFFPOST HILL - Scott Brown Probably Only Saw Half Of 'Margin Call'
Newt Gingrich has taken the lead in Iowa, a state he has spoken of fondly while campaigning in Hawaii. Members of Arlington's fearsome police force have unsheathed their fair trade, free range batons and are ready to whoop the ass of any Occupy protester who tries to #occupy Legal Seafood. The stress and frustration felt by Megyn Kelly over the fact that she will never co-host "The Today Show" (or whatever) has begun to seep out in weird and gesticulation-heavy ways. And nerd king Steven Chu took a break from sorting his Magic: The Gathering cards and thumbing through the latest edition of Engineering and Science to testify that he is not corrupting the democratic process. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, November 17th, 2011:
SCOTT BROWN OWNS THOUSANDS IN BofA STOCK - That's gotta earn him a Malcolm Gladwell handshake, at least. Maybe even a one-on-one talk about how accidents are the seeds of creative genius...or something. Max Rosenthal and Zach Carter: "Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) owns a total of up to $200,000 in Bank of America, GE, and Exxon-Mobil stock. He's also performed extraordinary legislative favors for all three companies, eliminating a bank tax from Dodd-Frank that would have hit BofA and GE, gutting the Volcker Rule which would have curbed risky securities trades at both companies, and voting against a bill to end federal subsidies for oil companies. But -- surprise! -- Brown's 'good government' bill wouldn't deal with this particular variety of congressional corruption. Brown's STOCK Act only curbs actual trading -- if members of Congress just happen to own a company's stock and then just happen to perform legislative favors for that company."
BREAKING: SUPER COMMITTEE NEGOTIATIONS ARE MARKED BY DECLARATIONS OF GOOD FAITH, ABSURDITY - Mike McAuliff sends this update: "Republicans and Democrats involved in the Super Committee spent another day evading questions and blaming each other for looming crash of the grand plan. Even John Boehner dropped some of his faux rosy -- that's not an orange joke -- optimism in blaming Democrats for not accepting tax hikes on the middle class. 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make drink,' Boehner declared, adding that Democrats have so far brought nothing to the table to even work with. Pelosi, talking about the Democratic position, said she was optimistic but "I'm realistic as well." Her optimism was that Republicans will look at automatic cuts of 'sequestration,' and see the light on taxes. But there was one sign a deal could happen. Pelosi adopted a Republican talking point in discussing cuts to entitlements, presumably by declaring inflation doesn't rise as fast if you're on Social Security. "As I've said before, we already have gone down this path, a half of trillion dollars in savings to strengthen Medicare, in the past, and one of the reasons to address the entitlement issue is to strengthen them, to prolong them," Pelosi said. Strength, indeed."
WHAT? - Roll Call: "Seven Republican House Members have a message for the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction: Keep all revenue options on the table, but do not raise taxes. The muddled message comes today as Reps. John Duncan (Tenn.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Mike Kelly (Pa.), Ron Paul (Texas), Phil Roe (Tenn.),Marlin Stutzman (Ind.) and John Sullivan (Okla.) signed on to a Republican Study Committee letter to the super committee urging members not to raise taxes but also signed the 'go-big' coalition letter earlier this month encouraging the panel to put all options on the table. The letters' overlapping signatories indicate that although the go-big coalition is generally in favor of a grand bargain, some of its members may not vote for just any one. The RSC letter, headed by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), states that the 72 Republican Members who signed it believe the super committee should under no circumstances approve a deal that includes tax increases, which they call 'irresponsible and dangerous.'" [Roll Call]
60 MINUTES RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE - Not only will lawmakers possibly lose access to their magical 15 percent returns, but Hill reporters might have a harder time doing a day's work in an hour ("Cantor: Debt Deal Not Feasible," etc). Eric Cantor is threatening to upend the Hill's pen-and-pad tradition, where Hill hacks are invited in once a week for a long conversation with the party leader, a practice that goes at least back to the Hastert speakership, before which HuffPost Hill has no memory and would have to ask some greybeard (but Carl Hulse has a desk job now). Cantor is using 60 Minutes as the pretext -- they brought in a camera and folks complained -- but we suspect there's something deeper: As the media have become faster and more ideological, the traditional openness between politicians and reporters that has long characterized the Hill is coming under threat. (We did our best Ben-Smith-voice-of-God there. How was it?) [Politico]
IT'S THE NATIONAL #OCCUPY DAY OF SITTING DOWN IN PUBLIC PLACES - So this is happening: "@SegravesWTOP: Arlington County Police stand ready on VA side #KeyBridge pic.twitter.com/87sfnuVQ"
@tylerkingkade: The Georgetown kid is voting for Romney, asks protester not to videotape him
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A year after banks halted foreclosures nationwide because they'd been caught using fraudulent paperwork to take people's homes away, the first criminal indictments have landed -- for two mid-level document company staffers named Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard. "When criminal prosecutions are done for robo-signing, I would hope the target of those prosecutions would be the people who designed the system and profited from it, not just the low-level people doing what they were told," said former state deputy attorney general Prentiss Cox. [HuffPost]
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SOFT-SPOKEN NERD IS HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTER - Energy Secretary Steven Chu is the type of mega dweeb who claps his hands excitedly and snorts whenever someone shows him a photovoltaic cell. Did we say "mega dweeb who claps his hands excitedly and snorts whenever someone shows him a photovoltaic cell"? What we meant to say was "SLEAZY, BRASS-KNUCKLED CHICAGO POLITICAL BOSS." That was the point that Chu's Republican inquisitors were trying to convey today at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. "Energy Secretary Steven Chu, testifying Thursday before a House subcommittee, vigorously defended his department's loan guarantee and grant programs against charges of poor judgment and political favoritism, rejecting Republican assertions that loans to the Solyndra solar energy company were influenced by politics...Republican lawmakers pressed Chu to explain the decision to give Solyndra $535 million in federal loan guarantees. Democrats charged that the grilling reflected House Republicans' aversion to supporting clean-energy technologies that might antagonize the oil and coal industries." [WaPo]
Wherein Fox News' Megyn Kelly performs a dramatic reading of the Sam Stein classic, "Obama's 2012 Campaign Cavalry Takes Shape."
MITT ROMNEY'S STAFF ERASED THEIR EMAIL RECORDS - C'mon, these are Republican Bay Staters we're talking about, they were probably just passing around links to eBay deals on boats, and stuff ... and possibly violating the law. Who knows? Boston Globe: "Just before Mitt Romney left the Massachusetts governor's office and first ran for president, 11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration's e-mails were all wiped from a server, according to interviews and records obtained by the Globe. Romney administration officials had the remaining computers in the governor's office replaced just before Governor Deval Patrick's staff showed up to take power in January 2007, according to Mark Reilly, Patrick's chief legal counsel. As a result, Patrick's office, which has been bombarded with inquiries for records from the Romney era, has no electronic record of any Romney administration e-mails, Reilly said." [Boston Globe]
Man oh man, this is not going to look good on this dude's LinkedIn profile: "An Idaho man accused of firing two shots at the White House last week has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama or his staff. Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, made his first court appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Thursday, one day after he was arrested at a western Pennsylvania hotel. He will be taken back from a federal court in Pittsburgh to face the charges in Washington, D.C." Whole lotta action verbs here. [HuffPost]
GINGRICH TAKES LEAD IN IOWA - Rasmussen: "Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has already picked up steam among Republican primary voters nationwide, and now he jumps to the front of the GOP pack among caucus-goers in Iowa. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers shows Gingrich with 32% followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 19%. Georgia businessman Herman Cain, who led in Iowa last month, drops to third with 13% of the vote. Texas Congressman Ron Paul draws 10% of the vote in Iowa, while Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann each grab six percent (6%)." [Rasmussen]
Jack Abramoff called out Newt Gingrich over the Freddie Mac lobbying controversy, which is all kinds of hilarious: "Former 'super' lobbyist Jack Abramoff thinks Newt Gingrich's campaign has suffered a brutal blow after reports surfaced that he received 'consulting fees' from mortgage giant Freddie Mac that totaled between $1.6 million and $1.8 million, an amount much larger than previously disclosed. 'I don't know if he'll survive this,' Abramoff surmised. 'This is a very big thing.'" [NBC News]
HERMAN CAIN WOULD LIKE IT IF WE DIDN'T DOCUMENT HERMAN CAIN - He's running for office, for Pete's sake! Michael Calderone: "f Herman Cain stumbles on a foreign policy question during Thursday's scheduled meeting with New Hampshire's influential Union Leader newspaper -- as he did earlier this week when asked about President Obama's handling of Libya -- don't expect to see the clip on an endless cable news loop. That's because Cain's campaign has requested that the sit-down not be videotaped. And now, a scheduling matter puts the entire 10 a.m. interview in jeopardy. Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid told The Huffington Post that 'no reason was given' for the no-camera request and he "was a bit surprised" by it. So far, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum have all met with the Union Leader and allowed C-SPAN to tape the newspaper interviews for broadcast...UPDATE: The Cain campaign has now canceled its interview with the Union Leader because of a disagreement over timing, according to AP reporter Steve Peoples. Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid offered a terse response to Cain's cancellation: "It's his loss." [HuffPost]
Sometimes (and we mean SOMETIMES) the fact that the DC press corps is populated entirely by geeks pays dividends: "Herman Cain has a new response to the media fallout over his bungled answer about his Libya policy. Susan Archer of ABC News reports that Cain declared at campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire: 'We need a leader, not a reader.' Corroborating the reports that this is something Cain…actually…said, Steve Peoples of the Associated Press also reports Cain saying that knowing every detail is not important: 'We need a leader, not a reader.' So it turns out that Ronald Reagan isn't Cain's only political role model — his other is the fictionalized “President Schwarzenegger" from The Simpsons Movie!" [TPM]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Small child discovers a terrible power within.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Still cloudy, fine. It will clear up sometime tonight, although it will be chilly. Really chilly. Like, "just above freezing" chilly. So get used to it. Tomorrow: Sunny, but we barely make it to the 50s. It's a cold front. That too shall pass. Thanks, JB!
- We wholeheartedly endorse The Fluffington Post. [target="_hplink">http://bit.ly/hsZ08q]
- Baby dolphin. [http://bit.ly/vg4o0k
- This girl's pet camel makes us very jealous. Office pet? [http://youtu.be/ZIOBTCBHyAw]
- The Protect IP Act, explained from the perspective of people who are NOT corporations. Yeah, we forget about them sometimes, too. [http://youtu.be/yDX8Lyl16Qs]
- If real life were like a video game, part 3968. [http://youtu.be/aMSTtJLG8rQ]
- This guy has an awesome job. Also, office pet? [http://youtu.be/ggd6ZQCCiyQ]
- Does this robot's face remind anybody else of How To Train Your Dragon? [http://youtu.be/36aKlAyrfiw]
- Speaking of robots, here is this. [http://youtu.be/r6-89KO8ZgQ]
@pourmecoffee: Happy birthday to John Boehner. Aging is a kind of progress even you can't obstruct.
@DarrellIssa: VIDEO: why I think we should ctrl+alt+delete #SOPA: bit.ly/rCXhyG #tech
@benpershing: I have just trademarked the phrase "new Solyndra emails." Now everyone pay me.
5:30pm - 7:00pm: Tim Bishop, Democrat from New York, has a reception at Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Townhouse. [53 D Street SE]
6:00pm: California's Lois Capps has dinner with Steny Hoyer at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar. We're fine with Three-buck Chuck.223 Pennsylvania Ave SE]
Tomorrow-Saturday: Collin Peterson of Minnesota dresses up like cartoon star of the 90's Doug Funnie and takes off on a Quail Hunting trip. [Southwind Plantation, Bainbridge, GA.]
8:30am - 9:30am: DCCC Chairman Steve Israel raises money at the National Democratic Club Townhouse with over breakfast and a chat about instigating class warfare. [40 Ivy Street SE]
12:00pm: Joseph Crowley has a fine Italian lunch at Acqua Al 2. Another New York Dem raising cash while just outside his home district of Queens, protesters are swarming the streets in New York City. [7th Street SE]
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