Like any good GOP presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich left a trail of failed businesses in his wake (better call the movers, Barack!). Scott Brown records Thanksgiving messages like Charles Barkley plays golf. And the person who bred the pardoned White House turkey obsessively raised the creature with 1600 Pennsylvania in mind while watching its neglected siblings go to waste. Insert tasteless Kennedy joke here. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, and we hope you enjoy your non-Camelot turkeys:
'PLEASE, UH, Y'KNOW, REACH OUT TO YOUR, UH, FRIENDS AND FAMILY' - Happy Thanksgiving! The first Thanksgiving, so says the CW, was held in 1621 when the Wampanoag Native Americans taught the recently-arrived European settlers to cultivate food. It was the first time in this nation's history that brown people showed white people how to do something right. That never happened again. Anyway, we're grateful for a lot of things this year. We're grateful for family, friends and all the other good stuff. We're also grateful for your continued readership and support. Lastly, we're grateful for Scott Brown, who only needed to record ONE take of this super eloquent message of thanks-giving. We'll see you on Monday. Take it away, Scott... [Happy, um, Thanksgiving!]
INTERESTING: Brown's daughters say in the video that he does the cleaning. They also say he falls asleep five minutes after eating.
OCCUPY Y'ALL STREET - HuffPost sent Jason Cherkis and Sara Kenigsberg on a tour of Dixie, and they've come back with a video series documenting the more genteel wing of the movement. Their first installment is out, and it's really, really good. [HuffPost]
HuffPost's Josh Hersh has spent the last week or so in Egypt where he's witnessed countless demonstrators get the UC Davis treatment.
Hey Congress: When you come back, you'll have just days to do the payroll tax, unemployment benefits, fund the government and pass a doc fix. Enjoy your turkey.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - California is running out of money for health care reform program for the uninsured. Enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has been lower than expected, but it's costing like, way too much. Unless the feds allocate more money for the state, California's Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board will have to cap enrollment within a few months. Presumably the administration will be able to unlock more money -- in the initiative's first year the government spent just 2 percent of the $5 billion allocated. A funny thing to remember is that this program, meant to last only until insurance exchanges launch in 2014, is the centerpiece of the Republican alternative to health care reform. [CaliforniaHealthLine.org]
AIRPORTS ARE BLEAK, HOPELESS - Dave Jamieson: "Every day she goes to work at O'Hare International Airport, Elda Burke faces the same dilemma. Burke, 30, works as a passenger attendant at the airport, escorting the elderly and disabled to and from their gates by wheelchair. Even though the airlines describe this as a free service, Burke's employer has her working partly for tips, which is why her base pay is a low $6.50 an hour, somewhat like a restaurant server's, rather than the typical Illinois minimum wage of $8.25.
But unlike diners at a restaurant, many of the passengers Burke will be escorting on their holiday travels this week won't realize she's working for tips -- and by federal law, she won't be allowed to tell them. 'We cannot say anything,' Burke says. 'If we do that, they can fire us.'" [HuffPost]
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NEWT GINGRICH TREATS HIS BUSINESS LIKE HIS MARRIA... - No, NO! We're not going to say it -- it's Thanksgiving and we're better than that (eh, maybe). Anyway, you figure it out: "During his decade on the political sidelines, Newt Gingrich got rich by building a network of companies and think tanks that pulled in more than $115 million in contributions and fees from powerful corporations and individuals...Now, though, months after Gingrich stepped away from his businesses and groups to run for president, some of his enterprises have struggled: one major group folded, another is on the brink and a third is reportedly considering a sale. The story of Gingrich's network, and the way in which it has been partly absorbed in his campaign, is an example of how the line between business and politics can blur when a politician uses connections and clout to build a Washington empire...As Gingrich's campaign vaults in the polls, he's drawn renewed scrutiny over the relationships between his former clients and donors and the policy positions he's taken over the years. The former House speaker this month has been criticized for the $1.6 million paid to his consulting firm Gingrich Group by mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which Gingrich had blamed for triggering the 2008 mortgage crisis." [Politico]
There is nothing about this that isn't quintessentially Mitt Romney: "Mitt Romney was asked in Iowa earlier today how he will stop the gridlock in Washington and Politico notes he 'drifted into talking about Bob Dole as an 'American hero' who he'd model himself after.' Interestingly, Romney told Fox News four years ago that Dole was 'the last person he'd want' backing him.'" [Political Wire]
SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENED TO TEXAS DEMOCRATS - Roll Call: "A federal three-judge panel dealt Republicans a major blow today in the Texas redistricting legal battle. The judges drew a preliminary Congressional map that appears to protect incumbents and gives Democrats an edge in picking up three of the four new seats Texas gained in reapportionment. The plan increases the electoral potency of minorities in certain districts, giving an added boost to Democrats who tend to do very well among Latino and African-American voters. The biggest individual winners are Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) and state Rep. Joaquin Castro (D). The two were set to run against each other -- based on a GOP-drawn map passed earlier this year that is now being litigated in court." [Roll Call]
"Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate's Republican Policy Committee, will endorse GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday, according to the Romney campaign.
WHO ARE SARAH PALIN'S FOLLOWERS VOTING FOR? - That is to say, "If they can get out of bed for the first time in months, tunnel their way through the mountains of tear-stained tissues on their bedroom floor, navigate their living rooms filled with Atlas Shrugged: Part One memorabilia and dehydrated survivalist soup packets and out the door to the polling station, who will Sarah Palin's supporters vote for?" Paul Blumenthal: "A review of campaign finance records by The Huffington Post shows that, as of Sept. 30, only 337 individuals of the more than 3,500 who had donated more than $250 to Palin's political action committee, Sarah PAC, had also given to another Republican candidate prior to Palin's announcement...The mostly untapped Palin donor pool is very large and dedicated to the former Alaska governor. Aside from the 3,500 donors who gave more than $250, thousands of others gave less than that amount and consequently were not reported to the Federal Election Commission. In total, Sarah PAC raised $7.35 million from 2009 through June 2011. The biggest beneficiary of contributions from Palin donors happened to be the candidate who lavished the most praise on Palin upon her decision not to run: Rep. Michele Bachmann, who raised $86,495 in contributions from 155 Sarah PAC donors." [HuffPost]
RICK PERRY'S TERRIBLENESS IS KILLING LITERATURE - Jason Stanford: "My first book came out last week. The subject is constantly in the headlines, and the first review called it 'wickedly witty' and 'engaging, imminently readable.' It even had a controversial title that the New York Times refused to print -- and more penis jokes than you find in your average Judd Apatow movie. You might expect it would be kind of a big deal. There was just one problem. The book was about Rick Perry. And when he plummeted in the polls, our publisher dropped us faster than the governor could say, 'Oops.' (Granted, that took almost a minute.) Adios, Mofo: Why Rick Perry Will Make America Miss George W. Bush is now out as an e-book and will soon be in paperback, but now without a publisher." And yet, Meghan McCain is a published author. Ponder that, J-Schoolers and creative writing MFA candidates. Ponder that real good. [Texas Tribune]
@PaulBlu: Megyn Kelly meme. It's funny, essentially: bit.ly/w1IR8V
PARDONED TURKEY HAS BEEN WORKING FOR THIS ITS WHOLE LIFE - Might we propose to America's network executives that some kind of "Turkey Fame" be given a chance during sweeps? The inherent drama is obvious. Rachel Tepper: "The Thanksgiving turkey officially pardoned by President Obama on Wednesday morning isn't your run-of- the-mill bird. It's actually been bred specifically for the purpose. Born on July 7, it and 34 other turkeys were plucked at five weeks old from a Minnesota commercial turkey flock. From then on, the turkeys were trained for an hour every weekday by members of FFA, a youth organization promoting agriculture education...Following the ceremony, the birds are headed to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens (although Wild Turkey Bourbon is trying to steal them away). The remaining turkeys in FFA's specially-trained flock won't be so lucky: They're headed to the slaughterhouse and their meat will be donated to the local food shelter." [HuffPost]
PEPPER SPRAY COP ACCUSED OF CHEMICALLY BURNING OUR CIVIL RIGHTS - ThinkProgress: "The police officer who casually pepper-sprayed students at University of California, Davis, was involved in a discrimination lawsuit alleging that he used an anti-gay slur against an openly-gay officer, the Daily Mail reports. The racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit specifically singled out Lt. John Pike, a retired Marine sergeant, for "using a profane anti-gay epithet" against a gay police officer. The case ended in a $250,000 settlement." [ThinkProgress]
It's entirely possible that the pitch-perfect "Pepper Spraying Cop" Tumblr wasn't actually created by a person but conceived by the lefty zeitgeist
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Turkey chases a dog around.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: The good news is that there won't be any snow or rain. The bad news is that, if you're flying, you'll be dealing with horrendous wind, which, combined with your normal travel delays, can make for headaches tonight. Well, you'll most likely be dealing with headaches no matter what you're doing. The rest of the weekend should be clearer, should you be traveling then. Thanks, JB!
- Octopus walks on land. Soon they will come for our jobs. [http://youtu.be/jIxJRaVAgWw]
- Errol Morris follows up on a mystery of the JFK assassination. [http://huff.to/rwtgus]
- Two guys dress up as gorillas and confuse zoo tourists. [http://youtu.be/byp0q_O1Fss]
- Microwave finds good youtube videos to show you while you wait. [http://tcrn.ch/udJXHQ]
- Uh, peppersprayingcop.tumblr.com. Yep. [http://peppersprayingcop.tumblr.com/]
- Here's something for you and your dog to work on during this long holiday weekend. [http://huff.to/ucPRwb]
- How the English language happened, in ten minutes. [http://youtu.be/gSYwPTUKvdw]
- Your iOS 5 device's camera has has a SECRET panorama mode. Here's how to get it working. [http://tcrn.ch/sH5usa]
@adamlisberg: Spokesman just gave me the quote of the week: "This is a ridiculous set of inane charges by a bitter loser."
@delrayser: Aand today's agency early dismissal comes at a record-breaking 1 PM. Happy Thanksgiving, Uncle Sam!
@FakeAPStyleBook: Anatolian Bureau: Let's not repeat last year's "AMERICA WANTS TO DEVOUR TURKEY" headline gaffe, OK?
8:30am: So Others Might Eat (SOME) holds its 10th annual "Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger," which helps SOME serve more than 1,000 meals on Thanksgiving Day and all other days of the year. It's at Freedom Plaza though, so they can expect to get a few fliers from Code Pink who are camping out there for "Occupy Washington, D.C." Little trot at 8:30, followed by a 5K at 9 a.m. [Freedom Plaza, Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 13th Street NE]
For those not eating turkey on Thursday, the Vegetarian Society of D.C. wants you to grab your "best business-casual duds for an animal-friendly feast" with our vegetarians. [1 Bethesda Metro Center, Hyatt Regency, Bethesda, Md.]
6:30pm: The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom of DC hosts the Progressive Democrats of America of Virginia for a book discussion on "When the World Outlawed War." [sent from Christina, don't have location]
11:00am: First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome the Official White House Christmas Tree's arrival. [1600 Pennsylvania Ave., The White House, North Portico]
5:00pm: National Harbor holds its Harbor Lights Festival and tree lighting ceremony with fireworks, a 60-foot Christmas tree decorated with 20,000 lights, and musical performances by Abbey Miller, Rashida Jolley, the cast of "Spirit of Christmas!" and other things and people you've totally heard of. [Waterfront Plaza, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Md]
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