Kim Jong-Il is dead: His family asks that, in lieu of flowers, you send money to... uh, North Korea. Years from now, historians at Freddie Mac will marvel at how fast Newt Gingrich's campaign tanked. And the super thin shirt that Barney Frank wore on the House floor today answered at least one question: They keep the thermostat in the Lower Chamber pretty cold in winter. Stick by those fireplaces. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 19th, 2011:
HOUSE GOP WILL LIKELY KILL PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY TONIGHT, THE SAME ONE IT ONCE SUPPORTED - Sam Stein: "House Republicans will likely reject a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday Monday evening, citing a desire to avoid striking a short-term deal and the uncertain impact such a deal would have on a fragile economy." [FireDog Ryan note: So letting taxes jump in January, then lowering them later in the month...that's how we get to certainty. Thanks, FDR!] "Just under two years ago, House Republicans, including some of the party's more conservative members, were arguing that a two-month payroll tax holiday would 'effectively stimulate' the economy. How we got from point A to point B is a reflection of the reversal that has occurred, in a short period of time, in the political dynamics of economic recovery. The January 2009 bill sponsored by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and backed by 56 House Republicans, including current presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), is not identical to the one that is currently being considered. It called for a complete payroll tax holiday, meaning the tax rate would be reduced to zero. The current version, meanwhile, would keep the rate at 4.2 percent, rather than allow it to return to the pre-2010 level of 6.2 percent." [HuffPost]
The House will vote on the measure, for some reason, at 3:00 am. You know how shame-ridden dogs sometimes leave the room after they fart? Same concept...kind of.
NEW GOP NOMINATING RULES WILL DRAW OUT PRIMARY RANCOR, GIVE ASSIGNMENT EDITORS AN EXTENDED BREAK - From Roll Call's Shira Toeplitz (thanks for the holiday gift basket, RC! Positively inspired fruit/cheese pairing!): "The Republican National Committee's revised, drawn-out primary calendar could have some unfavorable, unintended consequences next year for the GOP nominee. Republicans say the prolonged primary system benefits candidates with expensive and expansive organizations beyond the early primary states, most likely former Gov. Mitt Romney or Rep. Ron Paul. But they also caution it could hurt the eventual nominee if the process drags on too long through the election year. In early 2010, RNC members voted to overhaul their nominating calendar, allocating more delegates to states with later primaries. After watching Democrats win the White House following their prolonged primary in 2008, the RNC changed the system to ensure more states had a voice in the nominating process in 2012. Seemed like a good idea at the time, right? But the RNC's new nominating contest paves the way for a long delegate fight this spring, likely drying up the resources of the presumptive nominee before the general election."
David Wood's e-book, "Beyond the Battlefield," is available for download. Buy please.
BARNEY FRANK'S BABY BLUE-SHEATHED MOOBS: BROUGHT TO YOU BY AMERICA'S CABLE AFFILIATES - It burns. This afternoon C-SPAN blasted Washington-area newsrooms and other blue hairs and shut ins with what could best be described as eye napalm. Barney Frank took to the House floor wearing a sandy blue tee with a navy jacket draped over his shoulders. It was a sartorial workaround of the bulky cast on his left arm. Here's the thing: Frank's thin shirt revealed two very conspicuous nipples and two misshapen flabs of skin. We apologize... but sweet Jesus, just look at the picture.
He also wore the outfit on Thursday
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Daniel Crowley of Winsted, Conn. said he lost his job as a plumber's assistant in May of 2010. His benefits will stop early next year whether Congress reauthorizes them or not. He's worried he won't find work before that happens, describing his job search as horrible. "I'm online constantly. Calling people nonstop." He said he and his wife and their three kids recently moved in with her father after their landlord threw them out. Crowley, 36, said it seems landscaping and construction jobs that used to offer $15 an hour are now offering $10 an hour. "There's no way I can support a family of five on that," he said. Still, he said he's applying anyway.
DOUBLE DOWNER - If Congress fails to reauthorize federal unemployment insurance it will cost the economy nearly half a million jobs through 2014, according to a new report by the Obama administration. Federal unemployment insurance has supported more than 50 million Americans since 2008, the report finds, and if the benefits stop next month, "the economy can be expected to generate 478,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2014." [White House PDF]
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GINGRICH TANKING IN IOWA, RON PAUL TAKES LEAD - We're convinced that Newt Gingrich is modeling his campaign on "The Game." He berated and ignored his "targets" (the electorate and media) until their opinions of him were *just* low enough and their feelings hurt *just* so. Then he swooped in and put in just enough effort to change their diminished opinions. Now his "targets," who have been dating him for a few weeks, are realizing, Holy shit, I'm dating someone who read "The Game.". But, hey, don't hate the player. Reuters: "The Public Policy Polling telephone survey of 597 likely Republican caucus voters in Iowa found Paul, a congressman from Texas, leading with 23 percent of the vote, followed by 20 percent for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and 14 percent for Gingrich...The Public Policy Polling telephone survey of 597 likely Republican caucus voters in Iowa found Paul, a congressman from Texas, leading with 23 percent of the vote, followed by 20 percent for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and 14 percent for Gingrich." [Reuters]
And New Hampshire: "Mitt Romney has a significant lead in New Hampshire, getting 35% there to 19% for Ron Paul, 17% for Newt Gingrich, 13% for Jon Huntsman, 5% for Michele Bachmann, 3% for Rick Santorum, 2% for Rick Perry, and 1% for Gary Johnson." [PPP]
@ppppolls: Buddy Roemer just called and personally asked to be included in our polls and was very nice about it so we'll do that for the duration
Newt is scared. Jon Ward: "Newt Gingrich accused his Republican primary opponents of 'reprehensible behavior' for running TV ads attacking him and his record, and said he will launch a 44-city bus tour to barnstorm Iowa before the Jan. 3 caucuses. Gingrich appeared at a private security firm in Iowa on Monday afternoon in his first appearance in the state since last Thursday's debate. Since that debate, he has been criticized for not campaigning in the state. And for over a week, he has been under assault from rival campaigns, super PACS supporting his opponents and anonymous shadow groups in Iowa criticizing all aspects of his record and personal life. Gingrich did not wait one second in his remarks before launching into an attack on his primary rivals, whom he did not mention by name." [HuffPost]
THIS IS HAPPENING: JEB BUSH 2012 SPECULATION... AGAIN - Upper Northwest Washington and its environs are so much more than hotbeds of ornate foyers, sham marriages and awful bars. They're also global centers of stale political thinking! A Jeb Bush op-ed in the Journal has the hidebound, CW-loving, did-you-see-Maureen's-latest-column?-it's-fantastic crowd frothing at the mouth. The Hill: "Byron York, a columnist for the Washington Examiner, wondered on Twitter what Bush intended by the piece. 'Trial balloon? Jeb Bush pens campaign-like economic manifesto for WSJ,' York tweeted. The article comes just days after influential New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested on NPR that Bush could launch an outside presidential campaign if Newt Gingrich fared well through the early primaries." Somewhere, in a dank basement laboratory in Chevy Chase, David Brooks is experimenting with reanimation technology -- mixing the contents of smoke-filled beakers, flicking on giant plasma balls and furiously scribbling notes on a chalkboard -- in an attempt to resurrect John Lindsay. This futile project will consume, and ultimately destroy, him. Stop, David. Stop. [The Hill]
ROMNEY STILL ON BAIN PAYROLL - Which sucks, but not for the reason you think. You see, corporations are people, and in these tough economic times, the last thing Bain needs, while it tabulates its finances at its drab Formica kitchen table, is a receipt that reads "ROMNEY, MITT - $9,300,000." Sad. NYT: "In what would be the final deal of his private equity career, he negotiated a retirement agreement with his former partners that has paid him a share of Bain's profits ever since, bringing the Romney family millions of dollars in income each year and bolstering the fortune that has helped finance Mr. Romney's political aspirations...[T]he family's Bain holdings are still considerable: in his 2011 disclosure, Mr. Romney reported Bain assets between $12.4 million and $60.9 million, which provided between $1.5 million and $9.3 million in income. The blind trust for his wife, Ann, held at least another $10 million, generating income of at least $4.1 million. Because the campaign is required to provide only a minimum value for some Bain assets now held by Mrs. Romney, the total could be far more." [NYT]
CONGRESS IN THE OVERSIZED TRENCH COAT POCKET OF BIG PORN - Rep. Jared Polis opened the legislative door without knocking today to prove that backers of a sweeping anti-piracy measure, uh, support porn. As a result, a number of conservative committee members furiously tried to switch their browser window before their constituents saw what they were doing. Zach Carter: "By a vote of 9 to 18, the House Judiciary Committee rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), which would have barred the Department of Justice from using the new tactics envisioned by an anti-piracy bill to protect 'obscene and pornographic works.' Members of both parties came together to defeat the anti-pornography initiative, with Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.), and even hardcore social conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) all against Polis' amendment, and in effect, standing up to protect the porn industry. The vote came during a hearing to modify the text Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, a bill which gives filmmakers and the federal government the ability to shutdown entire websites that they claim are involved in piracy -- without a trial or even a traditional hearing. And while the legislation is being pushed most aggressively by Hollywood movie studio and major record labels, the sweeping enforcement powers envisioned by the bill could be deployed by adult film auteurs, as well." [HuffPost]
SUPREME COURT SETS DATE FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM HEARING - Mike Sacks: "March madness is coming to the Supreme Court next year. The justices have designated three days, March 26 to March 28, as the oral argument dates for the health care cases. The Court agreed to hear the challenges to the Affordable Care Act in November, setting aside an extraordinary five and a half hours for oral argument. The main event will be on Tuesday, March 27, when the Court will take up the constitutionality of the health care law's minimum coverage requirement. That provision, commonly called the individual mandate, requires virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. The Court has set aside two hours for argument over whether Congress' passage of the individual mandate exceeded the legislature's powers to regulate interstate commerce or lay and collect taxes under Article I of the Constitution." [HuffPost]
You win this one, Slate: "I (Almost) Got Callista Gingrich's Hair." "Having just undergone a Washington, D.C., salon's best attempt to Callistify me, I now know that hair like that doesn't come easily--in fact, it suggests a certain strength of character on Callista's part that she's able to do that to herself every single day. And I'm much less inclined, now, to judge her for looking a little off-kilter. The fumes from that many products mingled together and swirling around her head must be dizzying." [Slate]
YAY - "Louis C.K. will be the featured guest at the 68th Annual Radio and Television Congressional Correspondents Dinner." [Roll Call]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Doggy just can't take it anymore.
KIM JONG-IL, THAT OL' SUCH AND SUCH - "His birth, believed to have been prophesied by a swallow, ignited a bright star in the sky that immediately changed the season from winter to spring and caused an awe-inspiring double rainbow to appear. Pyongyang media outlets reported in 1994 that Kim scored a record-breaking 34, or 38 under par, on a regulation 18-hole golf course. To achieve this amazing score, according to reports, he nailed 11 holes-in-one. Perhaps most impressive, Kim accomplished his eye-popping 34 on his first-ever golf outing. The score was verified by 17 of his bodyguards who were all on hand to congratulate him...Kim's love of movies was so great that he allegedly had South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee, kidnapped in 1978. The couple was released only after Shin was forced to produce 'Pulgasari,' a communist propaganda version of Godzilla...American-style fast food was not welcome in Kim's North Korea, but the newspaper Minju Joson once reported that the leader had invented his own hamburger-like sandwich called 'double bread with meat.'" [Al Jazeera]
- The Twitter-obsessed (yeah, you) get taken down a notch in this edition of The Gentlemen's Rant. [http://bit.ly/tjpueH]
- This is a car jump in which the car performs a skateboarding move over a giant skateboard. [http://gizmo.do/vqgpp3]
- Cat vs. Dog trick-for-trick showdown. The real trick, of course, is convincing your owners to spend months training you to walk backwards onto a cardboard box. [http://bit.ly/sMpIdT]
- Gorgeous time-lapse of the District's monuments at night. Truly impressive. [http://bit.ly/tw0HdM]
- Top news stories of the year, in Lego form. [http://bit.ly/rG6Q6i]
- Monkey washes dishes! Reminds us of the "Bathroom Monkey" SNL ad. [http://bit.ly/sG66eF]
- The year in street art photos. We especially like all the "yarn bombing." [http://bit.ly/uS6idB]
- The Dark Knight Rises official trailer. [http://bit.ly/sb5ip8]
- The Dark Knight Rises unofficial mockery. [http://bit.ly/tW1hov]
@alexmleo: @LEBassett i'd amend that to be barney frank = honeybadger
@LEBassett: @AlexMLeo I think Barney gives even less of a shit than the honeybadger.
@toddzwillich: We still have Newt and Barney RT @pourmecoffee: Journalists now leaderless. bit.ly/bGeuYF
5:30pm - 8:30pm: Cory Crowley and Company, a former Chuck Grassley staffer, has their holiday party. [1329 11th Street NW, Suite 300]
6:00pm: DC Young Republicans have their Christmas party (one of the few to list it as Christmas) tonight at the Microsoft Offices. Grover Norquist, an advisory board member who will be there, has a sick playlist ready on his Zune. [901 K Street NW]
6:00pm: Friends and staff of Mother Jones magazine are going to provide snacks for a holiday gathering at The Passenger, but they're a non-profit, so they realize they can't afford a booze budget that journalists require. [1021 7th Street NW]
7:00pm: The Choral Arts celebrates the 31st anniversary benefit with a concert and gala event. [2700 F Street NW]
4:00 pm: National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting ceremony will happen Tuesday afternoon. [The Ellipse]
6:00pm - 8:00pm: The Senate isn't in session, but Amy Klobuchar is sticking around to pass the hat in a "Minnesota Mixer." [122 Maryland Ave NE]
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