Mitt Romney might lose South Carolina to a guy who treats people the same way 85-year-olds treat malfunctioning radios. Republicans tried hard to make Texas' congressional districts resemble paintball stains, but the Supreme Court has other plans. And the Stephen Colbert and Herman Cain rally in Charleston was both a hilarious political spectacle and a reminder that someone needs to make a Cain-Colbert buddy cop action comedy. Call us, Richard Donner! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 20th, 2012:
THE PENNSYLVANIA BAR DID TO RICK SANTORUM'S LAW LICENSE WHAT RICK SANTORUM WANTS TO DO TO GAY MARRIAGE - End it. Okay, well, administratively suspend it, technically. You get the idea. Anyway, the following is based on a tip from HuffPost Hill reader Timothy McNair, which we're presenting here first. HuffPost: "On Thursday night, Rick Santorum told a debate audience that he does his own taxes. He's not as diligent when it comes to bar dues: The former senator's license to practice law is under administrative suspension,' according to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Such a suspension would typically come about not for serious malfeasance but for failing to pay an annual $70 fee required to stay current. 'There's no indication that Santorum has violated any rules of conduct,' Tim McNair said. But, he said, it does speak to basic organizational abilities. 'If you want to be responsible, you have to take care of business, and for whatever reason, Rick hasn't done it,' said McNair, a Democrat who has volunteered for three Santorum opponents in Pennsylvania. Santorum's suspension was for non-payment of a fee that would have allowed him to stay inactive, his campaign told HuffPost. He's been inactive since 1994 and was finally suspended on April 2, 2010, board records show. The fee itself was nominal. Senior Political Advisor J. Hogan Gidley says Santorum is aware of his suspension. 'Rick says he was never disciplined,' Gidley confirmed. 'He just didn't renew it.' He'll need 36 hours of continuing legal education to get it back."
ROMNEY PREPS FOR GINGRICH WIN IN SOUTH CAROLINA - Like a man bracing a Petmate Elite 800 Series Dog Kennel to the top of a car roof, Mitt Romney is bracing himself and his campaign for an upset loss in Saturday's South Carolina primary. Jon Ward: "One of Mitt Romney's top surrogates, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, began the process Friday morning of managing expectations in the event of a possible Romney loss to Newt Gingrich in Saturday's South Carolina primary. Sununu predicted that the GOP nomination fight will run through every primary and caucus state, all the way to the summer... Sununu's comments are the clearest indication that the Romney campaign is preparing for a possible loss here Saturday, as Gingrich, the former House Speaker from Georgia, rides a wave of momentum based on his debate performances this week." [HuffPost]
We haven't forgotten you, Seamus.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Goldman Sachs bankers' bonuses are going down in proportion to the company's profits. Hey, since when does it work that way on Wall Street? "It's a bloodbath," a midlevel staffer said. "One girl was actually crying, I think," said another. Nyuck nyuck nyuck. [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Republicans in South Carolina, including the presidential candidates campaigning there this week, think Thomas Ritter should have to pee in a cup to prove he won't waste his unemployment insurance money on drugs. Ritter, a 45-year-old single dad with two kids, said he doesn't use illegal substances and didn't lose his job because of them. He said he used to work as a mechanic for the Air Force and served in Desert Storm. He's been drawing $273 a week in unemployment insurance since June 2011, when he said a knee injury cost him his job as a maintenance technician for the Postal Service. "Just to arbitrarily invade someone's personal life to any degree should be a constitutional violation," Ritter said after filing his weekly claim at the Midlands Workforce Center here on Wednesday. "Unless they have them in a program already, showing that drugs or whatever they took affected their performance on the job, then it's not proper." It's perfectly proper if your goal is to welfarize unemployment insurance. Onward! [HuffPost]
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SUPREME COURT SHOOTS DOWN TEXAS REDISTRICTING PLAN - "The stars at night - are big and bright / Deep in the heart of Texas / Its zig-zag lines - are not benign / Deep in the heart of Texas". Mike Sacks: "In a partial victory for Texas Republicans, the Supreme Court on Friday morning sent Texas' redistricting maps back to the drawing board. The high court's unsigned, unanimous opinion in the linked cases of Perry v. Perez and Perry v. Davis threw out interim state and congressional district maps drawn up by a three-judge federal court in San Antonio, Texas. The lower court had drawn up the interim maps when civil rights groups challenged the original maps created by the Republican-controlled state legislature as unlawfully discriminating against minority voters...In a partial victory for Texas Republicans, the Supreme Court on Friday morning sent Texas' redistricting maps back to the drawing board. The high court's unsigned, unanimous opinion in the linked cases of Perry v. Perez and Perry v. Davis threw out interim state and congressional district maps drawn up by a three-judge federal court in San Antonio, Texas. The lower court had drawn up the interim maps when civil rights groups challenged the original maps created by the Republican-controlled state legislature as unlawfully discriminating against minority voters." [HuffPost]
HARRY REID DELAYS VOTE ON PROTECT IP - Rest easy, people who spend their Tuesday nights cuddling up on a couch, connecting to a Mandarin-language website and watching bootlegged episodes of "Gilmore Girls": the government isn't going to ruin your fun! For now... Zach Carter and Luke Johnson: "In a significant victory for open Internet advocates, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) both indefinitely postponed votes on controversial anti-piracy legislation. "In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote on the Protect IP Act," Reid said in a written statement...Reid's decision to pull the bill was an unusually abrupt changing of the political tide in the nation's capital. As recently as Thursday afternoon, Protect IP opponents did not believe they had the votes to block the legislation on the Senate floor, and had almost no power to revise the bill's language ahead of a vote." [HuffPost]
SUPER PACS FUELING GINGRICH IN S.C. - Paul Blumenthal: "Unlike in Iowa, where Gingrich's record was shredded in a barrage of negative ads from a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, Gingrich's campaign in South Carolina has been buoyed by a multimillion-dollar response from a pro-Newt super PAC called Winning Our Future. That spending is helping push his last-minute poll surge, as he moves into a virtual tie with Romney. According to a Huffington Post review of records filed with the Federal Election Commission, super PACs supporting the remaining four Republican candidates have spent $7.1 million in South Carolina. Nearly all of that money comes from Winning Our Future and the pro-Romney Restore Our Future, which have spent $2.93 million and $2.84 million, respectively, to launch attacks against each other's candidate." [HuffPost]
@jonward11: Newts first speech of day cancelled bc this many people showed up pic.twitter.com/FacAyc2G
EARMARKS ARE ALL NEWT'S FAULT - The Hill: "Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) accused Gingrich of buying votes for bloated budgets with earmarks for endangered incumbents, with Flake calling him "the father of contemporary earmarking." The strikes came during a conference call organized by Romney's campaign, which is eager to undercut Gingrich's credibility ahead of Saturday's primary in South Carolina...Friday's attacks by more recent House additions -- Flake, Campbell and Chaffetz all were elected to the House after Gingrich departed -- represented a shift by the Romney campaign to assigning culpability for Congress's modern woes to the man who led the House in the 1990s. "We didn't have this problem in the '80s," Campbell said. "You can say Newt Gingrich has been a significant part of why the budget has blown up." [The Hill]
CAIN AND COLBERT RALLY IN CHARLESTON - NJ: "The event was billed as a rally for Colbert and he made plenty of digs against Republicans. But it also served as a vehicle to get thousands of unsuspecting, overwhelmingly liberal college students to hear Cain's conservative rhetoric on the economy. They arrived several hours early to wait in line and get prime viewing spots. It is hard to believe that Cain, serving as a warm-up act for a comedian who shares no affinity for conservatism, was once leading Republican polls across the country and regarded as a credible contender for the presidency. The post-campaign Cain spent several minutes Friday singing the Pokemon theme song 'I Believe.'" [National Journal]
S.C. REPUBLICANS LOVED NEWT'S DEBATE SHOWING - To no one's surprise, Newt fans enjoyed a wild night of angry yelling. WaPo: "If anything, Republican women interviewed here today seemed even more supportive than men of the way Newt Gingrich handled debate moderator John King's question about ex-wife Marianne's allegation that the GOP presidential candidate had asked her for an open marriage as their union was falling apart in 1999...Of 15 South Carolina Republicans interviewed at the GOP Southern Leadership conference on Friday morning, only two had anything critical to say about Gingrich's personal history, and many said his handling of the question had only increased their admiration for him. 'Last I checked, you don't get divorced because you love each other so much,' said Charlestonian Jo Anne Knapp. 'I loved it' when Newt Gingrich tore into King for asking the question." [The Washington Post]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Before they turn into suicidally stupid suburban driving hazards, deer can be pretty cute.
FRANCE MAY LEAVE AFGHANISTAN EARLY, BECAUSE SOMETIMES THIS NEWSLETTER WRITES ITSELF - The Hill: "The White House reacted cautiously Friday after France said it was considering pulling its troops out of Afghanistan early in response to an Afghan soldier killing four French troops. White House press secretary Jay Carney said at Friday's briefing he didn't want to "get ahead" of a possible decision made by France. He called France "a valued member of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and said "their forces have served alongside ours with valor and honor...French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that the recurring deaths at the hands of Afghan soldiers could prompt his country to withdraw. "If the security conditions are not clearly established then the question of an early return of French forces from Afghanistan will arise," Sarkozy said Friday." [The Hill]
Herman Cain, depriving Newt Gingrich of his next campaign slogan: "I know me some Pokemon words."
- Make sure you have a camera rolling next time a dancing zebra walks into your yard.[http://bit.ly/zpdPfA]
- UrbanDictionary.tv plays user-suggested videos to go with the slang definitions. This can only end well. [http://bit.ly/wUdA8H]
- Bikes left outside in New York will decompose over time. [http://bit.ly/zqtz16]
- Sorry, NMA.tv. There's a new dramatic reenactment troupe in town. [http://bit.ly/w9w2tA]
- Here are animals playing with iPads, supercut-style. [http://bit.ly/Ax5Rt0]
- Rehabilitated baby bat is cute in that ugly sort of way. [http://bit.ly/xNQQax]
- It turns out that the inside of a nuclear reactor containment vessel looks like a blizzard in a sewer. [http://bit.ly/zZaG2x]
- RIP Etta James. [http://bit.ly/zYdfFn]
@daveweigel: #winning pic.twitter.com/61JrBdOE
@OKnox: No comment. #Newt twitpic.com/89jlgl
@CrowleyTIME: BREAKING: Ellis the Elephant admits to extra-marital affair. "I have sought forgiveness from my herd." Attacks NatGeo channel for coverage.
7:15pm: Rick Santorum helps raise money to send a few young Republicans to CPAC next year.[69 Hagood Ave., Charleston, S.C.]
8:00 - 9:30pm: Newt Gingrich lines his pockets by shilling his books to a bunch of veterans. Aboard an actual aircraft carrier. Barf. [USS Yorktown - Hangar Deck, 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, S.C.]
7:30pm: The world premiere of "Necessary Sacrifices", a play about Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. Perfect for anyone whose New Year's resolution was "get more Fredrick Douglas." [Ford's Theatre, 511 10th Street NW]
6:30pm: Santorum's election night party is at the Citadel, so if he loses at least it's a classy setting for crushing defeat. [Buyer Hall, Avenue of Remembrance, Charleston, S.C.]
7:45pm: Romney's party is at the State Fairgrounds. If he loses all he's got are farm animals. Heh. [1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, S.C.]
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