Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Love Is Blind, Attends Conservative Political Conferences

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At the Conservative Political Action Conference dating seminar, love, unlike President Obama's foreign policy, means never having to say you're sorry. In the House chamber, Steny Hoyer and Eric Cantor threw down in a way that only older lawyers who are discouraged from using the second person can -- which is to say not at all. And "white nationalist" is such a HARSH word to describe the guy on Rep. Steve King's panel. King much prefers "guy who's written a bunch of books I've read." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, February 9th, 2012:

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE SEND SAM STEIN TO A DATING SEMINAR AT CPAC? - You mean aside from furtive glances, robust debates about J. Mclaughlin v. Murray's Toggery and love connections? Stein: "The Conservative Political Action Conference may be a mecca for aspiring and current Republican leaders. But for a brief period on Thursday, it is also the site of a seminar on 'conservative dating' moderated by Wayne Elise, aka 'The Juggler,' aka 'The Libertarian Hitch.'...Chapstick is a recurring theme in Elise's seminar, used usually as a symbol for making out. When this reporter asks how sex fits in to the conservative dating regime, he suggests that men find a happy medium between aggressive and passive (the latter of which plants you firmly in the 'friend' territory). When in doubt, he adds, be upfront." [HuffPost]

OBAMA PULLING A ROMNEY - Politico: "President Obama has not held a solo press conference for nearly three months -- the second-longest stretch in his presidency. He delivered two speeches today but didn't take any questions so it seemed like a good time to crunch some numbers. Here are the longest periods between solo pressers since the president took office, according to presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar." [Politico]

Here's the video we screened at last night's Washington Press Club Foundation congressional dinner, and don't worry, it's way shorter than Billy Long's speech, either his first or second one: "What Makes America Great?"

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Utah and Colorado are the latest states mulling a drug test requirement for people on welfare. Unlike other states where these types of bills have been considered, Utah and Colorado had witnessed several high-profile instances of drug dealing and drug abuse among welfare recipients, and studies commissioned long ago in those states have revealed welfare drug abuse contributes significantly to dependency and recidivism, and that a testing regimen could save significant funds. Ha ha, just kidding. There are no studies, no high-profile drug dealers. These bills are just a joke on poor people. Republicans are obsessed with pee. [AP]

UPSIDE DOWNER - New unemployment claims declined again! "In the week ending February 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 358,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 373,000," the Labor Department said this morning. "The 4-week moving average was 366,250, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised average of 377,250." When weekly claims are below 400,000, it means ECONOMY BETTER. [DOL]

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NEW STOCK ACT:: OLD STOCK ACT | JEFFERSON STARSHIP:: JEFFERSON AIRPLANE - The House this morning passed a GOP-reworked iteration of the STOCK Act that more or less -- and we're just approximating here -- requires political intelligence gathers to say "please" and "thank you" when handing off proprietary information to someone at Goldman's futures desk. Mike McAuliff: "The legislation would make it clear that lawmakers and key staffers are bound by the insider trading laws that affect everyone. The House bill also adds a provision to bar lawmakers from participating in IPOs. The bill passed 417 to 2. But the House bill cut a provision that was in the Senate version requiring people who collect and trade so-called political intelligence -- information from government that can move markets and stock prices -- to register just like lobbyists if they want to talk with covered officials in Congress and the executive branch so that the public knows who they are and what they're doing. It also cut a provision that cracks down on officials guilty of taking actions on the job to benefit themselves." [HuffPost]

Nancy Pelosi calls out Stephen Colbert, defends her "friend Newt Gingrich."

LET THE RECORD REFLECT THAT MY GOOD FRIEND, THE GENTLEMAN FROM VIRGINIA, SUCKS - Roll Call: "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) take to the floor at the end of each week to discuss the coming Congressional calendar. But today, the normally staid affair became contentious as the two went after each other over the payroll tax cut, Social Security and the Republicans' economic agenda...In the unusually personal back-and-forth, Cantor accused Hoyer of playing 'gotcha games,' Hoyer accused Cantor of a 'disturbing habit' of putting words in his mouth and the whole thing ended when Cantor bluntly asked whether Hoyer had 'any more scheduling questions,' emphasizing the point by repeating the words 'scheduling questions.'" [Roll Call]

STATES/BANKS REACH MORTGAGE FRAUD SETTLEMENT - Now if you can just tell us the address of the car you live in, sir, we'll gladly send you your check. Loren Berlin and Emily Peck: "The U.S. government announced Thursday a $25 billion settlement with five of the nation's largest banks over charges of systemic and widespread mortgage fraud, in what is being billed as the largest-ever deal on such charges. The settlement could potentially help more than 1 million struggling homeowners, according to government officials. It is the largest multi-state agreement since the nationwide tobacco settlements in 1998. Though the deal does offer some money -- up to $2,000 -- for those who lost their homes during the housing bust, its primary thrust is forward-looking, offering partial loan forgiveness or 'principal reduction,' to struggling homeowners." [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST IS PARANOID - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, just back from the 17th dry cleaner that couldn't get the tear stains out of his pillowcases, thinks the election-year timing of the bank settlement is suspicious. In an email, he called it "Walking Around Money!" Sure, it's walking around money in the sense that foreclosed homeowners can keep walking around with no place to go.Thanks, PSLGOPL!

CPAC: MUCKRAKING CHRISTMAS - You know that game show segment where a person is placed in a giant glass box and then has to grab as much flying money as they can before time expires? Well that glass box is bit like CPAC and the wild-eyed, windswept contestant frantically stuffing dead presidents into their pockets is the Washington press corps. Howard Fineman: "Rather than serving as a unifying moment, the four-day Conservative Political Action Conference, now in its 39th year, has become a symbol of a sprawling, ultimately incoherent movement that has yet to develop a new synthesis for a new century...Once CPAC was a launching pad for presidents, especially Reagan. This week, the Woodstock of the Right looks more like a trade show for new products. Somewhere in the crowded corridors and meeting rooms, there may be a new generation in the making. But you're unlikely to hear it in speeches from the presidential candidates." [HuffPost]

CPACers don't like the labor or Occupy movements! "I heard the AFL-CIO and Occupy Wall Street are targeting this panel," the Competitive Enterprise Institute's F. Vincent Vernuccio said during a labor forum. "Do you know why? Because they're afraid of you. That is a badge of honor. From Wisconsin to Indiana, from New York to California, the forces of forced unionism and big government are losing. The lesson from around the country is that you are winning." [HuffPost's Dave Jamieson]

Steve King doesn't care about that white nationalist he just appeared on a panel with! Buzzfeed: "Iowa congressman Steve King is unconcerned about the implications of his appearance during a CPAC panel on 'The Failure of Multiculturalism' featuring a white nationalist author, Peter Brimelow. 'I don't know anything about that,' King, who came to the event to talk about his English Language Unity Act, told BuzzFeed -- though he'd earlier told Brimelow that 'I've read all your books!'." [Buzzfeed]

Marco Rubio doesn't like the administration's contraception ruling!: "You may not agree with what that religion agrees. That's not the point. The point is, the First Amendment still applies...This isn't even a social issue; it's a constitutional issue." [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

Rick Perry showed up! And he still wants to be governor of something! "Success on Wall Street shouldn't come at the expense of Main Street," he said. "No one was watching the ratings agencies, the triple 'A' ratings to complex securities, and the market crashed," he continued. "Folks on Wall Street who saw it coming, they made millions; folks who didn't see it coming, they got bailed out." [HuffPost]

Even this happened! "Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli gave a self-congratulatory speech on Thursday about his fight against the Obama health care law and the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly crying when he said freedom must be protected for future generations." [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

HEAR THAT? THAT IS THE SOUND OF YOUR FUTURE CHILDREN HAVING 12 TOES - Hipsters will be eating filet de three-eyed fish in Williamsburg bistros in no time. Senior sector 7G correspondent Lucia Graves: "Federal safety officials voted 4-to-1 to approve the first nuclear reactor construction permit in almost 35 years, overriding U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko. The commission's vote on Thursday will allow Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power to expand operations at its plant in eastern Georgia, paving the way for the construction of two new nuclear power reactors at its Vogtle site. The last such project to be approved was in 1978...The project, which is estimated at $14 billion, could begin operations as soon as 2016...The vote also underscores ideological divisions between the commissioners and the chairman, who, in the wake of Fukushima, sought to implement stricter safety standards that have been opposed by the four members. HuffPost reported on an earlier attempt to oust the chairman, noting the organizer of the attempted coup had previously consulted for the firm operating the Fukushima nuclear facility." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - This is a hamster wheel for a dog.

YOUNG PERSON DOING WELL IN WASHINGTON On HuffPost DC: "He's just 19 years old, but his resume is already way more impressive than many Capitol Hill staffers."

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- This is a strange Norwegian. [http://bit.ly/wVe8hS]

- Justice Sotomayor was on Sesame Street. [http://bit.ly/wnroQl]

- Planned demolition? Sounds like it hurts. [http://bit.ly/zlyhuj]

- Justin Vernon of Bon Iver plays "Perth" with The Roots. [http://bit.ly/z8pGBq]

- Puppy Conan. [http://bit.ly/x9B1Ct]

- Puppy receives physics lesson. [http://bit.ly/w3OfSv]

- Water + sound = trippy water. [http://bit.ly/AkJpyB]

- Mount Etna is freaking out right now. Here's a slideshow. [http://reut.rs/zNqBk5]

TWITTERAMA

@mattduss: Upset that my "Warp Drive By 2025" initiative hasn't caught fire. Traveling faster than light is just a question of will. #rejectdecline

@dbernstein: So, I imagine #CPAC is abuzz with debates about the new @bostonphoenix Top 100 Emo Anthems list, right? ow.ly/8YpKY

@indecision: Scarlett Johansson called Rick Santorum's sweaters "sad." Not getting nominated will now only be the 2nd worst thing to ever happen to him.

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

5:00pm: Are you too hip for CPAC, but not popular enough for FamousDC's party? Mitt Romney knows just how you feel. He'll be at the other Marriott for a fundraiser. [J.W. Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, NW]

6:00pm - 8:30pm: The cool kids will be at the FamousDC.com/ National Journal's Hotline Tap Gloves and Come Out Drinking Happy Hour. Arrive armed with humblebrags about media stuff. [invitation only, 410 7th St. NW]

7:00pm - 10:00pm: For $20, you can swill down-market scotch and puff mediocre cigars at the One Nation Scotch and Cigars Party. It's at CPAC in the Marriott, though, which sort of defeats the whole, 'I'm so swanky' thing. [2660 Woodley Road NW]
7:30pm - 9:30pm: Save us some popcorn! Movies playing at CPAC: The Runaway Slave sponsored by FreedomWorks and Generation Zero sponsored by Citizens United. Actually, don't save us any popcorn. Really, we're fine. {Marriott Wardman Park, [2660 Woodley Road NW]

TOMORROW

5:00pm: Over at CPAC, creepy lady reality TV star Michelle Duggar signs a zillion books about her 19 (?) kids. Definitely the best thing going all night. [Marriott Wardman Park, [2660 Woodley Road NW]]

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