Opening day! The Nationals' refusal to take our suggestion and name themselves the Washington Bureaucrats (Let's go, Crats!!) didn't stop them from starting with a win. A supernova was named after Barbara Mikulski, instilling hope in America's aspiring politicians and jealousy in the Milky Way's red giants. And very realistic robot Mitt Romney denounced -- quite understandably -- the Augusta National Golf Club's man-only policy. If there was hope for Bicentennial Man, there's hope for you, Mitt! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 5th, 2012:
EX-IM BANK TO DELTA: WILL YOU PLEASE STFU NOW? THANK YOU - Delta Airlines, America's largest company that doesn't give you peanuts anymore, has been waging a one-corporation campaign against reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, with the support of the Club for Growth and Jim DeMint. The airline lobby isn't even getting involved. But this bizarre alliance has so far managed to hold up the bank's reauthorization. Today, it hit back in one of those hilarious ways that reminds us how much we like our jobs. After awarding an $84.8 million loan guarantee (pennies to the ExIm Bank) to a Delta customer, it used a PR service to blast out a press release to national reporters embarrassing and discrediting the airline, complete with a quote from the president. "Ex-Im Bank's financing will support high quality, high wage, technical jobs for Delta employees in Atlanta," said Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of Ex-Im Bank. If the David Rogers piece that resulted is any guide, Delta's lobbying effort just got a lot harder.
Speaking of the friendly skies, Harry Reid is frustrated with TSA employees. Jen Bendery: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning to send a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking her to direct airport security staffers to be nicer to international travelers. 'She can instruct everybody that works at TSA to smile and say hello,' Reid said Wednesday during a Las Vegas press conference, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 'People who work for our government have to be able to do it with a smile on their face.'"
ERIC HOLDER TO SCOTUS: DON'T LISTEN TO MY BOSS (BUT, YEAH, LISTEN TO MY BOSS) - Mike Sacks: "Continuing the politically charged back-and-forth between the executive and judicial branches over President Barack Obama's health care reform law, Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday submitted a letter to a federal appeals court affirming that the 'power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute,' but reiterated the president's statement that courts should show strong deference to Congress' commerce-based regulations. 'While duly recognizing the courts' authority to engage in judicial review, the Executive Branch has often urged courts to respect the legislative judgments of Congress,' Holder wrote." [HuffPost]
COME TO TERMS WITH REALITY? BOW OUT? - Mark Blumenthal: "Delegate counts by news organizations vary, but all show Romney with a better than 2-to-1 lead over Rick Santorum. The Associated Press estimate gives Romney 658 delegates to 281 for Santorum, 135 for Newt Gingrich and 51 for Ron Paul... But counting mechanics aside, the current AP delegate total of 658 for Romney comes remarkably close to McCain's share of the delegates after he won big in the Feb. 6, 2008, 'Super Tuesday' primaries and caucuses. The AP tally published the next day gave McCain 703 of the 1,191 delegates then needed to win the GOP nomination, compared to 293 for Romney and 190 for Mike Huckabee." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series, PASTED: The Emails of the Jobless, here is a note from somebody whose family is affected by Congress' decision in February to let the final 20 weeks of long-term unemployment insurance phase out this year. "My son has been chronically unemployed and will have his unemployment end on April 7, even though he has over $5,000 remaining in benefits according to the State of Ohio. He has 5 children and although we knew this would happen eventually, it is devastating to the family. I do not know what they are going to do!" [Hang in there!]
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MAJOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AGREE THAT GOLF-BASED SEXISIM IS BAD - First this: "President Barack Obama personally believes that the Augusta National Golf Club, site of the top annual golf tournament in America, should break with tradition and admit female members. With the Masters Tournament set to begin on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked the perennial political question surrounding the tourney: should the private club stop discriminating on grounds of gender? 'He believes, his personal opinion is, that women should be admitted,' Carney responded. 'We are kind of long past the time when women should be excluded from anything.'" [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
Then this: "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has joined Obama in calling on Augusta to allow women to become members. According to CNN's Peter Hamby: 'Romney just told reporters on the ropeline that women should be admitted to Augusta National.' 'Of course. I am not a member of Augusta. I don't know if I would qualify,' Romney said, according to Hamby. 'Certainly if I were a member, if I could run Augusta, which isn't likely to happen, of course I'd have women into Augusta.'" [Ibid.]
History's most badass Chris Shays supporter, hands down.
CATERPILLAR TURNS INTO
A BUTTERFLY AN EMBARRASSING NEWS CYCLE FOR REINCE PRIEBUS - Jason Linkins: "Mitt Romney, all but confirmed as the GOP's nominee for president, is standing on the wrong side of a yawning gender gap... So today, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, [Priebus] took his best shot: 'If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars,' Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's 'Political Capital with Al Hunt' airing this weekend. 'It's a fiction.'" [HuffPost]
SANDRA FLUKE SITS DOWN WITH HUFFPOST - Rumors of her regular human being-ness confirmed. She heated up breakfast sausage in our microwave. [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]
With Dick Durbin pushing to force Amazon to pay taxes, ThinkProgress is up with a piece about how they don't pay in the UK either.
America's first black president continuing his ongoing quest to also be America's first Jewish president. The White House: "Starting tomorrow night, the Jewish community in the United States, Israel, and throughout the world will come together to celebrate the holiday of Passover. President and Mrs. Obama will join them, continuing their tradition of hosting a small Seder at the White House. By now, the story of how that tradition began has been told and retold, but in the spirit of Passover, I'll tell it again: In April of 2008, the President and his staff were on the trail in Pennsylvania in the midst of a long primary campaign. Weary from a long day of work and away from their families, a small group of staffers came together to hold an impromptu Seder..." Leave a seat empty for your best campaign strategist, Mr. President! [White House]
DUELING SOCIAL SECURITY SURVEYS - AARP is out quizzing its members about what they oughta be telling those whippersnappers in Congress when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. Unsatisfied, a coalition of progressive groups has come up with a better survey that gives a broader range of choices -- Social Security should be expanded, Medicare should be available easier and use its buying power to drive down costs. "We welcome anyone to the conversation who wants to bring attention to the issues Americans care about, as we continue doing throughout the country for You've Earned a Say," said an AARP spokesman. [FDL]
MODERATE ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN TO RETIRE: BILL AYERS PROBABLY NOT INVOLVED (WE THINK) - "U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Urbana) will not run for re-election after serving in Congress for 12 years, and, two weeks after the Illinois primary, it is not clear whom Republicans will run in his place. Johnson represents Illinois' 15th Congressional district. But he planned to run in the 13th thanks to an Illinois remap that caused several Republicans to switch districts. Capitol Fax reports that Johnson may have decided to retire, because he thinks a GOP replacement candidate can still defeat 'perennial' Democratic challenger David Gill." [Progress Illinois]
"Jon Bruning Also Follows Teenage Girls On Twitter" [Editor's note: Click!]. Amanda Terkel: "Apparently, there is more than one GOP Senate candidate in Nebraska who follows teenage girls on Twitter. During a debate on Tuesday, Attorney General Jon Bruning, a Republican, went after his primary opponent, State Treasurer Don Stenberg, also a Republican, for following his 14-year-old daughter on Twitter. But on Thursday, the Nebraska Watchdog site reported that Stenberg is not the only one following teenage girls on Twitter: 'However, Bruning follows several young women, a teenage friend of his daughter's and one 16-year-old girl who describes herself as a homeschooled girl who 'loves her country.' Coincidentally, the 16-year-old girl also is followed by Stenberg -- illustrating how political campaigns search out people to follow on Twitter in an attempt to boost their number of Twitter followers." [HuffPost]
UNIMAGINABLY DESTRUCTIVE COSMIC EVENT NAMED AFTER BARBARA MIKULSKI - Next time you're having one of those transcendent "moments" when you gaze at a clear, star-filled night sky, just remember that Barbara Mikulski might be staring back at you... the Barbara Mikulski supernova, that is. The Hill: "Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) will have a supernova and an archive named after her on Thursday... Mikulski, the chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations subcommittee, is a longtime supporter of space exploration and the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is located in Baltimore and houses the Hubble telescope. Last year, the senator attended the groundbreaking of a space telescope exhibit in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and secured an additional $530 million for the James Webb Space Telescope that will be housed at the institute." [The Hill]
SO WHO EXACTLY VOTED FOR ROMNEY?... IN DC??? - Atlantic: "Willard Mitt Romney hasn't paid all that much attention to the District of Columbia during campaign 2012, but he managed to come out on top with 70 percent of the vote in yesterday's primary here, netting twice as many delegates as in the contest in Guam...In recent years the small pool of die-hard Republicans in the city has found a niche, thanks to a swell of corruption and evidence of wasteful government spending on the part of the Democrat-dominated city government...Paul Craney was hired by the D.C. GOP as a twenty-something in 2007... over the last five years, he's had some success: the party has gone from marginalized to, well, significantly less marginalized. 'I wanted the D.C. GOP to define itself,' says Craney, who recently left D.C. to work at a non-partisan fiscal policy think tank in Romney's former home state of Massachusetts. After former mayor Adrian Fenty took office in 2007, the city's GOP went on the offensive, criticizing his oversight and management style. But Fenty's hiring of Michelle Rhee as D.C. Chancellor of Schools, along his fierce support of her controversial reform policies, made him popular among D.C. Republicans -- so popular, in fact, that he was the GOP write-in candidate of choice during the 2010 D.C. primary, getting 822 votes, even as he lost the Democratic primary to then-D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray." [Atlantic]
We're hearing scattered reports that being super rich and super powerful ... is sweet: "Harold Simmons built a West Texas dump for radioactive waste that is bigger than 1,000 football fields and he can't fill it. To turn it into a profitable enterprise, the Texas billionaire hired lobbyists to urge the Obama administration to expand the types of nuclear waste, including depleted uranium, the dump can accept and award his company disposal contracts. If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission changes the rule, it could open access to a market worth billions. The deadline for a decision is in 2014." [Bloomberg]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - We want to believe this bear knew about the camera.
- New pysche-up video for congressional Republicans. [http://chzb.gr/HkXASr]
- HRC knows how to TXT. [http://bit.ly/HkYC0u]
- Trailer for forthcoming documentary on stylish old ladies in NYC. Weird city. [http://bit.ly/HkXTg0]
- Now you can read ALL of the newspapers! [http://bit.ly/HkWoOQ]
- Babe Ruth: "The King of Home-Running The Baseball" [http://bit.ly/HkYgal]
- Screenshots of Despair [dot tumblr dot com]
- Google Street View team got lost again, ended up in the White House. Sorry, Google. That's not a street at all. [http://bit.ly/HkZvGy]
@NickBaumann: I'm not a caterpillar. I'm you.
@pourmecoffee: I thought the Buffett Rule was use a clean plate every visit, but the one about taxes sounds good too.
@attackerman: How did 2004 work out for YOU? RT @JohnKerry: Hey Yanks fans: red sox lost opening day 2004 and how'd that work out for ya?
5:00pm: If you're in the business of scoring photos of yourself with presidents for your bragging wall, swing by the Mandarin tonight. Bring $10,000. Obama's boilerplate fundraiser was made for this. [1330 Maryland Ave SW]
6:00pm: CQ/Roll Call staffer Clayton Hanson's second novel, Ms. Remorse, is feted at the perfect book party for a Hill reporter: a boozy free-for-all in a dark corner of Lounge 201. Bottoms up! [201 Mass Ave, NE]
Thurs. - Sun.: Paul Broun, the only congressman we know of who compared Obama to both Hitler and Stalin, is holding his annual Augusta National golf tourney weekend. Needless to say, no girls allowed. [Augusta, Ga.]
Friday 6:30pm: Local band made-good Honor By August plays a free show in the shadow of the Washington Monument. [Independence Avenue & Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW]
Saturday 1:00pm - 9:00pm: It's the 100th anniversary of the cherry blossoms' arrival in DC, so if you're into this sort of thing, there'll be bands, booths and beers on the Southwest Waterfront.
Fireworks start at 8:30pm, so expect to see pets cowering under beds and people inexplicably leaving restaurant tables to go outside and look.
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