HUFFPOST HILL - Candidate Vows To Get High In Congress, Elevate Political Discourse

05/21/2012 06:17 pm ET | Updated Jul 21, 2012

Dick Cheney will host a fundraiser for Mitt Romney this summer and subsequently transfer the funds to Romney via the USB ports in their thighs. A street in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park was renamed after Nancy Pelosi, meaning it's entirely possible that Dirty Harry beat up hippies on what would become Nancy Pelosi Drive. And a congressional candidate in California promised to smoke a joint on the steps of the Capitol if he's elected, guaranteeing him the support of the Marijuana Policy Project, High Times and whichever lobby shop's on retainer for Frito-Lay. (Actually, we checked: It's the Duberstein Group, The Russell Group, CT Group, Bates Capitol Group, and, of course, International Business-Government Counsellors.) This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 21st, 2012:

OBAMA: THIS DUMB NEWS CYCLE IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT - Luke Johnson: "Obama, speaking at the NATO Summit in Chicago on Monday, questioned whether Mitt Romney's business experience at Bain Capital made him fit to be president in some of the most stark terms to date. The president answered a reporter's question about Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker's comments, which he has since walked-back, that attacks on Bain Capital were 'nauseating.' The comment by the high-profile Democrat has dominated the news cycle since Sunday. 'First of all, I think Cory Booker is an outstanding mayor. He's doing a great job in Newark and helping to turn that city around.' Turning to Bain, he said, 'I think it's important to recognize that this issue is not a, quote, distraction -- this is part of the debate that we're going to be having in this election campaign about how do we create an economy that everybody, top to bottom, folks on Wall Street and folks on Main Street, have a chance at success.'" [HuffPost]

CANDIDATE VOWS TO TOKE WITH JOE LIEBERMAN - Lucia Graves: "Democratic congressional candidate Andy Caffrey has made a surprising campaign promise: If he wins his election this fall, he'll smoke a joint on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Caffrey, who's running to replace retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey in California's second district, has lit up more than once on the campaign trail -- first at an Occupy event in Mendocino, and again last week outside the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a Fairfax-based dispensary that was closed by federal officials in December." [HuffPost]

Heh, the Duberstein Group.

NUCLEAR INDUSTRY COUP FAILS - After months of attacks from the nuke industry and its four backers on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Chairman Gregory Jaczko announced this morning that he'd resign pending the confirmation of his replacement (news broken by HuffPost, if you care.) The media predictably threw up headlines about the "embattled" commissioner being taken down. But the coup that attempted to oust him was launched last October, broke into public in December, and was beaten back by January. In its wake, it was clear that Jaczko could never get past a Republican filibuster for his second term, which would come in June 2013. By announcing his future resignation, he has thoroughly defanged the industry. We can just see the celebration at the Nuclear Energy Institute melting into sad conference calls once that sank in. ("Big day for you," HuffPost Hill said to an NEI official. "Not necessarily," he replied.) Given the Senate's success at confirming nominations, it's quite possible he'll serve out his full term -- now unmolested by NEI. But what about that October coup? Did Big Nuke work with the other commissioners to orchestrate it? Well, White House visitor logs show that NEI's top brass requested a meeting with the White House on October 11th and met on October 12th. On October 13th, the four commissioners sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley slamming Jaczko and more or less calling for his termination. An NEI spokesman declined to discuss the particulars of that meeting, referring questions to the White House. [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - More than 200,000 jobless workers lost their unemployment insurance this month, per a congressional deal to kill the federal Extended Benefits program. Paradoxically, the end of Extended Benefits could actually cause the unemployment picture to appear to improve. Bloomberg News reported Monday that according to economists Dean Maki at Barclays and Michael Feroli at JPMorgan Chase, the end of the federal Extended Benefits program could lower the jobless rate by as much as 0.2 percentage points. Here's why: Some workers who had been searching for work as a condition of receiving benefits will quit looking when they are cut off, thereby dropping out of the labor force. Workers only count as "unemployed" if they have tried to find jobs within four weeks of a government survey. People who aren't looking for work because they believe none is available aren't part of the official unemployment rate calculation (though they are included in broader measures of unemployment released alongside the official one each month). Another reason the unemployment rate could drop without Extended Benefits is that former claimants suddenly deprived of income will settle for lower-paying jobs they wouldn't have taken before. [HuffPost]

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SUPREME COURT REMINDS EVERYONE THAT EARL WARREN IS STILL VERY DEAD, OVERTURNS IMMIGRATION LAW - Mike Sacks: "The [overturned] law permits non-citizens who commit deportable offenses to seek cancellation of their removal if they have been lawful permanent residents for at least five years, resided continuously in the United States for seven years after their initial entry into the country, and have not been convicted of any aggravated felony.'" [HuffPost]

The High Court also waded into whether ghosts can leech off of our SOCIALIST NANNY STATE: "Monday's third decision, announced by Justice Ginsburg for a unanimous court, held that twins conceived from their dead father's frozen sperm were not entitled to his social security benefits. Rejecting the mother's argument that all natural children of predeceased wage-earning parents should obtain child survivor's insurance, the court deferred to the Social Security Administration's reliance on the state law governing the dead parent's will to determine who are his or her surviving children. And in Florida, where the father's will was executed, 'a child born posthumously may inherit [without being named in the will] only if conceived during the decedent's lifetime.'" [Ibid.]

OBAMA HONCHO: HERO MAYOR WRONG - What a tiresome chore, this particular news cycle. You can tell Sam Stein is bored: "The Newark mayor called criticisms of Mitt Romney's former private equity firm 'nauseating' and 'crap,' equating them with attacks on President Barack Obama for his association with his fiery former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Within hours, Booker was backtracking in a video posted online, saying Mitt Romney's tenure at the helm of Bain was worth exploring. That wasn't enough. The Obama campaign's top strategist, David Axelrod, was forced to reprimand Booker during an appearance on MSNBC the next day. 'In this particular instance he was just wrong,' Axelrod told NBC's Andrea Mitchell, speaking about Booker's defense of private equity firms. 'There are specific instances here that speak to an economic theory that isn't the right economic theory for the country.'" We're wondering how this whole false-equivalency thing would've played out during Gandhi's campaign against the Crown: "It's just nauseating how these two sides are behaving, just shooting randomly into crowds, or refusing to eat. It's a bunch o' crap." [HuffPost]

ISLAMOPHOBIC SUPER PAC BOOSTER WONDERS WHERE THE CIVILITY IS - Politico: "None of those initiatives has yet produced an ad campaign as inflammatory as the one Ricketts entertained. [Foster] Friess, who funded the pro-Santorum Red White and Blue Fund, advocated the importance of the 'fight against radical Islam' as a 2012 issue. In an interview with POLITICO on Friday, the mutual fund entrepreneur said strategies like the one laid out in the Ending Spending proposal should be off-limits. 'I'm a big fan of trying to create more civility,' Friess said when asked whether Ricketts and Davis should be free to implement he plan. 'It's so sad to see what's happened to our political environment.'" [Politico]

ICYMI, the body politic is still an anemic, blotchy-skinned, runny-nosed, calcium-deprived mess. Also something involving selenium. We hear you need that, too. WaPo: "The visitor logs for Jan. 17 -- one of the most recent days available -- show that the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The records also suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access...The White House visitor records make it clear that Obama's senior officials are granting that access to some of K Street's most influential representatives. In many cases, those lobbyists have long-standing connections to the president or his aides. Republican lobbyists coming to visit are rare, while Democratic lobbyists are common, whether they are representing corporate clients or liberal causes." Sticking with the body politic metaphor, "America's Multivitamin" would be an awesomely awful campaign slogan. [WaPo]

NEWT GINGRICH OWES TWITTER MONEY - Newt's gonna have to log a lot of historian hours to pay this off. With Sam Stein: "As he continued his long-shot run for the Republican nomination for president during the month of April, Newt Gingrich incurred more than $1.3 million in debt, according to a review of his most recent campaign filing report. Part of the money was paid back during that same month. But the list of vendors still waiting to be paid range from big companies to mom-and-pop shops, from well-established political organizations to small-town consultants. In total, the former House Speaker ended April with $4.7 million in debt....Some campaign vendors are finally seeing checks come through. Angel de la Portilla, a political consultant in Orlando, Fla., told HuffPost in April that the campaign owed him $6,000 for voter outreach services (federal records listed the debt at $3,840). 'It's just disappointing they way it's being handled,' he said at the time." [HuffPost]

Dick Cheney will host a fundraiser for Mitt Romney this summer. We suspect guests will be served a selection of top shelf beverages and finely prepared hors d'oeuvres while the host and guest of honor (should he attend) will be occasionally wired to a car battery to re-energize. WSJ: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, will host a July fund-raiser for Mitt Romney at their home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., according to a save-the-date e-mail from the Romney campaign. The event will help the likely Republican nominee tap any donors to former President George W. Bush who remain on the sidelines, while fueling Democratic efforts to tie Mr. Romney to President Barack Obama's predecessor... 'Jackson Hole is a beautiful summer destination and this will be a memorable event,' a member of the Romney finance team wrote in an e-mail. 'We hope that you and your friends will be able to join us.'" [WSJ]

Also this: "The Obama campaign has announced that Obama and [Bill] Clinton will hold at least two fundraisers on June 4th, one at the Waldorf Astoria and one at the New Amsterdam Theater... The June 4 events will mark the second time that Obama and Clinton have appeared together during this campaign cycle. Clinton previously appeared with Obama at private event on April 29 at the Virginia home of former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, who chaired Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign." [HuffPost]

POLITICIAN MADE IMPATIENT BY POLITICS: SHOCKING VIDEO - Actually, it's a shocking video outtake -- and sadly not the type they run during movie credits where Will Smith insists he "almost has it," prompting Eva Mendes to double over with laughter. Those are fun. National Journal: "Campaign strategists for Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., appear to have accidentally posted outtakes from the California Republican filming his campaign commercials that show the lawmaker awkwardly stumbling over his own words and wavering over whether to flash a thumbs up. 'I'm ready to keep fighting for Washington,' Miller says at one point. 'Thumb like that better?' Miller asks the videographer at another moment. 'I'm Congressman Gary Miller and I'm running for Congress,' he says, before laughing. 'That doesn't work.' The clips were compiled from the YouTube channel of Revolvis Consulting, which works on Miller's campaign, by the campaign of his Democratic challenger, Pete Aguilar." [National Journal]

REPORT: CONGRESS SPEAKING LESS GOODER - According to a new report from the Sunlight Foundation, Congress is speaking at nearly a full grade level lower than it did seven years ago -- meaning the pressures of the American electorate have roughly the same effect on lawmakers as a few stiff drinks. Makes sense. Sunlight Foundation: "Today's Congress collectively speaks at a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level. The Gettysburg Address comes in at an 11.2 grade level and Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech is at a 9.4 grade level. All these analyses use the Flesch-Kincaid test, which equates higher grade levels with longer words and longer sentences... Prior to 2005, Republicans on average spoke at a slightly higher grade level than Democrats. Since then, Democrats have spoken on average at a slightly higher grade level than Republicans... On average, the more words individual members speak on the floors of Congress, the simpler their speech tends to be." [Sunlight Foundation]

And here you thought having your Sunday Times stolen is the worst weekend experience imaginable. "Protesters marched on Sunday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's home Sunday in Bethesda, Md., but got no response when they knocked on his door. The protesters from National People's Action and the National Domestic Workers Alliance tried to deliver a letter to Geithner demanding a financial transactions tax, principal reductions for underwater homeowners and an investigation of the bankers who caused the mortgage crisis." [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

STAY CLASSY, WASHINGTON - HuffPost DC: An assistant treasurer for the 2010 campaign of the District of Columbia mayor has been charged with making straw donations to another mayoral candidate and destroying evidence related to those contributions. [HuffPost]

SAN FRANCISCO STREET NAMED AFTER NANCY PELOSI - And it's in the heart of Golden Gate Park, so have fun speculating about all the interesting things that happened after midnight in the '70s near Nancy Pelosi Lane ("You up?" "Yeah, man, meet me on Nancy Pelosi"). Jen Bendery: "San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee on Monday will name a street in Golden Gate Park after Pelosi in honor of her 25 years of service in Congress. The road, currently called Middle Drive East, connects John F. Kennedy Jr. Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the park."

Because for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction snarkily-worded press release: "In advance of the 2 p.m. ceremony in San Francisco, the National Republican Congressional Committee blasted out a repudiation of Pelosi and the street, dubbing it "Monument to Me Avenue" and recalling that Pelosi lead the 'Fight for the Failed Stimulus, ObamaCare and a National Energy Tax.'" [Daily Caller]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Chipmunk is a bad peanut thief.

MARION BARRY NURSE SAGA UPDATE - HuffPost DC: "Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry is saying nicer things about Filipino nurses after being hospitalized for a blood clot while representing the D.C. convention at a Las Vegas retailers' convention." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Who'd ever want to watch read an article called "Baby Sage Loves Goats: 1-Year-Old Hugs Every Goat In Petting Zoo (VIDEO)"?... Oh wait... everyone. [http://huff.to/KsPCHB]

- Earth's most interesting bank vaults. Who needs celebrity slideshows, amirite? [http://bit.ly/KgJbcr]

- Who needs celebrity slideshows when you have famous people reading passages from "50 Shades of Grey"? [http://bit.ly/JibOnL]

- Sigur Ros' new music video not only visualizes SR's melancholic new single, but also teaches you how to help a choking victim! [http://bit.ly/JKPfuA]

- We didn't know there was a video game called "Farming Simulator." Apparently the maker of this techno fan appreciation video did. [http://bit.ly/LmhQT0]

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: "Let us discuss private equity as driver of wealth vs. job creation at the family dinner table tonight." -- No one

@brianbeutler: SLAM, COUNTERSLAM #news

@delrayser: Facebook's stock keeps dropping. Hope Zuckerberg left the tags on the countries he bought over the weekend.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Matt Damon John Krasinski and Ben Affleck host a SPLASHY HOLLYWOOD FUNDRAISER for possible Native American and confirmed Senate candidate for Elizabeth Warren. [Bad Robot, 1221 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA]

TOMORROW

6:30 pm: Mitch McConnell's most diehard constituents, Grandmas and Grandpas of Paducha for Mitch *the fine people at R.B. Murphy and Associates* host a fundraiser for the Senate minority leader. [R.B. Murphy, 220 E Street NE]

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