The War on Christmas reached our doorsteps when someone exploded a Christmas tree on the National Mall. In an alternate universe, President John McCain would probably be catching heat for his "I had to put up all the years with the bullshit of religion" comment. And Republicans are suddenly citing John Kerry as an ideal nominee to lead the State Department, though we're pretty sure they'd say that about the dude who blew up a Christmas Tree if it meant picking up a Senate seat. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, November 30th, 2012:
GOP FINALLY PUTS A WOMAN IN CHARGE OF A COMMITTEE - Hooray! The ladies of Seneca Falls would be proud. Jen Bendery: "After taking heat for stacking House committee chair posts with all white men in the next Congress, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appears to have found his binder full of women. Boehner announced Friday that Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) will chair the House Administration Committee -- a committee that Miller wasn't even on until now. 'In her new post, Candice will provide the leadership needed to keep operating costs down, save taxpayer dollars and help lawmakers use new technology to better engage with their constituents,' Boehner said in a statement Friday. Given that Miller wasn't on the committee before, Boehner's move is a fairly transparent response to the criticisms he took -- also from some in his own party -- for failing to tap any women or minorities for committee chair slots. Many called the all-white, all-male lineup of committee chairmanships a bad move, given that Republicans are trying to appeal to both of those groups post-election." [HuffPost]
Boehner should have maybe thought twice about this: Administration is basically the Housekeeping Committee.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has posted the calendar for the first session of the 113th Congress online. Plentiful vacations and no five-day workweeks and don't give us that crap about how you work when you're at home, cuz we're bloggers and we know better.
GOP STAFFER FURIOUS THAT DAILY CALLER DIDN'T OCTOBER SURPRISE EVERYONE - In response to an amendment proposed by Robert Menendez, a GOP staffer sent out a scathing rant based on the DC's thinly-sourced story about the New Jersey senator and Dominican prostitutes. It was kindly sent our way: "Is this the amendment about protecting women of color in third-world countries from exploitation at the hands of American sex tourists? No? Well, whens that Menendez amendment coming up? Speaking of which, I'm amazed that the armies of NYT, WaPo, and NBC investigative journalists combing La Republica Dominicana for tips haven't been able to uncover any leads. This political sex scandal-in-waiting is proving MUCH more difficult to crack than the Vitter and Sanford cases were. Still, it's strange that the establishment media got scooped by those right-wing amateurs at The Daily Caller on the Menendez story. The Daily dudes seemed to locate and cultivate their confidential sources without any effort at all. But hey, I didn't go to CUNY J-school, so what the F do I know?" Ouch, GOP staffer!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless: "I have been looking for jobs, and applying for jobs, even out of the state of Minnesota but I am struggling," writes a person who just started receiving the federal benefits that will abruptly expire Dec. 29 unless Congress acts. "In my line of work, there are law firms laying people off left and right. I don't know what people want here, but I know for me, and many unemployed workers like me, we pay our housing costs, put food and the table and keep lights on in our house with these benefits. It would be so detrimental to myself, and the many other families to just have this cut off. Especially when we are applying for jobs and interviewing, along with hundreds of others, each and every day. I do not like to think of what will happen if this does not go through. It will not be a good situation for anyone. Scary and uneasy comes to my mind." [Hang in there!]
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AAAAAAAAA, AHHMMMMMMMSOOOOO IN LOOOOVE WIIIIITH
YOUUUUU MYYYY FIIIISCAL CLIIIIIFFF PLAAAAAN - AP: "In his first campaign-style event to sell his solution on the 'fiscal cliff,' Obama says in the Philadelphia suburbs that Republicans should extend existing Bush-era tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less, while allowing increases to kick in for the wealthy." He says both sides need to "get out of our comfort zones" to reach an agreement. He toured a manufacturing facility that builds construction toys, joking that he's keeping his own "naughty and nice list" for Congress and urging the public to pressure lawmakers to pass the tax cut extension for the middle class" [AP]
OBAMA 2012 TAKING ADVICE FROM OBAMA 2009 - With the tax-hiking proposal President Barack Obama sent to Congress on Thursday, it seems the president is finally heeding a lesson he learned in the first month of his first term. At a press conference in February 2009, shortly before Congress passed his landmark stimulus bill with very few Republican votes, a reporter asked Obama how he would get more bipartisan agreement for future legislation. "Are you going to need a new legislative model, bringing in Republicans from the very beginning," asked NPR's Mara Liasson, "getting more involved in the details yourself from the beginning, or using bipartisan commissions? Obama responded that he had, in fact, sought GOP input from the beginning of the stimulus bill's creation. And he said the Republicans really liked all the nice tax cuts the White House had included in its initial framework. "I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some, and then let them take credit for all of them," Obama said. "And maybe that's the lesson I learned." [HuffPost]
BOEHNER NOT IMPRESSED - We've flown right by "watery eyes and furrowed brow" upset Boehner and we're cruising to "excessive tongue/cheek fiddling and extra glass of Merlot" upset Boehner. Sabrina Siddiqui and Mike McAuliff: "House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared Friday that 'we're almost nowhere' near a deal to avoid the fast approaching fiscal cliff, lashing out at President Barack Obama for insiting on higher taxes for the wealthy. Speaking after Obama made a pitch in Pennsylvania to let tax rates rise for the top 2 percent of earners, the GOP leader insisted the widely divergent postions expressed by both sides were not just posturing and negotiating points, but represented a genuine deadlock. "There's a stalemate. Let's not kid ourselves," Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill, insisting his side was doing all it could to find an agreement. "I'm not trying to make this more difficult. If you've watched me over the last three weeks, I've been very guarded in what I have to say, because I don't want to make it any harder for me or the president or members of both parties to be able to find common ground." [HuffPost]
NANCY PELOSI THREATENS PROCEDURAL MISCHIEF - Sabrina Siddiqui: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered her own way to break the apparent stalemate over the so-called fiscal cliff -- by taking matters out of House Speaker John Boehner's hands. She pointed out Friday that the Senate already passed a bill in July that would accomplish President Barack Obama's goal by extending lower tax rates for the middle class but not the wealthy. Pelosi called on House Republican leadership to bring that legislation to the floor next week and threatened that if they do not schedule a vote on the Senate bill, Democrats will file what's known as a discharge petition on Tuesday to force a vote on the measure in her chamber. If Democrats successfully obtain 218 signatures on the discharge petition, it would automatically force the middle income tax cut bill to the floor for a vote...But when asked if any of those Republicans had told her they would sign a discharge petition, Pelosi said they had not."
Louie Gohmert says possibly the most coherent thing of his career: "We do have leverage because early next year the debt ceiling gets reached," he said Wednesday on Sean Hannity's radio program. "And this president has got to have more ceiling. He's got to have it moved. Sean, we have leverage. And this is a good time to say that we're the ones promoting fairness. We're the ones that want everyone to pay their share. You talk a good game but put it up here where your mouth is." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
GOP PULLING A REVERSE SWIFTBOAT: SUDDENLY IN LOVE WITH JOHN KERRY - Naturally, they want this formidable political force, known far and wide for his everyman appeal, unparalleled windsurfing abilities and stellar grades at Yale, to represent America's interests abroad. Scott Brown who? NYT: "Congressional Republicans appear to be coalescing around a familiar name as an alternative candidate: their current colleague and former presidential foe, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Gone... [is] the caricature of him as a windsurfing symbol of privileged East Coast liberalism. Instead, Mr. Kerry, a Democrat, is depicted as a deeply knowledgeable statesman who would breeze through confirmation on his way to Foggy Bottom. 'I think he would do a great job,' gushed Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska. 'Anyone who has worked with Senator Kerry knows his good, hard work ethic and his expertise on foreign relations.' Ms. Rice, the United Nations ambassador, she added, 'would face a lot of questions.'... Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, speaking of Ms. Rice, said: 'I think there are other good choices for secretary of state, better choices probably. I think Senator Kerry is one of them. He would have an easy time here.'" [NYT]
PUBLIC SUPPORTS FILIBUSTER REFORM: POLL - Or, "And You Thought Presiding Over The Senate Was The Worst Thing About Being A Freshman Senator? Just Wait Until Harry Reid Has You You Standing Up And Reading Mark Twain For Hours On End." Emily Swanson: "A majority of Americans are in favor of requiring senators who wish to filibuster a bill to actually stand up on the Senate floor and talk, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. The survey finds that 65 percent of Americans believe senators should have to 'participate in debate for the entire filibuster,' a proposal that has gained ground in recent weeks as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama have thrown their support behind reform efforts. Only 9 percent of those polled said that senators should be able to filibuster without being physically present, and another 26 percent said they were unsure." [HuffPost]
CHICAGO-STYLE POLITICS REACHING SELF-PARODY LEVELS - T-minus five days until Rod Blagojevich's hair makes a run for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s House seat. Chicago Tribune: Disgraced former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds said he will ask voters to focus on his congressional experience rather than his state and federal criminal record as he announced his bid today for the seat held by Jesse Jackson Jr., who has resigned. At a downtown hotel news conference, Reynolds acknowledged having made "mistakes" in the past. For his campaign, he will try to assume the mantle of an incumbent while also seeking redemption from voters. Red and white campaign signs urged voters to 're-elect' Reynolds 'so he can finish the work' while another stark red sign with white letters said simply: 'Redemption.' Reynolds held the 2nd Congressional District seat from 1993 until October 1995, when a Cook County jury convicted him of several sex-related charges, including having sex with an underage volunteer campaign worker. While serving time in state prison, Reynolds also was convicted on federal financial and campaign fraud charges. President Bill Clinton commuted Reynolds' sentence to time served in 2001." [Tribune]
Amanda Terkel reports that poll workers in Wisconsin aren't exactly crazy about Governor Scott Walker's plan to end same-day voting registration
AMERICA ALMOST READY TO GET HIGH - A new survey finds nearly half of Americans are ready to legalize marijuana, which should bode well for the resurrection of the Hostess brands. CBS News: "For the first time since CBS News began asking the question, as many Americans now think marijuana use should be legal as think it should not. Support for legalizing marijuana inched up slightly from 45 percent in September to 47 percent today, according to a CBS News poll, conducted Nov. 16-19. Another 47 percent think it should remain prohibited. A year ago, a slight majority of Americans, 51 percent, opposed legalizing marijuana use...According to exit polls, legalizing marijuana passed in Colorado and Washington with the support of a majority of younger voters under the age of 45. Nationwide, this pattern continues: a majority of Americans under the age of 45 support legalizing marijuana, while more older Americans - particularly those over 65 - oppose it." [CBS News],
Joe Lieberman, America's funniest person, was roasted this week by some of his colleagues. "The Jewish Daily Forward reports that [John] McCain and others gave Lieberman, a modern Orthodox Jew, a rousing sendoff on Thursday at the residence of Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States. McCain was quick with the jokes. 'I have a major announcement to make,' McCain declared. 'I'm converting to Judaism.'
The Arizona Republican then went on to recount stories of observing Lieberman's Jewish customs throughout their cooperative efforts in Senate. 'I had to put up all the years with the bullsh*t of religion, I might as well convert,' McCain said, later quipping, 'Why in every f**king kosher meal do we have to have salmon?'" [HuffPost's Nick Wing]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dog imitates baby.
ACTUAL PERFORMANCE ART HITS D.C. - As opposed to the regular kind we see in Congress everyday. DCist: "Pedestrians and tourists near the Freer and Sackler Galleries at 3 p.m. today are in for a loud, flashy show. But don't be alarmed when a tree explodes in a cloud of fire and light, it's all in the service of art. As part of the celebration of the Sackler's 25th anniversary, the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang will explode a 40-foot pine tree on the National Mall. First, the tree will be enveloped in a web of fireworks. After that, comes the big kablooey, in which Cai's handiwork will release a plume of black smoke in the spectral image of the tree's shadow." [DCist]
- A trailer for a film about an aspiring feline DJ and its love difficulties. [http://bit.ly/TwO9Y6]
- BAck in the day, the Air Force wanted to nuke the moon. AMURRRRRRRICA. [http://chzb.gr/WxlvUm]
- How Reddit was born. [http://tcrn.ch/YxQdSu]
- Internet Explorer has a new web ad basically admitting everyone hates Internet Explorer. [http://bit.ly/TvMKQH]
- Children's weakass attempts at forgery and deception. [http://huff.to/VjhdVc]
- "Cool Things To Find," a spoof of Melbourne Metro's "Dumb Ways To Die" speculates about what the Curiosity Rover might find on Mars. [http://bit.ly/Y5uyCb]
- Video demonstrates the awe-inspiring size of the universe -- it's even bigger than the new Costco. [http://bit.ly/SuNxRX]
@pourmecoffee: GOP has no idea what it wants since failing to win all the power. This happened before with Sauron who sort of just fell over and burnt up.
@FakeAPStylebook: Use a comma after every item in a list of three or more, but then take back one comma to honor the Hebrew God whose sentence this is.
@davewiegel: So HuffPost will get quotes from the Target across the street MT @dave_jamieson: Walmart says they'll no longer comment to HuffPost
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