POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - White Guy Poised To Gain Power

01/10/2013 05:47 pm ET | Updated Mar 12, 2013

President Obama announced the man who will finally allow Tim Geithner to get the hell out of here and pull seven figures on Wall Street. A House Republican is opposed to funding books about Muslim culture, though we shouldn't discount the idea that it's the "book" part that offends him. And John Kerry says he listens to his own speeches to fall asleep, something Democrats would have loved to learn around, oh, let's say 2003. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 10th, 2013:

WHO'LL REPLACE PLOUFFE? - Can't they just dress Bo in a tie and turn the entire West Wing into an adorable Eukanuba commercial? ("Mr. President, polls say the people demand a dry formula that is both healthy and flavorful!") Thrush: "So who replaces Obama's (semi) irreplaceable man? In reality, no one. But there are a few emerging clues on staffers who would assume Plouffe's multiple roles as the top in-house adviser on communications, messaging, political strategy and freelance Obama-whispering. Think Plouffe-by-committee. Several administration officials tell me that current Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer (who didn't comment, and seemed annoyed by the inquiry) is likely to get an enhanced role sometime soon, and would possibly take over the messaging, comms and sounding board role that Plouffe occupied...multiple sources tell me that his highly-regarded deputy Jennifer Palmieri, who enjoys strong relationships with the national political press, would be considered the top choice for CD if he's moved up the line (Palmieri also refused to comment, though in a nicer way than Pfeiffer)." [Politico]

LEW THE MAN NOW, DOG: OBAMA NOMINATES CHIEF OF STAFF FOR TREASURY - Paige Lavender: "President Barack Obama has nominated White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew for Treasury Secretary. Lew, a leading federal budget expert, will replace Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Obama praised Geithner before formally nominating Lew. 'When the history books are written, Tim Geithner's gonna go down as one of our finest secretaries of the Treasury,' Obama said. 'One reason Jack has been so effective in this town is because he's a low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras,' Obama said of Lew, who is known for working behind the scenes. Lew, who previously served as White House budget director during the Clinton administration, has been the White House chief of staff since January 2012. Obama called Lew's departure from the chief of staff position 'bittersweet.'" [HuffPost]

Yahoo News has published a Jack Lew signature generator.

@Goldfarb: BREAKING Geithner sets exit date: January 25.

BACKGROUND FROM PRIMETIME STEIN - Sam in September: "White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew has been an unassuming figure during the Obama years. His media appearances are dull; his presentation is a bit bookworm-ish -- as if Harry Potter grew up and replaced his magic wand with Excel spreadsheets. When he speaks, the tone is usually measured and unemotional." Jack Lew, you have been Stein'd. [HuffPost]

BERNIE SANDERS IS A HUGE PARTY POOPER - Bernie Sanders says Jack Lew is a nice guy who will probably be confirmed by the Senate. It's just that Lew represents everything Bernie Sanders despises, is all. "We don't need a treasury secretary who will advise the president that he should negotiate with the Republicans to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits," Sanders said in a statement. "We don't need another treasury secretary who believes in 'deficit neutral' corporate tax reform." And so on. Jack Lew, you have been Bernie'd. [Sanders.gov]

Movin' like Bernie.

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST HATES THE WHITE MAN - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self Loathing GOP Lobbyist was badgering the kitchen staff at Equinox all day about whether they'll stock his bomb shelter with dehydrated filet mignon. They said no. To let off some steam, PSLGOPL sent us a note. "So, with Obama's all white-guy cabinet and the hypocritical coverage by a white rich liberal media, and Hollywood getting a pretend tongue-lashing by Biden today, I'm feeling like my biggest gripes with the Democratic Industrial Complex are being realized," PSLGOPL writes. "Now I just need a DoJ investigation of CREW's anonymous donors for this week to be a grand slam." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - There seems to be less interest lately in "99ers" -- people unemployed 99 weeks or longer. Major newspapers ran stories that included the terms "99ers" and "unemployment" 12 times last year, 35 times in 2011, and 68 times in 2010, according to a news database. And yet there are more of them than there used to be. Nobody had more to say about 99ers than MSNBC host Ed Schultz, who often harped on Congress for ignoring the longest-term jobless. He highlighted long-shot efforts by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to give the jobless additional weeks of compensation. "I refuse to give up on my mission to help the 99ers," Schultz said on Sept. 21, 2010, after it became clear Stabenow's legislation wouldn't go anywhere. Schultz kept it up until February 2011, when a pair of House Democrats staged a press conference to announce new legislation for extra weeks of benefits (that bill also went nowhere). After that, he moved on to other things, like Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to bust up Wisconsin's public sector unions. Later in 2011, after the Occupy Wall Street movement got started, some commentators used "99ers" as shorthand for the 99 percent -- the Occupy movement's emblem of income inequality between the richest 1 percent of Americans and everyone else. Sorry, unemployed people. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - "Not too many people are out there looking out for us," said Alex Swingle, a New York City resident who's been out of work since losing his credit analyst job in October of 2010. Swingle, 44, said his wife is still working, so his long-term joblessness hasn't been a full-blown crisis. But he said he's lowered his standards and is willing to work outside his industry, and for less money than he used to make. He still hasn't had any luck. "I think that mentally and physically it's taking its toll on me," he said. "Problems with sleeping, insomnia -- it's kind of nerve wracking. You feel like you're being beaten up. Anxiety, depression -- you have no idea what your future is."
[Hang in there!]

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BIDEN GUN RECOMMENDATIONS ARRIVING TUESDAY - And hopefully he'll restrain himself from submitting them in his circa-1980s Lamborghini-themed Trapper Keeper. Sam Stein: "Vice President Joseph Biden will deliver his recommendations for comprehensive gun violence legislation on Tuesday. 'There is really a very tight window to do this,' he told the press corps during his announcement Thursday. The recommendations are expected to address a number of angles and topics on gun policy, ranging from the availability of certain firearms and ammunition to data collection between federal and state law enforcement agencies. Biden announced that a top priority would be to create a more thorough system of background checks to prevent those with criminal histories or mental illness from purchasing weapons...'So far,' he said, there has been 'a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks. Not just closing the gun show loophole, but have total universal background checks including in private sales.'" [HuffPost]

@kasie: NRA says WH meetings today represented "an agenda to attack the Second Amendment."

Ugh: "As Vice President Joe Biden held a press conference announcing the progress of the White House's gun violence task force on Thursday, news broke that there had been two people shot in a school shooting in California. The news grimly underscored the urgency -- and difficulty -- of addressing the problem of mass gun violence." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

CHARLIE RANGEL WANTS OBAMA TO GET A BINDER FULL OF ANYTHING BUT WHITE DUDES - Now that President Obama's second-term cabinet is beginning to resemble a reunion of the Harvard Krokodiloes, class of 1970, some observers a becoming concerned. Luke Johnson: "Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), the second-longest serving African-American congressman in the House, slammed the lack of diversity in President Barack Obama's second-term cabinet Thursday. 'It's as embarrassing as hell,' Rangel said on MSNBC's 'Jansing & Co.' of Obama's top picks. 'We've been through all of this with Mitt Romney. And we were very hard on Mitt Romney with the women binder and a variety of things.' 'I kinda think there's no excuse when it's the second term. If it's the first term, you could see people got to know who is around and qualified in order to get this job, number one,' he continued." [HuffPost]

OBAMA PRAYS THE ANTI-GAY AWAY - ThinkProgress: "Louis Giglio, the anti-LGBT pastor who had been announced to perform the benediction at President Obama's second inauguration, has been removed from the program, ABC News's Jonathan Karl reported Thursday. The move came after ThinkProgress reported Wednesday that in the 1990s, Giglio had given a lengthy sermon in which he advocated for dangerous 'ex-gay' therapy for gay and lesbian people, referenced a biblical passage often interpreted to require gay people be executed, and impelled Christians to 'firmly respond to the aggressive agenda' and prevent the 'homosexual lifestyle' from becoming accepted in society...CNN's Eric Marrapodi is reporting that Giglio voluntarily withdrew from the program." [ThinkProgress]

Good news for people who don't like large swaths of Yemen to erupt in violent protests. Ryan Reilly: "Judges on a federal appeals court here gave little indication on Thursday they would second-guess the Obama administration's assertion that the release of 52 images of a postmortem Osama bin Laden would be harmful to national security. Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that believes keeping the photos secret undermines the Obama administration's transparency claims... Judge [Merrick] Garland did push the government a bit on the process it used to classify the photos of bin Laden's body. The government stated that the photos fell under the authority of a classification guideline that sets out procedures under which materials can be kept secret. Employees who lack direct authority to classify information can use the authority of that guide to classify specific categories of information. Garland asked Loeb how specific the guide was and what type of information it covered.." [HuffPost]

CALIFORNIA A DEMOCRATIC FISCAL PLAYGROUND - LA Times: "After years of red ink, Gov. Jerry Brown said on Thursday that California's $96.7-billion general fund is now poised to end next year with a surplus, thanks to years of deep budget cuts and billions in new taxes approved by voters last year... Schools will be the big winner in the governor's new spending plan, receiving $56.2 billion in state funds, an increase by $2.7 billion over the last year. That funding is set to jump to more than $66 billion by 2016...The budget also dedicated an additional $350 million to the state's public insurance program, Medi-Cal, to help implement President Obama's healthcare law." [LA Times]

BOOKER LEADING LAUTENBERG: POLL - America's favorite mayor/elected official most likely to help you move into your new place has a commanding lead over the veteran lawmaker. USA Today: "Newark Mayor Cory Booker has a double-digit lead over Sen. Frank Lautenberg in a poll looking at a possible Democratic primary in New Jersey next year. Booker is preferred by 42% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters over Lautenberg, who is the choice of 20% in Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind poll. A potential 2014 primary is more than a year away. Booker has all-but staged a campaign kickoff event to say he's in the Senate race to win it. One catch: Lautenberg, who turns 89 this month, hasn't said whether he's going to run again or retire. Another possible Democratic candidate, Rep. Frank Pallone, is also openly talking about wanting to be Lautenberg's successor." [USA Today]

Little known fact: Ambien contains 10mg of Kerry blood: "Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) offered an unusual cure to jet lag in an interview with Men's Journal, claiming he's 'out in seconds' after listening to some of his own speeches. 'I can't say my past experiments with jet lag remedies have been very scientific,' Kerry told the magazine. 'When I'm flying, I usually take an Ambien and listen to one of my own speeches on my iPod. I'm out in seconds.'" [HuffPost's Gabrielle Dunkley]

CREEPING SHARIA ALERT! CREEPING SHARIA ALERT! - The Hill: "Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) on Thursday blasted a federal grant to a North Carolina college that requires the college library to 'introduce Muslim cultures to Americans.' Jones said Craven Community College recently won a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant called the 'Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys' grant...'It is appalling to me that a federal agency like NEH is wasting taxpayer money on programs like this,' Jones said. 'It makes zero sense for the U.S. government to borrow money from China in order to promote the culture of Islamic civilizations.'" [The Hill]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Guinea ain't scared of nuthin', including this horse.

NO PANTS METRO RIDE: - HuffPost DC: "If riding Metro on the weekend and a rampant flu virus isn't scary enough, how about sharing a train car with some free-spirited pantless individuals? The No Pants Subway Ride DC continues its tradition of no pants in public this Sunday." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Young girl doesn't understand one of the most fundamental tenets of the trust fall. [http://huff.to/XRBKS6]

- Australian police chase a kangaroo through a parking garage because Australia. [http://bit.ly/U1VUEj]

- Creeper makes "Taxi Driver"-style iPhone quick release mechanism. [http://bit.ly/VV1irq]

- Here are the hottest places on Earth. Your apartment with the faulty heater didn't make the list. [http://econ.st/XkgbFD]

- Man with too much time on his hands dresses up as a car seat and pretends to be an invisible driver at a drive thru. [http://chzb.gr/SkRafK]

- Nine things on the internet older than Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis. [http://bit.ly/U7RFa4]

- Despite its name, this "rogue planet" isn't driving around the universe on a hog, knocking over five-and-dimes. [http://bit.ly/WKV65i]

TWITTERAMA

@RogerJStoneJr: Damn1 Still hung-over from Richard Nixon's 100th birthday celebration

@timothypmurphy: New food truck: Gyro Dark Thirty

@owillis: "oh good, a jack lew twitter parody account" - said nobody

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