05/20/2010 06:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011


A banner day for racism and philandering: Rand Paul toned down his Civil Rights riot Act. MSNBC is confusing brown people. A Mexican made it past that danged unfinished fence, all the way to the House chamber. Vito Fossella might be making a comeback... Eliot Spitzer, too. Chuck Schumer and WaPo are sucking face. Cloture finally passed on financial reform and Harry Reid forgave Scott Brown for his *temporary* betrayal. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, May 20th, 2010:


***A final vote on Wall Street reform is scheduled for tonight, though negotiations are still ongoing in Harry Reid's office.***

AUTO DEALERS GOING DOWN FOR WALL STREET - Wall Street is battling auto dealers in a last-ditch effort to block an amendment opposed by big banks from coming to the floor. The bank lobbyists are working to persuade Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and GOP leadership to withdraw Brownback's amendment that would exempt auto dealers from the purview of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said three Democratic aides close to the negotiations.

The amendment opposed by Wall Street, cosponsored by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), is attached to Brownback's. If Brownback pulls his amendment, then Merkley-Levin, which bans banks from trading for their own profit with taxpayer backed money, can't get a vote.

LATE-BREAKING: As HuffPost Hill goes to press, Merkley says he believes his amendment will not get a vote...

BULLETIN: NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR OUT - Jake Tapper: "ABC News has learned that President Obama will replace the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair (ret.). His resignation will come as soon as tomorrow... For several weeks President Obama has been holding serious conversations about whether to ask Blair to step down and has interviewed candidates to replace him. After a discussion this afternoon between the president and Blair in the Oval Office about the best way forward, Blair offered to resign and the president said he would accept, sources told ABC News." http://bit.ly/ciMBFX "We have been interviewing several strong candidates to be his replacement," a White House official says.

Tom Harkin's amendment to cap ATM fees at 50 cents can't get a vote, maybe because Ben Nelson has never used one. Joseph Morton (one of HuffPost Hill's favorite journos): "Nelson said that while he's no fan of unnecessary fees, he's unfamiliar with the charges. 'I've never used an ATM, so I don't know what the fees are,' Nelson said, adding that he gets his cash from bank tellers, just not automatic ones. 'It's true, I don't know how to use one. But I could learn how to do it just like I've... I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms.' By 'holograms,' Nelson clarified that he meant the bar codes on products read by automatic scanners in the checkout lanes at stores such as Lowe's and Menard's. 'I go and get my own seating assignment on an airplane,' Nelson said. 'I mean, I'm not without some skills. I just haven't had the need to use an ATM.'" http://bit.ly/cAHnaJ

BREAKING: Nelson clarifies, he knows what a hologram is. Arthur Delaney is on the case: "HuffPost caught up with Nelson on Thursday. Really, no ATM? 'I haven't used an ATM but that's because I have not had a need to use it. Other people have used it because they apparently feel they have a need to,' he said. 'One thing I want to correct in that World-Herald story is the suggestion that I didn't know the difference between a hologram and a bar code.' HuffPost is launching an effort to gauge the ATM usage of members of the Senate. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) said he does withdraw cash from time to time. 'I use an ATM,' he said. How recently? 'I don't use it much now because everybody takes credit cards, but I'm sure in the last month and a half,' he said. 'Just go to get cash.'

This as the news surfaces that John Shepherd-Barron, the inventor of the ATM, DIED last weekend... never knowing Ben Nelson's gratitude. http://bit.ly/b2mpDU

KAUFMAN GOES SOFT ON USURY CAP Ted Kaufman, who championed a bust-up-the-banks amendment two weeks ago, helped defeat an amendment Wednesday that would've allowed individual states to cap credit card interest rates. The amendment "creates a patchwork of interest rates and laws around the country," he told HuffPost Hill. "That being said, I do represent Delaware and in Delaware the credit card business is a major, major part of our industry, just like in West Virginia [where] coal is a major part of their industry," he said. "I know some people want to say, 'Here you voted for Delaware.' I'm fine with that."

SCOTT BROWN FLIPS - After confessing that he was the one who told Reid he'd back cloture on Wall Street reform and then voted the other way, Brown told reporters he was standing up for Mass. financial institutions. "I went to the Leader and said that I would be voting for cloture. That was with the understanding that issues relating to Volcker [were resolved], that affected Mass Mutual, Liberty Mutual, State Street, basically entities that deal in trust products and hold money in trusts and do a very serious amount of investing in Massachusetts for small businesses," said the man who ran against Washington's "backroom deals." Another scotch, Senator? How 'bout a cigar? It's cozy in that backroom, ain't it?

PROBLEMS THAT RAND PAUL WILL BE DEALING WITH TOMORROW - From Dave Weigel: "In a May 30, 2002, letter to the Bowling Green Daily News, Paul's hometown newspaper, he criticized the paper for endorsing the Fair Housing Act, and explained that 'a free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination, even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin.'...'The Daily News ignores,' wrote Paul, 'as does the Fair Housing Act, the distinction between private and public property. Should it be prohibited for public, taxpayer-financed institutions such as schools to reject someone based on an individual's beliefs or attributes? Most certainly. Should it be prohibited for private entities such as a church, bed and breakfast or retirement neighborhood that doesn't want noisy children? Absolutely not.'" http://bit.ly/cJbpiF

What this letter means: Paul will not be able to escape this position no matter how many times he says he now supports the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

AND from Paul's interview on CNN just now:

BLITZER: Would you have also voted for the Americans with Disabilities Act?

PAUL: Well, I have some questions about it. I mean, the one question that comes to mind -- to my thinking is let's say you have a local office and you have a two-story office, and one of your workers is handicapped. Should you not be allowed maybe to offer them an office on the first floor or should you be forced to put in a $100,000 elevator? I think it sounds like common sense that you should be allowed to give them a first floor office. We don't take into consideration at all the business owner or the property owner, I think it's a balancing act and I'd have to look at that legislation to see how they balanced it, but my understanding is that small business owners were often forced to put in elevators, and I think you ought to at least be given a choice can you provide an opportunity without maybe having to pay for an elevator?

BLITZER: So, the answer is you don't know for sure if you would have voted yes or no on that Americans with Disabilities Act?

PAUL: Yeah, I mean, I'd have to look at it and see.

AND TPM reminds us: "In December, Chris Hightower, the spokesman for Paul's senate campaign, was forced to resign after a liberal Kentucky blog discovered that his MySpace page had a comment posted around Martin Luther King Day that read: "HAPPY N***ER DAY!!!" above what appears to be a historical photo of the lynching of a black man. The photo and comment appeared to have been posted to Hightower's MySpace page by a friend, not by Hightower himself. The comment has since been removed but at the time it was discovered by the local blog it had been up for nearly two years. According to the Barefoot and Progressive blog, Hightower, who was also the frontman of a local Megadeth-style metal band called Commander, wrote a MySpace post referring to 'Afro-Americans' titled 'Blacks don't like my Napalm Death hoodie'" http://bit.ly/9wA4Fn

PUSHBACK ON SCHUMER PROFILE - WaPo and Chuck Schumer engaged in a little PDA on Washington's kitchen counters, with a glowing Rahm-esque profile splayed across the paper's pages under the chafing headline: "Democratic New York senator Chuck Schumer is positioned to become majority leader." One chafed reader, a senior Democratic Senate aide, didn't like the sight, sounding off to HuffPost Hill: "Senator Schumer and Senator Durbin would both agree Harry Reid isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Besides, any article that describes Schumer as 'arguably the single most effective lawmaker of his generation' can be chalked up to as nothing more than simple hagiography. Nothing more, nothing less." Said hagiograph: http://bit.ly/9UFJKl

MORE EXCLUSIVE HIGHLIGHTS and amusing bits from Jonathan Cohn's health care opus for the New Republic. From today's second installment:

- Obama appealed to Conrad on substance -- dispatching Peter Orszag as emissary and then telling Conrad of his commitment to reform that paid for itself. He also showered presents on Conrad's dog, a white bichon frise named "Dakota," which Conrad sometimes totes to his office. ... But, in a sobering lesson about the realities of Congress, Conrad brought up a local issue. Even as he was demanding Medicare spend less money overall, according to multiple administration and congressional sources, Conrad sought assurances that Medicare would start paying more money to some of North Dakota's hospitals. Specifically, Conrad wanted the government to pay the hospitals as much as it paid hospitals in Minneapolis, the nearest big city. The sources say Conrad came away thinking he had a deal, while the White House didn't. (Neither party would comment officially on their negotiations.) Conrad, who has long claimed his states' hospitals are underpaid, eventually got his payments anyway: The final Senate health care reform bill raised reimbursements for hospitals in five "frontier" states with low population density. North Dakota is one of them. Liberals who knew about Conrad's demand were furious: He loved to lecture about fiscal responsibility, except when federal money happened to serve his own parochial interests.

- On the quiet Kennedy-Baucus alliance: It was an intimate gathering at Ted Kennedy's home in Washington--just the senator, his colleague Max Baucus, and three senior staffers who worked with them on health care. Kennedy, who loved historical artifacts, pulled out an original version of the Federalist Papers that his wife, Vicki, had given him as a gift. He also demonstrated one of the home's architectural quirks: a hidden bar, accessible through a secret door in the sitting-room bookcase. ... From the start, Kennedy thought Baucus was the key to passing legislation--and not just because of the Finance Committee's jurisdiction. It would take 60 votes to break a filibuster. There was no way to get there without winning over conservative Democrats and, most likely, a few Republicans--the kind Baucus could bring. Baucus, in turn, would ultimately need Kennedy to validate his work on the left. It helped that what the two men lacked in ideological affinity they made up for in generational identity. "There are very few institutionalists left in the Senate," says a Democratic aide. "Very few members remember the Russell Longs and the way deals were made in the Senate for a long time. Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus are two of those folks."

Click here to subscribe to TNR and get the full motherlode: http://bit.ly/ciKDGc

COBURN WANTS WAR PAID FOR. BUT HOW? - Tom Coburn will oppose the war funding bill if it's not paid for and he's trying to whip up support from other GOPers. HuffPost Hill talked to a few and his colleagues are persuaded that, in principle, the war should be paid for. But they also don't like taxes. What is to be done? Saxby Chambliss sums up the ideological dilemma: "It makes pretty good sense," Chambliss said of Coburn's proposal. "I've talked to Tom about it. We've got to start paying for these things some time. I told him I wanted to look at what his payfors were."

THEN AGAIN, WE NEVER PAY FOR WARS - Money historical analysis from Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who tells HuffPost Hill he'll never vote against troop money no matter what: "We've borrowed money in every war, First World War... Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, we borrowed money."

TONIGHT IN THE HILL - Roxana Tiron on how Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), a GOP target who chairs the Armed Services Committee, is in political rough waters over "Don't ask, don't tell."

YOUCUT'S FIRST WEEK - Eric Cantor's crowd-sourcing of deficit control is in its first week and the folks who voted in his Web election chose the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund as their number one target for elimination - garnering 81,000 votes out of 280,000 cast -- which House Rs let be known boisterously on the floor today. The procedural vote tied to cutting it failed 240-177. How'd it garner so many votes? Cantor's description might've helped: "The program was recently created to incentivize states to increase their welfare caseloads without requiring able-bodied adults to work, get job training, or otherwise prepare to move off of taxpayer assistance." That's not what the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says. In fact, the program subsidizes states whose rolls grew as a result of the collapsing economy and also subsidized job creation - up to 185,000 jobs. Even AEI economists have called it a successful job-creation program. http://bit.ly/9LWbNe

A vote to extend the TANF Emergency Fund, which expires in September, failed in the Senate earlier this year. http://huff.to/aow0ZQ

Alcee Hastings, as ever, has the most colorful rebuttal. How do we know Osama didn't vote? Video: http://bit.ly/c375k5

MASSEY CHIEF: WE'RE INNOCENT - Six weeks after the massive explosion that killed 29 miners at a Massey Energy mine in West Virginia, Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, still seems to think he did nothing wrong. "I have made safety my number one priority," he said in a Senate subcommittee hearing, adding that there's no hard evidence that Massey's faulty ventilation system played a role in the explosion. In investigations several months before the explosion, Upper Big Branch Mine was found to have airflow -- which keeps deadly gases from rising to explosive levels -- moving in the wrong direction. It also had 16 other cited violations but had appealed them all (under flawed federal policy all 16 appealed citations were dismissed). Possible fixes include blitz inspections, a reformed appeal process, and -- just guessing -- Blankenship's resignation.

MISSOURI SENATE: CARNAHAN GOES ON OFFENSE - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who Chris 'The Fix' Cillizza calls possibly the best pure Senate candidate of the cycle, is going after her GOP opponent Roy Blunt for supporting the current liability cap that shields oil companies from shouldering the financial burden of post-spill cleanups. A Rasmussen poll earlier this month put Blunt up over Carnahan 50-42. See the ad: http://bit.ly/aJ9DOl

A new poll shows Barbara Boxer with a healthy lead over her potential GOP challengers Carly Fiorina (48-39), Tom Cambell (46-40) and Chuck DeFore (50-39). http://bit.ly/aPCKsI

BIDEN TO AFRICA IN JUNE - The White House announced this afternoon that Joe and Jill Biden will travel to South Africa, Egypt and Kenya, meeting with leading officials in each nation. http://bit.ly/cK46P3

Gail Goode, a longtime trial supervisor in New York City's Corporation Counsel, says she will challenge Kirsten Gillibrand in the New York Democratic Senate primary. She needs 15,000 signatures by mid-July. Don't expect odd-makers to lose any sleep over this one. http://bit.ly/b7gaIJ

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com


HALTER TOPS - Consider this TRENDED: With Daily Kos' poll (http://bit.ly/9hQfWM) giving Lt. Gov. Bill Halter a slight lead over Blanche Lincoln, observers seem to be coalescing around the idea that this could be Halter's race to lose.

From the Arkansas Election Line: "Halter went from down thirteen points in the first primary poll on March 25 to within two points on election night. Lincoln's support has remained in the low 40s the entire time while Halter steadily gobbled up the undecided voters. Halter now has all the momentum going into the runoff and Lincoln's campaign has not demonstrated that they are able to stop the bleeding. So far their message has been inconsistent and has played into Halter's strategy of tapping into the anti-incumbent sentiment. He has somehow avoided being painted as a liberal in spite of largely enjoying the support of national liberal groups and unions. The irony is that these groups will play an important role in the runoff election where the get out the vote effort is critical. Unions are perhaps the best organization for getting their voters to the polls. This gives Halter a decided GOTV advantage in a very close election...Bottom line, it is close but advantage Halter." http://bit.ly/b0Wpwi

VAN HOLLEN TRASH TALKS THE TEA PARTY - It appears Tuesday's results have infused the Democrats with some... what is the mot juste... BALLS. Sam Stein: "Top Democrats at the various campaign committees are expressing more and more confidence that they can overcome the wave of anti-government populist sentiment unleashed by the Tea Party movement. Part of that is due to a recognition that the job market is improving, which should improve the party's political fortunes. Another facet has to deal with the movement's occasional off-putting rhetoric. More and more, however, Democratic operatives are coming to the conclusion that for all the headlines that the Tea Party and its followers generate, it's not matched by the type of institutional structures that translate into electoral force. In short: the movement is more bark than bite.

"...The Tea Party movement has proven adept at rallying, inspiring and scaring voters to protest. But with respect to the nitty gritty aspects of organizing, the jury is still out (see Doug Hoffman, NY-23). What could change all that is the movement of the political process closer to the election -- at which point it seems conceivable that the Republican Party could lend its political infrastructure to those Tea Party candidates who head the ticket, and the Tea Party movement, in return, would drop its skepticism of the broader GOP cause." http://huff.to/9Wi2AN

Back in Real America, some dudes in a Wisconsin bar burned Barack Obama in effigy: http://bit.ly/aChoLs

Vito's back... maybe: Former Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella, who resigned in 2008 after being arrested for drunk driving while en route to his mistress and love child, was nominated to run for his old seat. "The Staten Island Republican Party executive committee last night endorsed former GOP Rep. Vito Fossella to run against Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) this fall. Party chairman John Friscia said Fossella was the best candidate to beat McMahon. However, he acknowledged that he has no information Fossella would run. 'It is my firm belief that he [Fossella] is the strongest candidate we can field,' Friscia said after the executive committee interviewed candidates for Congress and other races at the Road House in Sunnyside. Said Friscia, 'I have an obligation to pick the strongest candidate with the best chance of success.'" http://bit.ly/bcBt0F

HuffPost Hill has the WORLD EXCLUSIVE video of the Staten Island GOP executive committee debate: http://bit.ly/Flcls

BOB BENNETT IS DUNZO - The three-term Utah Senator, who was recently denied renomination, announced he will not seek election as a write-in candidate. "Bennett, who was ousted from the Utah GOP primary ballot almost two weeks ago, told reporters that running outside his party would be too divisive for Republicans.
Most observers recognize a write-in bid would have been a long shot, but he has been hinting at such a campaign in recent weeks. Two political newcomers, Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, will face off for the Republican nomination in a June 22 primary contest." http://bit.ly/aIzXV1

Ha! Michelle Bachmann was late on her property taxes. Sam Stein: "The Minnesota Republican missed the due date for a $3,740 tax on her 5,200-square-foot home on the 18th hole of Stoneridge Golf Course. For the missed payment, she was penalized by the state of Minnesota a scant $74.90... Coming as it were from an anti-tax zealot, the episode doesn't contain that natural element of hypocrisy that gives these stories an element of intrigue. But it's worth noting that the congresswoman once urged the public to stop paying taxes as a vehicle of protest for the passage of health care reform. Since she is actually paying the tax on her property (albeit late) it stands to reason that the missed-deadline was not some form of non-violent political disobedience." http://huff.to/9HQjLi

Eliot Spitzer regrets nothing. NOTHING! - In an interview with Julie Menin, the ex-governor and recent MSNBC substitute says he doesn't regret resigning from office. Commenting on the "Client #9" fiasco, Spitzer said he's "resisted the temptaion to look back." Asked if he's earned back the trust of his friends and colleagues, Spitzer said, "I think the answer is 'yes.'" Is he running for office again? "It's not something I'm thinking about right now. I won't rule it out forever.". Video: http://bit.ly/a8jklS

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are the states where you can legally rape a horse. Serious. http://bit.ly/97oRYM

RAND PAUL: CIVIL RIGHTS ACT... MEH - Rand Paul views minorities like those 14 states view horses. Last night on Maddow the Republican nominee for Jim Bunning's seat voiced skepticism about the landmark measure, equating racial equality to your God-given right to saunter into an Arby's with a loaded MAC-10. This morning witnessed a series of awkwardly awesome backtracks. http://huff.to/a2rMsM

First he expressed regret... for going on Maddow: "It was a poor political decision and probably won't be happening anytime in the near future," he said on Laura Ingraham's show on this morning. "Because, yeah, they can play things and want to say, 'Oh you believed in beating up people that were trying to sit in restaurants in the 1960s.' And that is such a ridiculous notion and something that no rational person is in favor of. [But] she went on and on about that." http://huff.to/aMCVgd

Then this morning-winning POLITICO breaking news flash: "Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul of Kentucky says in a statement: 'I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.'" Good!

Then an NRSC flack, whose organization lays claim to ZERO elected minority members, drew this distinction: "As a side note, I would point out the irony -- which seems to have been lost in some of the news coverage -- that the same party seeking to manufacture this issue today, is in fact the same political party which led the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act in 1964. In fact, the sitting President pro tempore of the Senate, elected to this leadership position by his current fellow Senate Democrats, was one of the leaders of this filibuster." Too bad everyone hates Michael Steele http://bit.ly/a3nKFm

Jim Clyburn: "I do believe he is not good for this country going forward." http://huff.to/bgwD7r

FYI: HuffPost Hill is commencing a Rand Paul "And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either" watch.

CALDERON ADDRESSES CONGRESS, SLAMS ARIZ. LAW - The morning after he attended a White House state dinner in his honor, Mexican President Felipe Calderon took aim at Arizona's stringent anti-immigration initiative in a joint address to a smattering of representatives and administration officials (for those didn't attend... long lunch!). "I am convinced that a comprehensive immigration reform is also crucial to securing our common border. However, I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona," he said. The remark drew a standing ovation from the Democrats in attendance, including AG Eric Holder, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and VP Joe Biden. Calderon also called for a new assault weapons ban. http://huff.to/aqn46i

Yeah, it was pretty empty: The Hill: "There was something missing from Mexican President Felipe Calderon's joint address to Congress on Thursday. And judging from this photo, it appears to be... well, Congress. ITK counts 29 lawmakers in this section of seating on the GOP side of the House floor. And 60 non-Members. Those not in elected office look like a mix of interns, congressional pages, and staff, who were likely asked to fill in empty seats to keep the place from looking bare. So where is everyone? In the missing members' defense, there was a lot going on Thursday morning. Hearings, markups, and legislative business kept many of them unavoidably detained. The good news is that there were plenty of beneficiaries: just look at all those lucky pages enjoying a 45-minute talk on bilateral cooperation. http://bit.ly/ch7CV6

Newsweek's Eve Conant summarizes conservatives' less-than-enthused response: "Fox News immediately jumped on him, pointing out how 'Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been ripping into Arizona's immigration law as he tours Washington -- while appearing to disregard the way his own country cracks down on immigrants along Mexico's southern border. Mexico repeatedly has been cited by human rights groups for abusing or turning a blind eye to the abuse of migrants from Central America.'...Today a Fox News anchor asked Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) if he felt the Mexican president was lecturing Americans. McCaul responded that Calderon's comments were 'inappropriate' and that the Mexican president was 'pandering to his constituency back in Mexico.'" http://bit.ly/bhoySF

Not sari after all: The Sahalis were stopped by the Secret Service outside of the White House last night. "The publicity-hungry couple was in a limousine that was stopped by a Secret Service officer just blocks from the White House on Wednesday night as the Obamas' second state dinner was under way inside. Their driver was ticketed at about 8 p.m. after running a red light and signaling an intent to turn into a restricted area near the Ellipse behind the White House, according to Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan." http://huff.to/boRYIJ

ALSO: As the Obamas went out to the North Portico to greet the Calderones, White House Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall tripped down the steps, quickly recovered and then barked at the press pool: "Don't use that!!!" Sorry, Capricia. Video: http://bit.ly/dB2a0d

Pakistan has outlawed YouTube, denying Pakistanis their God-given right to watch Dale Peterson videos. http://nyti.ms/a874Tb

CNN Headline: 'Miss USA: Muslim Trailblazer Or Hezbollah Spy?' TPM: http://bit.ly/aJwVih

OIL SPILL GETTING SLIPPERY - As the Gulf increasingly resembles the contents of a bottom-shelf bodega soda, scientists are ramping up their criticism of the administration's response to the spill, faulting the government for what they consider to be a slipshod investigation into the incident.

Take it away, NYT's Justin Gillis: "They are especially concerned about getting a better handle on problems that may be occurring from large plumes of oil droplets that appear to be spreading beneath the ocean surface. The scientists point out that in the month since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, the government has failed to make public a single test result on water from the deep ocean. And the scientists say the administration has been too reluctant to demand an accurate analysis of how many gallons of oil are flowing into the sea from the gushing oil well."

You won't like renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle when she's ANGRY: "It seems baffling that we don't know how much oil is being spilled," she said Wednesday. "It seems baffling that we don't know where the oil is in the water column." http://nyti.ms/9OInGK

Hey oil slick! Now that you've wrecked havoc on an aquatic ecosystem, waddya going to do now?. Go to Disney World, apparently: The spill has entered the loop currrent and is snaking its way toward Florida (and then up the Eastern Seaboard). "Florida's state meteorologist said it will be at least another seven days before the oil reaches waters west of the Keys, and state officials sought to reassure visitors that its beaches are still clean and safe. During a news conference, David Halstead, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, showed off a picture of a Coppertone bottle on a beach... Tar balls found earlier in the Florida Keys were not from the spill, the Coast Guard said Wednesday." http://huff.to/bSgUeR

If Rep. Ed Markey wants a webcam fixed on the oil well, he GETS a webcam fixed on the oil well... here it is! http://bit.ly/aXRFSg

HuffPost Hill would upload the feed to Chatroulette but doesn't know how.

WORST. STATEMENT. EVER. - Sean Penn appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations committee to discuss his relief work in Haiti. Addressing the panel, Penn got all debate-clubby with this gem: "I come here today in hope that we will address with bold clarity the razor's edge upon which Haiti lies, so that all in our own country, all that our country has given in sacrifice and service, will not be washed away with this rainy season and leave bright and dancing Haitian eyes to go still in death from disease and flood and, God forbid, the man-made disaster of violent unrest."

We applaud Penn for his good work but... yikes, this makes Bono seem like William Safire.


- London unveiled its mascot for the 2012 games. It's just... uncomfortable. http://huff.to/94YrZy

- Some of the most inappropriate children's clothing ever. http://huff.to/92cs1h

- Doggie yoga. http://bit.ly/9aKJhE

- Spray condoms and male birth control, the future of contraceptives. http://bit.ly/d5d5Ue

- Here's a rugby player foiling a robbery... WITH A CHAIR http://bit.ly/8XetMG


@AdamSerwer: If everyone you know works for a magazine or a think tank, you know scratch zero about DC and shouldn't be writing about it http://bit.ly/dol7hK

@JamesUrbaniak: "[Dr. Paul] was performing surgery earlier today, unreachable by reporters." Removing a mote from an eye, presumably. http://bit.ly/9K974t

@lehmannchris: To be clear: Fox contributor JOHN Stossel endorses Paul's position, calls for partial repeal of Civil Rights Act. You stay classy, Roger Ailes! http://bit.ly/9jbJze

@TimFernholz: Amazing to me how many otherwise fine reporters think Univision is a foreign network. http://bit.ly/c6L7Bm

@rkret: "I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the American Flag, but I do object to its color scheme." http://bit.ly/atbXFs

@AndrewBreitbart: What the hells wrong w you, @ArthurDelaneyHP? Killing messenger/fellow reporter when SEIU astroturfing private homes!? http://huff.to/adom53

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING - @LamarSmithTX21: #Calderon is wrong to suggest that America's immigration system is anything but generous. [YOU DON'T GET A LINK, LAMAR]



Maria Cantwell and Kay Bailey Hutchison were on Ratigan talking about their no votes on cloture. Dylan then discussed reform with Alan Grayson and Brad Miller. Chris Matthews welcomes webcam enthusiast Ed Markey and golden boy Joe Sestak. Wolf Blitzer talks to Rand Paul and former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf. Tom Harkin talks mine safety on Ed Schultz. Jim Clyburn continues his Rand-rant, Maria Cantwell hates on cloture and Xavier Becerra discusses immigration on Olbermann.


John Dingell talks to Chuck and Savannah.



6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: WaPo types gather up in Foxhall for a soiree celebrating the release of "Landmark: The Inside Story of America's New Health-Care Law and What It Means for Us All" [4636 Kenmore Dr NW].

6:30 (ish) pm: The Hill sends Business and Lobbying Editor Jim Snyder off to Bloomberg in an alcoholic haze. The rag's staffers gather at 18th Street Lounge to say goodbye with class [18th Street Lounge, 1212 18th Street NW].

7:00 pm: More book stuff: Jonathan Alter discusses his much-hyped "The Promise: President Obama, Year One" at Politics and Prose [Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW].

5:30 pm: Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) host a pig roast [230 12th Street NW].

5:30 pm- 7:00pm: The Riggs and Murtaugh of Congress, Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) host a reception in Connolly's honor [430 New Jersey Ave SE].

6:00 pm: Nothing says haute cuisine like the offices of a lobbying firm. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) hosts a dinner at the Stanton Park Group [Stanton Park Group Offices, 1325 Pennsylvania Ave NW Suite 700].


8:00 am: Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) is at it again, hosting a railroad industry breakfast [Associations of American Railroads, 425 3rd Street SW].

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