EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.
We're not sure who had a closer buzzer-beater, Ron Artest or the House of Representatives. With the Memorial Day recess looming, the lower chamber rushed through a torrent of last-minute legislation including defense authorization and unemployment extenders (the Senate benched itself). Meanwhile, Obama touched the contaminated waters of the Gulf Coast...we'll let you know when its transformation into wine is complete. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. We'll be back Tuesday...which should give us just enough time to finish "Blood Oath: The President's Vampire." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, May 28th, 2010:
HOUSE PASSES DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION... - After a daylong session, the House finally green-lighted the military spending bill containing an amendment, approved yesterday, that will set in motion Don't Ask Don't Tell's repeal. The Senate is expected to take up its version this summer. The White House has threatened a veto if the final version contains funding for an alternative engine for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, currently included in the House bill. The final tally was 229-186.
...AND EXTENDERS, TOO, BUT SENATE IS ABSENT - Although the House finally acted on a series of unemployment benefit measures and other tax extensions, incorporating a number of major cuts in the process, final action won't be taken for over a week, at least. Rather than reconvene for one more day, the Senate opted to bail, adjourning for the Memorial Day recess.
The big, real-world ramifications: On June 1, several programs, including extended unemployment benefits, will expire. By the end of the week, 19,400 people will prematurely stop receiving checks, according to data from the Department of Labor. How long will it take the Senate to finish the bill? With Republicans promising to stand in the way, leadership will need to file at least one time-consuming 'cloture' motion to break the filibuster to set up a vote by the end of the week in the best-case scenario. By the end of the following week, the number of premature unemployment exhaustions will climb to 323,400. The week after that, 903,000. By the end of the month, 1.2 million.
SESSIONS CARRIES IBM WATER TO HOUSE FLOOR - Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) introduced a letter from IBM into the congressional record today. Said Sesssions: "And this letter, and I'm going to read just the last paragraph because it shows the misnomer of my Democrat friends' argument about how great this bill is, a jobs bill. And it says this: "Despite the one-year renewal of the R&D tax credit which we and other technology firms have long supported, the late insertion of large new permanent tax increases together with hundreds of billions of dollars in new deficit spending that has not been offset lends IBM to strongly oppose this legislation." Hundreds of billions of dollars in new deficit spending. This reminds me a lot of the firefighter who goes out and sets a fire and then shows up to put it out trying to get credit , when in fact, that firefighter is an arsonist -- is an arsonist. IBM gets it and they understand. Hundreds of billions of dollars of new deficit spending that has not been offset." As close reader's of yesterday's HuffPost Hill know, IBM has been working hard against the Dem effort to close a loophole that allows them to permanently take jobs off shore and get a tax break for it. According to its SEC filing, IBM "permanently reinvested offshore" $26 billion in 2009. Since 2005, its number of U.S. employees dropped from 134,000 to 105,000.
TURNING POINT: DEFICIT ECLIPSES JOBS IN CONGRESS - "It will be the third time this year lawmakers have allowed extended unemployment benefits to lapse, and the second time they've decided to leave town for recess fully knowing the lapse would cause panic and confusion among blameless layoff victims -- not to mention a 'huge' administrative burden on state workforce agencies...But this is the first time the Democratic Party can't even half-plausibly blame the Republicans for the lapse." This is the third and final installment in Arthur Delaney and Ryan Grim's series on class warfare in Congress during the last week of May 2010. http://huff.to/dAgZJ5
REID, PELOSI: NOBODY'S TO BLAME FOR FAILURE - "I don't think there's any fault involved. It's not as if the House has been lazy," the Majority Leader said. Nancy Pelosi agrees: "It's not a question of blame -- no one will be deprived of anything," she said. "I don't think we have walked away from any of the priorities that we want to achieve. We will achieve them in time. Some are more urgent than others."
A Senate leadership aide: "We're going to take care of it right after we get back."
HOYER'S BIG WEEK - Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pulled off a hat-trick this week. He brokered a deal on the jobs bill that passed today. He outsmarted Republicans on the House floor to beat back a gimmicky child-porn motion-to-recommit. And on DADT, he hosted a critical meeting of principals Monday and crafted compromise language that brought Blue Dogs on board. "Steny Hoyer gave a six-minute, passionate speech on the floor which I think made everybody on both sides of the aisle stand up and pay attention," Patrick Murphy, sponsor of the DADT repeal amendment, told HuffPost. "Secondly, his behind the scenes effort was second to none, with our office, over in the Senate with the Lieberman [and] Levin offices."
SPEAKING OF CHILD PORN: WHY THE HOUSE VOTED 9 TIMES ON THE COMPETES ACT - The last time Dems tried to pass it, Republicans defeated the COMPETES Act under suspension because it included new spending (a suspension takes 2/3rds to pass). The time before that, Republicans tried to attach an amendment related to federal employee child porn surfing, which also included funding cuts. In a box, Dems pulled the bill from the floor, rather than accept the amendment. This time, they split the original GOP motion to recommit into nine separate votes and knocked down eight, while approving the anti-porn provision. "Members were excited we were able to sidestep Republicans political shenanigans and approve a measure that is a strong bipartisan bill," said Jim Clyburn's Kristie Greco. Republicans countered that Democrats can now be said to have voted against cutting 5 new federal spending programs.
WHITE HOUSE TOLD BILL CLINTON TO OFFER SESTAK A GIG - Sam Stein on the glorified internship in question: "Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) was offered a prominent but uncompensated, advisory position -- in the national security/foreign policy area -- if he would drop out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary race, a source with knowledge of the exchange said during a briefing on Friday morning. The offer was made by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel through a prominent intermediary -- former President Bill Clinton -- during the months of June and July of 2009. The White House initiated the conversation, which occurred over phone. It would have allowed Sestak to remain in the House of Representatives while advising the president." http://huff.to/d9bD1g
Sestak's statement -- wouldn't ya know it?! -- mirrors the White House account: "Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I'd say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects."
Bill Clinton: Not commenting... BUT Josh Gerstein highlights this Clinton quote from Larry King Live last September: "When I was involved, the most I ever did was to say that if somebody decided not to run and they wanted to continue in public service, I'd find something for them to do, because I think there are a lot of good people who, for reasons beyond their control, can't be reelected," Clinton said on CNN's Larry King Live last September.
White House counsel Bob Bauer's memo: http://bit.ly/bq64ep
RNC tries to keep the story alive -- here's Michael Steele's statement: "In the three months since Joe Sestak first made his allegation, the White House has denied, stonewalled and is now trying to downplay the claims with an unsubstantiated memo. This memo frankly raises more questions: What was Bill Clinton authorized to offer? Did President Obama sign off on this conversation before it took place?" http://bit.ly/cORV4d
AP reports a judge has ordered the man arrested in Massachusetts during the probe into the botched Times Square bombing be deported to Pakistan. Imagine the conversation with his seatmate on the plane: "So, what brings you to Pakistan?" "Seeing family, yourself?" "Oh, just BEING DEPORTED." We hope there's a good in-flight movie.
Gary Coleman died. He was 42. http://huff.to/dA6XIY
Somewhere, Coleman and William Safire are having a laugh over these... http://bit.ly/9WGQI2
NYT: "What'choo talkin 'bout, Willis?"
WaPo: "What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
Reuters: "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?"
Time: "Whatchootalkin'bout, Willis?
AP: "Whatchu talkin' 'bout?"
Gather: "Whatcha talkin bout Willis?"
CSM: "Whatcha' talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
Access Hollywood: "Wat'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
The Sun (UK): "What choo talkin' 'bout Willis?"
...We now go live to Hammer: @MCHammer: RIP Gary Coleman .. May God hold you in his arms and love all the hurt away. Peace is yours eternally.#GodisLove
...how to cope: http://bit.ly/dkaIof
The Times Magazine's Mark Leibovich landed a book deal with Simon & Schuster. The author of Papa Bear/Boo Radley's epic profile will explore how "modern Washington has perfected the culture of self-love and celebrity while the rest of the country is feeling increasingly alienated from the place." Fishbowl DC: http://bit.ly/aQgyC6
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com
OBAMA TOURS GULF COAST - AP: "Intent on showing firm command of the deepening Gulf Coast crisis, President Barack Obama flew to Louisiana Friday and personally inspected a beach jeopardized by America's largest-ever oil spill...After about 15 minutes at the beach, the president headed to nearby Grand Isle for a formal briefing from Allen, who is overseeing the spill response for the federal government. At intervals along the way were handwritten wooden signs stuck in the sand with "BEACH CLOSED" in black block letters. Obama was being joined there by the governors of Louisiana, Florida and Alabama. He was spending a total of about three hours in the region." http://huff.to/8WXUJZ
BP CEO Tony Hayward says it will be another two days before officials will know whether the top kill procedure succeeded. http://huff.to/8ZObB3
Pelosi: MMS chief was "fired." In a Bloomberg interview to air tonight, Pelosi said the head of the Minerals Management Service, Elizabeth Birnbaum, "was fired because she hadn't cleaned up problems at the agency that were 'the result of the cozy relationship between the Bush administration and the oil industry.' Holdovers from the previous administration 'have burrowed in there' and President Obama 'removed the head' of the agency 'because she hadn't cleaned up the Bush administration people fast enough.' ... Asked if she was satisfied with Obama's response to the oil spill, Pelosi praised his 'impatience and his persistence in pursuing every channel' and subject 'the role of the oil companies and the role of the regulators' to the 'harshest scrutiny.'"
MIDTERM UPDATES - Sestak is up: Even as the totally manufactured/totally substantial quid pro quo scandal trucks on, Joe Sestak appears to be gaining ground. A Research 2000 poll out today has the Keystone Rep. narrowly leading his GOP opponent Pat Toomey 43 to 40. http://bit.ly/b5Y5NZ
When Harry met rally. With a slew of articles heralding Harry Reid's return from political death row, a new poll seems to confirm the Majority Leader's comeback. A Mason-Dixon poll released this morning has Reid trailing Sue Lowden by just 3 points, and within the margin of error against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle. http://bit.ly/cNylSv Chris Cillizza adds, "[Reid] ended April with $9.4 million in the bank as compared to $289,000 for Lowden and $120,000 for Angle. http://bit.ly/dtwdjt
As John McCain fends off a primary challenge from Lucifer's Second Life avatar, J.D. Hayworth, word comes that Mitt Romney will stump for the Arizona senator next week. http://nyti.ms/dsTiFs
TPM's Jillian Rayfield on Rand Paul's latest policy nugget: "Paul recently suggested to a Russian TV station that the U.S. should abandon its policy of granting citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants -- even if they're born on U.S. soil. Paul also said he's discussed instituting an "underground electrical fence" on the border to keep out unwanted elements, though he emphasized that he's "not opposed to letting people come in and work and labor in our country." http://bit.ly/bH118s
The Daily Caller on Rep. Parker Griffith, who switched parties to become a Republican, on his first GOP primary Tuesday: "Rex Davis of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee told The Daily Caller that the national GOP support of Griffith over the other primary candidates -- Les Phillip and Mo Brooks -- was frustrating for local party leaders. It's hard to recruit qualified candidates to run for Congress, he said, and Phillip and Brooks put their names on the ballot before Griffith decided to run as a Republican. Some GOPers don't find it fair to abandon Phillip and Brooks for Griffith." http://bit.ly/bHZv9L
In Ohio, Democrat Lee Fisher is in a statistical dead-heat with Republican Rob Portman in the race for George Voinovich's seat. A University of Cincinnati poll has Fisher up 47-46 with seven percent undecided. http://bit.ly/dfVRVD
Roll Call's Morton Kondracke: "While admitting they'll lose seats in November, Democrats hope to limit the losses by pointing to a long list of legislative achievements, an improving economy and, especially, consistent Republican naysaying. They also hope that the tea party movement's shoving Republicans to the right and out of mainstream appeal to independents will counterbalance the movement's political energy." http://bit.ly/bDuvjX
Matthew Murray in Roll Call tonight on K Street's Memorial Day recess activities: "The business community and organized labor are fanning out over the country during Congress' Memorial Day recess, attempting to roust grass-roots support for their favorite candidates and legislative priorities in the waning months of the 111th Congress. They are squaring off on such controversial issues as immigration and free trade. The labor federation AFL-CIO confirmed late last week that it will be on the ground in Arkansas helping Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D) runoff opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D), by Tuesday. Early voting in that state starts a week before the June 8 runoff election."
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Check out the Journal's review of "Blood Oath: The President's Vampire." The premise: "In 1867, President Andrew Johnson commutes the death sentence of a sailor who killed his fellow crewmembers and drank their blood. Johnson realizes the sailor is, in fact, a vampire." Happy Memorial Day! http://bit.ly/d5og4C
Marc Ambinder thinks a group of people who think the 17th Amendment is pushing it might be hurting the GOP: "Indeed, a case can be made that, in the states and races where the Tea Party has been active...the Republican candidate has been weakened, and the Democratic candidate has been strengthened...I don't think the TPs energized the GOP base any more than it was already energized. The TP, indeed, is actually distributing that energy to regions of political space that might be harmful to the party itself. Democrats now have a foil, just as Republicans have Obama." http://bit.ly/asRb89
Mother Jones' Stephanie Mencimer: "[W]hile President Barack Obama won kudos for his social-media outreach during the 2008 campaign, that online know-how doesn't seem to have reached the Democratic ranks of Congress. When it comes to employing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social-media sites, Republicans are whipping their opponents across the aisle, creating a growing tech gulf that threatens important implications for the 2010 mid-term elections." http://bit.ly/9w61Hv
WOAH - "Here is a weekend factoid for you: among all living politicians in the United States who have ever held elected office, Hillary Clinton is the most popular. That's right. Ever since she became Secretary of State, her favorables have soared into the mid-60's, putting her well clear of any other statewide officeholder in the country. The only national figures who are viewed as favorably as Clinton are Michelle Obama, Colin Powell, and David Petraeus. However, they have never run for office, which invariably lowers your favorables." Open Left: http://bit.ly/c4lotV
Some of Hillary's biggest fans: http://bit.ly/a5ADd0
Nick Wing with the latest in the evolving Nikki Haley-Will Folks scandal: "Folks released a series of phone records showing lengthy, late-night conversations between him and South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful, Nikki Haley. The large batch of phone records amounts to more than 700 calls placed over the past three years -- more than 1,000 pages of records, Folks says -- many of which came in the form of long exchanges in middle of nights in 2007, the year that Folks worked on Haley's campaign and the year that he alleges they engaged in an 'inappropriate physical relationship.' One such call began at 2:24 AM and ended 146 minutes later."
The original post from Folks' FITSNews: http://bit.ly/aVXqGP
Nikki Halley: "I am not wasting any energy on this -- none," she told The Post and Courier. "If y'all have asked for them, I don't know about that yet. But I can tell you this right now: I am not wasting any energy on this. It is not worth the time and money of the people of this of state, and it's not worth the time and energy to get distracted off of this campaign." http://bit.ly/bHi33z
TODAY IN "ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL" - From Amy Klobuchar's office: "Washington, D.C. - Disappointed that she was unable to attend the 125th anniversary celebration for Minnesota's smallest town, Senator Amy Klobuchar did the next best thing--she called residents of the town to personally congratulate them. Tenney, founded in 1885 and incorporated in 1901 has a population of four."
Ouch. All in, HuffPost Hill has 30 toes. One of them is broken.
- Can you feel hot air through speakers? Brian Kilmeade is getting a radio show. http://bit.ly/bIVMuG
- Speaking of, a Fox News anchor misidentified himself...twice. http://huff.to/bninia
- A TV correspondent at a Yankee game had her pork chop eaten by a fan...on air...while holding it in her hand. http://bit.ly/95emtY
- Michael Strahan has worked hard burnishing his nice-guy image. LOLing at rape jokes probably doesn't help. http://huff.to/bkAcOg
- The LAPD censored the mug shot of a dude with man-boobs. http://huff.to/cYfmho
- Ozzy Osbourne pretended to be his own wax statue at Madame Tussauds. http://bit.ly/bDsOS2
- A baby eating Pop Rocks...comedy gold. http://bit.ly/cEXmb8
@friedmanjon: Someone in my office just asked if a brain hemorrhage is a form of a different stroke. #garycoleman http://bit.ly/96EcyZ
@jtLOL: "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, St. Peter?" Sorry. http://bit.ly/deoeou
@jimgeraghty:"I want you to listen to me. I'm gonna say this again. I did not... have... effectual conversations with that man... Mr. Sestak." http://bit.ly/940GyX
@HotlineEditor: How not psyched is Blanche Lincoln that the Clinton-Sestak story is breaking on the same day as her big LR rally with Clinton? http://bit.ly/clERiF
@evale72: Lots of empty seats at clinton/lincoln rally. http://twitpic.com/1rvhmp
Nick Rahall was on Ratigan. Charlie Melancon is on Schultz.
Admiral Thad Allen, Susan Rice and Luis Gutierrez appear on The Situation Room.
George Casey discusses the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on John King, USA.
This Week: Colin Powell.
Face The Nation: Ed Markey and Carol Browner.
State Of The Union: Admiral Mike Mullen, Jim Webb and David Vitter.
Fox News Sunday: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.
Meet The Press: Carol Browner, Luis Gutierrez and J.D. Hayworth.
5:00 pm - 8:30 pm: Jazz in the Garden starts up again with vocalist Leslie Summey performing [National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW].
8:00 pm: The "I [Heart] The 90s" Rosslyn film festival continues with a screening of the Adam Sandler flick "Happy Gilmore" [Rosslyn Gateway Park, North Lynn Street and Lee Highway, Arlington].
8:30 pm: Friday's free movie screening at the American City Diner: "Citizen Kane" [American City Diner, 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW].
5:45 pm - 8:00 pm: Well it hasn't been a quiet week in Washington D.C. and very few people here are above average but that won't stop Garrison Keillor and his merry band of folksy performers from rolling into Wolf Trap. A Prairie Home Companion films from Washington this weekend [Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia 22182].
8:00 pm: Erykah Badu, N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae roll into DAR with a fresh batch of the hippity and the hoppity [DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D Street NW].
8:00 pm: If you're looking for a trippier, somewhat more brooding experience, check out Imogen Heap at the Warner Theater [Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue NW].
8:30 pm: Saturday's free movie screening at the American City Diner: "Fiddler on the Roof" [American City Diner, 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW].
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm: This year's Memorial Day Concert features Brad Paisley, Katherine Jenkins and the National Symphony Orchestra. Gates open at 5 [US Capitol, West Lawn].
8:30 pm: Sunday's free movie screening at the American City Diner: "Blazing Saddles" [American City Diner, 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW].
10:00 pm: Why can't straight joints be this fun? WTF?! Prom at Town where anyone in a prom dress gets in free [Town, 2009 8th St NW].
All Weekend: Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), best known to us and Kathy Griffin as "Queen Clyburn," hosts a Charleston, South Carolina getaway weekend.
2:00 pm: The National Memorial Day Parade strikes up the band and honors our country's military personnel, past and present [Constitution Avenue from Seventh to 17th streets NW].
5:00 pm: The 30th anniversary concert at 9:30 Club. Bob Mould, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, the Psychedelic Furs and more perform. Subscribers to the club's print and e-mail newsletter get dibs on the ticket lottery [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].
8:30 pm: Monday's free movie screening at the American City Diner: "The Mancurian Candidate" [American City Diner, 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW].
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