A disheartening day for environmentalists and oyster aficionados who don't think Castrol mixes well with horseradish. BP and government response crews may have to temporarily abandon construction of a relief well due to an oncoming storm in the Gulf. Documents were uncovered that indicate Transocean employees were aware of safety violations on the Deepwater Horizon drill but kept it to themselves for fear of reprisals. Back in Washington, with no GOP support in sight, Harry Reid jettisoned plans for a comprehensive energy bill. Tomorrow we'll be scouring Nevada for municipal candidates to endorse and exposing the vast Black Panther ice cream conspiracy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 22nd, 2010:
CHARLIE RANGEL CHARGED WITH ETHICS VIOLATIONS - Bad news for the veteran lawmaker and Harvey Fierstein's vocal doppelganger: "A House investigative committee has charged New York Rep. Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, with multiple ethics violations. The charges were announced Thursday. The panel's actions sends the case to a trial on the allegations. A separate ethics panel will decide whether the alleged violations can be proved by clear and convincing evidence...Sources said the committee and Rangel's attorney attempted unsuccessfully to negotiate a settlement to end the case. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private discussions. A settlement would have required Rangel to agree that he violated ethics rules." http://huff.to/bWeBIm
Rangel to reporters: "I don't have anything right now to respond to."
@carriedann: FWIW, Rangel primary challenger Adam Clayton Powell IV has about $50k cash on hand, a tenth of what Rangel has in the bank
Michele Bachmann on the GOP's agenda if Democrats lose control of the House this November: "I think all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another and expose all the nonsense that has gone on." http://bit.ly/bKIWT7
HUFFPOST HILL EXCLUSIVE: EXCERPTS FROM STENY HOYER'S CAP SPEECH TOMORROW - To be delivered at the Center for American Progress Action Fund at 11:15 am: "Despite Republicans' efforts to demonize those policies, they can't refute the nonpartisan analysis that shows that they have been responsible for 2 million, and as many as 3 million, jobs. They can't ignore those investments' benefits in their own communities--not when the House Minority Whip himself, Eric Cantor, has hosted three job fairs featuring employers that have benefited from just such federal funds. Democrats, on the other hand, are putting forward new ideas to drive our recovery, particularly when it comes to our vital manufacturing sector. That's why the House is launching the Make it in America agenda: a comprehensive strategy to boost American manufacturing. So when we talk about Republican economic failure, we aren't talking about a passing trend. From decade to decade, and today, Democratic policies have supported innovation, the interests of the middle class, and a better standard of living for all Americans. Republican policies have objectively favored the privileged and left working Americans behind."
HOUSE PASSES UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION, PRESIDENT SIGNS INTO LAW - "Congress has approved legislation to restore unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for six months or more, ending a seven-week interruption that caused 2 1/2 million people to lose unemployment benefits averaging about $300 a week. The 272-152 House vote Thursday will send the measure to President Barack Obama, who has promised to quickly sign it. The House vote came less than 24 hours after a mostly party-line Senate vote Wednesday on the measure, which is just one piece of a larger Democratic jobs agenda that has otherwise mostly collapsed after months of battles with Republicans." http://huff.to/aT8Ny5
DAILY DELANEY IT'S ABOUT TIME - The President received the bill around 5:00 (it was quickly driven to the White House) and shortly thereafter he affixed his signature to the legislation.
GEITHNER STILL MUM ON ELIZABETH WARREN - At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters this morning, the Treasury Secretary was conspicuously tight-lipped abut his views on the prospects for top TARP overseer, Elizabeth Warren, being named as head of the forthcoming consumer protection bureau. "I think she would be a very effective leader of that institution," Geithner said of Warren. He added that there are two other candidates being considered for the position: Michael Barr, the assistant treasury secretary for financial institutions, and Gene Kimmelman, the chief counsel for competition policy in the DOJ's antitrust division. Dan Froomkin: http://huff.to/9fYldq
RAY LAHOOD: SOME REPUBLICANS SECRETLY APPROVE OF THE STIMULUS - Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says that Republicans tell him in private conversations (which is like a beta version of Journolist) that they are actually impressed with the stimulus' results. Sam Stein: "'I believe the economic recovery plan has worked,' LaHood said, in an interview with the Huffington Post, 'and I've had Republican members tell me that when I've gone in and done projects or been with them or visited them in their offices... They know that we have dollars that have put people to work.'" http://huff.to/dxFL8t
REMINDER: What a good friend - LaHood last year: "They picked me because of the bipartisan thing...and the Congressional thing, and the friendship thing...I've never been passionate about any particular issue." http://nyti.ms/eMpzg
HuffPost Hill Announces First Endorsement - The unlucky candidate is Richard Hill, running a neck-and-neck race for Searchlight, Nevada justice of the peace against some other candidate, who we're sure is also peachy. We ran into Hill while touring the Searchlight Cemetery today, where Harry Reid's parents and grandparents are buried. Hill wins the endorsement for telling us that the first app he downloaded on his iPad was HuffPost's. Observers following the race question how much the HuffPost Hill bump has any affect in Searchlight. We'll find out in November.
TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - Washington Post: Charles Krauthammer sounds the alarm - "Even if they get trounced in November, there is one constitutional loophole Democrats can use to push through the Obama agenda: a lame-duck session of Congress. Officeholders should resist the idea." The Hill: J. Taylor Rushing on how several Senate Democrats are expressing regret that they voted for John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
OBAMA SPEAKS WITH SHIRLEY SHERROD, RACISM OVER - Just days after USDA official Shirley Sherrod was fired for
discriminating against a white farmer admitting that she discriminated against a white farmer arresting Henry Gates falling victim to Andrew Breitbart's aggressive iMovie habits, the president called her this morning to patch things up. "The president told Ms. Sherrod that this misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need," a statement released by the White House read, "and he hopes that she will do so." http://huff.to/9NsgNk
"He is not someone who has experienced what I have experienced through life, being a person of color. He might need to hear some of what I could say to him," Sherrod said on GMA this morning. "I don't know if that would guide him in a way that he deals with others like me, but I at least would like to have the opportunity to talk to him about it." http://bit.ly/cwzweF
SIGH: "President Accused by Bloggers of Trying to Send Message to 'Core Radical Base' By Stopping at Ice Cream Shop With Black Fist Logo" CBS: http://bit.ly/cE7TGU
MASSEY ENERGY CHIEF SPEAKS OUT AGAINST REGULATION - In an interview set to air on Bloomberg tomorrow at 10 a.m. with Margaret Brennan, CEO Don Blankenship, in his first indepth interview since the April 5th mine disaster, speaks out against government intervention in his industry. "The people at MSHA are, in our opinion, lesser qualified than the people in the industry, so the assumption that the government, and the people in the government and the inspectors should be more and more empowered, is a questionable scenario to begin with. We need to make sure we get the right answers, not empower one side or the other."
Advice to embattled BP CEO Tony Hayward: "I don't think I should be giving anyone advice on PR... I will say this: that the real problem industry has is that they are not bold enough to speak the truth in the face of the scrutiny, in the face of these types of interviews... the unions protest, the shareholders and so forth. And it is a bad thing. People of knowledge have an obligation to speak out."
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WORKERS ON DEEPWATER RIG KNEW OF SAFETY VIOLATIONS - "A confidential survey of workers on the Deepwater Horizon in the weeks before the oil rig exploded showed that many of them were concerned about safety practices and feared reprisals if they reported mistakes or other problems. In the survey, commissioned by the rig's owner, Transocean, workers said that company plans were not carried out properly and that they 'often saw unsafe behaviors on the rig' Some workers also voiced concerns about poor equipment reliability, 'which they believed was as a result of drilling priorities taking precedence over planned maintenance,' according to the survey, one of two Transocean reports obtained by The New York Times." NYT: http://nyti.ms/bWtH9S
Work on the relief well may be delayed upwards of two weeks due to an incoming storm. WSJ: "If a tropical depression continues to head for the Gulf of Mexico and gains strength Thursday night, the U.S. government may order an evacuation of drill ships and other vessels working at the site of the BP PLC oil spill, the federal response commander said...Despite the storm, government and company officials have decided that the well's cap will stay in place, even though there will be no one to monitor it, Mr. Allen said. 'We are prepared to leave the well unattended for this particular event,' Mr. Allen said. The cap was put on top of the well last week and has been keeping as many as 60,000 barrels of oil a day from flowing into the Gulf." http://bit.ly/9Fcy9e
You know what they say: One swordfish's slow, agonizing death by oxygen depletion and oil-induced asphyxiation is another man's gain. The Los Angeles Times reported last night that the oil spill is proving to be a windfall for D.C. lobbyists. "Lobbying expenditure reports for the first reporting period after the April 20 blowout show that offshore drilling companies and environmental groups ramped up their spending to make their case to lawmakers and regulators on a range of energy-related issues." http://bit.ly/bHNSYX
Despite mastering the spill effect, BP can't seem to Photoshop correctly. As has been reported, BP has released several doctored photographs of its 'command' center . Today the company 'fessed up. "BP's photographic department uses Photoshop to edit images we post on the bp.com Gulf of Mexico Response web site," a spokesperson said. "Typical purposes include colour correction, reducing glare and cropping. In a few cases, cut-and-paste was also used in the photo-editing process. These cut-and-pasted images have been removed. We've instructed our post-production team to refrain from doing cutting-and-pasting in the future." Telegraph: http://bit.ly/c2RWTN
REID TO POSTPONE SENATE ACTION ON MAJOR CLIMATE BILL - The likelihood of a sweeping energy bill being passed by the Senate anytime soon is zilch. "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has officially ruled out the possibility that a carbon cap, even a scaled back version, might make it into the energy package that he plans to bring to the floor next week. 'It's easy to count to 60,' Reid told reporters Thursday. 'I could do it by the time I was in eighth grade. My point is this, we know where we are. We know we don't have the votes.'...In remarks following the announcement, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the biggest champion of this issue in the Senate, tried to put a hopeful spin on the situation, pledging to try to push a carbon cap at a later date. While the bill Democrats will bring to the floor next week is an 'admittedly narrow, limited bill,' Kerry said his work on climate will continue." MoJo: http://bit.ly/csOtZh
Might we propose a solution? http://bit.ly/cemvC
DELIBERATIONS UNDER WAY IN ARIZONA IMMIGRATION TRIAL - AP: "A federal judge is preparing to hold a hearing in a packed Phoenix courtroom on whether Arizona's immigration law should take effect next week. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton first will lead a Thursday morning hearing on whether the law should be put on hold and whether a lawsuit challenging the crackdown should be dismissed. That's in a case filed by civil rights groups and others. She will hold a separate hearing in the afternoon on the U.S. Justice Department's request for a preliminary injunction blocking implementation." http://huff.to/d8nzqh
Arizona's top law enforcement official says it's Eric Holder's duty to challenge its immigration law. "Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard was grilled by a Democratic congressman during a House hearing Thursday about criticism of the Obama administration's challenge of Arizona's new immigration law. Congressman Al Green of Texas asked Goddard whether Holder is duty-bound to uphold the Constitution and to challenge the law if the thinks it's unconstitutional. Goddard responded, 'If that's his sincere belief, he has no choice.'" AP: http://bit.ly/c7GrL1
Proudly representing the party of selfless, Christian values, a top Republican legislator in Iowa wants to help his fellow man by cutting services to illegal immigrants. Iowa Independent: "While speaking to Christian radio host Steve Deace, [Iowa House Minority Leader Kraig] Paulsen pointed to legislation introduced earlier this year aimed at denying state services to illegal immigrants. He said a report by the Legislative Services Agency found the state could save more than $90 million by ending state services to those in the country illegally, but Democrats opposed the measure and effectively killed it." http://bit.ly/aGNe4e
POLITICAL DICTIONARY WORD OF THE DAY - Cats and Dogs. Cats and dogs are are leftover "stray" bills on minor subjects saved for days when the House or Senate have light floor schedules. "Majority Leader Reid added the resolution recognizing the contribution to the American songbook by "The Herb Kohl Experience" to the list of cats and dogs to be addressed after the budget passes."
PROMINENT ANTI-DADT ACTIVIST CANNED BY ARMY FOR THE 'TELLING' PART - "Newsweek reports that Lt. Dan Choi, a highly visible figure in the debate over repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, has become a victim of that very law. Choi's commander in the New York Army National Guard informed him this morning that he has been officially discharged." Washington Independent: http://bit.ly/dufn1H
TO THE UTTER DELIGHT OF HUFFPOST HILL, THERE'S A NEW, RIDICULOUS ALVIN GREENE DEVELOPMENT - It's been a few days since we last reported something about upstart Senate candidate and apparent inspiration for the movie "Being There" Alvin Greene. The AP is reporting that while in the military, Greene was said to have committed "mistakes as severe as uploading sensitive information improperly, and as basic as an overall inability to clearly express his thoughts and perform basic tasks." ALVINNNNNNNNNN http://huff.to/9DwvZZ
JEREMEY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight, for those in D.C.: With a high pressure system hanging over our heads, not much will be going down. Expect a clear night (possibly some clouds), but no rain. Tomorrow: With a warm front moving in, temperatures will skyrocket during the day. Triple digits will be likely. Water and shade! Thanks, JB!
Heat and loathing in Las Vegas: Our Netroots Nation Las Vegas crew has plenty of experience with the heat. Good news, it's going to continue! Tomorrow, you too can experience 100-degree weather! I'm sure everyone's used to it by now. Noted, JB!
- Today is Alex Trebek's 70th birthday. Here's a selection of his most ridiculous moments. http://bit.ly/91GvYL
- Our kind of criminal: A homeless man broke into a bar and started serving booze. http://bit.ly/9jxHTe
- Poor turtle. http://bit.ly/dwejeC
- A CGI sticky bun that beats up things is taking China by storm. http://bit.ly/99cqXl
- 20 super sweet vans. http://bit.ly/avHyJ9
- A large group of Russians organized a zombie flash mob. http://bit.ly/cMyArA
- 25 horrifying meat products. http://bit.ly/bwhF4N
@delrayser: In honor of the climate change bill failing, I'm gonna fire up the lawnmower when I get home & just let it run all night.
@CitizenCohn: No major #climatechange bill til fall and, even then, don't hold your breath. Or maybe you should.
@pwgavin: Prediction: Tomorrow's Playbook: "Bob Barnett has secured $1 mil book deal for Shirley Sherrod on racial healing."
@pourmecoffee: Nightmare convergence scenario for @andrewbreitbart -- Shirley Sherrod organizes New Black Cougars.
TONIGHT: Birthday boy James Clyburn and Top Chef superfan
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: nGAGE DC hosts a networking event allowing DC's two favorite pastime: boozing and schmoozing. RSVP: http://bit.ly/a4c4xr [Lounge 201, 201 Massachusetts Avenue NE].
7:00 pm: Dzanc Books, which publishes works that don't fit the mold, hosts a reading by some of its authors [Wonderland Ballroom, 1101 Kenyon St NW].
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Enjoy a movie poolside with the Capitol Skyline Hotel's screening of "Caddyshack" [Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I Street SW].
8:45 pm - 10:45 pm: The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Underdog Film Series gets tearjerky with "Seabiscuit" [Canal Park, 200 M St SE].
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: If you're dealing with the chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, you know you're going to party. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) gets WILD with some fowl at his "Minnesota Wild Game Dinner" [Democratic National Headquarters, 430 South Capitol Street SE].
5:00 pm - 8:30pm: The Young Lions, a rock/jazz fusion group, perform at Jazz in the Garden [Smithsonian Sculpture Garden, 700 Constitution Avenue NW ].
8:00 pm: As part of its "I Love the 90s" series, The Rossyln Outdoor Film Festival screens "Empire Records" [Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington].
8:30 am: Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) hosts a campaign event at the Capitol Hill Club [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].
9:00 am: It must be so hard to find a good omelet station in this town because the GOP flocks to the Capitol Hill Club like no one's business. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) hosts a breakfast fundraiser there [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].
12:30 pm: Enjoying his Tea Party celebrity, Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) raises some dough [The Monocle Restaurant, 107 D Street NE].
7:00 pm: The blogosphere's two favorite things, Republicans and the Dave Matthews Band, come together at the group's show tonight for John Shimkus' (R-Ill.) fundraiser [Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].
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