POLITICS
02/15/2011 06:46 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - Santorum Discusses 'Frothy Biproduct'

A banner day for the nation's pro-life party: the South Dakota GOP is softening its stance on murder and House Republicans might deprive your grandparents of their medicine. There wasn't exactly an outpouring of feeling from Barack "Look, I definitely feel folks' pain" Obama, either. House Republicans are scrambling so fast to attach amendments to the budget CR that they're probably just making it up on the spot ("Madame Speaker, I rise today to, um, present an, um, amendment that would, um, outlaw the Upper West Side of, um, Manhattan"). And even though pro-democracy demonstrations continue to break out across the Middle East, Rupert Murdoch's The Daily is probably too busy searching for the most flatulent teacup poodle in the Midwest. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, February 15th, 2011:

"General David Petraeus is expected to leave his post as commander of United States troops in Afghanistan, the Times Of London reports early Tuesday evening." [HuffPost]

CONTINUING RESOLUTION TO FUND THE GOVERNMENT ***AMENDMENT BONANZAAAAAAAAAAAA*** - The House Appropriations Committee last week introduced a stopgap budget measure to temporarily fund the government. That bill has since had more crap pinned to it than a TGI Friday's host working a weekend shift. Where shall we begin? How about with Louie Gohmert's amendment that would prohibit the General Services Administration from paying for the construction, or leasing, of federal buildings in Washington? If enacted, federal employees in D.C. could be out of an office if their agency defaults on its lease (thus transforming Flex Fridays into Flex Forever). Then there's Paul Broun's item that would forbid the government from leasing vacant properties, a proposal that would include unfinished buildings under construction. And, of course, our favorite: Steve Womack's language forbidding the government from paying for, and maintaining, the teleprompters used by President Obama. [HuffPost, With Amanda Terkel and Nick Wing]

White House (without checking the teleprompter) says "no thank you": "The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 1, making appropriations for the Department of Defense and the other departments and agencies of the Government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes."

CPC Fighting Back: The Congressional Progressive Caucus organized (!) an effort to oppose the GOP CR, using parliamentary maneuvers to pull off a House version of a filibuster. But because it's a House version, the majority can stop it whenever it tires of the antics, which we're told will be at about 6:45, when they'll be made to be quiet while the House votes on a Jeff Flake amendment. They are then free to return to their filibustering.

The Senate just approved a three month extension of the PATRIOT Act, by an 86-12 vote, but the guy listening to your calls could have told you that.

HUFFPOST HILL PREVIEW: RICK SANTORUM COMMENTS ON HIS LAST NAME'S REALLY GROSS MEANING - For stressful times, make it "Santorum" time: Roll Call's Steve Peoples asked Santorum about the campaign that transformed his surname into a sexual neologism describing a frothy bi-product of the act featured in Samwell's hit song, "What What (In The Butt)." The campaign to give "Santorum" new meaning was instigated by sex columnist Dan Savage when Santorum was still in the Senate and compared being gay to beastiality. "The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate," Santorum told Peoples. "It's unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak." Also, did you know that for ten dollars Samwell will place a call to whomever you'd like? Including Rick Santorum???

We also got our hands on a preview of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's remarks at his joint appearance with the Chamber of Commerce's Tom Donohue tomorrow: "Quite frankly, there is no more important time to be thinking long term, rebuilding a solid economic foundation for our country and investing in good jobs to maintain U.S. competitiveness with countries like China, India and Germany. And I think it's important to note that as we sit here today, political players in states around the country and right here in Washington are destroying good jobs, striking out at living standards and trying to gut safety from our workplaces. It's shameful and unacceptable and devastating to what we value about America - I would be remiss if I didn't raise it."

REPUBLICAN BUDGET TO INCLUDE 'ENTITLEMENT REFORM' - That means "cuts." The House speaker told reporters today that he and his budget team are open to cutting entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. "Republicans will not punt," Boehner said. "Everything is on the table." Despite Boehner's non-denial denial at the time, his number two Eric Cantor essentially confirmed the proposed reductions when he said that Republicans "will be presenting our own budget, a serious document that will reflect the type of path we feel we should be taking to address the fiscal situation, including addressing entitlement reforms." All this was later confirmed by a Budget Committee statement indicating that it "will include real entitlement reforms." The Republican Party: Fighting Death Panels By Making Sure Your Grandma Never Even Gets To That Point...Since 2009. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

Fun fact! "If all earnings were subject to the payroll tax, but the base was retained for benefit calculations, the Social Security Trust Funds would remain solvent for the next 75 years." [Congressional Research Service PDF]

Asked if he was fine with possible federal job cuts, Boehner replied, "so be it." "Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs," he said, citing a number ten-times greater than what has been reported. "If some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We're broke. It's time for us to get serious about how we're spending the nation's money." [Politico]

SLASH MOB: WARNER/CHAMBLISS/DURBIN GETTING SERIOUS - Mark Warner and Saxby Chambliss are merging their bipartisan group of 20-or-so senators with a gang that other senators are calling "the D-triple-C": Durbin, Conrad, Crapo and Coburn, the four senators who voted for the deficit panel's recommendations (and are still here). None of them think they'll have a plan ready by the time the CR expires, but Warner says folks'll be surprised at how much support they have. [HuffPost]

Democracy For America has been pressing Durbin not to agree to cuts to Social Security or other entitlements, which led to a meeting between group members and a Durbin staffer in Illinois. Before the meeting, the staffer pulled the organizer, Dr. Pamella Gronemeyer, aside and said, "Don't worry, it won't affect you," referring to possible cuts to Social Security, she told HuffPost Hill. "I was taken aback. I'm not talking about myself. I'm talking about my kid and other people's kids," she said. "I don't care if it affects me. That's not how I make my decisions. It's not about me. It's the right thing to do. Anybody whose parents lived through the depression knows what it can be like."

The Chamber's Tom Donohue will be on the Hill tomorrow morning to testify before the EPW Committee. Should be fun if Boxer gets into the whole corporate espionage thing going on.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Of the 403 amendments submitted to a stopgap budget measure to fund the government through the rest of the current fiscal year, only one mentions the word "unemployment." Legislation by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) would provide an additional 14 weeks of benefits to Americans who have been out of work for six months or longer. Lee and Scott asked Republican leaders to consider the measure as an amendment to their "continuing resolution," the budget measure that funds the government through Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Many of the 400 amendments will be pulled, but if the Lee-Scott item is deemed germane by the Rules Committee, it will see a vote on the House floor. [HuffPost]

MIDDLE EAST UPDATE: UNREST CONTINUES, LARA LOGAN ASSAULT DISCLOSED - Hardline members of Iran's government today called for protesters to be executed, one day after hundreds of thousands of Iranians showed up in central Tehran to demonstrate against the regime. Meanwhile, in Bahrain, 100,000 people appeared in Pearl Square in Manama, after minor reform concessions from the government were met with frustration. And, indicating once more that conflict zone-reporting is a very dangerous venture, CBS News disclosed the horrifying news that one of its correspondents, Lara Logan, had been physically and sexually assaulted by a crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square this past Friday. She is reportedly recovering in a U.S. hospital, thankfully. [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

BEER VENDOR DISAPPROVES OF NFL LOCKOUT - John Marler sells beer at pro hockey, baseball, and football games in Detroit. He does not want NFL team owners to cut his income by taking away next year's season because they want a bigger slice of the NFL's profit pie. "The owners are wealthy, the players, some of those guys, they come from nothing, they're supporting themselves, their communities. I think the money should come from the people who can afford to pay it out," said Marler, 25, in an interview with HuffPost. Marler is a member of UniteHere, which has partnered with the players' union to fight the lockout. "Basically, you're just taking money, you're taking revenue away from businesses that provide jobs. The people that lose - it's the businesses, it's the people that work in casinos, the people that work in stadiums, those are the people that lose out."

With hacks across Washington obsessing over the identity of @dcjourno and @fakeJimVandeHei, we're much more intrigued by @DanPolitico. Who is the genius behind this one?

SOUTH DAKOTA: COME FOR THE SOUL-CRUSHING BOREDOM, STAY FOR THE LEGALIZED MURDER OF ABORTION PROVIDERS - A law currently under consideration in the South Dakota legislature would include the murder of abortion providers under the list of "justifiable homicides," reports Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard. The proposal -- which ISN'T a fear-based gimmick by NARAL to raise funds -- was introduced by Republican Representative Phil Jensen, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights (no kidding), and was green-lit out of committee by a partisan vote of nine to three. The proposed legislation would only extend this immunity to the pregnant woman's "father, mother, son, daughter, or husband" and only if any of these people had reason to believe the fetus was being threatened. Writes Sheppard: "[T]he bill was 'hoghoused'--a term used in South Dakota for heavily amending legislation in committee--in a little-noticed hearing. A parade of right-wing groups--the Family Heritage Alliance, Concerned Women for America, the South Dakota branch of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, and a political action committee called Family Matters in South Dakota--all testified in favor of the amended version of the law." [MoJo]

A survey of Republicans suggests that Orrin Hatch should take a Jason Chaffetz challenge seriously. The Deseret News-KSL poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates has Hatch leading Chaffetz, but fails to garner 50 percent of respondents' support. Hatch draws 44 percent while Chaffetz is ten points behind at 34 percent. Among Republicans, Hatch's lead increases to 51-35 but that number switches to Chaffetz among self-identified "very conservative" Republicans. Interestingly enough, if you narrow that number down to Arent Fox employees, 100 percent of respondents support Chaffetz, Bob Bennett included. [Deseret News]

@DanPolitico The back of my head was just on MSNBC behind @KasieHunt ... #notreallyfamous

MAJORITY OF LIKELY GOP PRIMARY VOTERS DON'T THINK OBAMA IS U.S.-BORN - We're all familiar the surveys indicating roughly one-third of Republicans doubt President Obama was born in the United States. These surveys seem to pop up every couple of months or so. A lot of us are also familiar with how our brains scramble into action when reading about these people. You know, that defense mechanism where your brain reflexively tells yourself that those "birthers" can't possibly exert any real influence on our elections and governance? That, somehow -- however implausibly -- these wingnuts have gerrymandered themselves into insignificance: Maybe they're evenly distributed throughout the country, unable to have any real influence over the most municipal of elections? Er....nope. A Public Policy Polling survey finds that 51 percent of likely Republican voters don't believe the President was born in Hawaii. What's more, only 28 percent are "firmly sure" of the president's domestic place of birth while the remaining 21 percent of respondents "are unsure." [PPP]

Who is running for president in 2012? Find out here. Registered candidates include "CAESAR, PRESIDENT EMPEROR" and "SHARKEY, JONATHON THE IMPALER." And then, of course, there's Jimmy "Rent Is Too Damn High" McMillian.

GUY WHO HELPED BACK UP CLAIMS OF IRAQ WMDS ADMITS HE LIED - Remember the aughts? That decade of sadness dotted with trucker hats, Lord of the Rings movies, and bouts of hardcore, desensitizing hope-porn fueled by the prospect of a black guy becoming president? Well it just so happens that a catalyst for one of that period's most depressing and destructive ventures, the invasion of Iraq, was predicated on a lie! Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, known best by his codename "Curveball," finally admitted to The Guardian that he purposefully fabricated reports of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities to help provoke an invasion of the country he fled in 1995. "Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right," he told the publication. "They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy." We know it's shocking that people closely associated with the invasion of Iraq were influenced by personal agendas but...hey...there ya go. [The Guardian]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - A couple decided to get married in a zoo's aquarium. Too bad some stupid sea turtle totally crashed it.

THE DAILY: ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO IGNORE - New York Magazine got its hands on a leaked e-mail from the iPad-only publication's editor-in-chief, Jesse Angelo. In the all-staff correspondence, Angelo outlined his vision for the publication going forward. "Folks, Egypt is over - time for us to get focused on covering America," he wrote. "We need to get out there and start finding more compelling stories from around the country - not just scraping the web and the wires, but getting out on the ground and reporting. Find me an amazing human story at a trial the rest of the media is missing. Find me a school district where the battle over reform is being fought and tell the human tales. Find a town that is going to be unincorporated because it's broke. Find me a story of corruption and malfeasance in a state capitol that no one has found. Find me something new, different, exclusive and awesome. Find me the oldest dog in America, or the richest man in South Dakota." [New York Mag]

HuffPost Hill's The Daily Pitches: "FIND ME THE AFRICAN PYGMY MOUSE WITH THE LOWEST SELF-ESTEEM," "FIND ME THE WOODLAND THICKET RAT WITH THE HIGHEST BLOOD PRESSURE," "FIND ME A CHINESE MUD CARP WHOSE JOIE DE VIVRE IS UNMATCHED," "FIND ME ALL THE HIDDEN TOUCAN SAMS ON THE BACK OF THIS FROOT LOOPS BOX," "FIND ME WALDO."

JERMEY'S WEATHER REPORT -Let the sun shine in!: Aside from a cold night tonight, it will be absolutely beautiful. Expect the temperatures in the 40s Tomorrow. Seriously beautiful and enjoyable. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Swear. To. God. A Great Gatsby NES game was created in Japan but never released in the U.S. Play it here: [http://bit.ly/fPpdQy]

- An Iowa grandmother speaks movingly about gay rights as her state legislature debates whether to ban gay marriage. [http://bit.ly/hDzw5r]

- Something new. Something old. Something borrowed. And a three piece wing combo with an extra biscuit: A couple held their wedding at a KFC. [http://bit.ly/gFRMqz]

- Grizzled biker dude discussing his love of cats. [http://bit.ly/f4jqBR]

- A day late, but the "Who Is Arcade Fire" Tumblr compiles the most incredulous tweets and messages about Sunday's Grammy winners. [http://bit.ly/gzfRtc]

- The owners of this cat didn't HAVE TO film it standing on its hind legs and splice in some ... but they did. Thank you, owners of this cat. [http://bit.ly/harD23]

- The world's richest animals. #DailyPitches. [http://bit.ly/eoYPHY]

- Someone built a rack for his bike that only holds Dunkin Donuts boxes[http://bit.ly/hPBzFv]

TWITTERAMA

@DRUNKHULK: FIRST PLUTO GO AWAY! THEN NEW PLANET APPEAR! WHEN DID SOLAR SYSTEM BECOME LIKE DRUNK HULK DAD!?

@StephenAtHome: The king of Bahrain is giving every citizen 1,000 dinars to stem unrest. Let me just say, I have never felt more proud to be Bahraini.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:30 pm: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is mulling a primary challenge to Orrin Hatch, passes the hat at a campaign function. [The Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW]

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Rep. Glenn Thompson raises campaign cash by throwing a "Post-Super Bowl Party." A week-or-so late but good on ya, lad. [Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Townhouse, 53 D Street SE]

7:00pm: Lucinda Williams, the veteran alt-country rocker, takes her act to 9:30 Club. [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW]

TOMORROW

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Microsoft, getting some dividends from those lobbying dollars, hosts a reception heralding the creation of the Congressional Caucus for Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology ( or the "E-TECH Caucus"). [Long View Gallery, 1234 Ninth Street NW].

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e