Alan Simpson more or less called America a cow with 310 million tits that hates its offspring (who, apparently, suffer from an addiction to circa-1993 MTV). Joe Biden stymied his wife's efforts to Buy American by being Joe Biden. The only Republicans now bugging John Ensign about his future plans are his C Street housemates who want to keep his Growing Pains DVDs. And the stars are clearly aligning because Charlie Sheen has been fired from Two and a Half Men, Dianne Feinstein is up for reelection in 2012 and WINNING PAC hasn't been registered yet. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, March 7th, 2011:
@jaketapper: Breaking - ABC News has learned President Obama will nominate Commerce Secy Locke as US Ambassador to China > http://abcn.ws/fzXlFY
ALAN SIMPSON'S GLORIOUSLY INCOHERENT FOX NEWS RANT - Someone please placate this man so he can get back to the "60 Minutes" studios and film his end-of-show monologue. "The co-chairman of President Obama's deficit commission tried to scold the elderly on Monday for complaining about their Social Security funds being targeted, but instead he found himself making a reference to 'Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg.' 'This is a fakery,' Simpson said on Fox News. 'If they care at all about their children or grandchildren, and sometimes I doubt that - I think, you know, grandchildren now don't write a thank-you for the Christmas presents, they're walking on their pants with the cap on backwards listening to the enema man and Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg, and they don't like them!'" [Politico]
A BOWL OF WORD SOUP FROM PARANOID SELF LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST - Our favorite Paranoid Self Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who uses the Capitol Hill Club as his private crying zone, clearly mixed a little too much of his medicine into his coffee this morning. Herewith, we reheat the soup and serve it to you: "Gitmo. Still open for business. Afghanistan. Still a war even if CNN stopped running casualty counts on Jan 20, 2009. No end in sight. Iraq. Obama deserves credit for continuing Bush policies in place... Taxes. Bipartisan accomplishment when Bush signed them, bipartisan accomplishment for Obama too (just ask them). Deficit/Debt. 5 trillion in 3 years with no plan but more red ink. Health care. Everyone either hates it or does not understand it (people are stupid). Jobs. As long as you pay AFSCME dues youre all set. Gas prices. Skyrocketing and he has not plan for domestic energy production. Re-starting military tribunals...you know, the ones Gonzales came up with." Thanks, PSLGOPL!
The Senate confirmed three district court judges tonight: Anthony Battaglia to the District of Southern California; and Sue Myerscough and James Shadid in the Central District of Illinois.
@TJA3 Tom Adams It looks like AGs took dictation for servicer wish list RT @ForeclosureEvil: The Mortgage Mess Settlement Proposal: Off to an Awful Start
JOHN ENSIGN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT - Nevada's junior senator today confirmed that he will not seek reelection in 2012. Ensign's poll numbers have been lackluster at best and many Republicans viewed his retirement as the key to retaining the seat. "I do not want to put my family, those that I care about, or this state through what would be a very ugly campaign that would ultimately cause a great deal more pain than has already been felt as a result of my actions," Ensign said in his announcement. "For these reasons, I will not seek reelection in 2012." Ensign is still under investigation by the Ethics Committee for his alleged attempt to cover up an affair with a staffer's wife by helping him find a job. [HuffPost]
With Ensign out, the likely Republican nominee is Rep. Dean Heller, who has been leading Ensign by as much as 15 points in some primary surveys. Should Heller run for Ensign's seat, his congressional seat would open up for a bid from none other than Sharron Angle. That's right, Sharron Angle. [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]
UTAH CONSERVATIVES MIGHT HURT JON HUNTSMAN'S 2012 CHANCES - Tonight in Roll Call from David Drucker: "Interviews with more than a half-dozen Utah conservatives, including one Republican consultant, two GOP state legislators, and three tea party activists, reveal Huntsman as an intelligent, gifted politician with extraordinary charisma who fell out of favor with his party's base for a perception that he drifted to the left on key fiscal and social issues. That dissatisfaction surfaced long before President Barack Obama tapped him as Ambassador to China."
BACHUS CHIT CHATS WITH INTERNATIONAL BANKERS - Financial Services Committee Chairman (!) Spencer Bachus addressed the Institute of International Bankers, offering tips on how they might best accomplish their agenda on the Hill, Shahien Nasiripour reports. Undoing swipe fee reform won't get past Dick Durbin in the Senate, he advised, but they might succeed in stripping Elizabeth Warren's power to run the consumer protection bureau and replace her with a commission -- ideal for getting nothing done. "I think the Senate and House could come to an agreement to form a commission" to run the CFPB, Bachus said.
WE HIRED MORE REPORTERS - HuffPost announced this morning the addition of a bunch more reporters: New York Daily News' Mike McAuliff will be covering the Hill, The Daily Caller's Jon Ward will be on the 2012 GOP primary and Yahoo's Michael Calderone on media. The New York Time's Trymaine Lee, who won a Pulitzer as part of a Katrina team, will be competing with Delaney for Daily Downer space.
Because One Isn't Enough, WaPo Hiring Second Greg Sargent - An internal job posting sent to staffers at the Washington Post today: "The Editorial Department is looking for someone to fill a new position: Opinion congressional blogger. We're looking for someone who, like The Plum Line's Greg Sargent and Right Turn's Jennifer Rubin, will do a lot of original reporting, from an undisguised point of view. That point of view could be right, left, or something entirely different (through the prism of gender? race? money politics?); we are open to suggestion...If you are interested, please contact Susan Avanzado (email@example.com) by March 31, 2011."
Tonight in The Hill: "Christina Wilkie on what Catholic members of Congress will be giving up for Lent."
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A gallon of gas now costs $3.50, which sucks for people who need to drive places. A HuffPost reader writes that she and her husband live in an undisclosed location 25 miles from their doctors and 15 miles from the grocery store. "When we moved up here in 1987, the price of gas was .95." They're getting by on disability income, she said, and higher gas prices make life harder. "Trips away from home must include everything. Doctors, pick up meds, grocery, post office, etc. If [we're] unable to get what we went out for, tough. Put it on the list to find next week. And all the above cuts were done before the price of gas started rocketing out of this world. Now gas??? It's a shit or go blind situation."
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OBAMA APPROVES GITMO MILITARY TRIALS - After a two-year hiatus, President Obama today ordered that military trials of detainees at Guantanamo Bay be resumed. The promise to close the military base on the southeastern tip of Cuba was a cornerstone of then-candidate Obama's campaign. In a totally non-ironic statement about a group of people held indefinitely without a civilian trial, the president said that, "I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system - including Article III courts - to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened." OK, look at the horizon. You see that big blue thing? It's not the sky. It's a vein in Glenn Greenwald's forehead. [HuffPost/AP]
Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy this morning gaveled into session a "full" field committee hearing on "Strategies to Protect and Promote Vermont Brands". The panel was held at St. Michael's College's Ross Gymnasium in Colchester. We can think of three possible reasons for this: 1. New Hampshire's bed and breakfast operators are engaged in a widespread campaign of corporate espionage to undercut their Green Mountain Sate competitors. 2. A super-villain has obtained a stockpile of plutonium and has buried in Mt. Snow ski resort a dozen atomic bombs that are armed and will be detonated if Bernie Sanders doesn't hand over the NORAD deactivation key codes. 3. Leahy is blatantly exploiting is role as chairman for political purposes.
WISCONSIN DEMS PROPOSE BORDER MEETING WITH SCOTT WALKER, WALKER SAYS NO - Mark Miller, the leader of the state's Senate Democrats, has floated the idea of a meeting with Governor Scott Walker at the Wisconsin-Illinois border, a would-be attempt to solve the ongoing budget dispute stemming from Walker's anti-collective bargaining measure. Walker turned down the proposal, telling a local news station, "[W]e have reached out, and as time goes out, as people start to look at the documents in the coming weeks, the evidence is going to be overwhelming that we have been reaching out for weeks." We're pretty sure supporting a measure that empowers the Senate sergeant-at-arms to apprehend Miller and his colleagues by force doesn't qualify as "reaching out." Whatever. We like the idea of a Wild West-style showdown in the Heartland. However, something would have to be done to Wisconsin-up the tense encounter. Maybe turn it into a giant tailgate and grill some brats? Have the meeting be arbitrated by Bucky Badger? Eh? [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
Oops, a Wisconsin Policy Research Institute survey has Walker with a 43 percent approval rating.
ThinkProgress has published secretly-recorded video of Scott Brown effusively praising David Koch at a Boston-area event last week. "Your support during the election, it meant a ton. It made a difference and I can certainly use it again." That's a 5.4 on the Coakley scale of Bay State Miscalculation. Poor move, Senator. [ThinkProgress]
Do people even try to interview David Koch anymore? Or do we just pretend to be him in phone calls and walk up to him with a camera tucked away in our pockets?
MIKE LEE CLEARLY DOESN'T LIKE ORRIN HATCH - Last month the freshman senator declined to endorse Orrin Hatch, seen by many as a snub of his Utah counterpart. At the time, Lee played it off as a noble act of deference to the democratic process. "It's not my intention to support any candidate until the Democratic process has had a chance to play itself out in Utah," he said during an appearance on MSNBC. Turns out that was a piping hot load of Utah desert cake. Lee has endorsed Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz over Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams in that state's Senate Republican primary. "I am proud to enthusiastically endorse Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate," Lee said in a statement circulated by Cruz's campaign. This can only end with a drenched Hatch standing outside of Lee's apartment building in the rain and yelling until a conflicted-looking Lee is pulled away from the window by Jason Chaffetz. Or it ends with Hatch losing reelection. Either one. [National Journal]
Awesome: The Daily Show's Larry Wilmore will headline the Congressional Correspondents Dinner on March 30th.
Former Congresswoman Heather Wilson has entered the race for the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Bingaman. Joined by a phalanx of prominent state Republicans at an event this afternoon, Wilson tried to cast herself as the candidate to beat for the primary. "The first thing we have to do is get our financial house in order," she said. "Washington just does not get it. ... Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot borrow our way to prosperity." [NMPolitics.net]
OUTGOING CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS RECEIVED FAT BONUSES - "Departing members of the House of Representatives awarded millions of dollars in extra pay to aides as they closed down their offices, according to lawmakers' spending records. The 96 lawmakers paid their employees $6.7 million, or 31%, more in the fourth quarter of 2010 than they did, on average, in the first three quarters of the year. That's about twice as much as the 16% increase awarded by lawmakers who returned to the 112th Congress, according to LegiStorm, an organization that tracks congressional salaries. The disparity suggests retiring or defeated members used remaining funds in their official expense budgets to boost salaries for staffers before they left Washington [sic], cash that might otherwise have been returned to the U.S. Treasury." [WSJ]
Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman had VP pool duty in Helsinki today: "At 6:35 pm, motorcade rolled from the Hilton to the Esplanade in the center of Helsinki, where VPOTUS, Dr. Jill Biden and Finnegan made a beeline for Marimekko, the famous Finnish design store. Finnegan and Dr. Jill were drawn to black Converse basketball shoes covered in tear-dropped shaped, interlocking white loops. VPOTUS wandered aimlessly like most men do in such shopping occasions, but he did express some skepticism about said shoes. 'These are Cons,' he told your pooler with a shrug. He used to play basketball in the same canvas shoe, not with such a design. 'I'm not sure if she wants to go on the court in that but...'"
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Chances are, you can't beat Watson the Computer at Jeopardy! We know we can't. Why not try your luck at playing rock, papers, scissors against this program, instead? [http://nyti.ms/dZzeU2]
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Clouds and winds are the only thing keeping it from being beautiful through Tuesday. Tonight, it's the lingering effects of the winds coming from the northwest. Dry air. Although Tomorrow, It's going to be clouds causing the problem. Otherwise, with low-50s temperatures, it'll be very nice. Thanks, JB!
- "Goodnight Dune" re-imagines the classic children's book set on the planet featured in the Frank Herbert novel (and David Lynch film). [http://www.goodnightdune.com/]
- A short film featuring super slow-mo video of exiting New York City Subway stations. [http://bit.ly/fQ9wac]
- Cindi Lauper found herself stuck at an airport so she decided sing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" over the PA system. Surely that must violate, like, 20 DHS protocols. [http://bit.ly/gQbdwV]
- The dogbrella -- an umbrella attached to your dog's leash -- was ostensibly designed to keep your K9 dry. We think it exists to make people who dress their dogs up in coats look less ridiculous. [http://bit.ly/glIL25]
- Someone named their racehorse ARGHHHHHHH. This makes for entertaining play-by-play from the announcer. [http://bit.ly/i6L6MI]
- Scientists took samples from the seats on San Francisco's BART trains and analyzed the material for bacteria and what not. The results were...disgusting. [http://nyti.ms/fsIriJ]
- The iPad 2 commercial spoof you haven't been waiting for, probably don't need, but will be presented with here, nevertheless. [http://bit.ly/hNUgky]
- The best photobombs by televisions. [http://bzfd.it/ebzpsv]
- Conan O'Brian's farewell speech to NBC (remember that?) set to "kinetic typography." We don't know what that means, either, but it looks cool. [http://bit.ly/eT637j]
@brianbeutler: Obamacare's kinda like multiplying Romneycare by 20. As a proponent of arbitrarily doubling Guantanamo, Romney should like it.
@KagroX: Minus one Cialis bathtub a C Street house. Sad.
@daveweigel: BREAKING: David Vitter to make statement after Ensign. Statement will consist entirely of laughing and pointing.
8:00 am - 2:00 pm: John Dingell, who had one of the closer reelections of his career last November, raises dough by inviting his donors to a...we kid you not...pheasant hunt. If you're willing to pay thousands of dollars to stand near an 84-year-old man while he fires a shotgun, you're a braver person than us [Whistling Hill, Boonsboro, MD].
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Jo Bonner laisse les bon temps rouler. The Alabama rep is the guest of honor at a "Mardi Gras Reception" at the Capitol Hill Club. Nothing says Fat Tuesday quite like a bunch of Republicans and their corporate benefactors in a room lined with oil paintings of ducks [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].
7:00 pm: Head over to Ruth's Chris Steak House for Kevin McCarthy's fundraiser. The House majority whip apparently is too good for the Bourbon Street steak Applebee's. [Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, 724 9th Street NW].
7:00 pm: Tom Reed's fundraiser is held at the Wizards/Bucks game. Tom's a freshman, so we'll forgive him for thinking people want to see a Wizards/Bucks game [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].
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