Liberals convened in Minneapolis to gripe about the Obama administration, probably because they got tired of doing that in Northwest Washington. America desperately needs a reactionary white Republican to run for president, so a group of conservatives will convene tomorrow and beg Jim DeMint to do so. And AARP is apparently open to Social Security cuts, meaning the press release from Rock the Vote touting election day vacation packages can't be far off. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, June 17th, 2011:
AARP WILLING TO PUSH GRANDMA OFF A CLIFF - A bombshell story from the Wall Street Journal reported this morning that the seniors lobbying powerhouse is now open to cutting Social Security benefits. While this would put the group at odds with progressive organizations, it would align it more closely with the USA, where the practice of abandoning one's parents once they get old is a time-honored tradition. One progressive member of Congress phoned AARP furious and was told the story was bunk, but the group only put out an odd statement that called the story "misleading," not denying a word of it. Third Way called it a "watershed moment in American politics." Republicans in Congress said "hooray." Advocates of Social Security and other, smaller seniors groups are super pissed. Sorry grandchildren of the future: Future grandma's birthday presents are going to SUCK. [HuffPost]
Interestingly enough, abandoning one's parents is much easier than it used to be thanks largely to Social Security. Back in the old days you either had to take care of 'em yourself or cart 'em over to the poorhouse.
Kay Hagan's communication's director, Stephanie Allen, is moving to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. She'll serve as the chief speechwriter to Gary Gensler, chairman of the commission. No word yet on her replacement.
PFEIFFER ROASTED AT NETROOTS, NATION STUNNED THAT LIBERALS AREN'T HAPPY - White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer sat down for a Q&A today at Netroots Nation and ... yeeeeesh. Not since Steve Jobs' 2005 keynote announcing that Apple would be transitioning to Intel-based Macs have this many nerds so viciously skewered a convention speaker. Discussion moderator Kaili Joy Gray -- who's Kos handle is (honestly) "Angry Mouse" -- started the event on a friendly tone by thanking Pfeiffer "for joining us here with the professional left." When Pfeiffer alluded to the Lilly Ledbetter Act as one of the Obama administration's progressive accomplishments, Mouse replied that, "Frankly, we're all a little sick of hearing about that one." Progressive Change Campaign Committee Co-Founder Adam Green tweeted that, "This #NN11 does not represent the netroots and is blowing a valuable opportunity. #fail" [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
Andrew Breitbart randomly showed up. Apparently he didn't melt into the ether, Obi Wan-like, after Anthony Weiner apologized to him.
GERSON, KLEIN SEE DOOM AHEAD IN DEFICIT DEBATE - The deal that Republicans are trying to strike in return for not sending the global economy into a tailspin involves a ton of immediate spending cuts and some built-in future ones. Telling future members of Congress what they can and can't do is an exercise in futility (political realities change), but the immediate cuts are looking to be deep and painful. Michael Gerson, via Ezra Klein, on what Republicans think they can get: "A package of immediate and specific budget cuts; budget caps reaching out five years to reassure conservatives that tough budget decisions will be made in the future; Medicare reforms short of the House approach; no tax increases -- a Republican red line -- but perhaps additional revenue from the elimination of tax expenditures. [WaPo]
Jason Cherkis has been reporting for weeks that the only thing that made Jon Huntsman's heart go a-flutter more than working for President Obama was the individual mandate. Now, a blogger has unearthed an interview from a 2007 documentary on health care reform in Utah in which Huntsman makes his thoughts on the matter explicitly clear. "I mentioned yesterday to somebody asking a question that I wouldn't shy away from mandates," Huntsman said. "I think if you're going to get it done and get it done right, [a] mandate has to be part of it in some way, shape, or form whether it's the college age population or whether it's something beyond, it's got to be a serious attempt, and I'm not sure you get to the point of serious attempt without some sort of mandate associated with what you're trying to do." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Kelly Wiedemer of Westminster, Col. lost her job as a financial analyst in July 2008. In August of 2009, she got in a fender-smushing car accident. "It was my fault," she said. "And I didn't have car insurance and got a no-insurance ticket -- $600 in fines." With the help of her unemployment benefits, she started paying down the fines. But then in October, she said, she wound up having a full hysterectomy. She missed a payment while recovering from the surgery. And then her unemployment benefits ran out in April 2010. By July, a judge had issued a bench warrant for her arrest because of nonpayment. She avoided getting locked up until this year. On Monday, June 6, she said she was driving to a job interview and a cop noticed her expired plates and pulled her over. If it hadn't been for the bench warrant, she would have received a summons for driving with a suspended license and without insurance or legit tags. Instead, she spent the rest of the week in jail. "I thought debtors prison was supposed to be unconstitutional," she said.
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MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS PROPOSE GOP-FRIENDLY REDISTRICTING MAP - Alex Isenstadt: "With the party reeling from recent developments in Illinois and California -- where the GOP is poised to lose as many as 10 seats between the two states -- Michigan Republicans on Friday introduced a draft plan that would net the party a seat and bolster a handful of GOP incumbents. With full Republican control of the state's redistricting levers, Democrats acknowledge there is little they can do to dramatically alter the plan.
The biggest loser: Rep. Gary Peters, a sophomore Democrat who is thrown into the same southeastern Michigan district with fellow Democratic Rep. Sander Levin." [Politico]
A group of disillusioned conservatives will hold a "Draft Jim DeMint" rally this Saturday. The group, Conservatives4DeMint, will hold the event in the senator's hometown of Greenville. Palmetto state Rep. Jeff Duncan will headline and and Rep. Trey Gowdy will send a letter of support. Duncan's spokesman Allen Klump told CNN that his boss' appearance "should be viewed as a sign for his appreciation to Sen. DeMint and recognition of DeMint as a leader willing to fight for conservative principles [and] not a condemnation of the current GOP field." [CNN]
Because the U.S. government's jurisdiction only extends to this earthly realm, a federal judge today approved prosecutors' request that charges against Osama bin Laden be dropped.
ANONYMOUS DONORS ON THE RISE - Charles Babcock: "Last May, New York lawyer John Cahill filed an application with the Internal Revenue Service for a tax exemption for Revere America, a group pushing for the repeal of President Obama's health care law. Asked on the form whether the organization intended to spend money to influence the election of any candidates, he checked the 'No' box. Four months later, Revere America, chaired at the time by former Republican New York Governor George Pataki, started spending $2.6 million, much of it on television commercials urging voters to defeat Democrats or elect Republicans. Revere America is one of at least four nonprofits that have reported campaign spending to the Federal Election Commission after declaring to the IRS they weren't planning political activities, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News under a Freedom of Information Act request." [Bloomberg]
REPUBLICAN LEADING OBAMA IN GENERIC POLL - Maybe it's because the anguished cries of Netroots Nation attendees are resonating in the eardrums of millions of Americans, or maybe it's because of Netroots Nation, but a new Gallup survey bodes ill for President Obama. Forty-four percent of respondents say they will likely vote for "the Republican Party's candidate" while 39 percent would vote for the president. Independents prefer the unnamed Republican candidate 42 percent to 32 percent. [Gallup]
Sarah Palin is pushing back on reports that she will decide on a presidential announcement next week. A blog post on the American Spectator first made a claim about that the former person-who-thought-it-might-be-fun-to-be-govenror-of-Alaska-for-a-bit's schedule. "Really?" Palin said on Twitter in response to the report, "Hmm, guess they forgot to inform me what I'm 'expected to do' next wk." Damn lamestream conservative media. [The Hill]
Jon Huntsman released another one of those weird motorcyclist videos today. As in the previous video, footage of a motocross biker flashes on the screen while fiddle music plays in the background and a random Huntsman factoid is presented. "In four days," this one reads, "Has seven children, one from India, one from China." OK! But what is it about the 2012 Republican candidates always playing up their fertility? If potent loins are the only requisite for running the country, we want you to hear our Irish great-great-great-grandfather's thoughts on Social Security. [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]
ANTHONY WEINER COULD COLLECT OVER $1 MILLION IN PENSION - A report from the National Taxpayers Union indicates that Ron Jeremy would be jealous of Anthony Weiner for the amount of money the New York politician is going to pull in for showing America his penis. John Stanton: "The New York Democrat's pension and a savings plan lawmakers have access to similar to a 401(k) could be worth $1.12 million to $1.28 million. At 46, Weiner will not be eligible for his pension for another decade, at which point he could begin drawing a reduced rate of $32,357 a year, according to the NTU. If he waits until age 62 to begin drawing his pension, he will receive his full benefits, or $46,224, according to the NTU's calculations. Additionally, if Weiner aggressively invested in the Thrift Savings Plan, his balance would be roughly $216,000, the organization said." [Roll Call]
PPP polled voters about who they see as the most loathsome politician to have been embroiled in sex scandal. John Edwards takes the gold with 38 percent of respondents naming him the most despicable lawmaker to have had his indiscretions aired in public. Bill Clinton comes in second with 21 percent. Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Weiner, John Ensign, Mark Sanford and Eliot Spitzre all get double digits. [PPP]
Washington City Paper seeks dismissal of Dan Synder's unbearably ridiculous lawsuit.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cat barks like a dog. We should respect this cat's decision to self-identify as a dog. The animal binary is an illusion.
The Times doesn't like the movie about itself: "Like a shopper at the supermarket without a shopping list, 'Page One' careers around the aisles picking up this item and that one, ultimately coming home with three jars of peanut butter and no 2-percent milk." [NYT]
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: The entire East Coast has seen a wonderful bit of storms popping up, and it should continue. The heavy stuff -- that is to say the guaranteed storms -- swept through overnight. What's left are patches and pop-up storms that will come through this weekend. Saturday: A warm front moves in from the west, pushing some storms through and providing the hottest day of the weekend. But by Sunday the Jet Stream should dip down to our south, providing a bit of cooler weather. Mixed with a potential front coming through, it means more afternoon thunderstorms. Recap: all three days could give us afternoon rain. Thanks, JB!
- Orangutan saves a baby bird. THE CIRRRCLLLEEEE OF LIFFEEEEEEE. [http://bit.ly/im5BNi]
- Guy stranded at the airport gets into all kind of trouble. It's like that Tom Hanks movie, but entertaining. [http://bit.ly/ipsSRf]
- Your lifelong dream to eat a popsicle shaped like David Hasselhoff might at long last be realized. [http://bit.ly/jfRohk]
- The trailer to the film adaptation of "Moneyball" is out. Behold: [http://bit.ly/imATCW]
- You look like you need crazy ring tricks. Do you need crazy ring tricks? You need crazy ring tricks. [http://bit.ly/jqZIjM]
- Rob Zombie cut an ad for Woolite. Duh, right? [http://bit.ly/mvXARH]
- http://getdrunknotfat.com/ is your go-to resource for how to get hammered without putting on the pounds. Takeaway: drink Cuervo. [http://getdrunknotfat.com/]
- Comedian Ken Jeong cut a video on how to perform CPR. Awesome. [http://bit.ly/jbf9sm]
@elise_foley: This #nn11 Q&A with Pfeiffer, summarized: Why does Obama suck so much? Pfeiffer: Hey now.
@TerkelRage: Back at Netroots. God this is such a bleak scene. It's like angry person Space Camp. #NN11
@LEBassett: Just received an anonymous letter in the mail that says: "Everything is going to be ok." ...which I thought, until I got that weird letter.
Tonight, 9:00 pm: Australian indie-pop mainstays Architecture in Helsinki perform at Black Cat. It's sold out but well worth the Craigslist/scalping attempt [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].
Tonight, 10:00 pm: TWEE ALERT!!! Put on your favorite yellow cardigan and go see Noah and the Whale at 9:30 Club. Or don't [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].
Monday, 9:00 am: Richard Burr takes his donors on a golf outing at the Robert Trent Jones golf club. A cursory Google search reveals that Robert Rent Jones was a famed architect of golf courses. The more you know [Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, 20 Turtle Point Drive, Gainsville, VA].
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