Thad McCotter dropped out of the GOP presidential primary, vaulting that guy in the Uncle Sam hat who screams on the side of the highway into 14th place. Darrell Issa views clean energy subsidies the same way Chris Cooper's character from American Beauty viewed gay dudes. And Republicans are planning to offer a revised federal spending bill with .0001 percent less spending but 3000 percent more Nancy Pelosi antagonizing. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, September 22nd, 2011:
GOP DEBATE TONIGHT IN ORLANDO - In the wake of last night's killing of Troy Davis, expect the candidates to be asked about capital punishment (and because the seemingly incongruous pro-death/anti-cancer platform is a can't-lose strategy for Republicans these days). Pundits will fuss over that, because everyone swore not to forget about Troy Davis. Then Michele Bachmann will call Medicaid a heroin delivery service for unemployed homosexuals, at which point pundits will promptly forget about Troy Davis. Observers keep saying that Rick Perry hasn't seemed assertively crazy enough in the last two debates, so there's a semi-decent chance he'll wear his old Air Force flight suit to the debate and suggest we send predator drones to Newfoundland. Jon Huntsman has been climbing in the polls in New Hampshire, so he'll likely play up his GOP centrist bona fides and -- because we're talking about New Hampshire here -- probably throw something in about seat belts (maybe with an improperly executed reference to The Cars -- "Government regulation is 'Just What I Did Not Need!'"). Politics is so stupid. HuffPost will be live-blogging the whole thing, and we'll be tweeting it.
Troy Davis, if you'll recall, was perfectly healthy yesterday and quite possibly innocent, and today is dead from an injection.
HOUSE HAGGLING OVER ALTERED CR - Uber-conservative House members thew the plate back at John Boehner yesterday because too many fiscal foods were touching in the continuing resolution to fund the government past September 30th. The revised CR being discussed today contains an addition $100 million offset for FEMA funding that would come out of the Department of Energy loan program that is single-handedly undermining capitalism and the American way of life. One hundred million dollars is practically nothing when you're talking about government spending, but this is a great way to tell liberals to go screw themselves. There is talk of a vote early this evening (re: after close of business) but that is far from certain. Democratic leaders in both parties are still refusing to accept a bill that doesn't include the extra FEMA funds without offsets.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER, THURSDAY EDITION: New jobless claims bad again. Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the number is still higher than what economist-shamans want to see. They interpret the 423,000 claims as an omen of recession, even though that's 9,000 fewer than the previous week. It's a lot higher than 400,000, though, which was supposed to be some kind of high-water mark.
UPDSIDE DOWNER - Francis Timothy Coleman, stuffed in jail after threatening to rob the bank that stole his last $3 last year, tells DDD he has scored a job as a forklift operator. His long, nerve-wracking jobless spell is now over. "We all know times are tough, but things are certainly getting a little better, and that's what you work toward," Coleman said. [HuffPost]
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SECOND ROUND OF GREEN ENERGY HEARINGS: REPUBLICANS DON'T LIKE IT - An investment in an emerging sector failed, so now Republicans are going apeshit, because if the free market has taught them anything, it's that investments never fail (Dow 36,000, y'know?). "A green jobs fueled recovery is a theory, and is yet unproven," House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa said during his panel's investigation into the Solyndra bankruptcy and the Obama administration's green investment programs. Never mind that well over 90 percent of the loans handed out by DOE's loan office have been to companies that are still operating. IT IS UNPROVEN. "There is a lot more green, in the way of cash, and a lot less energy and jobs than anticipated." Both Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (a dedicated HuffPost Hill reader!) and BLS Commissioner Keith Hall (not sure if he reads!) testified. [NYT]
EXCEPT REPUBLICANS DO LIKE IT - Mike McAuliff reports that a number of Republicans who have criticized the administration's distribution of clean energy loans have themselves sought the loans for companies in their districts. There's a real serious I-eat-because-I'm-sad-and-I'm-sad-because-eat shame spiral at work here. "At least ten Republicans on the panel have signed letters seeking to land green energy jobs in their districts. In dozens of letters obtained by The Huffington Post, the lawmakers, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), argue convincingly about Department of Energy funding going to their favored projects, often touting the job-creating potential of numerous endeavors. [Dan] Burton, the second-ranking Republican on the committee, slammed the Obama effort on Fox News, saying the Solyndra mess looks just like part of a Democratic pattern, and arguing that 'the green thing is a scam in the first place.' But he signed seven letters seeking green projects -- often with the rest of the Indiana delegation -- including for Abound Solar, which, like Solyndra, is aiming to manufacture solar panels." Do you think Dan Burton's wife walks in on him from time to time and finds him quickly trying to hide a folder filled with some solar company's Q2 earnings report ("Doesn't anyone ever knock anymore?!"[HuffPost]
ANTONIN SCALIA AND SOME OTHER FOLKS AD A GUY KILLED LAST NIGHT - From HuffPost's new Supreme Court reporter Mike Sacks: "The Court's order last night denying Troy Anthony Davis's stay of execution states, in its entirety, 'The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied.' This statement came four hours after the Court first received Davis's appeal, and three hours after he had been scheduled to die. The delay led some observers to wonder whether the justices were waiting for a colleague to finish a fiery dissent. But no dissent came. Long gone are the days when Justices Thurgood Marshall and William J. Brennan would protest every single stay denial, citing their belief that the death penalty was in all instances cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. And after a federal court last year rejected Davis's claims of "actual innocence" and the Supreme Court denied review of that decision, there was "very little meaningful review available," said Jordan Steiker, a law professor and director of the Capital Punishment Center at the University of Texas School of Law. With no one on the bench today willing to take a categorical stand against capital punishment, and with no procedural room left for the liberal justices to maneuver, the only mystery remaining from last night is why Davis, the MacPhail family, and their supporters had to wait so long for that one foreordained sentence."
MIKE LEE HAS VESTED INTEREST IN GOOGLE BASHING - During yesterday's antitrust subcommittee grilling of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Republican Mike Lee sounded less like the aggressive free-marketer he campaigned as in 2010 and more like a Sarah Lawrence freshman who just got out of his first econ class. "Growing complaints that Google is using its search dominance to favor its own offerings at the expense of competition deserve serious attention, especially if consumers are misled by Google's self-rankings and preferential display," he said. "Such bias would deny user traffic and revenue to competing sites..." As John Stanton notes, "Utah is home to a number of large online retailers, including 1800contacts.com, which Lee represented while he was an attorney in private practice and which Lee's chief of staff, Spencer Stokes, represented while he was a lobbyist in Utah." He continues: "Those companies, which have had unrelated disputes with Google in the past, could be seriously hurt if Google is operating its search engine in such a way as to crowd out competitors to its retail businesses." [Roll Call]
Lee spokesman Brian Phillips tells HuffPost HIll: "Sen. Lee is the ranking Member of the committee and was asking the tough questions because he takes his job seriously. But he's not in favor of Congress telling businesses how to run their operations."
THAD MCCOTTER DROPS OUT OF PRESIDENTIAL RACE, ALSO, THAD MCCOTTER WAS IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE - A Roemer coup! Rep. Thad McCotter today ended his longshot bid for the Republican presidential nomination and endorsed Mitt Romney, citing the erstwhile Massachusetts governor's electability. McCotter also said he would run for reelection to the Michigan House seat that he has held since 2003. McCotter, in case it wasn't already obvious, didn't make much of a splash. However we will always be remember McCotter for tweeting about the cheese doodles he ate while the other candidates argued in the debate he wasn't invited to. And then there was that time (yesterday) he was "bummed" that R.E.M. broke up. Rock on, Thad. [Detroit News]
@aterkel: This was strange -- Politico gave me a byline on something I didn't write. twitpic.com/6otz82
DARRELL ISSA ENDORSES ROMNEY - The chair of the House Oversight Committee today endorsed Mitt Romney for president, citing the former Massachusetts governor's experience in the private sector. "The country would be well served to have someone who knows how the economy works and has worked in the private sector," Issa said in a statement. "President Obama never worked in the real economy -- we can't afford to have another president who has spent his career outside the real economy." It's almost as if the staffer tasked with drafting that statement simply Googled "Bush 1999 endorsement" and let ctrl-v work its magic. The CEO president! [CNN]
HP CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF FAILED STATEWIDE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES - So it's naming Meg Whitman its new CEO.
RICK PERRY FLORIDA CO-CHAIR: GAYS CAUSE TORNADOES - A co-chair for Rick Perry's effort to win the "Presidency 5" straw poll in Florida next month has claimed there's a correlation between violent weather and homosexuality, maybe because she saw X-Men too many times and thought Storm was some kind of really convincing transvestite. "God is shaking. If anybody looks at the news and has just seen what's been happening recently with the floods, the fires, the tornadoes, God is shaking," Pam Olsen, founder of the Tallahassee House of Prayer and a prominent anti-abortion crusader said. "But the reality is God is judging us, and I think it's going to get worse." If you ask us, this is just another reason why gays should be allowed to serve in the military: They can summon Mother Nature's fury to visit destruction upon our enemies. It's the ultimate weapon. [MoJo]
@pollingnumbers: New Hampshire, Suffolk, 9/18 - 9/20: Romney 41, Paul 14, Huntsman 10, Perry 8
ELIZABETH WARREN WAY UP IN PRIMARY POLL - A new Public Policy Polling survey out today pretty much guarantees that Elizabeth Warren will, barring some sort of uncharacteristic meltdown, be the Democratic Senate nominee in Massachusetts. Warren holds a commanding 46-point lead, earning the support of 55 percent of people Bay State primary voters surveyed. Alan Khazei comes in second with nine percent and Tom Conroy earns seven percent at third. Marisa DeFranco and Bob Massie each earn two percent. And rounding out the bottom with one percent are Herbrobinson
Jon Huntsman and Setti Warren. We think Warren, given her name recognition and folksy geniality, might enjoy a Teflon-y immunity for the rest of the primary. Even if she said that the country would be better off it if elected Strom Thurmond in 1948 or whatever, would you really take it seriously? [PPP]
HuffPost Hiccup: For about the 8,000th time in the last week alone, we mixed up Bill and Ben Nelson yesterday. We meant to say that Ben Nelson was advocating cuts to OMB but, despite STARING AT A PICTURE OF BEN NELSON, we wrote "Bill" Nelson. Our Bill/Ben Nelson typo mixup rate currently stands at about 72 percent. For our sake, one of these guys needs to get another job (you listening, Nebraska?), as awesome as the Nelsons may be.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dogs in slow motion.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Still cloudy. You can expect the same Tomorrow. Thanks JB!
- Back to the Future's audio track completely reedited with a capella. [ youtu.be/OgX0fmhVU4Q]
- 1952 U.S. propaganda film about Communism. All it's missing is some wide-eyed boy named "Billy." [http://huff.to/mP1WDG]
- First-person video of a guy climbing a skyscraper in Moscow without any sort of harness. ::Gulp::[http://huff.to/rtirLh]
- Playboy bunnies surprise WGN weatherman during his broadcast. Folksy Midwestern awkwardness ensues. Not that interesting, frankly, but interesting how the one bunny's green swimsuit interferes with the green screen. [http://bit.ly/mRxIxm]
- A hyper realistic torso suit that simulates what it's like to be pregnant. It won't, however, make you excessively hormonal. [http://huff.to/rcWAcZ]
- Sesame Street had a spoof Glee sketch. Seriously, is there anything better than Sesame Street? [http://huff.to/r1kVuS]
- Wilco performed an hour-long show for the "Letterman Show" audience. [http://huff.to/rgNjV6]
- Watermelon skin carving is the most beautiful, most painstaking way to play with your food.[http://huff.to/pAZzri]
@radleybalko: Just successfully allowed the government to see, feel my penis. Will now be permitted to fly on an airplane.
@TheDailyShow: "Tuesday night is spaghetti night at the Romney house. In Tuscany." #MiddleClassMitt
@FakeAPStyleBook: Avoid using the phrase "hot mess" in fashion articles unless the garments are made of chili cheese dogs.
6:30 pm: Agriculture madness! Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts is the beneficiary of a dinner fundraising function featuring an appearance from his House Agriculture counterpart, Frank Lucas. [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW]
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Kevin Yoder is the guest of honor at a HUGE gathering of (mostly freshman and sophomore) GOP Housemembers. Also, Yoder's PAC is called "YOPAC" which makes us laugh. [American Trucking Association, 430 First Street SE]
6:30 pm: Sometimes, the acronym just isn't worth it, especially when it means that to spell "PETE," you need to call your PAC the People for Enterprise, Trade and Economic Growth."
Anyway, go say hi to Pete Sessions. [Fiola Ristoranta, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW]
8:00 am - 9:00 am: Chris Van Hollen, who we've said is the most Brady Bunch-looking member of the House of Representatives, naturally does the uber-American thing and has a breakfast fundraiser at a freaking steakhouse. [Charlie Palmer Steak - 101 Constitution Ave NW].
8:30 am: Do you think that Steve Israel will make any lame "We're trying to build a majority" jokes during his fundraiser at the Associated General Contractors of America? [Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Townhouse, 53 D Street SE]
12:00 pm: HuffPost Hill's landlord wants to raise the rent by six percent this year. Maybe Carolyn McCarthy can bring that up during her campaign function at the National Association of Realtors? [ National Association of Realtors, 500 New Jersey Ave NW]
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Ann Kirkpatrick is the guest of honor at an "Afternoon Coffee Break." For $100 you can have coffee with the congresswoman. To be fair, that's not much more than a typical coffee break at Starbucks (#thankyouthankyoutipyourwaiter). [DNC, 430 South Capitol Street SE].
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