President Obama killed two more radical Islamists, but it wasn't all drunk GW students climbing on lamp posts this time around. Reporters were so eager to talk about muffins you'd think they had hot boxed the Senate Press Gallery. And Rep. Jared Polis is now funneling taxpayer dollars to a jobless mooch (his new baby boy). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, September 30th, 2011:
U.S. KILLS 2 AMERICAN CITIZENS WITHOUT TRIAL - The United States government killed two American citizens in Yemen on Friday in hostile action, despite not having declared war on the country or charging either Anwar al-Awlaki or Samir Khan with a crime. Al-Awlaki graduated from Colorado State University and earned his master's at San Diego State University, and sought a PhD at GWU. Once a moderate cleric and a darling of the U.S. media, al-Awlaki gradually came to believe that violence against the United States was justified. The Fifth Amendment forbids the federal government from depriving any person -- not just American citizens -- of "life ... without due process of law." Last summer, al-Awlaki's father tried to enforce this fundamental constitutional limitation when he brought suit in federal court to stop the Obama administration's efforts to assassinate his son without charging al-Awlaki with a crime or bringing him to trial. But the court tossed the suit in December, holding that parents cannot sue on their child's behalf once the child reaches the age of majority. Experts on Al Qaeda and counterterrorism have been split over the true importance of al-Awlaki to the global jihadi movement. What did al-Awlaki in is that despite his relatively low standing, he spoke English, so U.S. intelligence could figure out what he was saying. And he said mean things.
@lrozen: In 11/01 WaPo Chat bio, Awlaki was described as getting PhD at GWU in human resources dev't. For real. http://wapo.st/1CRjTA
President Obama has signed the four-day CR to fund the government through Tuesday. Make sure you enjoy your national parks extra hard this weekend.
RICK PERRY WAS SUBJECT OF INSIDER TRADING INVESTIGATION - Jason Cherkis: "In the late '90s, federal law enforcement authorities investigated allegations that Perry had engaged in insider trading, sources involved in the inquiry tell The Huffington Post. On Jan. 24, 1996, Perry purchased 2,800 shares of stock in a company, Kinetic Concepts, Inc., owned by a San Antonio businessman soon to be one of Perry's top donors, James Leininger. It was great timing. Later that day, a group of investors bought up 2.2 million shares in the company, sending the price soaring and netting Perry a nice gain. On the day of the stock purchases, Perry had given a speech before a group founded by Leininger. Both Perry and Leininger later admitted talking on the day in question but denied discussing the stock. Perry would go on to sell his Kinetic Concepts stock -- a total of more than 8,000 shares -- a month later for a $38,000 profit. It took at least two years for an Austin attorney to uncover the suspicious trade. The attorney, who would only discuss the matter on condition of anonymity because he continues to have dealings with the U.S. Attorney's Office, said he spoke with two sources who corroborated that Perry and Leininger had met on the day in question and that the donor had advised the politician on the stock purchase." [HuffPost]
HOUSE GOP BUDGET LAUNCHES FULL ON CLASS WAR - Dave Jamieson: "In addition to blocking President Obama's health care law and slashing funding for job training, the budget plan presented by House Republicans for health and labor programs this week would scuttle several worker safety protections put forth by the Department of Labor...The budget also takes aim at an obscure but notable Labor Department rule intended to reduce the death and maiming of construction workers who toil on rooftops. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had planned to ramp up the enforcement of harness rules for roofers working on residential construction sites. In a move that will likely please the construction lobby, the Republican plan forbids the agency from doing so."
Jared Polis is now the first (openly) gay parent in the United States Congress. Polis announced today that he and his partner, Marlon Reis, are now the proud parents of Caspian Julius. Was Hurricane Nerf Gun already taken? Yikes. But seriously, congrats guys.[HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Bruce Rotstein of Las Vegas has been unemployed since losing his job as a sales manager in 2008. He's 65 and says every place he looks for work tells him he's overqualified. "I have no money and no prospect to get any soon," he said in an email. "I am forced to live with my children where my wife and I pay the rent with our Social Security and the kids pay everything else." Aside from his age, in an interview Rotstein described another hiring obstacle: "I have no smile." He said his teeth went bad during the seven years he was uninsured prior to becoming eligible for Medicare, which won't pay to fix his grill. "You listen to what's going on across the country, the world, and here I am, 65 and I can't support my family."
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DURBIN: OBAMA'S JOB BILL DOESN'T HAVE THE VOTES YET - This might come as a surprise, but a marquee piece of legislation strongly associated with the president isn't receiving sweeping bipartisan support as we head into an election cycle. Believe it or not, that is precisely the predicament that the American Jobs Act faces right now. "The oil-producing state senators don't like eliminating or reducing the subsidy for oil companies," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said in an interview on WLS Radio. "There are some senators who are up for election who say I'm never gonna vote for a tax increase while I'm up for election, even on the wealthiest people. So, we're not gonna have 100 percent Democratic senators. That's why it needs to be bi-partisan and I hope we can find some Republicans who will join us to make it happen." [CBS News]
DID MITT ROMNEY RECEIVE A POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION THAT IS SOMEWHAT MORE UNETHICAL THAN MOST BIG POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS? - An excerpt from a forthcoming New York Times Magazine profile of Rick Perry contains a passage that some observers say is evidence that the former Massachusetts governor was the beneficiary of a legally dubious campaign contribution. Sam Stein: "The piece, which has been online for a few days and is set to run in print this Sunday, ends with an anonymous 'influential Houston Republican,' explaining that he 'had someone else pay' for him to attend a Romney fundraiser out of fear of retribution should Perry's people find out. The ethics of the anecdote depend entirely on who actually paid for the ticket. If the 'influential Houston Republican' had someone else both give him or her the ticket and cover its cost, it's not a problem. But if he or she reimbursed that person for the ticket, it is. That Houston Republican would, in that case, be donating to the Romney campaign without revealing himself or herself as the source of the donation." [HuffPost]
OBAMA RELYING LESS ON WHITE VOTERS THIS GO AROUND - The Times reports that President Obama's reelection team is formulating an electoral strategy that relies less on white voters and more on the growing percentage of minority voters and high-income professionals in areas like the Rocky Mountains and the mid-Atlantic. "There are a lot of ways for us to get to 270, and it's not just the traditional map," David Axelrod said. "That's why we're laying the groundwork across the country to compete on the widest possible playing field next year." Obama's advisers tell the paper that they expect to be competitive state the president won in 2008 except for Indiana and hope shifting demographics will put Georgia and Arizona in play. [NYT]
Michele Bachmann thinks the Arab Spring exposed President Obama's "weakness." "You want to know why we have Arab Spring?" Bachmann asked during a campaign appearance in Concord, North Carolina . "Barack Obama has laid the table for the Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America." Bachmann explained that the region-wide democratic uprising that took place in the Middle East was destabilizing and therefore threatened the security of Israel. Yeah, good thing Iran's ultra conservative Islamic government wasn't overthrown. What??? [HuffPost's Joshua Hersh]
@fixaaron: Senior RNC official confirms that New Hampshire and South Carolina would lose half their delegates by moving into January. Wow.
POLL: OBAMA TIED WITH CHRISTIE IN HYPOTHETICAL MATCHUP - Like clockwork, the first polls featuring Chris Christie (post-anonymous Republican source deluge, that is) are being released. A Rasmussen survey finds President Obama statistically tied with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 44 percent to 43 percent. This is too close for the onslaught of "wide margin" jokes we anticipated, but the number could easily change as Christie's national name recognition is still relatively low. Thirty-eight percent of respondents have a favorable view of the governor while 27 percent view him unfavorably. A not insignificant 35 percent of voters have yet to develop an opinion about Christie. [Rasmussen]
OH COME ON: MIKE HUCKABEE WAS REPORTEDLY RECONSIDERING WHITE HOUSE RUN ... UNTIL HE WASN'T - What? Was Haley Barbour not available? Reuters reported that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was approached by conservative activists about reconsidering his decision not to run for president and was considering entering the race. "He is entertaining the request for conversations about it," a conservative source, no doubt tired of stoking Chris Christie speculation, told Reuters . "I do not think it is a complete 100 percent 'I'm reconsidering' but he hasn't shut the door on it." CHECK THAT: HE ISN'T RUNNING. "[Huckabee]'s made his mind up, and he's still comfortable with that decision," a spokesman for Huckabee told RealClearPolitics. Anyway, fun while it lasted! [Reuters and TPM]
MEDIA TANGLED IN A WEB OF MUFFINGATE LIES - After an internal DOJ audit appeared to suggest that the agency had spent taxpayer dollars on $16 muffins, the media seized on the story, either because it satisfied a conservative agenda or because it was simply ridiculous story and it's been a slow couple of weeks. It turned out that the $16 accounted for a number of other items that were served at a conference, including tea fruit and tax. Sam Stein reports that while 178 articles by major news outlets reported the original muffin=$16 story, only 37 corrected the mistake (we did!). Get it together, people. [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Bear cubs wrestling. Pardon the weird music.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Chilly and cloudy, but dry. Tomorrow: Some intermittent rain, especially in the afternoon. The same for Sunday, but the big news is that we'll have trouble reaching the 60s, let alone the 70s. It's going to be the first chill -- considering September is ending, I couldn't think of more fitting weather. Thanks, JB!
- The "Andy Rooney Out Of Context Supercut" compiles America's favorite curmudgeon's most random thoughts. [http://huff.to/pnUpG5]
- Guy who rides unicycle on top of a row of beer bottles is no doubt a creation of DARPA [http://huff.to/ozZv5b]
- A three-minute song which covers the most famous "non-lexical vocables" in music history. [http://huff.to/n9kykg]
- Video of a formerly deaf woman hearing for the first time after getting a hearing implant installed. Science rocks. [http://huff.to/nUV0Kp]
- Some of the funniest Missed Connections posts on Craigslist, illustrated. [http://huff.to/n8k5ul]
- "Mr. Muggles the cat loves Molly the dog but Molly isn't so smitten. Don't worry no dogs were harmed in the making of this video and both ended up eating treats side by side moments later." [http://huff.to/q6diaL]
- Black-and-white footage of WW2-era parachuting dogs. Parachuting dogs were the original Predator drones. [http://huff.to/pwdtXV]
- Adorable toddler takes his first steps toward being the world's next great DJ. [http://bit.ly/rsVH7J]
@daveweigel: Snackaquiddick? RT @lizzieohreally: Not okay with the term Muffingate.
@dceiver: Can't stand it, I know you planned it. I'm gonna set it straight this Muffingate.
@nprscottsimon: Why doesn't Florida just declare a "pop primary" suddenly one morning? Not much NH, Iowa, and SC can do about that!
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Today - Tomorrow: Jim Sensenbrenner hosts an "Erin Hills Golf Tournament and Dinner" at the Erin Hills Country Club in Wisconsin. It's Wisconsin in early October, so bring 8 sweaters. [Erin Hills Country Club - 7169 Country Road O, Hartford, WI].
Today - Sunday: LET THE EAGGGLEEEEEE SOOOAAAARRRRRRRR. Lamar Alexander is the host of a "Nashville Songwriters Weekend." The invite doesn't mention any specific songwriters, but it does says that Orrin Hatch, John Barrasso, Richard Lugar, Roger Wicker, Olympia Snowe and Scott Brown will be on hand. [Nashville, TN]
Today - Sunday: Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas continues his California agrarian shakedown tour with a "Weekend In Napa." Pay up, you stupid winos! [Avia, 1450 First Street, Napa, CA]
Today - Sunday: Nick Rahall hosts a weekend fundraising retreat at the Greenbrier, the famous resort/congressional Cold War post-Apocalypse retreat. [Greenbrier Hotel, White Sulphur Springs, West Spring, WV]
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