On a day that Democrats interrupted their vacation to secure billions in funding for teachers, cops and firefighters, they STILL managed to secure themselves a god-awful news cycle. Robert Gibbs unleashed a torrent of negative press by biting the hand that wet-willied him. Charlie Rangel interrupted floor debate for half an hour with a stem-winding rebuttal of the ethics charges levied against him. Democratic officials looking to take their mind off of this BRICK of a day might check out a salacious website making the rounds that Dan Quayle's son has absolutely NOTHING to do with. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, August 10th, 2010:
EX-SENATOR TED STEVENS KILLED IN ALASKA PLANE CRASH - "A plane carrying former Sen. Ted Stevens and ex-NASA chief Sean O'Keefe crashed into a remote mountainside in Alaska, killing the longtime senator and at least four others, authorities said Tuesday. O'Keefe and his teenage son survived the crash with broken bones and other injuries, former NASA spokesman Glenn Mahone said. The O'Keefes spent Monday night on the mountain with several volunteers who discovered the wreckage and tended to the injured until rescuers arrived Tuesday morning. Stevens and O'Keefe are longtime fishing buddies who had been planning a trip near where the float plane crashed." http://huff.to/dlwmca
Longtime friend of Stevens Sen. Daniel Inouye: "Our friendship was a very special one. When it came to policy, we disagreed more often than we agreed, but we were never disagreeable with one another. We were always positive and forthright. Senator Stevens and I worked together to ensure that the small non-contiguous states of Hawaii and Alaska were not forgotten by the lower 48 and to ensure that the nation awoke to the importance of the Pacific for our economy and international relations. I will never forget him... I have lost my brother."
President Obama: "Stevens devoted his career to serving the people of Alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform."
ROBERT GIBBS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY UPSET WITH DRUGGED-OUT LIBERALS - We have yet to confirm whether Gibbs activated the White House emergency exit slide, grabbed two beers and ran off to passionately make love to someone, however we do know folks on his side of the aisle aren't pleased. "I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs told The Hill. "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality," he said, adding, "They wouldn't be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president." http://bit.ly/9m3wL8
We checked the transcripts: who on cable TV was comparing Obama to Bush yesterday afternoon? Raise your hand... Dylan Ratigan!
Gibbs semi-apologized to the dirty, smelly liberals in a statement provided to the Huffington Post: "So what I may have said inartfully, let me say this way -- since coming to office in January 2009, this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path...So we should all, me included, stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies, and instead work together to make sure everyone knows what is at stake because we've come too far to turn back now." Sam Stein: http://huff.to/dpXRaF
Let's set the record straight: In an Aqua Buddha-level haze of marijuana and lofty ambitions, we did, in fact, vote for Kucinich in the hopes that his Department of Peace would be housed where the Pentagon is now. Free Mumia.
Rep. Keith Ellison thinks the right move for Gibbs is to resign in the wake of hippies-get-a-real-job-gate. Ellison, an active member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Gibbs went too far. "This is not the first time that Mr. Gibbs has made untoward and inflammatory comments and I certainly hope that people in the White House don't share his view that the left is unimportant to the president," he said. "Gibbs crossed the line. His dismissal would be fair." http://huff.to/c97w3T
Cantor's folks sent the Ellison story around with this appendix: "Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast." - Ron Burgundy
@mikememoli: "Wow -- Gibbs now not doing the briefing, Bill Burton behind the podium instead." To be fair, Gibbs actually is suffering from a nasty cold.
Progressive disgust with White House smugness, ACTIVATE!!!
OpenLeft: "If the White House really doesn't think it has any problems among self-identified liberals or progressives, and that all the complaints are coming from a grasstop elite, it needs to look at the data again." http://bit.ly/bkjzni
Glenn Greenwald: "[O]ne of the most petulant, self-pitying outbursts seen from a top political official in recent memory..." http://bit.ly/bdei3w
Anonymous congressional aide: "As an anonymous Congressional aide, I feel like anonymous White House aides have had all the fun. With that in mind, Robert Gibbs can suck it!"
One reader notes that Gibbs' distaste for progressives goes back a ways, recalling a vicious 2004 ad against Howard Dean, featuring Osama bin Laden, that the group he was working for ran: http://bit.ly/ahtDtw
Your daily FWIW: "On the national poll we'll release this week 85% of liberals approve of the job Obama is doing to 12% disapproving. 88% support his health care plan looking back with only 7% opposed." PPP: http://bit.ly/cY2mAj
Contra Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas: "Obama may remain popular, but there is a real intensity gap that threatens Democratic congressional majorities this fall. That has nothing to do with the 'professional left,' and everything to do with the broader base...The 'professional left' never asked Obama for the impossible, just for what was promised during the campaign."
FED FINALLY PLANNING TO DO ITS JOB AND BOOST ECONOMY FOR GOD'S SAKE - Nine of the 10 policy makers in the Federal Reserve voted to send a message Tuesday that the economic recovery is weakening, and needs further stimulus to ensure the nation recovers from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Shahien Nasiripour reports. The Fed will continue to keep the main interest rate near zero; it will reinvest the proceeds from maturing mortgage-backed securities and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt into Treasuries; and will "continue to monitor" the recovery to ensure it doesn't slow down further.
EXCLUSIVE: The Fed's Dissenter - The one Fed official who disagreed with this approach: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas M. Hoenig, who was an outspoken advocate of a tougher financial reform bill, but also argues that the economy doesn't need further stimulus. Rather than worry about juicing an economy mired in slow recovery, we should take note that the economy is recovering and instead be wary of repeating the mistakes of the past. "The lesson to be drawn from 2003 is we were in a modest recovery. We began crying wolf. We got a bad employment number, or we got a bad industrial production number, and we would overreact to that -- instead of looking at the array of data, the positive and the negative, and the longer trend lines, then making judgments and having patience," Hoenig said. Full interview: http://huff.to/cl3eom
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HOUSE INTERRUPTS CHARLIE RANGEL RANT TO PASS STATE AID BILL, BORDER SECURITY MEASURE - Lucia Graves: "The House passed a bill Tuesday afternoon providing $26.1 billion to cash-strapped state governments, preventing roughly 161,000 teachers and 158,000 public works employees from being laid off. The vote was 247-161...Technically, the bill provides $10 billion to fund education and $16 billion to fund Medicaid, but states have been expecting to get the federal assistance and a majority have already budgeted for it, meaning that if the funds were blocked, cuts would have to be made elsewhere -- costing the jobs of firefighters, cops and other state employees." http://huff.to/cGmGlx
Politico on the border security legislation: "On a voice vote, the House approved the $600 million package, which has languished for weeks as the two parties and two chambers have quarreled over how to pay for the measure, and from which body it should originate. The legislation, identical to a bill that was introduced and passed by the Senate last week, would fund 1,500 new border personnel, a pair of unmanned drones and operating bases on the Southwest border." http://politi.co/bCl0JB It's a quarrel, however, with a clear right and wrong: The Senate blew it by not attaching the measure to a House revenue bill, as the Constitution requires.
@LisaDCNN: On $26B bill, two GOP'ers voted yes - Cao and Castle. Three Dems voted no - Bright, Cooper, Taylor.
President Obama said the measure "should not be a partisan issue," adding it "should not be a Democratic problem or a Republican problem. It's an American problem." What's he smoking? http://bit.ly/9xkRRf
House Democrats also defeated a proposal that would have forbidden a lame duck session of Congress. Jared Allen: "Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, last week introduced a privileged resolution to prevent Congress from holding a post-election session for any reason other than a national emergency...But Price's resolution was ruled out of order by the presiding officer on the grounds that it did not meet the criteria of affecting the conduct of individual members or the House as a whole. The chair also ruled it violated House rules prohibiting privileged resolutions invoked 'to prescribe a special order of business for the House.'" http://bit.ly/d4l881
CHARLIE RANGEL DELIVERS RAMBLING DEFENSE AGAINST ETHICS CHARGES ON HOUSE FLOOR - With most of the House already assembled for the state aid vote, embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel took to the House floor this afternoon and delivered a 30-plus-minute defense of his professional behavior, saying he has no plans on resigning. With one hand resting on his hip and the other one gesturing with varying degrees of intensity, the ousted chair of the Ways and Means committee told the chamber that "If I cant' get my dignity back, then get rid of me through expulsion." After the speech, a sizable portion of the Democratic caucus stood and applauded Rangel -- though not all the members did. Sitting in the (temporary) press gallery, HuffPost Hill noticed that Rangel's longtime colleague Dave Obey did not stand. Then again, he's kind of a cranky dude. http://huff.to/aOJJkK
Rangel, on charges that a charity he raised funds for would build him an ornate office: "Then they say that I would receive a luxurious office...Who in the heck needs an office with 40 years of service in the US Congress?"
Speaker Pelosi: "As I have repeatedly stated, the independent, bipartisan Ethics Committee is the proper arena for ethics matters to be discussed."
John Lewis: "If I was in his shoes, knowing what I know, I would have been quiet."
@RussertXM_NBC One senior Dem aide to me re Rangel on the floor right now: "This is a trainwreck."
RAND PAUL DENIES THAT HE KIDNAPPED WOMAN IN COLLEGE - Appearing on Neil Cavuto's show today, the Kentucky Senate candidate flatly denied the report in a GQ article that he and fellow members of a Baylor University secret society kidnapped a classmate, attempted to make her smoke pot and forced her to pray to a diety they called "Aqua Buddha.". Speaking to Cavuto, Paul said, "I will categorically deny that I ever kidnapped anyone or forced anybody to use drugs." Video: http://bit.ly/doQZrb
TEA PARTY LEADER WANTS TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY - We're not so sure how this position will sit with the walker-and-cane gang that makes up the Tea Party, but lobbyist and Tea Party hero Dick Armey took to the pages of USA Today today to call for privatizing Social Security. It's packed so full of error and deception that we'd wear your thumb out by going through them all. But let's just do two: "This year, Social Security has paid out more than it receives in payroll taxes." The program has two other sources of revenue, interest from the $2.6-trillion-and-growing trust fund and taxes on benefits to high earners; adding those in gives it a big fat surplus. "In less than 20 years, just two workers will be forced to pay the benefits of every one retiree." Meaningless. It doesn't matter if one worker is paying for 100 beneficiaries, as long as the inflow and outflow is actuarially sound. And it is. Nancy Altman of Social Security Works has a better solution for the program's troubles: "Politicians and pundits should stop scaring the American people."
CIVILIAN CASUALTIES ON THE RISE IN AFGHANISTAN - "The number of civilians killed in the Afghan conflict in the first six months of the year rose 25 percent compared with the same period a year ago, with insurgents responsible for the spike, the United Nations said in a report Tuesday. The report showed a reduction in civilian casualties from NATO action, but the overall rise in deaths indicated that the war is getting ever-more violent -- undermining the coalition's aim of improving security in the face of a virulent Taliban insurgency." AP: http://huff.to/alCA5w
Dan Froomkin and Ben Craw have compiled a startling video comparing President Obama's conflicting attitudes towards the war in Afghanistan as a senator and then as the president. http://huff.to/cdfvpC
Al Jazeera: "At least 1,600 people are thought to have already died in Pakistan's worst flooding in 80 years. The army has deployed around 300,000 troops to help with relief efforts, but people in affected areas have complained of slow response to their needs. In some villages people have been left on their own to support themselves. The UN is launching an urgent appeal for millions of dollars to aid the 13.8 million Pakistanis impacted by the floods." http://bit.ly/dpLT8P
DEMOCRATIC REP. DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM NANCY PELOSI AND A BUNCH OF MEXICAN DUDES IN A CAGE SOMEWHERE - Yet another indication of the rank-and-file's anxiety about the midterms, Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly is touting his independence from his party's leadership in a new campaign spot. Citing his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants ("illegals") and increased security along the U.S.-Mexico border, Donnelly tells the camera that his positions "may not be what the Washington crowd wants, but I don't work for them, I work for you," as an image of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner flashes on the screen. Swampland: http://bit.ly/dm1a1T
LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS RELEASE LIST OF CONVENTION HEADLINERS - The following queens will headline the group's national dinner on September 22nd: "Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman, National Republican Congressional Committee; Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL); Representative Anh 'Joseph' Cao (R-LA); Representative Charles Djou (R-HI); Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Grover Norquist, President, Americans For Tax Reform; Nick Herbert MP, Minister of State for Justice/Police (United Kingdom); Tucker Carlson, Publisher, Daily Caller, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the National Dinner." http://bit.ly/9JOwuU
ANTI-DADT GROUP LAUNCHES VIDEO CAMPAIGN - The Servicemembers United Action Fund has just unveiled the first in a series of videos meant to highlight the ill effects of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. "This new ad, and the subsequent ads that will be released each week, helps put a human face on the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' issue for a national mainstream audience and effectively demonstrates how this outdated law actually harms military readiness," said the group's executive director Alexander Nicholson. Web ad: http://bit.ly/9Wzuaq
The American Bar Association today voted to support gay marriage. ABA Journal: Gays and lesbians should have the right to marry in civil ceremonies, the ABA's policy-making House of Delegates declared on Tuesday. The measure passed on a voice vote. A lineup of ABA leaders, both past and present, spoke in favor of the resolution. Incoming ABA President Stephen Zack asked 'Why would anyone in this country not want two people who love each other to enjoy the blessings of marriage and the protections of law?'" http://bit.ly/d0Ay1V
Today is HuffPost Associate Comedy Editor Dan Abramson's last day shepherding countless web surfers to videos of cats doing ridiculous things. The Huffington Post -- and Comfort Food -- won't be the same.
DAN QUAYLE'S SON DENIES STARTING, CONTRIBUTING TO SMUTTY WEBSITE - Responding to the charges, Ben Quayle, who is running for the House seat being vacated by retiring Rep. John Shadegg, echoed his fathers famous statement that "I have made good judgements in the past. I have made good judgements in the future." Quayle, "denied Tuesday that he once was a regular contributor to Dirty Scottsdale, a website that chronicled the city's clubs and nightlife and the predecessor to the popular gossip website TheDirty.com...The site's founder, Nik Richie -- whose real name is Hooman Karamian -- told POLITICO that Quayle was 'one of the original contributors' to the site when it started in 2007. After being contacted by POLITICO, Richie on Monday published a post describing what he said was Quayle's role in the creation of the website along with a campaign photograph of him." http://politi.co/csozdN
As any good mother will tell you, you're more than a face and a name. If you're mentioned in the State of the Union address, you're also valuable political currency! Congress.org has an interesting item highlighting every American mentioned in the president's annual address since 1982. "It has become a time-honored tradition ever since President Ronald Reagan introduced it in 1982. Bill Clinton recognized about 30 people during his State of the Union addresses, and George W. Bush followed suit with 25 of his own. Obama has been more selective about the rhetorical flourish." http://bit.ly/ccixM7
HCAN's Richard Kirsch on what HCAN did right: http://bit.ly/aluJdf
Sean Hackbarth is bouncing from the Senate Republican Conference and moving to Craft Media, where he will be its senior campaign manager. Good score, Craft. http://bit.ly/cZumwS
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT -The heat goes on... Tonight we'll see slight cooling, with a low of about 80 degrees. Tomorrow: Expect it to get really hot in the high-90s. It's going to get really bad. Thanks, JB!
- An "Inception"-themed Craigslist Casual Encounter. http://bit.ly/c2rT2W
- A pea sprouted in a man's lung. http://bit.ly/9bFBnp
- The five best things about that Jet Blue flight attendant's freak-out. http://bit.ly/c5m1XG
- Some of the most poorly designed wheelchair ramps in the world. http://bit.ly/asfON3
- Sure, this VW doesn't have automatic transmission or Mp3 compatibility...but it's still awesome. http://bit.ly/d7y6Oa
- A ridiculous collection of bootleg DVD covers that dropped the ball. http://bit.ly/amIsdj
- Esquire confirms everything you suspected about Newt Gingrich, sparing us a 2012 bid http://bit.ly/cfPFdE
@jakemcintyre: Reason #105 why Gibbs is stupid: heard anyone talk about Aqua Buddha today?
@DaviSusan: Somebody please auto-tune remix this Charlie Rangel floor speech.
@pourmecoffee: Rangel on the House Floor now giving the Bill Pullman speech from Independence Day.
@murphymike Rangel on House floor... Sounds exactly like Frank Pentangeli in Godfather 2...
@susancrabtree http://huff.to/bBBuNs Huffpost nails the towns-run oversight panel--dem leaders must be talking about replacement post-election
TONIGHT: Anthony Weiner discussed the state aid bill on Ratigan. Sam Stein was on Hardball, talking about drugged-out liberals. Elijah Cummings is on the Ed Show. TOMORROW: Anthony Weiner and HuffPost's Sam Stein are on Morning Joe.
6:30 pm: City at Peace, an organization that teaches kids conflict resolution, hosts a fundraiser to help keep it afloat. If it doesn't raise $25,000 by September, it will go under. If that doesn't do it for you, how about half off hamburgers and pork sliders [Angles Bar and Billiards, 2339 18th Street NW].
8:30 pm - 10:30 pm: Another outdoor movie option, this time just off of U Street. The U Street Movie Series presents "The Soloist" [Harrison Recreation Center, 1330 V Street NW].
7:00 pm: Daughter of Johnny and recipient of the most impressive pedigree in country music, Rosanne Cash performs at the 6th and I Synagogue [Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I Street NW].
9:00 pm: More Southern-fried music options: Jeremy Current and Bailey Cooke drop a big steaming load of bluegrass on H Street [The Red and the Black, 1212 H Stree NE].
All Day: Boy, we sure hope the state aid bill doesn't interfere with Tom Price's (R-Ga.) "St. Simons Island Day of Golfing." That'd be a tragedy [The King and Prince Golf and Beach Resort, 201 Arnold Road, St. Simons Island, GA].
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