HUFFPOST HILL - Honest-To-God Democrat Might Lead Pentagon

Cool news day, right? President Obama released his birth certificate, which oddly enough had the effect of killing society a little on the inside. A former treasury secretary compared politicians opposed to raising the debt ceiling to terrorists, which is funny if you think about John Boehner with a beard. And news broke that the president will appoint a Democrat as defense secretary, meaning a Democrat could be in charge of our nation's defenses for the first time since Olestra potato chips were the biggest threat to the country. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, April 27th, 2011:

@jbinckes: Tornado warning forming roughly a triangle between I-95, Beltway and Potomac River. Better safe than sorry. Seek shelter. Thanks, JB!

OBAMA RESHUFFLES DEFENSE LEADERSHIP - When he wasn't swatting aside conspiracy theories this morning, the president apparently decided to shake up the command structure of our nation's military and intelligence apparatuses (like, whatever, right?). CIA Director Leon Panetta will be nominated to be the next defense secretary and David Petraeus will, if confirmed, take over at the CIA. If Panetta makes it through the confirmation process, he will be the first Democrat to serve as defense secretary since William Perry stepped down in early 1997. Reports also indicate that Obama will appoint Lt. Gen. John Allen as the next commander of the U.S.'s military action in Afghanistan and Ryan Crocker as the next U.S. ambassador to that country. The nominations are expected to be announced by the president Thursday at the White House. Naturally, with continued fallout from the birth certificate news and the royal wedding, this will get a lot of attention. Expect people magazine to dedicate a special section to what Panetta will wear for the occasion. [AP/HuffPost]

@GlennThrush: Gates' last day at work is June 30th, according to senior admin official. Petraeus slated to start at CIA on Sept. 1

Pete King likes: "I strongly support the President's planned nominations. Director Panetta has done an outstanding job at the CIA, and General Petraeus has distinguished himself as one of the great American military leaders. Both men currently play integral roles in our Nation's war against al Qaeda and its affiliates and will be instrumental as we continue to combat the terrorist threat."

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST APPROVES OF CABINET RESHUFFLING - Our favorite PSLGOPL, taking a break from writing his therapist love poems using magazine letter cut-outs, informed HuffPost Hill that he likes the president's not-so-liberal appointments. "I wish that former DoD Sec. Donald Rumsfeld was included in the new National Security Team, but all in all, I endorse the entire slate." Asked about his abrupt, self-loathing-to-self-satisfied mood swings, PSLGOPL put it thusly: "I dance on the head of the pin of outrage." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

NICOLE SANDLER MACED IN JAIL AFTER ALLEN WEST TOWN HALL - Liberal radio host Nicole Sandler, a constituent of Rep. Allen West's, was escorted out of a Ft. Lauderdale town hall and jailed for roughly 19 hours, during which, she tells HuffPost Hill, she was maced. When lunch came, she asked if she could eat it outside of her cell. The officer said no, but then the cell door opened. She stepped out to eat her lunch on the steps nearby. The officer saw her and ordered her back into her cell. "I said, 'Please, can I just please sit here? And he said, 'Get back in that cell! Are you disobeying me?' And as I was again saying, 'Please,' he maced me. Seriously, seriously maced me. Not just one little spray in the eyes, but shhhhhhhh -- all my eyes, my hair, my face, my chest, to where -- you can hear I have no voice. Probably because I'm tired but I was screaming, like screaming, get me a doctor!' I've never felt anything like that in my life. I've never been arrested before. I'm not a threat to anyone. All because I went to a town hall meeting to ask my congressman a question.'" [Political Carnival]

THE FED SPEAKS! AND SAYS ... NOTHING Zach Carter: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke held the first-ever press conference in which the central bank chair took questions from reporters, and journalists rose to the occasion with bland, obsequious nonsense. Nothing about the Fed lending to Gaddafi's bank, nothing about foreclosure fraud, nothing about foreclosures and almost nothing about jobs. Bernanke managed to say nearly nothing, other than his belief that Wall Street speculation in commodities markets isn't effecting the prices of food or gas. Also, the Fed may not implement another round of quantitative easing because it apparently can't really do much about long-term unemployment -- legal mandate, shmegal mandate. There was, however, an interesting Fed-related event today in New York, where Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Johnson, Mike Konczal, Jane D'Arista, Matt Stoller and Matthew Yglesias all talked about the future of the central bank at a Roosevelt Institute conference. We're told video will be up soon."

JPMORGAN CHASE WARNS GEITHNER ON DEBT LIMIT - In an April 25 letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geither, JPMorgan Chase honcho Matthew Zames politely asks for Geithner's "continued attention" to not permanently ruining America by blowing the debt limit. "Any delay in making an interest or principal payment by Treasury even for a very short period of time would put the U.S. Treasury and overall financial markets in unchartered territory, and could trigger another catastrophic financial crisis," the letter says. "It it impossible to know the full impact of such a crisis on overall economic growth and on Treasury's financing costs. However, the lessons from the recent crisis suggest that several damaging consequences will likely result, ultimately raising Treasury's long-term funding costs and increasing the burden on the American taxpayer."

Wanna shelter yourself from the terrible job market for a couple of years? CQ/Roll Call is hosting a graduate school fair right now. Head over to to the Columbus Club in Union Station if you're nearby. Ends at 7:30.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Insanely wrong story by TriCities.com about the Extended Benefits program going bye-bye in Tennessee. "The federal government decided to do away with the extended benefits for weeks 79 to 99 in states like Tennessee," says the story, which features Tennesseans who are sad the feds stopped the aid. Only problem: The state stopped the aid, not the feds. Though when HuffPost spoke to the Tennessee House Speaker last week, she seemed to have no idea the feds had asked the state to please pass a little law to keep the benefits. Great work, Tennessee. [TriCities.com]

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DEAN HELLER APPOINTED TO ENSIGN'S SENATE SEAT - Surprising no one, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has appointed Rep. Dean Heller to fill the seat being vacated early next month by John Ensign. Heller is already running for the seat and Sandoval is clearly betting that Heller's incumbency will help him win, despite a mixed-record of appointees winning election. "A fiscal conservative who believes in limited government, Dean will fight to keep taxes low and balance the federal budget," Sandoval said in a statement. "He understands that the federal government spends too much money and places too many regulatory burdens on small business." Heller's appointment will trigger a special election for his House seat, which former Senate candidate Sharron Angle has expressed interest in. Fat times ahead for TPM. [NYT]

SWIPE FEE FALLOUT - Heller replacing Ensign is a setback for Dick Durbin. Ensign had supported Durbin's amendment to limit the fees banks can charge merchants for using debit cards. Heller has no public position but was among the top recipients a fortun

Harry Reid: "I welcome Dean to the Senate. As his responsibilities shift to representing all Nevadans, rather than a single district of our state, I am confident he will work with me and members of both parties to address the serious challenges facing Nevada and the nation."

DEMINT ANGLING FOR ENSIGN'S FINANCE COMMITTEE SPOT - For some time now, Jim DeMint has sought a spot on the Senate Finance Committee, a platform from which he could advance his goal of eradicating the income tax and reducing government spending by having GoDaddy.com sponsor the state of the union address. Now, with John Ensign's imminent departure, his wish might become a reality. "Senator DeMint is very interested in serving on the Finance Committee and has requested it every time since he was elected," his spokesman, Wesley Denton, told Steven Dennis. Also improving Demint' odds is Ethics Committee ranking member Johnny Isakson, who withdrew his name from consideration to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. [Roll Call]

REID TO HOLD VOTE ON PAUL RYAN'S BUDGET - We mentioned yesterday that Harry Reid was considering holding a vote on Paul Ryan's budget as a sort of legislative wet willy for the New England Republicans. No matter how Collins, Snowe and Brown votes, the thinking goes, they will either alienate their party's base or their moderate constituents. "There will be an opportunity in the Senate to vote on the Ryan budget to see if Republican senators like the Ryan budget as much as the House did," Reid said on a conference call with reporters. "Without going into the Ryan budget we will see how much the Republicans like it here in the Senate." In case he wasn't clear enough, he added that, "It would be one of the worst things that happened to this country if that thing came into effect." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

Former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, certainly getting his point across: "The people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling are our version of al Qaeda terrorists. Really." [The Hill]

REINCE PREIBUS LOOKING INTO IMPLICATIONS OF A PAUL RYAN WHITE HOUSE RUN - The two most squeaky-clean Republicans in professional politics -- imagine them in a barbershop quartet clad in red-and-white striped seersucker jackets and straw boater hats -- apparently are professionally intertwined in a way that makes some folks uncomfortable. Jon Ward: "Reince Priebus has begun exploring whether a presidential bid by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would have any impact on Priebus' ability to remain at the helm of the Republican National Committee, according to sources with intimate knowledge of the discussions. Multiple sources who work for Ryan and speak with him on a regular basis said that the Budget Committee chairman has no intention of running for president in 2012. If there is any consideration at all within the Ryan camp about a 2012 run -- and that clearly remains a big if -- they are not ready to start talking about it...Priebus has been seeking counsel since at least last week about what impact a Ryan presidential run would have on his own role at the RNC, sources told The Huffington Post. Other GOP hopefuls might object to someone so close to Ryan remaining as head of the party's main fundraising and organizing arm. The Republican presidential nominee usually installs his own RNC chair for the general election." [HuffPost]

Rumors out of South Carolina that Mike Huckabee won't run actually might help Mike Huckabee run. Jon Ward: "But the import of what was happening in the Palmetto State, if it is true that some potential Huckabee campaign workers are being set free, may be that Huckabee is letting them go snatch up operatives who were working for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour until his decision Monday not to run. Scott Reed, a Washington-based consultant who was running Barbour's operation, told HuffPost they had a national network of 50 operatives spread across five early primary voting states who are now all on the table."

WHITE HOUSE BACKS HOUSE DEFENSE OF DOMA - A day after Attorney General Eric Holder defended former Solicitor General Paul Clement's decision to leave King & Spalding after it dropped its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, the White House echoed Holder's sentiment. "We think -- as we said from the beginning when we talked ... about the decision no longer from the administration to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, that we would support efforts by Congress if they so chose to defend it," Jay Carney said at his birth certificate fun time/press briefing this morning. "And so I have nothing to add to the attorney general's comments." Awesome defence of civil rights, guys ("We shall overcoooomeeeeeeee, but we totally get why you're throwing bottles at our heaaaaaaaads"). [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

IN OREGON, 99ERS CAN BE 105ERS - While some states (ahem, Tennessee) have been cutting unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, Oregon has made its benefits more generous. People laid off through no fault of their own are eligible for up to 99 weeks of aid in 25 states. But last month, Oregon lawmakers gave the long-term unemployed an additional six weeks of benefits. That means that in Oregon, where the unemployment rate stands tall at 10 percent, so-called "99ers" -- people who've burned through all 99 weeks without finding work -- can now theoretically become "105ers." [HuffPost]

Indiana is about to become the first state to block funding for Planned Parenthood. House Bill 1210 would prevent the state from dealing with "any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed." Much like Planned Parenthood branches elsewhere in the country, the organization's Indiana locations provide a number of services to women, including cancer screenings, STD tests and contraceptive services. Remember: Life begins at conception ... and it ends with your undiagnosed ovarian cancer. [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Hacker Typer is a website that can make it look like you're hacking. A number of fake interfaces available! [http://bit.ly/i1wNj5]

KEVIN THE INTERN'S 'THIS DAY IN HISTORY' - April 27th, 1773: British Parliament Lowers Taxes on Tea Instead of People: Giving a tax break to the East India Company to avoid bankruptcy seemed like a good idea at the time to Lord North, the Prime Minister hailing from Frederick. However, Lord North didn't anticipate the reaction from an already-angry group of American colonists. The minister proposed lower taxes on all tea entering England, but kept existing taxes on tea entering America. Interpreting it as another infringement on the rights of Americans, the colonists got angry. Three ships full of tea arrived at Boston, and Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to send it back. Samuel Adams and his Sons of Liberty waited until December 16th to stage the Boston Tea Party, and the British responded with the Coercive Acts to clamp down. The Americans' response was to call the First Continental Congress. Thanks, KB!


- Parkour, that sport where people jump from wall to wall, apparently is so big that there's a school that teaches it. [http://bit.ly/fQVYGX]

- Some dude got Prince William and Kate Middleton tattooed on his teeth. The royal wedding, if you recall, was the dumbest news story this week until the birth certificate. [http://bit.ly/gtt20M]

- Tom Haverfood translates the names of foods into Parks and Recreation's Tom Haverford's unique style of English. [http://bit.ly/idGPcq]

- For the man who has everything that isn't a water-powered jet pack: a water-powered jet pack. [http://bit.ly/eGUOld]

- Epic Meal Time, who we have a 13-year-old boy-like obsession with, makes fast food lasagna. [target="_hplink">http://bit.ly/hMKzgwhttp://bit.ly/eGUOld]">]

- In World War II, an American airplane factory camouflaged itself to look like a residential area from the air. [http://bit.ly/fo6qTs]

- The air piano is the 21st century's response to the keytar. Not sure how we feel about that. [http://bit.ly/dL4nNE]

- The ongoing debate over the president's birth certificate peacock feathers rages on. [http://bit.ly/f8jL1x]


@SuzyKhimm: Haley Barbour #girther

@delrayser: King George VI didn't really see a speech therapist, you know. #Firther

@jaketapper: Alexander Hamilton shot first #Burrther



7:30: It's the second night of previews of Rostard's Cyrano de Bergerac at the Folger Theatre. That's right, it's more than just that thing you read in intermediate French [Folger Theatre, 201 E. Captiol Street SE].

8:00 pm: Suit up, hipsters! David Lynch's classic Blue Velvet is screened at Artisphere in Northern Virginia. A great way to salvage some of your street cred and/or atone after you ditched Petworth for that condo in Courthouse [1101 Wilson Boulevard, Rosslyn, VA].


7:00 pm: Of Montreal that group whose had a steady hold on your cool friend's iTunes for a few years now, rolls into D.C. [9:30 Club. 815 V Street NW].

7:45 pm: Despite what New York may tell you, Brooklyn's dining scene has not entirely transformed into a wasteland of head-to-toe pig-worshiping restaurants. Ed Towns attends a campaign fundraiser at Peter Luger. Take that, sweet bread lovers [Peter Luger Steak House, 178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY].

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