Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Rick Perry Is The North Star Of Texas Lobbyists

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Tim Pawlenty's strategy of producing high-budget campaign videos didn't work out, so Michele Bachmann is opting to film her clips in what appears to be a nail salon's waiting room. Donald Trump had a fantastic meeting with presidential candidate "Jim" Perry (We're guessing they discussed Trump's favorite movie: The Mask with Rick Carrey). And according to a new poll, lawmakers only consider measures that Americans are vocally opposed to, so make sure you keep your opposition to H.R. 5432, The Radio Station Holiday Music Programming Extension Act, to yourself *. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, September 16th, 2011:

HUFFPOST DC: BECAUSE THIS IS ACTUALLY A CITY, APPARENTLY - Washington, D.C. is so much more than a smattering of neoclassical and Beaux-Arts federal buildings in which socially-challenged poli-sci grads pretend to conduct the business of the nation and make plans to fornicate with one another after pro forma drinks following spectacles of middle school athletics. So much more. It's also a full-fledged city with over 600,000 people who reside within its borders and roughly four million who live in the greater metropolitan area. It's also a city with problems. Perhaps you've noticed this before, like when you contracted Mongolian sherpas to help you ascend the broken escalator at the Bethesda Metro station, or when you instinctively rolled up your windows while driving down Good Hope Road SE, or when your landlord unfairly jacked up your rent, thereby forcing you to move to Good Hope Road SE. It's a helluva town! Huffington Post's newest local vertical, HuffPost DC, will bring you all the news, both good and bad, that this lovably flawed Census Department-classified metropolitan area has to offer. The section will be edited by local media veteran Michael Gass with assistance from (former Hill staffer) Arin Greenwood and Pumpernickel blogger Rachel Tepper. Check it out. [HuffPost DC]

RICK PERRY'S OFFICE IS A HALFWAY HOUSE FOR LOBBYISTS - Jason Cherkis and Paul Blumenthal report that the revolving door from Rick Perry's office to the lobbying industry is one of those big, continuous automatic ones that you see at the airport (you know, the slow-moving ones where each partition can fit, like, 8 people). Forty Perry aides have either previously served, or are currently serving, as lobbyists. Some have made the transition on more than one occasion. "Among Perry's closest campaign aides, at least five have been registered lobbyists, including his communications director, his spokesperson and his political director. Two other ex-staffers who are current lobbyists head Super PACs organized to elect Perry. These lobbyists have done good work for their clients, winning lucrative state contracts for everything from private toll roads to a nuclear waste dump to the now infamous HPV vaccine mandate. A review of financial disclosures filed with the Texas Ethics Commission shows that during the past 10 years, former Perry staffers have raked in tens of millions of dollars in lobbying contracts." [HuffPost]

President Obama today signed that toothless patent bill that Congress passed last Thursday. Zach Carter: "Congress has been wrestling with the legislation for the better part of a decade, steadily eroding the bill's original purpose and instead delivering favors to a host of politically entrenched corporate players, from banks and trial lawyers to multinational drug companies...'It really doesn't create jobs for anybody except maybe patent lawyers,' says James Besson, a lecturer at Boston University School of Law and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center on Internet and Society." [HuffPost]

BORED LAZY OVERPAID BUREAUCRAT HAD A LONG WEEK - HuffPost Hill's Bored Lazy Overpaid Bureaucrat (BLOB) has been doing her part: She efforted the implementation of her department's green initiative, she architected a taxpayer gratitude project and, on top of all of that, she went on a fact-finding mission to a nearby municipal meeting place AND partook in an urban renewal project. "I stopped by the office today, mainly to water my plants. I stayed for a couple of hours to catch up with people and make some personal phone calls. I would like to personally thank all the taxpayers out there for sponsoring what has essentially been a vacation this month. Highlights of this week include painting my bedroom and spending a lovely day in Malcolm X park reading and reflecting on life. Percentage of actual work done today: 1. Percentage of that work that could have been done by someone making at least half my salary: 100. Number of days I even bothered going to work this month: 3." We replied to ask if she was serious about only making it in three days this week. "Give or take. That may be generous," wrote BLOB. Thanks, BLOB!

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST PATS SELF ON BACK - Our favorite PSLGOPL, perhaps suffering the brain-atrophying effects of one of Rick Perry's forced lady serums, sent us this stream-of-consciousness rant about James Carville: "Am I going to take credit for Carville's call to arms and fire Democratic operatives? Absolutely. I'm breaking my arm patting myself on the back," wrote PSLGOPL, who also shared a link to Carville giving a paid speech to some people he claims to hate.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Steve King: "This economy will not recover if we're going to continue to borrow money, put the debt on the heads of our grandchildren, and think that spending money solves anything....We've got to get this country back to work and get those people out of the slacker rolls and onto the employed rolls." [HuffPost]

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POLL: WHITE HOUSE, CONGRESS SOMEHOW ONLY PURSUING LEAST POPULAR DEFICIT MEASURES - The current deficit reduction framework being discussed includes a bipartisan mix of proposals, from the Democratic-favored increase in revenues from wealthier Americans to Republican-favored cuts in programs that prevent old people from being eaten alive by wolves, or what not. However a new survey from Bloomberg finds that the most popular deficit reduction measures aren't being discussed by lawmakers in Washington. Mike McAuliff: "The survey, released Thursday and Friday, found that the most popular options for reducing the deficit was cutting Social Security benefits for high-income earners, with 64 percent favoring that idea. The third and fourth most popular ideas were raising the amount of salary subject to Social Security tax beyond the current $107,000 a year (52 percent) and gradually raising retirement age to 69 (49 percent)...On the congressional side, House Republicans have repeatedly declared that raising taxes is a non-starter -- a stance House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reaffirmed in a Thursday speech. Yet, the Bloomberg survey found that repealing the Bush-era tax cuts on households earning more than $250,000 is the second most favored idea, at 54 percent. What that leaves on the table are deficit-trimming plans that few people like, such as cutting Medicaid and Medicare by targeting providers, cutting back on the military or trimming cost-of-living increases in Social Security." [HuffPost]

The Super Committee will hold its next public meeting on Thursday, September 22nd. The panel held a private meeting yesterday, probably because the tiny alien that controls Jeb Hensarling through a series of levers, buttons and dials in a cockpit-like space beneath the Texas lawmaker's sternum needed some fresh air. The panel will hear testimony from tax experts about revenues, so the committee is expected to focus much of its attention on that issue. [Roll Call]

TOM RIDGE ENDORSES JON HUNTSMAN - What? If seven fewer people supported Jon Huntsman than do currently, the former Utah governor wouldn't be a candidate but just a VERY involved political junkie. But former Pennsylvania governor and erstwhile Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, circumstance be dammed, has endorsed Huntsman's fledgling campaign. "I believe he has the judgment, the temperament and the vision to lead America," Ridge said today in New Hampshire. "I believe he has that vision to make America a more secure and prosperous and competitive nation." OK, that's nice, but why did this happen? Seriously, why did this happen??? The two must have attended a function back in the day and entered into some sort of blood pact. We imagine Huntsman awkwardly standing in some law office somewhere sipping cranberry juice and watching Ridge pound drink after drink. Soon, the conversation must have turned to the two men's political ambitions. At some point Ridge, no doubt on his eighth old fashioned, started to get real ("Friend, if you ran for president, I would be right there beside you! *hiccup*"). The rest would be history...and an awkward call from Huntsman to Ridge reminding him of the agreement. Sorry, we got swept away there. So, yeah, Ridge endorsed Huntsman. What gives? [CNN]

Michele Bachmann has released a painfully low-budget video denouncing Rick Perry's HPV vaccine decision. "Whether it's Obamacare or whether it's Perrycare [Editor's Note: Ooooh! "Perrycare"], I oppose any governor or president who mandates a family's health care choices and in turn violates the rights of parents on these issues," Bachmann says.. In the video, Bachmann is standing in front of a beige, synthetic-looking background (the same material found on cubical walls) and what we think is a ficus tree. The sound quality is poor and Bachmann's voice echoes. It looks like it was filmed at a public access television studio. Maybe Bachmann squeezed her recording session in-between tapings of "Astrological Outlook" and "Aqui Con Jesus." [TPM]

DONALD TRUMP WAS PLEASED TO MEET WITH THE REPUBLICAN FRONTRUNNER - "I had dinner last night with Jim Perry."

SCOTT WALKER BEING DRAWN INTO INVESTIGATION - The navy and yellow windbreakers descended on the home of a longtime aide to Scott Walker this past Wednesday as part of an investigation into whether the aide, Cynthia Archer, was one of a number of Milwaukee County officials to engage in political activities on the taxpayers' dime. Archer worked for Walker when he was the county executive. Now, questions are being raised as to whether Governor Walker was aware of what Archer, who moved from the county office to the statehouse with him when he was elected, was doing. Archer first served as Gov. Walker's deputy Department of Administration secretary until August when she became his legislative liaison for the Department of Children and Family Services. [AP]

HERE IS SOME NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - Courtesy of Tyler Kingkade: "Florida's school teachers have filed a lawsuit against a new Republican law that institutes a merit pay system, believing the changes to their contracts go against the state's constitution. It wasn't a good week for the LGBT community: North Carolina passed a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships only 24 hours after presenting it. In Michigan, the House OKed a bill that stops employers from offering domestic partner benefits. A bunch of tar balls washed up on Alabama's shores after recent hurricanes. Turns out they're related to the BP oil spill from 2010. You mean that stuff still isn't cleaned up? Nope. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit over a publicly-funded technical college in Missouri requiring all students go through drug-testing as a condition for their enrollment. Oh, and there's a man in Arkansas desperate to suck women's toes. Police are hot on the trail." Thanks, Tyler!

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dogs jumping rope.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - This weekend: Here's what you need to know. I'm in a cold place. It's surprising how cold it is. I'm not normally one to say "I'm freezing my butt off," but as soon as I got off the plane, I said that. And I was actually shocked I said that. The reason is this arctic system. It's going to freeze you all weekend. Get ready. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- The most nonchalant, don't-give-a-flip foul ball catch by a baseball fan EVER. [http://huff.to/osVOmf]

- A short film about the Breuckelen Distilling Company, Brooklyn's oldest continuously operating gin distiller since prohibition. [http://huff.to/oYh4Rg]

- Sad, lonely ginger seal was abandoned by its mother and shunned by its colony.[http://huff.to/nyzoSZ]

- Jedi Kittens are engaged in a battle of galactic proportions. [http://huff.to/qdAUsg]

- How many continents are there? It's actually kind of complicated, as this pithy video demonstrates. [http://huff.to/qV7SPE]

- Yesterday we reported that naked men were eating Fudgesicles in front of Nicolas Cage's bed. Today, we report that Nicolas Cage is a time traveler. [http://huff.to/osFbyu]

- If you haven't already seen the Girl With The Drago Tattoo spoof promoting the upcoming Muppets movie, do yourself a favor and check it out. [http://bit.ly/qJ3OCa]

- The last Ford Crown Victoria rolled off the assembly line yesterday. An era ends. [http://huff.to/oKPvML]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: "We need energy independence!" "OK, let's try to fund some alternative energy companies." "NO, NOT LIKE THAT!"

@mayorvincegray: About to present a proclamation declaring #HaydenPanettiere Day in District 4 her work on behalf of DC self-determination.

@delrayser: Weather in DC has finally gotten cool enough that I can implement Ron Paul's Afghanistan Exit Strategy (turn off the A/C).

ON TAP

Today - Tomorrow: Richard Burr is the guest of honor at his "Pine Needles Golf Outing" this weekend. Why you would want to go golfing in pine needles is beyond us. That sounds uncomfortable. Very. [Southern Pines, NC].

Today - Sunday: Mike Thompson attends a "Lake County Weekend" getaway to benefit his VINE PAC. Only a guy representing Napa could get away with calling his political action committee "VINE PAC." [Lake County, CA].

Today - Sunday: If VINE PAC is the most lefty, blue state PAC name a lawmaker can have, then For America's Republican Majority (FARM PAC) is definitely the most red state-y. Tom Latham nabbed it and will be raising funds for it this weekend at a Bedford Springs retreat. [Bedford Springs, PA]

Today - Sunday: No better time and no better place for a golf weekend getaway than Washington State in early fall, amirite? That's what Adam Smith is banking on. [The W Hotel, 1112 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA].

Today - Tomorrow: Walter Jones takes his donors on a fundraising retreat at the Sanderling Resort. The Sanderling Resort is located on Duck Road in Duck, North Carolina. That makes us laugh. [Duck, NC].

Tomorrow, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: When a lawmaker named Elijah Cummings is the guest of honor at a fundraiser thrown by a guy named Floyd Malveau, the name gods smile. [Ellicot City, MD].

Tomorrow - Sunday: Tom Harkin does exactly what you think people in Iowa do all weekend: eat steak. He and his wife host their annual "Steak Fry." [801 Chop House, 801 Grand Ave, Des Moines]

Sunday - Monday: John Cornyn does literally what he does figuritively every day in Congress: Shoot doves. The Texas senator takes checks and shoots birds that are the international symbol for peace at his annual dove hunt. [Hondo, Texas]

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

*Arthur Delaney dissents from the dis on radio station holiday music.

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