Gay rights activists cheered as a California judge announced that same-sex couples might enjoy the tedium of wedded-bliss as early as Wednesday. The professional left -- long eager for the destruction of marriage so it could marry 5 dogs and an emu -- needed the pick-me-up after Dennis Kucinich explicitly stated he will not make a White House bid in 2012. Stay tuned tomorrow for more news on Elizabeth Warren's White House visit and whether we all have drowned in this never-ending rainstorm. Stay dry, Washington, this is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 12th, 2010:

BREAKING: ELIZABETH WARREN IN WHITE HOUSE MEETING TODAY - The government's chief TARP overseer and the professional left's top choice to run the forthcoming consumer protection bureau was spotted by MSNBC's Savannah Guthrie leaving the White House. Her visit was later confirmed by HuffPost's Sam Stein.

"The President believes that Elizabeth Warren is a champion for middle class families and consumers and she, among others, is a strong contender for this position. The President has not yet made a decision and no announcement is imminent," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage told HuffPost Hill in a statement. Warren met with staff, not the president.

Even if Elizabeth Warren gets nominated, we'll still be living in a world where antibiotics will soon be a pretty nice thing that people had in the 20th Century. Guardian:

And the climate will still be going to hell. HuffPo:

Warren Fight Gets Personal - Shahien Nasiripour: Some involved in the legislative effort to get Wall Street reform through Congress point to Warren's aggressive advocacy on behalf of the new agency as a sore point between Warren and Chris Dodd. For months, Dodd tried to garner bipartisan support for the bill. But every time word leaked that Dodd was potentially softening his position for a tough new consumer agency, Warren publicly pushed back.n December, members of Dodd's staff met with consumer groups and told them to prepare backup plans in case an independent consumer agency didn't emerge from the process. What was the least they'd support, the consumer advocates were asked. Frantic e-mails and conference calls ensued as advocates worried that the agency -- a centerpiece of the legislation -- was in doubt. In January, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Dodd was looking to scrap the idea of an independent agency, Warren penned a letter to supporters urging them to fight. "The next few weeks will determine whether our hard work will make a difference for families or whether families will lose once again," she wrote. In March, after news reports indicated that Dodd was looking to place the new agency inside the Federal Reserve -- its ultimate location -- consumer advocates worried that the new regulator's independence would be in question. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Warren again made the fight one between banks and families, arguing that her "first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor."

IS OPPOSITION TO WARREN SEXIST? NOW President Terry O'Neill rang up HuffPost Hill after reading Shahien's piece on Chris Dodd's opposition to Elizabeth Warren. "What this looks like to me is that the good ol' boys on Wall Street want to block her because she's a watchdog and they want a lapdog and their culture is so sexist and so misogynist that they think they can block her because she's a female. Raising the question of sexism--I've gotten yelled at--but the fact is it's the elephant in the room," she said. "I don't know how you don't identify sexism when Wall Street itself is notorious for its sexism and misogynism."

JUDGE SAYS CALIFORNIA GAY MARRIAGE BAN WILL EXPIRE ON AUGUST 18TH...MAYBE - "A federal judge put gay marriages on hold for at least another six days in California, disappointing dozens of gay couples who lined up outside City Hall hoping to tie the knot Thursday. Judge Vaughn Walker gave opponents of same-sex weddings until Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. to get a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether gay marriage should resume. Gay marriages could happen at that point or be put off indefinitely depending on how the court rules."

Judge Walker: "The evidence presented at trial and the position of the representatives of the State of California show that an injunction against enforcement of Proposition 8 is in the public's interest. Accordingly, the court concludes that the public interest counsels against entry of the stay proponents seek."

The order:

@PEliottAP: WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Defense Department says that only about a quarter of the troops sent a survey on gays in the military have responded.

HUFFPOST EXCLUSIVE: PAT TILLMAN'S FATHER'S ANGRY LETTER TO THE ARMY - A documentary on Pat Tillman, the former NFL star whose death by friendly fire in Afghanistan lead to an alleged cover-up, will soon be released by the Weinstein Company. The film studio provided the Huffington Post with two letters from Tillman's father, Pat Senior, to Brigadier General Gary M. Jones -- who spearheaded the investigation of Tillman's death -- and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sam Stein: "'You are a General,' Tillman's father writes Jones after being presented with a briefing book of his findings...'I thought your rank disservice it and anticipated something different from the new and improved investigation. I won't act so hypocritically if we meet again...In sum: F*ck you... and yours.'"

L'ETAT, C'EST CHUCK SCHUMER AND BEN CARDIN: SENATE PASSES $600 MILLION BORDER SECURITY MEASURE - All by their lonesome, the two lawmakers passed the border bill and a resolution honoring the life of Ted Stevens, the ex-Alaska senator who perished in a plane crash this week. "The border security measure would fund the hiring of 1,000 new Border Patrol agents to be deployed at critical areas along the border, 250 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and 250 more Customs and Border Protection officers. It provides for new communications equipment and greater use of unmanned surveillance drones...The bill is paid for by raising fees on foreign-based personnel companies that use U.S. visa programs, including the popular H-1B program, to bring skilled workers to the United States."

SCOOP - Financial Times' Stephanie Kirchgaessner to report tomorrow, "The US Department of Justice is scrutinising payments by leading pharmaceuticals companies for hospitality, consultants, licensing agreements and charitable donations in markets around the world as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe."

VAN HOLLEN WANTS RETIREMENT AGE KEPT THE SAME - Despite hints by his leadership colleagues Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn that the Democrats may budge on the issue, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen told Sam Stein that the Democratic caucus doesn't want to see the retirement age raised. "The consensus position in the caucus is we can preserve the existing structure of Social Security, including the retirement age. And that is where we are. Obviously, people have, whenever they talk about the issue, there are different ideas. But it was very clear from the statements that we made as the Democratic caucus on the front steps of the Capitol that we believe that we should not be changing the retirement age."

A House Dem aide writes, "Saturday is the 75th anniversary of Social Security. Tomorrow we'll be releasing a report documenting the support throughout the ranks of House Republicans for privatizing and cutting Social Security."

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is holding a reporter roundtable tomorrow morning to defend herself against ethics-related charges.

HOUSE DEMS HIT GEITHNER FOR GOING AFTER UNDERWATER HOMEOWNERS - John Conyers and Marcy Kaptur are gathering signatures for a letter pushing back against a proposed administration policy to go after people who walk away from their mortgages. "This opaque, flawed proposed policy would be a poor use of taxpayer dollars, does nothing to help keep individuals in their homes, and will likely result in the targeting of individuals who default on their mortgages through no fault of their own," they write.

A Republican congressional candidate and RNC committee member has personally apologized for a tweet his campaign sent out promoting an article that called his opponent a "turban topper" who "could be a muslim, a hindu, a buddhist etc who knows." Republican Mike Pompeo, who is running for a congressional seat in Kansas fourth district, called State Rep. Raj Goyle on Thursday to offer his regrets for the offending post, Goyle told Sam Stein. The apology was accepted.

DFA raises big $$$ against Bachmann, Campbell. Democracy For America showed off some serious professional leftism today, raising more money in 24 hours with an email ask than they ever had before. The secret to pulling down the $50,000 was raising against Michele Bachmann and John Campbell on behalf of Democrats Tarryl Clark and Beth Krom.

That's a little bit more than Alan Grayson raised by going after Politico, indicating it takes two despised Republicans to equal one Politico.

First Read, via Kos: "The GOP has a HUGE generic-ballot edge in the South (52%-31%), but it doesn't lead anywhere else. In the Northeast, Dems have a 55%-30% edge; in the Midwest, they lead 49%-38%; and in the West, it's 44%-43%."

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CHARLIE RANGEL ONCE AGAIN DEFENDS HIMSELF AGAINST ETHICS CHARGES - The embattled New York congressman, who just days earlier made a defiant speech on the House floor, reiterated his innocence at a campaign rally in New York today. "I should not have to encourage the Fourth Estate to take a look at the law, that should help," he said. "No paper can deny anybody, even a Charlie Rangel, the opportunity to a fair, equitable and just hearing." The Hill:

Rangel's press conference was somehow overshadowed by a totally remarkable incident last night in which a New Yorker yelled something offensive and a local politician responded by doing something brash. NY Times: "About 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, as guests began strolling into the Plaza Hotel to celebrate Representative Charles B. Rangel's 80th birthday, former Mayor David N. Dinkins turned to confront a heckler."You know you are attending a party for a crook," the man yelled. At that, Mr. Dinkins, a paragon of statesmanship and dignity, raised his middle finger at the man, displaying it for all to see, according to witnesses, whose accounts were confirmed by the former mayor.

Rangel dancing at said birthday party:

DENNIS KUCINICH TAKES A BREAK FROM HOT-BOXING HIS CANADIAN HEALTH CLINIC WITH THE PROFESSIONAL LEFT TO SAY HE WON'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2012 - The de facto leader of the nation's kombucha and freecycle set responded to Robert Gibbs' broadside against the liberal establishment. AP: "Rep. Dennis Kucinich tells ABC's 'Good Morning America' that press secretary Robert Gibbs shouldn't have attacked the 'professional left.' Gibbs had said liberals were too hard to please and that they wouldn't be content even with Kucinich, a renowned progressive, as president. The Ohio Democrat said, 'Those of us who call ourselves liberal say we're not going to rest until we get back to a full employment economy.' Asked if he would challenge Obama for the party's nomination in 2012, Kucinich, who ran in 2008, replied, 'No.'"

Demonstrating once and for all that she is not a San Francisco elitist, Nancy Pelosi appeared on Bravo's Top Chef DC last night and picked the "blue" team. Politico Click has a a summary with video:

WAVE OF DEPARTURES FROM THE WHITE HOUSE - With the thrill going up their legs subsiding and the "professional left" taking a break from cocooning itself in Burt's Bees products to relentlessly attack their accomplishments, White House staffers are making like a banana and splitting. NYT: "Eighteen months into President Obama's term, some of the first-generation team that arrived with him at the White House are moving on...In the last two weeks, Peter R. Orszag, the White House budget director, clocked his final day; Christina Romer, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, announced plans to return to California; and Camille Johnston, the first lady's communications director, accepted a high-level corporate job. They follow nearly a dozen others who have left since the inauguration."

MIKE HUCKABEE VOICES OPPOSITION TO 14TH AMENDMENT OVERHAUL - The move once again proves that he's just your dime-a-dozen, friendly neighborhood Joe who believes the 10 Commandments should be displayed in public schools and that homosexuality is comparable to incest. Sam Stein: "Asked specifically whether he would favor repealing parts of the 14th Amendment, Huckabee replied [on NPR]: 'I don't think that's even possible.' 'Would you favor it?' pressed NPR's host Tom Ashbrook. 'No,' said Huckabee. 'Let me tell you what I would favor. I would favor having controlled borders... but that's where the federal government has miserably and hopelessly failed us.''

A new PPP survey finds Ron Paul playing spoiler if he makes a third party bid in 2012. "PPP's monthly look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race finds that Ron Paul could play a major role as a third party candidate. He gets 13% in a hypothetical three way contest with Barack Obama getting 42% and Mitt Romney 36%...In a direct head to head between Obama and Romney the President leads 45-42 so Paul as a third party candidate could be worth roughly 3 points to Obama's margin of victory."

GROUND ZERO MOSQUE IMAM WORKED WITH W - Proving once and for all that he really does want to see America kick the bucket, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has reportedly teamed up with President Bush in the past. Christian Science Monitor: "'His work on tolerance and religious diversity is well-known and he brings a moderate perspective to foreign audiences on what it's like to be a practicing Muslim in the United States,' State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said Tuesday. He added that the department's public-diplomacy offices 'have a long-term relationship with' Rauf - including during the past Bush administration, when the religious leader undertook a similar speaking tour [to promote abroad Muslim life in America]." Via TPM:

Today in The Times They Are A-Changin': "Temporary housing used in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is showing up in western North Dakota's oil patch, where a boom in activity has created a housing crunch. Morey Bang of Medora bought seven cottages and 17 campers at an auction conducted by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and moved them into Belfield. Bang also has purchased a motel and a former church in Killdeer, and is renting both facilities to oil field workers." AP:

TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CONTEST GETTING RACE-Y - You have to be impressed with the speed in which Bill White transitions from placating a liberal audience to a conservative one. Dallas Morning News: "Rick Perry called on Bill White today to apologize for telling an African-American audience that he would be a 'servant' as governor while Perry wants to be a 'master.' 'Injecting that type of language into the race is not appropriate,' Perry said. White fired back, saying Perry 'is just trying to play racial politics.' White said that if anybody was offended, he apologizes. But he added that his remarks stand: 'I do think the government should be the servant and not the master. It's a deeply conservative philosophy.'"

Speaking of race-y, we're going to go ahead and cry racist on this new David Vitter ad, which takes the "illegals are scary" thing just a bit too far by equating "you" with "white" and "them" with "nefarious Mexican day laborers." Just remember, America, next time you see a Mexican dude in work clothes, he's probably breaking the law:

SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER ORLY TAITZ CASE - Everyone's favorite dentist/lawyer might be headed to the highest court in the land. God bless America. "A request to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito by 'birther' attorney Orly Taitz asking that $20,000 in sanctions against her be reversed was referred on Tuesday to the entire court...Taitz appealed the sanctions to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. That court upheld the sanctions in March, and Taitz sent an application for stay to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on July 8. Thomas denied it a week later. Taitz then refiled it with Alito on Aug. 4. That request was referred on Tuesday to the entire nine-member court, the Supreme Court's website states.'He circulated it to the other eight justices and said, 'Does anybody else want to do something with this?'' Columbus attorney William Mason said." Ledger-Enquirer.

DC is trying to return to its swampy roots... don't let it. From a city government alert: "The Department of Public Works is making sandbags available to residents between 3 pm and midnight Thursday, August 12, 2010, to help prevent their homes from flooding in light of additional storms predicted for later today. The sandbags can be picked up from the rolloff box at the DPW site at New Jersey Avenue and K Street, SE (on the New Jersey Avenue side on the back lower level). The bags weigh approximately 40 lbs. to 50 lbs., but DPW will not be able to provide assistance with loading them into residents' vehicles. DPW does ask people to take no more than four bags per household."

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for most of the area through 9 p.m. We at the HPH storm center believe there will be storms later -- we're right along a front's edge and it won't pass over us -- but will err more towards the 7-9 p.m. time frame. We've seen tornado warnings in Fredrick, MD and Fredricksburg, VA, already, so please be alert to warnings/watches coming up. The atmospheric conditions are favorable for that. Should there be a warning issued for your county, go to your basement and stay under a bed or desk. If you don't have a basement, go to the lowest floor and stay in a windowless room with something protecting you from falling debris. Better safe than sorry. Tomorrow: The front looks pretty stationary, so you can expect a washout with storms popping up.


- A blog that documents the best (and worst) in bathroom wall graffiti.

- The 50 best fictional bands.

- File this under "Never Again:" A beer pong rap.

- A turtle trying to squeeze through a doggie door.

- A Communist rendition of Michael Jackson's "Beat It."

- The most ridiculous Vladimir Putin headlines ever.

- If there was an XFL for soccer, this would be it.


@delrayser: Today's storm an excellent reminder that the primary purpose of Twitter is so ppl in DC can tell you about our weather.

@GregMitch: Ben Quayle: Porn to Run? Porn Under a Bad Sign? Porn With a Silver Spoon in His Mouth?

@michaelianblack: Has a study been done to determine which is worse for marriage: gay people or the fact that nobody has a job?


TONIGHT: Someone alert Arthur Delaney, Michael Danielson, an unemployed 99er, was on Ratigan. Joe Solmonese and anchor-to-be Lawrence O'Donnell were on Hardball. HuffPost's Roy Sekoff is on the Ed Show. Arizona AG and gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard stops by the Rachel Maddow show.



5:00 pm: Phillips After 5 rolls on featuring a scavenger hunt, jazz from Federico Pena and Friends and a cash bar [The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW].

8:30 pm: Black Cat hosts a free screening of two of history's greatest second fiddle rock-movies Help! and Quadrophenia [Black Cat, 1811 14th St NW].


5:00 pm - 8:30 pm: It wouldn't be Friday in DC without Jazz in the Garden. This week, the Carsten Boe Trio performs its brand of "Django jazz from Oslo, Norway." All right [Smithsonian Sculpture Garden, 700 Constitution Avenue NW].
All Evening: The grand opening of Sweetspot, a new Dupont dance spot [Sweetspot, 1140 19th St NW].

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