HUFFPOST HILL - Foghorn Barbourhorn Isn't Running

HUFFPOST HILL - Foghorn Barbourhorn Isn't Running

The U.S. is adopting The Huffington Post approach to diplomacy by winning people over through animal video tweets. Max Cleland and John Kerry forgot to CC Hero Intern Daniel Hernandez on the memo about how heroic Democrats typically lose elections. Haley Barbour -- a man so Southern he thinks global warming is just the Earth getting "the vapors" -- isn't running for president. And between John Boehner losing his DOMA lawyers and the Supreme Court handing health care reform a victory, lefties haven't had this kind of legal day since you and your college friends had that pot charge expunged. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, April 25th, 2011:

FOOTBALL! A federal judge gave professional football players a significant victory Monday, granting an injunction to stop the N.F.L.'s six-week lockout. [NYT]

I DO (NOT) DECLARE: HALEY BARBOUR ISN'T RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT - OH JEEZ this one hurts. The man who'd most likely affix his campaign logo to ivory-handled canes and sell them as merchandise isn't running for president. "I will not be a candidate for president next year," Barbour's statement begins . He later adds that "A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required." A lot of you have already asked us what we'll do without Barbour and the wealth of material he would provide. To be fair, we were just planning on making a lot of Captain from Cool Hand Luke references ("Making a media buy in New Hampshire, boss," "Hitting Romney on the Massachusetts health care bill, boss," "The latest reports about me and that intern in the Enquirer are slanderous and absolutely false, boss," etc.). [AP/HuffPost]

Jon Ward on how Barbour came to his decision: "One camp, headed by his former lobbying partners Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith, was telling Barbour he should go for it. Foremost in their minds was Barbour's unique political abilities and connections and his imposing resume as chairman of the Republican National Committee in the mid-90's, as GOP power broker, and as a governor. This group included many of Barbour's allies in Washington...But there was another group of advisers whose counsel to Barbour was that he should not run. This group included Ed Gillespie, one of the GOP's most influential political advisers who worked for Barbour at the RNC in the mid-90's, and Don Fierce, a Washington lobbyist who is a close personal friend of Barbour's."

@JohnJHarwood: #mitchdaniels confidant: Indiana Gov. now "60 to 70%" likely to seek 2012 GOP nomination

Mike McAuliff: "The Republican Party's endorsement of sharply conservative prescriptions to fix ailing state and federal budgets is threatening to reunite the progressive movement and heal its disillusionment with the Democratic Party. Over the past week, an informal coalition of non-government groups has plotted ways to make town halls increasingly uncomfortable for Republican lawmakers -- a coordination that is more advanced then previously reported. The linchpin has been Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) 2012 budget proposal, which passed the House before the Easter recess. A Huffington Post canvassing of advocacy groups finds some organizations have closely monitored the calendars of Republican congressmen -- especially Budget Committee Chairman Ryan's -- and deployed attendees accordingly."

From a real alert Politico just sent out: "Witness: Ryan Grimm In Night Club, "Carrying on Like a Madman"
We're pretty sure Politico meant to refer to Rep. Michael Grimm, but HuffPost Hill doesn't remember much of its Easter Weekend, so anything's possible. We're still not sorry we said all those things about "Fast Break."

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WEIGHING SYRIA SANCTIONS - As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on his own people continues to make Hosni Mubarak's response look like a sternly-worded letter-to-the-editor, the U.S. government is considering implementing sanctions on the country. "We are very concerned about it, as a number of countries are, and we are looking at a variety of options including targeted sanctions," Jay Carney said at his briefing today. "What we have seen is that sanctions can put pressure on governments and regimes to change their behavior." Speaking of the force and effect of letters-to-the-editor, that's the impact an embargo might have on Syria. Notes Reuters' Matt Spetalnick: "Washington is mindful of its limited ability to influence Damascus, which is closely allied with U.S. foe Iran and has had chilly relations with the United States. It is cautious about further military entanglement in the Muslim world where it is already involved in long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." [Reuters]

It's all fun and games and Muslim revolutions until people start griping about the cost to fill up their Yukon Denali. Here's John Boehner to Jonathan Karl: "But if the economy doesn't get better, I don't think [President Obama will] win. If people don't feel better about government-run healthcare, I don't think he'll win. And if gas prices are $5 or $6, he certainly isn't going to win." [ABC News]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Accused mortgage-modification fraudster Howard Shmuckler has lost the website he used to call his accusers "the real scammers."
Even though Shmuckler -- his real name -- had been indicted and repeatedly sued for charging homeowners for modifications he never delivered, he maintained his website until a court order went against him earlier this month. Shmuckler billed homeowners thousands of dollars in upfront fees on the promise he would get them mortgage modifications to help them stay out of foreclosure. Yet, hundreds of his clients never received modifications, according to the Maryland government and attorneys representing homeowners in Virginia, where the now-defunct Shmuckler Group had been based. But, at -- which redirected to -- Shmuckler maintained that he'd been a savior for more than 900 homeowners. [HuffPost]

EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ROUNDUP - Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation preserving New Jersey's eligibility for the federal government's Extended Benefits program, which provides the final 20 weeks of benefits for the long-term jobless. Meanwhile, one Republican lawmaker in North Carolina says they'll take another pass at EB sometime soon, though it's unclear when that might happen. The Democratic governor there vetoed a GOP bill that kept the state eligible for EB but with poison-pill budget cuts.

Also: Christie signed a law banning discrimination against the unemployed.

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

WHITE HOUSE TO PROPOSE CLOSING CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLE, LOWER RATES - If President Obama weren't such an anti-business marxist, he might show America's beleaguered corporations some love, maybe with tax cuts, or Edible Arrangements or, if he really wanted to say "I care," foot baths (nice foot baths). Instead, the president and his staff are formulating a plan to assault the besieged .02 percent with a plan to reduce their tax rate in exchange for them not dodging the IRS anymore -- which they really, really promise not to do this time. Cross their hearts. John Harwood: "That process, intended to make the United States more competitive internationally, has explored the willingness of business leaders to sacrifice loopholes in return for lowering the top corporate tax rate, currently 35 percent. The approach officials are now discussing would drop the top rate as low as 26 percent, largely by curbing or eliminating tax breaks for depreciation and for domestic manufacturing. Final options have not been presented to Mr. Obama, but officials aim to unveil a single proposal or a set of alternative plans as early as May." So corporations have to be plied into playing by the same rules as everyone else with lower taxes, but the needy just sort of have to ... take it. Maybe if poor people could actually AFFORD a carrot, they might get more than just the stick. Stupid poors.[NYT]

SCOTUS RULES AGAINST FAST-TRACKING HEALTH CARE REFORM CASE - The high court today denied the attorney general of Virginia's request to expedite the appeal of health care reform by sending it straight to the Supreme Court, bypassing lower appellate courts. Historically, the Supreme Court only intervenes in cases that have not run their course through the appellate system in times of war or constitutional crisis. Um, maybe you haven't heard about the War On Our Grandmothers, your honors? And if the aggressive encroachment of socialism on our way of life isn't a constitutional crisis, we don't know what is. [AP/HuffPost]

Elena Kagan, who served as the president's solicitor general before her nomination, decided not to recuse herself. That is significant. Sam Stein: "With Kagan apparently set to vote in the Supreme Court's ultimate decision on the Affordable Care Act (and the case is destined to eventually end there) the chances that the law, or part of it, will be ruled unconstitutional are diminished. Justice Anthony Kennedy likely remains the critical vote, though there has been speculation that a more conservative court member could end up voting to uphold the law." [HuffPost]

LAW FIRM DROPS DEFENSE OF DOMA, ATTORNEY RESIGNS IN PROTEST - King & Spalding, the high-profile D.C. law firm and HuffPost DC's neighbor, announced today that it will no longer represent the House of Representatives in its attempt to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. "In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate," Firm Chairman Robert D. Hays, Jr. said in a statement. "Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created." Shortly after the firm officially dropped the case former Solicitor General Paul Clement announced that he was resigning in protest. "My thoughts about the merits of DOMA are as irrelevant as my views about the dozens of federal statutes that I defended as Solicitor General," he wrote. "Instead, I resign out of the firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular position is what lawyers do." With firms running away from the DOMA case, we give it a week before John Boehner starts consulting 1-800 ads ("Has the sanctity of marriage been injured in a liberal attempt to undermine society? You deserve your day in court. Call now."). [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

No one told us that Politico replaced its assignment editor with an assignment generator.

HUFFPOST HICCUP - Last week we wrote, "We hear that [Jared] Bernstein will likely be replaced with a TV tuned to Fox Business Channel that Bruce Reed will push around on a cart." We'll let the Fox business channel PR team handle this one. Anne Muscarella: "I am hoping you can correct an excerpt in your 'HUFFPOST HILL - Ensign Investigation Won't End' article. In the passage regarding Jared Bernstein is leaving the White House, you incorrectly term FOX Business Network, 'Fox Business Channel'. Please let me know when you are able to update this." Thanks, Anne!, a website launched during the Bush administration to promote U.S. interests abroad, is shutting down. In somewhat fitting fashion, the United State's biggest online initiative has now gone the way of and Geocities. Alicia Cohn: "The manpower once devoted to the site, provided through the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), is being redirected toward the department's 'social media assets,' which use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. IIP Deputy Assistant Secretary Duncan MacInnes called it a shift to a 'more proactive' Web engagement strategy." [The Hill]

Speaking of things we're doing that affect how foreigners think of us, a new ABC / Washington Post poll finds support for the war in Afghanistan to be at its lowest levels thus far.

HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE WOULDN'T RUIN AMERICA - Raising the minimum wage wouldn't cripple job growth and hurt businesses like some conservative groups have argued, according to a new study. To the contrary, it could pump money into the economy and reduce turnover in low-wage positions, the researchers found. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for a full-time job. Until 2007, the minimum wage had been set at $5.15 for over 10 years. Seventeen states currently have a minimum wage set higher than the federal standard, and a number of states are considering giving their standards another boost. The food and retail industries often fight such hikes, arguing that higher wages discourage growth, particularly in down economies. [HuffPost's Dave Jamieson]

Maine Gov. Paul LePage thinks people need to stop whining about repealing child labor laws, reports Amanda Terkel: "I went to work at 11 years old. I became governor. It's not a big deal. Work doesn't hurt anybody."

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - A few days old, but if you haven't seen the "Greatest Speech Ever," you haven't seen oratory at its finest. []

HERO INTERN LOSES STUDENT GOV'T ELECTION, LIFE IS POINTLESS AND CRUEL - Steve Holt! Daniel Hernandez, the young man who braved gunfire to aid Gabrielle Giffords during the January 8th shooting in Tucson, has failed in his quest to be the University of Arizona's next student government president. With 1,986 ballots cast (What? Doesn't that school have, like, 400,000 students? C'mon, people) Hernandez was trounced by James Allen in a 66 percent to 21 percent landslide. In order to feed our disappointment with humanity, we won't actually look into what this James Allen is all about. We'll just assume that he won by plastering the campus with beer-themed fliers promising to add points to the school's meal plan and appointing "Giant Joint" as his running mate. Then there's this sadness: "Hernandez didn't immediately return a phone call and email from The Associated Press on Saturday." REALLY, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA?!? [AP/HuffPost]

KEVIN THE INTERN'S 'THIS DAY IN HISTORY' - April 25th, 1947: President Truman Begins the Tradition of Awkward Presidential Bowling Photo Ops. Despite not bowling since his teen years, President Truman christened a two-lane alley in the West Wing, funded by his fellow Missourians in honor of his birthday on May 8th. Truman was apparently more partial to poker, but the President can't be seen taking money from his secret service detail now can he? At the inaugural bowling game, Truman knocked down seven pins, and that was all he played. A few of his successors played, including President Johnson (who put in a separate alley across the street), and President Nixon (who put in a two lane alley underneath the White House's North Portico when he was elected). We all know how President Obama's one bowling outing during the campaign went, but at least when he plays basketball on the White House court, he's pretty darn good at it. Thanks, KB!


- Continuing the Susan Boyle tradition of propelling people that have never been kissed into instant stardom, this Britain's Got Got Talent contestant's insane Matrix dance is what the U.K. is distracting itself at work with now. []

- An infographic (God, we love those) depicting the differences between Mac and PC people. Yes, the commercials were dead on. []

- A collection of compelling large photographs of the NYC Subway system. []

- You call that a Chinese street performer? Now this, THIS is a Chinese street performer. []

- We hope you all had a wonderful Easter. The 23,000 bunnies that were killed as part of New Zealand's "Great Easter Bunny Hunt" sure didn't. []

- An Amazon computer accidentally charged customers $1,730,045.91 for a book about flies. It's the shipping charges that really get ya. []

- There's a webcam fixed on Abbey Road in London. Wait for 10 seconds and you'll probably see a group of four people doing "the walk." []

- The New York Times accidentally cited a fake Tiger beat cover that was conceived by The Onion. Whoops. []


@martybeckerman: "Atlas Shrugged Part I" tanked. Filmmakers assure Rand fans: Part II will happen. As soon as National Endowment for the Arts grants funding.

@RumsfeldOffice: Headed back east after a great Easter weekend in Taos w/ family. I can report that Joyce's mule, Gus, is enjoying the NM spring.

@jim_newell: haley barbour's an ass for dropping out on the day I introduce "gravy eyes."

@DCjourno: the reason i love #nerdprom so much is that i never went to real prom



8:00 pm: Acid-techno-rock-whatever group Yacht performs at Black Cat. Imagine what LCD Soundsystem would sound like if they spent more time on the beach [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].


6:00 pm: Washingtonian editor Garrett M. Graff is the guest of honor at a book party celebrating his newly-published work, "The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror." Think of it as a WHCD party exhibition game [2323 Wyoming Ave NW].

6:30 pm - 9:00pm: FD and Quinn gillespie host a White House Correspondence Dinner party. Yeah, we would schedule the one at the American Gas Association early, too [AGA, 400 N Capitol Street].

8:00 pm: Lord Huron, whose easy going pop-rock blend is inspired by everything from calypso, folk and psychedelia, performs at DC9. Fans of Yeasayer will enjoy [DC9, 1940 9th Street NW].

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