The Jerky Boys have Scott Walker to thank for their suddenly becoming America's foremost political visionaries. Mike Huckabee dared to let his anti-war sentiments be known at an event rife with scones, cucumber sandwiches and and other lefty accouterments. The White House decided to reverse its position on DOMA rather than two years ago because...uh...why not? And the long-dormant trebuchet and arbalest industries got a boost when Rick Santorum gushed about the Crusades. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011:
HOUSE GOP TO UNVEIL TEMPORARY CR - Faced with the prospect of Uncle Sam having to take a few personal days, House Republicans are planning to introduce a continuing budget resolution to ward off a shutdown of the federal government for two weeks. Writes John Stanton: "The goal, aides said, was to craft a bill that makes enough cuts to appease conservatives but cherry-picks reductions that Democrats and Republicans already support to make it palatable to the minority and the White House. That, Republicans hope, will put enough pressure on Senate Democratic moderates that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be forced to accept the bill." A shutdown could result in the suspension of entitlement programs, delays the processing of government documents and, perhaps most devastatingly, the loss of revenue from sales of astronaut ice cream at the Smithsonian gift shop. [Roll Call]
House Democratic aides tell Sam Stein that their GOP counterparts have told them that the only way they can get their Tea Party base to come around is to let the government shut down to show them the chaos that'll ensue. A Boehner spokesman denies this stuff.
SCOTT WALKER COMMENTS ON PRANK CALL - Hours after the Buffalo Beast called the Wisconsin governor while pretending to be Tea Party benefactor David Koch (see below), the prankee commented on the incident. "I take phone calls all the time," Walker said -- blatantly contradicting the sentiments of every Wisconsin Democrat currently on the lam -- during a press conference with reporters. "The bottom line is, the things I said are things I said publicly all along." Asked about his tacit endorsement of a ploy to lure Democrats back to the statehouse only to pull a bait-and-switch, Walker denied that anything was amiss. "In terms of other ways to come on in, it's not a trick. We said it point blank: Come on in and talk about it." Asked if Amanda Hugankiss was advising him on how to proceed, Walker didn't respond, because no one asked that question. [HuffPost]
TODAY IN WE'RE-JUST-SAYIN' - According to 2008 exit polls, John McCain won 37% of union members nationally, while picking up 35% in Wisconsin and 41% in Ohio. Now, if you're a union member, it's long been fine to vote Republican for the guns and the other stuff, knowing that the GOP isn't the workingman's best friend, but he's not gonna be that much worse than the Democrat. That's the calculation that created the Reagan Democrat and has kept the GOP competitive for several generations. But what happens to that calculation when Republicans make a real attempt to ELIMINATE YOUR UNION? If that union number drops from 37 to, say, 25, how does the GOP get to an electoral majority?
Video of Libyans celebrating the liberation of Tobruk from Qaddafi
INDIANA LEGISLATURE DROPS ANTI-UNION BILL, STATE WORKERS' WEAK-ASS BARGAINING FRAMEWORK IN TACT - A day after Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels -- who can apparently do the electoral math -- asked Republicans in the statehouse to drop consideration of a bill that would gut unions by not requiring dues from its members. Daniels expressed concern about the backlog of legislation that would build up as a result from the absence of House Democrats, who fled the state yesterday. As Ben Smith notes, Governor Daniels already axed collective bargaining for the state's public workers when he took office. In a statement, Daniels' spokesman didn't sidestep that point: "Been there, done that, six years ago," it began. [Politico]
PROTEST PIZZA - Ian's Pizza, a late-night slice shop one block from the state capitol building in Madison, is receiving donations from all over the world to feed hungry protesters. "People have bought over 30,000 slices," said manager Staci Fritz. "That's a lot of pizza." Fritz said Ian's is sending 20 pies to the capitol every 40 minutes or so. The stuff is everywhere. HuffPost observed middle-aged protesters stooping to a pizza box on the damp concrete outside the capitol and withdrawing tepid slices with mac-and-cheese toppings. Fritz said Ian's has had to limit donations, most of which come via credit card over the phone, to $20 per customer. "It's like a telethon at 9 a.m.," she said. Asked if Ian's supported the protesters in their political battle against Gov. Scott Walker, Fritz said, "We are pro-democracy and pro-pizza."
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Tom O'Grady, a union sheet metal worker from Sun Prairie, Wis., said the sight of youngsters protesting against Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to gut collective bargaining rights is bittersweet. "It's humbling," said O'Grady, 60. "We see all these kids, they may never have a union job, and they're here every night for us? It's very humbling."
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WHITE HOUSE REVERSES ON DOMA, CALLS IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL - The Obama administration announced that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Until today, the Justice Department had prosecuted violations of DOMA. "Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement before rattling off a series of government actions that have expanded gay rights, including the pending overturn of "don't ask, don't tell" and lower-court rulings against DOMA. All that remains now is for Rand Paul to demand the government construct an electrified underground fence around America's undefended marriages. [HuffPost/AP]
Boehner flack Michael Steel: "While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation." That sound you don't hear is the stunned silence from Planned Parenthood's headquarters.
GEITHNER SHRUGS OFF GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS, SOARING OIL PRICES Zach Carter: "Speaking to reporters at a Bloomberg News event in Washington, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner rejected concerns about surging oil prices: 'The economy is in a much stronger position to handle' such an increase. 'Central banks have a lot of experience in managing these things,' Geithner said. He did not mention that central banks have a lot of experience managing these things very badly and that expensive bank bailouts have limited governments' ability to respond to food and oil shocks. The last food and oil spike came in 2008, when the Fed ignored a huge speculative bubble in oil markets that sparked food riots in developing nations. Today, oil broke $100 a barrel for the first time since the 2008 crisis, as citizens in developing nations continued overthrowing governments amid record-high food prices." [Bloomberg]
YES, SOMEONE ACTUALLY DID CALL SCOTT WALKER PRETENDING TO BE DAVID KOCH - And it was courtesy of the Buffalo Beast, an alt-alt weekly co-founded by Matt Taibbi. In the call, Walker appeared to show his hand when Walker told fakeKoch that his staff was considering luring the at-large Democrats back under false pretenses. "An interesting idea that was brought up to me by my chief of staff, we won't do it until tomorrow, is putting out an appeal to the Democratic leader," Walker said. "I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders--talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn--but I'll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly. They can recess it... the reason for that, we're verifying it this afternoon, legally, we believe, once they've gone into session, they don't physically have to be there. If they're actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they'd have quorum because it's turned out that way" Has anyone confirmed whether Gov. Walker has Prince Albert in a can? Or if his Comm Director, Heywood Jablome, is in? [Buffalo Beast]
We're also looking forward to the press release from Scott Walker's comm shop: "Readout of Governor Walker's call with an Arnold Schwarzenegger soundboard"
Sam Stein landed an interview with the real life fakeKoch, Buffalo Beast Editor Ian Murphy. "Fifteen minutes in I wanted to almost stop it and say 'Are you so dumb? I'm not David Koch. How can your staff be so incompetent and how could I get on the phone with you so easily,'" Murphy said. "But I didn't." Then there was this: "I was going to call as Mubarak as an expression of solidarity for what he is doing. And I thought I can't do his voice, I need something more generic." [HuffPost]
If you've ever wondered how to pronounce the Koch Brothers' name, the title of the Buffalo Beast item is "Koch Whore" -- that is, in fact, the correct pronunciation. There, you learned something new today.
@daveweigel: The Antoine Dodson meme made it to Madison http://slate.me/g79Z0g
SENATORS CRACKING DOWN ON GOVERNMENT-EVADING BUREAUCRATS - Because federal employees just CAN'T WAIT to get in on all the AWESOME persecution their counterparts in Wisconsin, Indiana and elsewhere are enduring, Sens. Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill have introduced a bill that would require federal employees to keep up to date on their taxes or risk being fired from their jobs. If enacted, the measure would help collect $1 billion in back taxes (and it's about time those stupid government employees stepped up and did something for their government). In a press release that called the discrepancy in public-private sector pay "appalling," Coburn said, "This is a common sense bill that most Americans would believe is reasonable, necessary, and likely surprised that it is not already the standard throughout the federal government." You know what DOESN'T have Flex Fridays? Jail. [The Hill]
We missed this: "BP has reneged on promises made in November to negotiate early payments to Louisiana to help rebuild oyster beds, repair damaged wetlands and build a fish hatchery to allow the state to respond immediately to the collapse of commercial fisheries in the wake of the BP Gulf oil spill, state officials said Monday." [Times Picayune]
MIKE HUCKABEE VOICES SKEPTICISM ABOUT AFGHANISTAN WAR - It takes a brave speculative GOP presidential candidate to speak at an event for the "mainstream media" featuring crumpets but Mike Huckabee was up to the task today. The former Arkansas governor spoke to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor-hosted (literal) tea party today, casting doubts on the viability of the U.S.'s involvement in Afghanistan. "My doubts about Afghanistan happen from being there in January 2006 and when I say my doubts I believe our military is capable of doing whatever they are assigned to do given the resources to do it," he said. "But I came away from that experience wondering: What does the end game look like here? I can't see a conclusion." He added later: "We are there. The question is, I'm asking people, 'Tell me, what is it we do to say we are done? Help me to understand that because I'm not sure.'" [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
Huckabee on Koch: "I have not had a lot of calls from people in that world but, by that way, if he wants to call me and set up a fundraising apparatus it sure would help make my decision to run for president much easier."
RICK SANTORUM COMES OUT AS PRO-CRUSADES - What kind of guy speaks favorably about one of history's most violent bouts of proselytizing, recasts America's military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as one big Christian mission and blurs the line between theology and the Constitution ... all in one speech?...all in the same section?! Why, Rick Santorum, of course! During an appearance in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the former Pennsylvania senator and fecal discharge neologism (see below), took aim at the what he views as liberal revisionism. "The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," Santorum said. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom." If that wasn't enough, he added that "They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem." Seriously, if there's one thing that really upsets liberal, ivory tower academics, it's Johannes Gutenberg. [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Mental vacation: A collection of beautiful black-and-white photographs of Indonesia.
DAN SAVAGE PREPPING RETURN OF 'SANTORUM' - Looks like Rick Santorum will continue to be the butt of the joke. About eight years after the author and sex advice columnist started a campaign to SEO-bomb Santorum's name into meaning the "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex," Savage is saying he'll revive the campaign in the wake of Santorum's expected presidential campaign with a relaunch of the website bearing the definition. In his nationally syndicated column this week, Savage responded to Santorum's claim that he "obviously has some issues," by doubling down. "I do have issues -- I have lots of issues -- but I take particular issue with politicians who compare loving, stable same-sex relationships to 'man on dog' sex, as Santorum has done, or who would ban same-sex marriage and adoptions by same-sex couples, as Santorum has promised to do if he gets elected president," Savage wrote. [Roll Call]
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: With not much going on nationally, it's the good kind of quiet. It won't get too cold -- mid 30s overnight. Tomorrow: Some showers turning over to rain in the afternoon. It's just a wet spot in the middle of an otherwise unassuming week. No need to get alarmed! Thanks, JB!
- Every year one of Tokyo's zoos conducts a exercise meant to simulate their response to an escaped animal. Every year, some poor mope has to dress up in a giant animal costume and pretend to be shot by a tranquilizer gun. [http://bit.ly/faTAqW]
- Someone took the audio from a This American Life segment and animated the story described in it. Good stuff. [http://bit.ly/hTr1jF]
- There's a Facebook app that lets you know when someone breaks up with their significant other. A great app, if your computer doesn't short out from all the tears before you can use it. [http://bit.ly/gSn0yz]
- The King's Speech was filmed on a gay porn set. No, not Westminster Abbey. The other one. [http://bit.ly/gnVR1e]
- There comes a time in every child's life when their parent needs to sit them down and have the talk...about Star Wars. [http://bit.ly/9jpowN]
- "The Amazonian Guard is an elite group of 30-40 (reports differ) virginal women who are tasked with protecting the leader of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi." [http://bit.ly/i9ouuk]
- We all have to start somewhere, and for current Oscar-nominee Melissa Leo, her start took the form of this epic fight on All My Children in the 1980s. [http://bit.ly/eYktBV]
@PourMeCoffee: BREAKING: Governor Walker to solve budget crisis with funds from son of Nigerian official he has been corresponding with.
@KagroX: Hi, is Scott - er, the Governor - there? It's me, Ronald Reagan.
@NancyPelosi: A third judge just ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional. I eagerly await the breaking news alerts.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Rep. Brad Sherman is the guest of honor at a "Special Reception." Unless there is a Slip-N-Slide, there will be nothing special about the reception...in HuffPost Hill's opinion, that is [Home of Brenda and Dale Surowitz, Los Angeles, California].
7:00 pm: Sen. Tom Harkin is scheduled to attend a fundraiser at the Lady Gaga concert. To demonstrate his commitment to fiscal austerity, he will forgo his office car and staff driver and instead travel to the show via opaque brown egg carried by eight androgynous interns [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].
7:00 pm: Rep. Ed Towns will also be hosting a campaign function at the Lady Gaga concert. Are you thinking about Congressman Ed Towns in a meat dress? Yeah, neither are we [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].
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