HUFFPOST HILL - Pelosi Eagerly Awaiting GOP Implosion

Sharron Angle single-handedly lowered the unemployment rate a few points when every online news publication in existence staffed up after her campaign announcement. The guy who pranked Scott Walker might make a House run, AND WE JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'LL DO if a skilled manipulator gets elected to Congress. And the Senate passed a resolution to cut its own budget, presumably after frank discussion over the Senate kitchen table. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 16th, 2011, complete with a Google-themed drinking game for your 21st century St. Patrick's Day:

PELOSI READY TO HELP BOEHNER AS SOON AS HIS COALITION IMPLODES - Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is closely watching the House GOP conference for signs of the fissure that threatens to shatter Speaker John Boehner's coalition. "I had followed the debate very carefully on [the previous spending bill] and the 200 amendments. The newer members are about money, the more senior members are about riders," said Pelosi in a briefing with reporters and bloggers on the Hill today. "I really don't know what the speaker will do in terms of getting the votes within his own caucus. I don't know. I don't know that he knows." But Democrats don't plan to help Boehner keep it together, despite some Democratic support on yesterday's free vote to approve a three-week spending bill. "Many of the people who voted for the CR on the Democratic side did it just to move it along, but many of them said [Republicans are] going to have to...work with us on their side to pass it or have a better bill for us to be helping them." But once Boehner is need of help and ready to jettison the Tea Party, Pelosi will be there. "I'm the last one to ask about what goes on in their conference, but I do stand ready to help keep government open," she said.

WEINER: GOP A 'COALITION OF CRAZIES AND COMPLETELY CRAZIES' - At the same briefing, Anthony Weiner, as he does, laid out Boehner's challenge. "He has the challenge of holding a coalition of crazies and completely crazies together. He has this group of true ideological nutjobs who believe in just slashing the federal budget, don't have any affirmative agenda at all, just know they're deconstructionists. And then you have a large portion of the Republican caucus who are pretending to be that also, because that's the flavor of the moment in the Republican Party. And then you have about a third of the place, which are the institutional Republicans who are from the days of yore who want to get things done, who have philosophical beliefs but are not destructive at their core. I think Boehner's in that third third, but he has to figure out a way to assuage the other two-thirds of his caucus." Elise Foley on some of the Rs to watch.

HILLARY CLINTON WON'T SERVE IN CABINET FOR SECOND TERM - In an interview aired on CNN's Situation Room, the secretary of state confirmed what has long been suspected: that she will not serve in President Obama's cabinet if he wins reelection. Clinton simply responded "no" to Wolf Blitzer's questions about whether she would serve as secretary of state or in any other capacity. Now begins the endless speculation about whether Clinton will use the four years between 2012 and 2016 to prepare for another presidential campaign. "I have no intention or any idea even of running again," Clinton told Blitzer about 2016. "I'm going to do the best I can at this job for the next two years" (she also said "no" to that at first, also). But really, how will this affect the 2020 contests? 2024? Inquiring minds want to know, Politico. [CNN]

Tonight in The Hill: "Michael O'Brien on how Mitt Romney's supporters on Capitol Hill are giving him political cover for the healthcare plan he signed into law as governor, even as his competitors for the GOP presidential nomination ramp up their attacks on 'RomneyCare.'"

@j_ro is live-tweeting the Wisconsin fundraiser protests going on in DC now

Four New York Times reporters are missing in Libya. They haven't been heard from since Tuesday morning: "The missing journalists are Anthony Shadid, the Beirut bureau chief and twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for foreign reporting; Stephen Farrell, a reporter and videographer who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009 and rescued by British commandos; and two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who have worked extensively in the Middle East and Africa." [NYT]

Dennis Kucinich is forcing a vote on the House floor tomorrow on a resolution that would require all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS BALK AT HAMP REPEAL - For the second time this year House Republicans balked at holding a floor vote to repeal the Obama administration's signature anti-foreclosure effort, the Home Affordable Modification Program. Jim McDermott says the balk is actually a case of bok bok bok. "They didn't want to go back to their districts" and explain why they cut a program to which they've proposed no alternative, he told HuffPost Hill. "Seven million homes have been foreclosed and it's no one's fault. It's an act of God. It's like an earthquake hit. It's like these guys in Wall Street were just minding their business and the roof caved in. Well, they pulled the roof down." Cantor aide Brad Dayspring says it was merely a scheduling issue.

Ron Paul is chairing a monitor policy subcommittee hearing tomorrow. All three witnesses support a return to the gold standard.

Econ reporter Zach Carter tells us the currency markets are going berserk right now. Do with that what you will.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Jayne Dunn, 55, said she's been out of work since December 2008, when she lost her job as a landscape designer in Cheshire, Conn. She described her job search as "demeaning, demoralizing, just desperately awful" and said thoughts of retirement are forbidden. "You just don't do that," she said. "You just think kind of day to day." [HuffPost]

New York AG Eric Schneiderman is making noise about not agreeing to this bank settlement if it's no good for homeowners, which could blow the whole thing up. [HuffPost]

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

PEACEWALKER SURFACES IN MADISON - From a Madison police report: "When Sen. Grothman exited the bank, he was also subjected to angry words, but as he walked away a man hugged Sen. Grothman.... The officer came up to the man and told him it is not okay to put hands on people who do not wish contact. The man told the officer he had no idea who Sen. Gorthman was, but that he hugged him because, 'I loved him'....The man told the officer that he is the 'peace walker.'" This very same man -- or maybe a different "peace walker"? -- once waltzed into the HuffPost DC office and removed his shirt. It was...great. [Peace Walker Torso]

SHARRON ANGLE ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR HOUSE SEAT - The former Republican nominee for Harry Reid's Senate seat will try her luck again, this time in a campaign for the seat being vacated by Dean Heller. Angle officially announced her bid in a web video posted on YouTube. "The 2010 election was bittersweet: Conservatives had some victories but we still face obstacles from Democrats in Congress and in the White House," Angle says in the clip. "That's why today I'm enjoining I am running for the United States Congress." In the video, Angle is seated at a kitchen table while clasping a coffee cup. It recalls one of those 1950s WORLD OF TOMORROW featurettes (seriously, close your eyes and try to mute out Angle's voice. You'll start to hear a honey-voiced man telling a crew-cut kid named Billy that, thanks to the massive highways of the future, getting to where he needs to go in his Chevrolet-brand automobile will be a gas!). [HuffPost]

MCCONNELL WON'T PASS CR WITHOUT FULL DEFENSE FUNDING - The Senate minority leader says he will support the three-week stopgap budget but refuses to support another unless defense funding is maintained at current levels and funded through the end of the year. McConnell also said that his Republican counterparts in the House have assured him that the next CR, should there be one, will include full defense funding. So much for going after every sacred cow. [AP]

Anthony "THE GENTLEMAN IS CORRECT IN SITTING" Weiner at today's briefing: "On our side is this weird squishy affirmative sense of what government should do and how we're opposed to this cut and that cut, rather than saying, 'Here are the things: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, environment and education. We're not cutting those. Those are off the table. That's non-negotiable,'...We haven't really done that very well. That's because the president fundamentally -- he's not a values guy." [HuffPost]

@RepWeiner: Tonight I'm on Fox vs Hannity AND Bachman. Bring Palin and make it a fair fight. #avertyoureyes

EZRA KLEIN HAS A SHAKY UNDERSTANDING OF THE FIRST PERSON - Three Treasury officials -- Tim Geithner, Elizabeth Warren and Tim Massad -- held a briefing for a bunch of bloggers and reporters last Thursday. From Klein's blog today: "A senior Treasury official recently told me that 'there's a possibility you need to have a shutdown to lower expectations on both sides.'" [WaPo]

SENATE VOTES TO CUT ITS OWN BUDGET - The upper chamber this morning passed an amendment from Bill Nelson 98-0 that recommends reducing its own funding by five percent in the next fiscal year. We're guessing the cutbacks will be centered on the 100,000 hand sanitizer dispensers distributed at 5-foot intervals throughout the Capitol grounds and/or Chuck Schumer's cheese budget. "This is designed for us to set an example by cutting our own budget and not just asking other people to tighten their belts," Nelson said on the chamber floor during debate. "Congress shouldn't be exempt from the pain." "The pain? You people work in marble-lined offices with huge, obsequious staffs waiting at your beck and call and have a subway system that ferries you a few hundred yards. It's going to take a lot more than a suggestion to cut five percent to feel the pain. [The Hill]

Also, Congress' stated goal is to inflict pain. Glad that's on record.

A chicken in every pot and a Prince Albert in every can: "Ian Murphy has emerged as a likely, though long-shot, candidate in the race to replace Rep. Chris Lee (R). Don't know who Murphy is? You know his work. The editor of the satirical news website Buffalo Beast, Murphy was behind the prank phone call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) late last month that made national headlines. Murphy pretended to be billionaire conservative activist David Koch...Murphy is likely to capture the the Green Party ballot line, state Green Party co-chairman Peter LaVenia told Roll Call on Wednesday." [Roll Call]

HALEY BARBOUR'S GOOGLE PROBLEM - It might not be a frothy byproduct, but type Haley Barbour's name into a Google search field and the suggestions aren't flattering. As Justin Elliott notes, "A whopping seven of the nine results center on race-related flaps that Barbour has been involved in over the years. Google's auto-complete feature draws on factors including the popularity of search terms." This is just as good of a time as any to lay out the rules for HuffPost Hill's original drinking game, "Family Feud 2.0." Basically, the rules are the same as Family Feud, but instead of the big board, the host enters a phrase into a Google search box and contestants have to guess what the suggestions are. Seeing as how Google is basically a box of racism and despair, it's pretty depressing. [Salon]

A number of senior Democratic operatives are floating former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's name as Tim Kaine's possible replacement at the DNC. Whether that chatter ratchets up to something greater is largely dependent on whether Kaine actually steps down to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb, reports Jonathan Martin. [Politico]

Next time we blast a spacecraft into the solar system, best we don't include this article in the humanity time capsule alongside the Chuck Berry record and copy of Twelfth Night printed in 50 languages: "Texas will change the three-drug cocktail it uses to execute condemned criminals -- switching from the difficult-to-get sodium thiopental to the pentobarbital, officials confirmed this morning. Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said the new drug will be used for the first time in the scheduled April 5 execution of convicted murderer Clive Foster...In the last year, the only U.S. supplier of sodium thiopental discontinued production and Texas and other states had been unable to find another supplier to continue executions. Texas' on-hand supply expires at the end of this month." [Austin American Statesman]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - As this video of a child and his pet bulldog simultaneously falling asleep demonstrates, a dog can be man's best friend and man's greatest enabler of man's lazy-ass ways.

CARLY'S CANNABIS CORNER - Carly Schwartz: "The hippies over in Rhode Island's health department have tapped three locations to open the first state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries, and each site in the trifecta of "wellness centers" includes the word "compassion" in its name. America's smallest state joins Colorado, Maine, and New Mexico as the four places in the country whose tax dollars help suffering patients get their hands on the green medicine they need. Meanwhile, in less-compassionate California, DEA agents decided they were bored with heisting heroin rings and this morning raided two West Hollywood pot shops. WeHo's crackdown was the city's first since Obama announced his "hands off" approach two years ago, and activists have called the move "incredibly unsettling."" Thanks, Carly!

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: While the clouds kept the temperatures down a bit, and it will continue to be a bit on the cooler side, we can expect that to go away Tomorrow. With sunshine and temperatures in the 60s, it will be our best day of the year so far. Thanks, JB


- A trailer for a Super Mario Bros. movie but re-imagined as an angsty, indie flick. [http://bit.ly/dHtucW]

- Monorail! "Eye On Springfield" is a Tumblr that simply recounts great moments from the first nine seasons of The Simpsons. You know, the good ones. [http://bit.ly/UKnM]

- Knit movie characters. What more can we say? Movie characters. But knitted. [http://bit.ly/cUBc5d]

- Watch The Lost Thing, this years Oscar winner for best animated short, in full. [http://bit.ly/hofQvZ]

- As this video of a kid pretending to be Mariah Carey clearly demonstrates, children in the early 1990s didn't need YouTube to help them explore the gender continuum with the help of video recorders. [http://bit.ly/dHhQEP]

- 360-degree photographs of the large hadron collider. [http://bit.ly/h3Z3Ci]

- Easily the most high-production video associated with a Bar Mitzvah. Also the most ridiculous. [http://bit.ly/f8ypOb]

- Let these photos of basset hounds running on a beach remove all your worldly pain. [http://on.vh1.com/fbmKZj]



@chucktodd: NRSC catches another #nvsen break with Angle's decision to run for Heller's house seat. Now she's the NRCC's problem.

@daudig: R.I.P. Nate Dogg. "Regulate" remains a powerful statement for gun rights and against government interference in business affairs.



5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Richard Lugar kicks off his campaign activity in D.C. with a star-studded fundraiser featuring appearances fromJohn Barrasso, John Cornyn, John Thune, Jon Kyl, Lamar Alexander, Mitch McConnell and Cher. Just kidding, no Cher. [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE].

6:00 pm: Rather than raise campaign cash by filming himself shooting things, Joe Manchin opts for a dinner reception, instead [Lounge 201, 201 Massachusetts Ave NE].


12:00 pm: Eliot Engel, who knows that the correct way to spell "Eliot" is with one "l" and one "t," hosts a "Kiss Me, I'm Yiddish" fundraiser. Don't worry, you don't have to kiss Eliot Engel. We don't think so, at least [National Democratic Club Townhouse, 40 Ivy Street SE].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: If Joe Donnelly is going to ask you to contribute $1,000-plus on St. Patrick's Day at his "St. Patrick's Day Evening Reception," we hope he will at least refrain from employing any "pot o' gold" remarks [National Democratic Club Townhouse, 40 Ivy Street SE].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Carolyn McCarthy also gets into the St. Paddy's day fundraising thing [Erickson & Co. Townhouse, 38 Ivy Street SE].

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