Pop quiz: Which one of these ISN'T a color from the Martha Stewart Living palette? A. "Moleskin Gray" B. "Robin's Egg" C. "Blood Libel" D. "Dreamy Neutral." If you paid any attention today, you might know. You'd also know which arcane anti-Semitic term for goy bloodlust casually entered a leading political figure's vocabulary. We were also informed that our exclusive interview with Joe Biden was actually a sit-down with a streetlamp on U Street. Sucks, don't it, Howie? Regretting the error, this is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, January 12th, 2011:
GOP DIVIDED OVER PETE KING GUN-CONTROL BILL - The fragile Republican coalition isn't handling Pete King's gun bill well. The idea that somebody should be barred from knowingly bringing a firearm to within 1,000 feet of an event with a congressperson or judge has the NRA and Tea Party aghast, but it has the backing of the Michael Bloomberg types and some neocon elements who take a tough line on national security. The National Review has a supportive essay from Cliff May, founder of the neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Arkadi Gerney, a top aide to Bloomberg, tells HuffPost Hill he's encouraged by the Republican support so far. "It makes a lot of sense. It would give law enforcement a fighting chance of trying to intercept a shooter before they pull their gun out and pull a trigger," he said. May tells HuffPost Hill the reaction to his NR piece has been swift: "Most of my friends on the right don't think I should be considering such measures." He went on to say all sorts of other radical stuff that will prevent him from coming within 1,000 feet of a Tea Party rally: "Somebody who's considered a danger to his campus shouldn't be welcomed in a gun shop." "There is no right that is completely without restrictions." "I'm not one to stand on orthodoxy."
Because the lower chamber doesn't already resemble a hoedown, Louie Gohmert is drafting a bill to allow members to carry guns on the House floor, which would make for an interesting celebration following the health care repeal vote.YeeeeeHaaaw!!!
GIFFORDS UPDATE - "The White House reported that President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and other leaders are heading to University Medical Center to see Congresswoman Giffords, her husband and several other victims still in the hospital...The family of Giffords aide Ron Barber provided more details about his recovery at a press conference at University Medical Center. One of his daughters said, 'My dad is very alert... he remembers it all, very clearly.'" [HuffPost's Liveblog]
President Obama speaks at the Tucson memorial at 8:00 pm.
@jordanfabian: Memorial service for former Hill staffer to be held Friday http://bit.ly/g17bjD
UDALL PROPOSES BIPARTISAN SEATING ARRANGEMENT FOR STATE OF THE UNION - Colorado Senator Mark Udall has sent a letter to congressional leaders calling for both parties to do away with the traditional partisan grouping of the House chamber during the State of the Union. In an attempt to foster bipartisanship, Udall proposes that members of Congress commingle by sitting next to colleagues from the opposing party. Plus anyone yelling "You lie!" runs the risk of being backhanded in the 'nads by their seatmate. "After serving over a decade in the House and Senate, I know that more unites us than divides us, and now - more than ever - we need to find ways to dial down the political rhetoric and set a positive example for all Americans," Udall wrote. "It's a simple step, but an important one that will go a long way in bridging our political divide. So I'm asking my colleagues to join me in sitting side-by-side in a symbolic gesture that reflects the diversity in the communities we represent." Might we also propose that the president enter the chamber from above as part of a national trust fall exercise and that prior to the speech each member of Congress introduces his or herself with an alliterative adjective? No? Eager Eliot Engel? Gracious Gwen Moore? Bodacious Bob Goodlatte? No?
Tomorrow in Roll Call: "Republicans are in danger of entering the next stage of redistricting at a significant financial disadvantage, reports Nathan L. Gonzales for Roll Call. The 501(c)(4) Making America's Promise Secure was started in 2009 as a central component of the GOP's redistricting effort, but with states on the cusp of drawing new Congressional lines, MAPS is nowhere to be found."
PUBLIC OVERWHELMINGLY OPPOSES RAISING DEBT CEILING - We try so hard to give the American People the benefit of the doubt, but they keep making it harder: Two in three Americans now favor defaulting on the U.S. debt and sending the global economy into a tailspin, throwing millions out of work. Reuters: "The U.S. public overwhelmingly opposes raising the country's debt limit even though failure to do so could hurt America's international standing and push up borrowing costs, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. Some 71 percent of those surveyed oppose increasing the borrowing authority, the focus of a brewing political battle over federal spending. Only 18 percent support an increase... Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week warned that a failure to raise the borrowing limit in the coming months could lead to 'catastrophic economic consequences.'" Survey respondents had much less appetite, though, for cutting spending. Their budgets suggestions? "Some 73 percent support scaling back foreign aid and 65 percent support cutting back on tax collection -- two very small lines in the massive federal budget ledger." Yes, cutting back on tax collections will do wonders for the deficit. [Reuters]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Terry Harris said she lost her job as an executive assistant at a promotional products company in October 2009. Her husband recently took a low-wage job at a car rental company an hour away from their trailer in Union, S.C. after he'd been unemployed for two years. Why, she asks, if they both finished high school, got some secondary education, and have solid work histories, should it be a struggle to pay for things like getting the car fixed and visiting the doctor? "I think the thing that keeps me going is knowing that we are really lucky, even in spite of the challenges that we are facing," said Harris, 38, in an email to HuffPost. "I can't help but feel badly for those that I know are worse off than we are. And I am truly grateful. And knowing that we are not alone helps a great deal, too. But it seems to be getting harder. Harder not to worry, not to cry, not to give up hope. We did everything right, I thought."
The House today passed a resolution honoring Giffords and the 19 other victims of Saturday's attack. "Today we are called to mourn," John Boehner said, "These are difficult hours for our country.".
"I would never make that comment if that shooting happened first," Jacob Volkmann said Wednesday. Volkmann is the mixed-martial arts fighter who said last week he wanted to "knock some sense into that idiot" Barack Obama, triggering a visit from the Secret Service. "I can't imagine what it's like for the parents," he said, reflecting on the massacre in Tucson. "I got a four-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy." [HuffPost]
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SARAH PALIN TAKES ON CRITICS, JUST ENDS UP OFFENDING PEOPLE - With America turning its attention to the shooting memorial in Tucson tonight and Congress taking the day to honor the victims and pray for the survivors' recovery, Sarah Palin decided to talk about herself for a bit. The incendiary former Alaska governor and most boring thing on TLC (please take a moment to internalize what a remarkable achievement that is), released a video responding to criticisms that she helped incite Saturday's massacre. Her statement was mostly a rote defense of her behavior...except for that part where she implied that her opponents thirst for human flesh. That was weird. "Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible," she said. The term "blood libel" originated in the Middle Ages when some Christians -- clearly unfamiliar with the "No Labels" movement -- claimed that Jews slaughtered gentile children to make matzo with their blood. People didn't take too kindly to that. "We hope that Governor Palin will recognize, when it is brought to her attention, that the term 'blood libel' brings back painful echoes of a very dark time in our communal history when Jews were falsely accused of committing heinous deeds," J Street said in a statement. On a completely unrelated note, HuffPost Hill's grandfather -- a real mensch -- always liked to note that mixing scallions, onion slices and Christian blood makes for a FABULOUS schmear. [HuffPost]
The Palin video was temporarily pulled from Vimeo. Everyone freaked out. Then it went back up. What's she doing on Vimeo, anyway? Does she have a secret cache of artsy stop-motion films we don't know of?
@nplusonemag: Not to pile on, but Sarah Palin also misuses "hopefully" in the video address.
CITING THREATS, BLACK ARIZONA GOP OFFICIAL RESIGNS - The sole black Republican Party district chairman in Arizona resigned from his post in the wake of Saturday's shooting, citing threats from the Tea Party faction and concerns for his family's safety, The Arizona Republic reports. Republican District 20 Chairman Anthony Miller was not the only party official to resign following the shooting that killed six and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and a federal judge. But Miller had been an especially dedicated campaigner for the GOP, and said he only stepped down in the face of "constant verbal attacks" and other forms of intimidation. [HuffPost]
@hillhulse: Joe Shoemaker, Durbin spokesman, author of invaluable Senate whip alert and all-around steady hand, latest top Dem staffer leaving Hill.
PERSON ARRESTED FOR THREATENING REP. MCDERMOTT - Stop it, wackos! Just...stop it! "A man has been arrested for threatening Rep. Jim McDermott, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The PI reports that Charles Turner Habermann was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly making threatening phone calls to McDermott, a Democratic congressman who represents Seattle. According to the Seattle Times, Habermann is a 32-year-old Palm Springs, Calif. resident. Federal prosecutors claim that he would hire someone to put McDermott "in the trash," the Seattle Times reports." [HuffPost]
Harry Reid flack Regan Lachappelle is leaving the majority leader's office to lead the Millennium Change Corporation's comm shop. Though she did not possess an undying love for Purple Urkel like other members of Harry Reid's press team these past few years, she will be missed nevertheless.
GROVER NORQUIST HINTS AT AFGHAN WAR OPPOSITION -
"I'm confident about where that conversation would go," the president of America's for Tax Reform said at a dinner sponsored by the New America Foundation on Tuesday night. "And I think the people who are against that conversation know where it would go, too." Because this was a room brimming with righties, he then appealed to Ronald Reagan: "His reaction to the Lebanon bombing was not to stay, it was to leave," he said. "Ronald Reagan didn't decide to fix Lebanon. I think that's helpful in getting the conversation going on the right." No word yet on whether Mike Huckabee has softened his stance on transgendered rights or if Ted Nugent suddenly likes three-day waiting periods, but as soon as we know something, you'll know something. [HuffPost's Dan Froomkin]
BOEHNER SCHEDULE: PARTY, PARTY, PARTY, mourn, PARTY, PARTY, PARTY... - Is the Republican conference locked in a giant game of scheduling-chicken? It would certainly seem that way. Barely a week after Reps. Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick were caught trying to remotely swear themselves into the 112th Congress while at a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitors Center, Roll Call is reporting that the newly-minted House speaker will be attending a party for the RNC this evening that coincides with the Tucson memorial. Jennifer Bendery: "The Ohio Republican is holding a 7 p.m. cocktail reception Wednesday night for 168 members, who are in the Washington area for an annual meeting. The event is sponsored by Boehner's political action committee and will take place at Maryland's National Harbor resort...'Speaker Boehner will attend an organizational meeting with RNC members this evening, but will leave before the president's speech begins,' Boehner spokesman Cory Fritz said." [Roll Call]
CREW filed an ethics complaint against Sessions and Fitzpatrick today.
THE HAITI QUAKE WAS ONE YEAR AGO TODAY - "A year that began with goudou-goudou, the onomatopoeic neologism Haitians use to refer to the quake, ended with cholera on a death march across the country, a sometimes violent electoral dispute and a palpable vacuum of leadership...Rubble still blocks many streets. Even if the work of removing it goes according to the official schedule, less than half will be cleared by October. Only about 30,000 temporary shelters have been built...the election on November 28th became another setback. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians did not receive voting cards; around 4% of polling stations were trashed; and the Organisation of American States (OAS) withdrew its observers in mid-afternoon, leaving the count unsupervised." [Economist]
HuffPost's Carly Schwartz looks at constructive things folks are doing to help Haiti recover.
Foreign Policy has a moving photo essay on Haiti one year later
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - A litter of lion cubs and a lady lion totally break into this dude lion's man cave.
IS THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE PAVED WITH HEAVILY PROCESSED CHEESE AND TOMATO PASTE? - No. No it's not. But Herman Cain thinks it is. Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and a prominent conservative radio host, has formed a presidential exploratory committee. Cain's ability to franchise-out ungodly foodstuffs using tired Italian stereotypes and to be angry in front of a microphone doesn't make him a favorite among odds-pickers. However, he remains a Tea Party darling. "People who say that Herman Cain has no chance of winning the nomination for the Republican Party or win the in presidency -- I simply say thank you," Cain said to CNN in an interview. (Really, CNN?) "Because all my life I have been in situations where I wasn't supposed to become VP of Pillsbury, I wasn't supposed to be able to turn Godfather's Pizza around...So to the people who say I don't have a chance I say, thank you. Because that inspires me." The CEO presidency is back, people. Cain/Romney '12 is ON. [CNN]
HOWARD KURTZ HAS A CORRECTION - "When I conducted the telephone interview for my Nov. 27 article on California Rep. Darrell Issa, my unambiguous understanding was that I was speaking with Rep. Issa. I subsequently learned that I was speaking to his chief spokesman, Kurt Bardella. None of the views ascribed to Issa are inaccurate, but the attribution throughout the story should have been to his spokesman, not to the congressman. We have since corrected the article. The earlier version also mentioned Darrell Issa's 'tendency to refer to himself in the third person.' In fact, that usage was appropriate because the interview was with his spokesman." [NewsBeast]
Kurt Bardella sends HuffPost Hill the email he sent to Kurtz on Novermber 29th: "Hey Howard - Saw your piece ran this weekend, and I think there's a little confusion. It wasn't the Congressman you spoke with, it was me speaking in capacity as his spokesman - that's probably why the 'speaks in the third-person' reference you made was out there since it was me and not him. Not sure how we got our wires crossed but I thought you should know. kb" Maybe Kurtz can assign a NewsBeast media reporter to dig into why it took six weeks from the time he got that (surely) heart-stopping email until today's correction.
Jason Linkins lays out five easy steps for reporters to help identify whether they are speaking with Darrell Issa. We have a sixth piece of advice: If you've spent decades writing about the media, stick to writing about the media.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight and tomorrow: Cold, cold cold. Mid-20s, but an arctic snap makes it feel a bit more unbearable. Otherwise sunny. Thanks, JB!
Where's JB?: If you want to think of perfect weather, this might be one of the places. I don't know if there's a forecast other than "nice" possible for this place. If only it were spring, I'd be able to watch baseball in the brand-new stadium here. Man, this is awesome (Winner gets a shout-out and a personal assistant for two days). We're jealous, JB!
- Formula 1 cat racing. Start your engines. [http://bit.ly/fb5IoM]
- Have a long day today? Let this dude and his musical cactus play your troubles away. [http://bit.ly/dHwXAZ]
- Bored, snowed in and in Minnesota? Why not turn your yard into the Death Star??? [http://bit.ly/igIpCN]
- A grade school English teacher in Korea had his students visually interpret "Yellow Submarine." The result is...well...pretty adorable. [http://bit.ly/epqPHD]
- Some person assembled 30 pictures of cats waving 'hello.' Thank you, that person. [http://bzfd.it/hBbP91]
- Our colleagues at HuffPost Comedy just prolonged our national economic malaise by assembling 7 time-wasting websites. Thanks! [http://huff.to/g0y1iK]
- Curating the most ridiculous Bill Cosby GIFs on the web is tough work but someone's gotta do it. [http://bit.ly/evG5Ff]
@michaelschaffer: Frum blames pot for Tucson shooting. It's bud libel! http://bit.ly/epJDlX
@emokidsloveme: Maybe Sarah Palin was making an argument against The Fed by bringing up the Hamilton/Burr Duel.
@pattonoswalt: "Blood libel?" My Swedish death metal band has a breach of copyright suit. Thanks, @SarahPalinUSA. Call me, Gunter!
@fredthompson: Dead fish washing up along Chicago lakefront. I guess Rahm's gonna have plenty of presents to send to his political opponents.
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: The Wilson Quarterly celebrates the publication of their Winter 2011 edition by getting hammered....kidding. The WQ folks will be at Local 16 responsibly downing libations [Local 16, 1602 U Street NW].
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Friends and colleagues of Jen Howard celebrate her departure from the FCC to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. It will be a well-regulated good time [Current, 1215 Connecticut Ave NW].
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