If the Occupy Wall Street folks really want to make an impact, they should occupy the nail salon where Steve King and his colleagues get their mani-pedis. We look forward to Herman Cain flawlessly pivoting from questions about his conflation of abortion and genocide to the 9-9-9 plan. And Sesame Street will soon introduce an impoverished, half-starving puppet. This will undoubtedly make a certain blue monster's cookie-hoarding habits seem conspicuously dickish. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 5th, 2011:
PALIN SAYS SHE WON'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT, CHANGING PRETTY MUCH NOTHING - Yup. Here's part of her letter to the six or so people who still cared: "After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States...My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office - from the nation's governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency." [ABC News]
#OccupySomePavementAndIrritateTradersAsTheyWalkFromThe6Train continues: Tim Geithner was asked at today's preposterously named Ideas Forum (no doubt a response to our Scream As Loud As You Can About Things You Don't Have A Firm Grasp On Symposum) he had any sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. "No," he said. "I feel a lot of sympathy for what you might describe as a general sense among Americans as to whether we've lost the sense of possibility -- and whether after a pretty bad lost decade...followed by a devastating crisis [and a] huge loss of faith in public institutions, people do wonder whether we have the ability to do things that can help the average sense of opportunity in the country. And I definitely sympathize with that." Thanks for your sympathy, Tim! Ben Bernanke went a little further. "I would just say very generally, I think people are quite unhappy with the state of the economy and what's happening...They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess, and they're dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington. And at some level, I can't blame them."
DEMOCRATS RENEW CALLS FOR CLARENCE THOMAS INVESTIGATION - Republicans have been unified in their attempts to turn green energy and environmentalism into a tax-wasting, pie-in-the-sky fraud. Now a few Democrats are responding in kind with the can't-fail issue of, uh, judicial independence! Yes! That's the ticket! Jen Bendery: "House Democrats are ratcheting up the pressure for a formal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for failing to disclose information relating to his wife's earnings -- as much as $1.6 million over the past 13 years -- on his annual financial disclosure forms. House Rules Committee ranking member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee calling for hearings 'on the pattern of potential ethical lapses' by Thomas, who, after years of filing his financial forms properly, stopped disclosing his wife's employment status every year between 1997 and 2011. During that time, the letter states, his wife made at least $1.6 million, based on reports from outside groups." [HuffPost]
Tonight in Roll Call, a new conservative group with dubious origins is trying to undo the Affordable Care Act: "Partnership for America, which describes itself as a grass-roots organization focused on 'common-sense, market-based' solutions to the nation's problems, has a budget of about $3 million, according to Chairman James Wootton, though he declined to identify its funding source. The group's starting point is its campaign to, as organizers put it, 'freeze, investigate and replace' the health care law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
The GOP presidential primary as a literal horse race, via Slate
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Enrollment in a new federal program for the uninsured is far below expectations from when the program launched following the enactment of health care reform last year. Since its creation in July 2010, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has insured 30,395 people. Officials initially estimated the initiative could reach as many as 375,000 by the end of 2010. There are up to 25 million uninsured Americans who have pre-existing conditions like heart disease or diabetes. [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER - For the third consecutive month, the Obama administration's signature housing help plan posted the lowest numbers of preliminary mortgage modifications since the program's start in the spring of 2009. Just 13,000 homeowners received initial mortgage modifications from the Home Affordable Modification Program in August, down from 14,000 in July and 15,000 in June, already the fewest since April 2009. When President Obama announced HAMP in February 2009, he said the program would use subsidies to encourage bailed-out banks to modify mortgages for as many as 3 or 4 million homeowners. So far, fewer than 700,000 homeowners have received lasting help. The slowing of new trial modifications suggests HAMP is less likely than ever to meet its goal.
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REID BLOCKS DEFENSE BILL OVER DETAINEE TREATMENT - The Senate majority leader today said he won't bring up the 2012 Defense Authorization bill until the Armed Services Committee includes language that upgrades the treatment of detainees which currently is on par with spending a night at a really, really bad hostel. Specifically, Reid is taking issue with where detainee are held and the ease with which they are transferred. "The Obama Administration and several of our Senate colleagues have expressed serious concerns about the implications of the detainee provisions included in the legislation," Reid wrote in a letter to Armed Services Chair Carl Levin and Ranking Member John McCain, "particularly the authorization of indefinite detention in Section 1031, the requirement for mandatory military custody of terrorism suspects in Section 1032, and the stringent restrictions on transfer of detainees in 1033." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
IN THESE TIMES STAFFS UP - The lefty magazine known to freelance journalists as "Hey, I think they owe me money" today announced the hiring of four full time reporters, making them, overnight, one of the biggest labor-oriented outlets in the country. Allison Kilkenny, Beau Hodai and Sady Doyle join contributor Mike Elk, who's being bumped to full time. The magazine got cash from an anonymous donor to fund the positions. A masochistic Koch brother? We kinda hope so.
SUPER CONGRESS MEETS IN SECRET, AGAIN. The super group refused to say what was discussed. Elise Foley: "But so far, most meetings have been held in private, with lawmakers declining to say much of anything to reporters. The committee is now meeting twice each day, once midday and once in the evening, but releasing little information about what is discussed. On Wednesday, a few reporters milled around outside during a meeting of Democratic lawmakers as staffers guarded the closed door, but no information was released when the members exited." Later that afternoon, the entire panel met for several hours. Heading into the meeting, Super Co-Chair Patty Murray: "It's interesting. Everybody says, 'If they'd just get into a room by themselves, they could figure this out,' and we are very clear that however we get to this it will be a very public process it has to be," Murray said, and by "everybody," she means "Tom Friedman and other reasonable and serious people." "I think it is important for us to be able to be open and honest with each other. I remember well one time when I was very little and I was fighting with my brother every other minute and my mother put us in a backroom and said don't come out until you got it figured out. We stared at each other for a while, but we came out friends." If you're curious what went on in the room, we're guessing Jon Kyl still doesn't wanna cut defense or put revenue on the table. [HuffPost]
REPUBLICAN 2012 FUNDRAISING NUMBERS COMING OUT - Rick Perry, who has been deftly courting the "People who scribble hateful things on inanimate objects" lobby, raised $17 million in the third quarter, besting Mitt Romney's anticipated $14 million haul. However, this was Perry's first go around, and candidates typically raise more just out of the gate. What's more, Perry basically finished off the quarter by debate-prepping with video of Bobby Jindal's Republican response and giving America its most famous mass of minerals and mineraloids since Americans put rocks in boxes and called them pets. Ron Paul, who has been replaced by Herman Cain as the race's foremost "fuck it all" candidate, raised $8 million last quarter, outpacing his campaign's projections of $5 million. Herman Cain, who has only seemed to catch on in the last couple of weeks, raised "just north of $2 million," about the same as the second quarter. [Slate]
HERMAN CAIN IS JOLLY ABOUT HIS 9-9-9 PLAN AND HATING GAY PEOPLE - Up to this point, Herman Cain has mostly come off as an affable guy who simply wants to implement his 9-9-9 plan that he thinks will help America's economy recover, restore it to prosperity, locate your lost sunglasses, help mend your fractured marriage and just generally elevate humanity to a new level of enlightenment. However,
Overall fundraising by members of Congress was also down. "[T]hese past three months will feature some of the most dismal fundraising numbers in the past few cycles, according to interviews with 20 operatives on both sides of the aisle. Consultants speculated fundraising across the board could be down about 25 percent this quarter, while others complained that it took twice as many solicitations to meet their goals. The bipartisan grumbling varied: Some Democrats griped that the Jewish New Year took up otherwise prolific fundraising days in September, and one Republican operative complained that Hurricane Irene slowed down fundraising in August." [Roll Call]
ERIC CANTOR STAFFER STARTS LEADERSHIP SUPER PAC - $$$$$$$. Eric Cantor's deputy chief of staff is departing the Hill to start up a Super PAC that can take advantage of the relaxed campaign finance restrictions mandated by the Citizens Untied ruling. John Murray will head the new campaign outlet,
titled Has Anyone Ever Noticed That My Old Boss Looks Like A Genteel Undertaker? PAC which is not yet named, will focus its efforts on candidates who fit into the "Young Guns" mold personified by the young-ish Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan. [HuffPost]
WE'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY - Here's footage from 1980 of George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan debating how best to fairly treat immigrants.
For the second straight year, the Obama administration is waving penalties on countries that deploy child soldiers, this despite assurances last year from State staffers that the penalties would be instituted this year. The administration has offered up a number of excuses, however none of them hold up to the Socratic X-B-Left-B-Y-A special move of "But, uh, isn't it wrong to provide military assistance to countries that send children into war zones?" And yes, we send military recruiters to high schools. What's your point? [FP]
ROGER AILES OPENS UP ABOUT SARAH PALIN'S PROFESSIONAL ADVANCEMENT - To mark Fox News' 15th anniversary -- that's 15 years of Gretchen Carlson wondering why we simply don't Google "recession cures" and Cavuto asking Dick Cheney how he handles the pressures of being so great -- AP sat down with Fox News chief Roger Ailes to talk about what a wild and crazy ride it's been. Ailes appeared to spend most of the interview taking a victory lap and rubbing MSNBC and CNN's faces in it. Then there was this: "I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings," he said of his decision to add Sarah Palin as a contributor. The funny thing about this (in a really sad way) is that Ailes cited his totally superficial and sexist reasoning as a defense against charges that Fox News promotes a partisan Republican agenda. [AP]
Sad. Sunny days may be sweeping the clouds away, but it will take a lot more than that to improve the lot of "Sesame Street"'s first impoverished puppet. "A new poverty-stricken Muppet will highlight the issue of hunger struggles on an episode of "Sesame Street", the show said in a statement on Tuesday. Pink-faced Muppet Lily, whose family deals with "food insecurity," will join Big Bird, Elmo and other favorites on a one-hour prime-time special featuring country star Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams Paisley called "Growing Hope Against Hunger," to air Oct 9." [Reuters]
We mixed up the Nelsons Ben and Bill yesterday. Again. Sorry. It's BEN that isn't crazy about how the American Jobs Act is paid for. But you knew that.
WELL, THIS IS HAPPENING - "On Saturday, Rep. Steve King was spotted indulging in a little rest 'n' relaxation at Tammy's Nails on Capitol Hill... we wondered whether this was a thing for dudes on the Hill. We called the Grooming Lounge, famous for its hot lather shave and male-centric spa, to get its take on the number of Hill guys popping by to get their nails done. 'Business manicures and feet treatments' are very popular, Grooming Lounge founder and CEO Michael Gilman tells HOH." [Roll Call]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Husky argues against taking a bath.
JERMEY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Cool, yet comfortable. Expect temperatures in the 50s, but the clear skies remain. Tomorrow: It's a stretch to say we'll hit the 70s, but with sunny skies, it's a fall day you can't complain about. Thanks, JB!
- Does this 1979 PBR commercial featuring Patrick Swayze make the beer more or less hipster? [http://huff.to/pcybUw]
- Two adorable girls in fairy costumes perform a flawless renditions of Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass. " [http://huff.to/nnyT8N]
- A Flickr feed that features odd looking retro snapshots has been making the round (sample caption: "Sideburns Wedding"). [http://huff.to/rd2BId]
- Easily the best senior portrait we've ever laid our eyes on. [http://huff.to/qUfgYt]
- THE GREAT INFOGRAPHIC BACKLASH OF 2011 CONTINUES!!! First Gizmodo had a takedown and now this infographic satirizing infographics. WHEN WILL IT END? [http://huff.to/pVdQG9]
- We've had a fair amount of time-lapse videos in here recently but we can't help ourselves. This one of a bridge, with the accompanying wheels-of-progress music was too good to pass up. [http://huff.to/pV3qyP]
- If this "Arrested Development"-themed Ben and Jerrys flavor doesn't happen, we'll be tremendously upset. [http://huff.to/nlZ7N6]
- Japanese guy climbs stairs using only his head. Really. [http://huff.to/op5TOr]
SPECIAL 'HOWARD FINEMAN'S POCKET' TWITTERAMA
6:30 pm: Saxby Chambliss does a turn for the Republican Majority Fund at Ruth's Chris Steak House. For $250-a-plate, hopefully you'll get one the pricey steaks. You know, like the one with the blue cheese on it. [Ruth's Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW]
6:30 pm: On Tuesday, Allyson Schwartz held her fundraiser at an oyster joint. On Wednesday, she holds one at an steakhouse. What' next? A CAVIAR BAR MADE ENTIRELY OF INCAN GOLD. [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW]
11:45 am: Bob Corker raises some funds with a "Railroad Association Lunch" featuring a whole host of railroad interest groups. It's actually being held at the American Rail Assocation, so we can't promise that they WON'T serve those terrible Amtrak dining car sandwiches. [American Rail Association, 425 3 Street SW]
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: So
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm: Fresh off of his California Agrobusiness Shakedown Tour '11, Frank Lucas comes back for a (adopted) hometown show. [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE]
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