Tonight the president will politely inform Congress which dreams of his they will be crushing this year. Today marks eight years since Hillary Clinton launched her first presidential campaign, reminding us that presidential elections, like blockbuster movies, are never based on original material anymore. And the late Rep. Bill C.W. Young kept $10,000 in cash in his congressional office in case the grid collapsed. It’s a true Republican who thinks an American dollar will be worth more than kindling after society collapses. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, January 20th, 2015:
CHARLIE HEBDO SOTU SALUTE - Sam Stein: "A number of House lawmakers plan to hold up yellow pencils during the State of the Union address tonight in symbolic tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The tribute is being spearheaded by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), whose office confirmed on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would reference the victims of the attack during his address." From HuffPost's State of the Union LIVEBLOG. Stein will be interviewing Dan Pfieffer live from the White House immediately after the speech. Delaney will be scouring Twitter for the best #SOTUchat questions we should ask.
One of the biggest forthcoming State of the Union proposals we already know about will be a package of tax hikes on the rich and new tax benefits for lower earners. Andrew Sullivan is really excited about it.
GOP'S SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ESCAPE HATCH - Good point by David Rogers: “In the past, Congress has simply shifted revenues from Social Security’s larger retirement account to fill holes in the disability fund. But the new House rule throws up a roadblock by creating a point of order against any such bill that does not improve the 'actuarial balance' of the combined funds. ….In fact, the new rule’s fine print leaves an escape hatch for Republicans to move tens of billions into the disability fund if this gambit fails. Still, the upshot could be a one-two punch Democrats most fear: a first-round debate over disability funding in 2016 followed by a bigger battle over all of Social Security in 2017, when Republicans hope to control both Congress and the White House." [Politico]
HuffPost's SOTU drinking game has a very nice picture of Obama holding a beer.
SIREN: ANOTHER AMAZING YOUNG PRESIDENTIAL SPEECHWRITER - Alex Pareene has the antidote to the latest glowing profile of a White House wordsmith. "The president has given him the nickname 'Hemingway,' not because he is an overrated drunk -- though he may indeed be that -- but because he writes and has a beard. Unlike Hemingway, who wrote novels and stories that people still revere decades after his death, Keenan writes speeches that the president delivers and that everyone promptly forgets, because modern political speeches are disposable garbage." [Gawker.com]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Mark Gongloff on the stagnation of middle class wages: "The only boost middle- and low-income families have gotten since 1979 came during the tech boom of the 1990s. It's been a Sea of Suck otherwise. For the richest Americans, wages have done nothing but climb." [HuffPost]
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THE STATE OF THE UNION NEVER REALLY CHANGES MINDS - Ariel Edwards-Levy: “There's a long precedent of the speeches failing to have much of an impact. Most of the speeches delivered since the Carter administration have had only a negligible effect on how the president delivering them was viewed. It's difficult to change minds when most people aren't tuning in. While 45 percent of Americans told HuffPost last year they planned to watch the 2014 State of the Union, in a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, just 26 percent said they ended up actually watching. Only 15 percent say they watched the entire speech, while the rest saw parts of it or watched clips later on the news. Just 4 percent, including 11 percent of those who watched the whole thing, say they remember last year's speech very well.” [HuffPost]
PRESIDENT THREATENS VETO OF ABORTION BILL - The Hill: “The Obama administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the GOP-backed bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, calling it a ‘direct challenge’ to a court-protected right for women The House is planning to vote on the bill Thursday, the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court abortion case, Roe v. Wade, and the same day that thousands of anti-abortion advocates will participate in the March for Life. “Not only is the basis for H.R. 36 scientifically disputed, the bill disregards women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' healthcare decisions, and the Constitution,’ the White House wrote in a statement Tuesday. ‘If the president were presented with this legislation, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto this bill.’” [The Hill]
We’re still hoping Jay-Z gets the Cuba ambassadorship: “Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is denying a report that she and President Barack Obama have a 'gentlewoman's agreement' to make her the next ambassador to Cuba, should he appoint one before he leaves office. ‘I will not seek the nomination to be Ambassador to Cuba. I plan to continue the efforts to normalize relations with Cuba and the fight for our shared progressive values in Congress,’ Lee said in a statement to The Huffington Post. Lee was responding to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported, ‘According to a well-placed source, the 68-year-old Lee has told close friends that she has a 'gentlewoman’s agreement' with President Obama to be named ambassador to Cuba if there's an opening before he leaves office.’” [HuffPos’s Amanda Terkel]
RICK SANTORUM UNDERSTANDS WHY HE’S NOT PRESIDENT - But it’s kind of a non-apology apology, but mixed in with some political analysis. Igor Bobic: Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said Monday that controversial comments over abortion and contraception contributed to his defeat in the 2012 Republican presidential primary to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In an interview with NBC News, Santorum blamed himself for saying ‘dumb things’ that allowed critics to portray him as an extreme conservative only interested in ‘crazy stuff that doesn't have anything to do with anything.’ Santorum is considering another run for president in 2016. If he decides to enter the race, he can count on the support of wealthy GOP mega-donor Foster Friess, who also financed Santorum's 2012 campaign. According to NBC, the two men discussed 'what a campaign might look like' this weekend at a GOP gathering in Scottsdale, Arizona.” [HuffPost]
TIME IS A FLAT CIRCLE, HILLARY EDITION - Maybe she’ll announce her candidacy via beer can figurines. “On Jan. 20, 2007, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) announced her 2008 White House presidential bid. ‘I’m in, and I’m in to win,’ Clinton said. According to The Washington Post, Clinton’s campaign advisers said her announcement was intentionally timed to ‘come shortly before President [George W.] Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday night’ in order to ‘draw a contrast with the administration's record.’” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s history’s most adorable woodland creature,
PRESUMABLY THERE WAS A HATCHET AND A LOT OF LIGHTER FLUID, TOO - Roll Call: “What happens when a member of Congress dies in office? There is no standard set procedure and the internecine melee that followed the death of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, perhaps best illustrated by the exhaustive search for a handful of pictures and one Pentagon-approved memento, has ruined decades-old friendships and frayed family bonds seemingly beyond repair...According to Beverly Young, her husband maintained that whenever he died, his affairs would be attended to on Capitol Hill...The varied items she’s struggled to recover range from a gigantic shell casing expelled by a gunship that participated in Operation Enduring Freedom to a bundle of cold, hard cash the congressman purportedly stashed in his Capitol Hill office. ‘He kept $10,000 in his desk because he believed the terrorists were going to attack the grid … and no one would be able to get to the banks,’ Beverly Young explained. Per a hand-written note her husband left for her, the money (theoretically seeded with $100 notes and $2 bills), was tucked into an envelope marked ‘Closing – Morning Dew’ — a cryptic reference to the home they sold in Arlington, Va., that the congressman apparently hoped would camouflage the loot from prying eyes.” [Roll Call]
- The visual feedback loop of a camera pointed at a TV it’s plugged into is mesmerizing
- Spending time with an NHL dentist.
- Red velvet Oreos will soon be a thing.
@DavidGrahamA: Obama invited ex-Cuban prisoner to SOTU to help drum up public support for policies? Guess he wants some
@timothypmurphy: What Liberals Don't Get About the Fake Baby in American Sniper
@pourmecoffee: One of nation's oldest traditions is lawmakers arriving early for State of the Union to smoke pot and knock around a gigantic beach ball,
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