TPM News

1||The President and First Lady gather on March 2nd to honor recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal.||Jeff Malet/

2||Van Cliburn, world renowned pianist and winner of the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958. Cliburn won the competition at the age of 23.||Jeff Malet/

3||Donald Hall, who served as poet laureate of the United States from 2006-2007, is perhaps best known for his 1988 collection of poems The One Day, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.||Jeff Malet/

4||Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1997 with his novel American Pastoral. He has published 24 novels in his 51 year career.||Jeff Malet/

5||Quincy Jones, musician, composer and producer extraordinaire, is perhaps best known for his work with Michael Jackson on the Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad albums.||Jeff Malet/

6||Robert Brustein is an American playwright, educator, theatrical critic and producer. He founded the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven Conneticut.||Jeff Malet/

7||Ella Baff, executive director of Jacob's Pillow and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the longest running dance festival in America.||Jeff Malet/

8||Mark di Suvero, abstract expressionist sculptor and founding member of the Park Place Gallery.||Jeff Malet/

9||Sonny Rollins, legendary jazz saxophonist widely believed to be one of the most influential and important musicians of the 20th century.||Jeff Malet/

10||Stanley Nider Katz, historian, director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies and president of the American Council of Learned Societies.||Jeff Malet/

11||Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, Cuban-born scholar and literary critic, and author of Myth and Archive and The Pride of Havana.|||Jeff Malet/

12||Arnold Rampersad, literary critic and renowned biographer, is currently professor of English and the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. Rampersad is best known for his profiles of authors such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison.|||Jeff Malet/

13||James Taylor, five-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter.|||Jeff Malet/

14||Gordon Wood, historian, scholar and author. In 1993, he won the Pulitzer Prize for History for The Radicalism of the American Revolution.|||Jeff Malet/

15||Anna Mundow Aaron, accepting for Daniel Aaron, writer, scholar and founding president of the Library of America, committed to publishing and preserving America's most significant writing.|||Jeff Malet/

16||Bernard Bailyn, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian and author whose work specializes in early American history.|||Jeff Malet/

17||Marguerite Barzun, accepting for Jacques Barzun, distinguished educator and leading scholar of cultural history.|||Jeff Malet/

18||Wendell E. Berry, writer, poet, novelist, conservationist and elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.|||Jeff Malet/

19||Joyce Carol Oates, prolific author, National Book Award winning novelist and professor in creative writing at Princeton University.|||Jeff Malet/

Anti-abortion rights activist Randall Terry and anti-Islam Rev. Terry Jones -- undoubtably two of slickest self-promoting crusaders for their respective causes -- ran into one another outside the White House on Thursday, where Terry said the pastor "blinked" on his plan to burn copies of the Koran.

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Wisconsin state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, one of the 14 Democrats who have fled the state in order to block budget quorum on Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union proposals, has just beaten the Republicans in one of their key efforts to force Dems back to the state - by collecting his legislative pay.

Senate Republicans last week passed a rule suspending the direct-deposit of absent legislators' pay, requiring them to show up in person at the Capitol -- in effect, to provide a quorum -- in order to receive a check.

However, as WisPolitics reports, Erpenbach found a workaround: He granted power-of-attorney to two members of his staff, thus authorizing them to conduct many important personal decisions and financial actions on his behalf -- such as picking up his paycheck.

Ultimately, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) put the check in the mail, instead of giving it to the staffers. Fitzgerald spokesman Andrew Welhouse told WisPolitics: "We confirmed with our attorneys and with the chief clerk that was proper."

There appears to be some light between President Obama's position on arming Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while in Mexico and that of Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, just three weeks after ICE agent Jaime Zapata was shot to death in northern Mexico with a gun smuggled in from the U.S.

After a White House meeting between Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama seemed to convey a reluctance to arm ICE agents while they are traveling in Mexico.

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After revealing last month that he had sought treatment for mental health issues and that his medication could possibly be contributing to recent behavior some have labeled strange, Rep. David Wu (D-OR) told TPM on Thursday that he's been humbled by a bipartisan outpouring of support on the Hill.

"It's a heartwarming thing," a smiling Wu said. "The people who come up to say supportive things are almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans."

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters last week that discussion of Wu's resignation was "premature" and that Wu had his support in his efforts to get healthy. "I understand that he has said he is seeking mental health services and that's the appropriate step for him to take. If he had a broken arm, he'd get it fixed," Hoyer said.

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If the money pouring in is any indication, supporters of union workers in Wisconsin like the TV ad campaign launched by two national progressive groups on Wednesday.

The groups behind the ad, which targets Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the Republican majority in the legislature, tell TPM they've raised "over $225,000" from "10,000 grassroots donors" since the ad and its accompanying online fundraising campaign went live yesterday.

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Wisconsin Senate Republicans briefly convened the chamber on Thursday, in order to lay down yet another ultimatum to the 14 Democrats who have fled the state in order to block budget quorum on Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union proposals: Return by 4 p.m. Central Time...or you're in contempt!

The state Senate has previously issued "calls of the house," under which the authorities could compel to the Dems to come to the chamber. This new resolution appears to be a slightly more severe wording of the same effort -- which didn't work the first time around, of course, because the Dems are out of state.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the resolution passed by the state Senate orders the Sergeant at Arms, if the Dems don't show up by 4 p.m., to "take any and all necessary steps, with or without force, and with or without the assistance of law enforcement officers, by warrant or other legal process, as he may deem necessary in order to bring that senator to the Senate chambers so that the Senate may convene with a quorum of no less than 20 senators."

Democratic state Sen. Chris Larson told TPM: "I keep joking that they're gonna be pushing more and more for a power grab. So I find it unfortunate -- they're already off the edge of the cliff, but they're finding new cliffs to jump off of in terms of divisiveness in our state."

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For Rep Ron Paul (R-TX), education and medical care are not rights but rather "things that you have to earn."

In an exchange about U.S. credit policy with MSNBC's Cenk Uygur on Wednesday, Paul was asked whether people should be able to borrow money to buy a house, or car. "Oh, in a free market, you can do that," Paul said, but only so long as that credit is backed up by real money, and not something that "comes out of thin air."

Uygur asked the Congressman if students who can't afford tuition should be able to get government loans. "No one has a right to anyone's wealth, I don't have a right to come to you and say my poor kid needs 500 dollars for an education," Paul replied, "an education is not a right, medical care is not a right."

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