TPM News

Normally Ann Coulter is up for debating anyone and is usually ready to either make an intentionally headline-grabbing statement like calling the TSA's airport screening measures "Hitler's last revenge" or throwing out genuinely funny one-liners like this from yesterday's O'Reilly Factor appearance, "you have the choice of either being fondled by a complete stranger, go to your left . . . or if you want to appear nude on live video go to your right."

That's why Coulter's humorless appearance here with Sean Hannity is so odd.

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The House ethics committee will likely decide today how Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) should be punished for committing 11 ethics violations. They could recommend a range of sanctions, from giving him a stern talking to all the way to kicking him out.

No one expects Rangel, a 40-year congressman who was just re-elected with 80 percent of the vote, to be expelled. He will, more likely, face reprimand or censure.

In order to give a little bit of context to whatever punishment is recommended for Rangel, we thought we'd show you how different congress members had earned each of the three main types of sanction: expulsion, censure and reprimand.

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Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has gone Hollywood. The Maricopa County Sheriff announced Wednesday that he was teaming up with action movie stars -- including Lou Ferrigno of "Hulk" fame and actor Steven Seagal -- to aid in his anti-illegal immigration crusade.

Ferrigno and Seagal, both real life deputies in other parts of the county, were among the 56 individuals who were sworn in as illegal immigration fighters on Wednesday.

Arpaio's office said the "national known celebrity crime fighters" would join the 60th posse created in the County since Arpaio took office in 1993. All in all, there are nearly 3000 participants in the posses, Arpaio said.

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A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday shows increasing support for gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

The survey finds that 50% of Americans support allowing gays to serve openly in the military, up from 40% a decade ago. Thirty-eight percent of respondents favor gays serving under the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" guidelines, and only 10% don't want to allow gays in the military at all.

Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart and Republican Bill McInturff conducted the poll.

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The low profile trial of the first Guantanamo Bay detainee in civilian court ended late Wednesday with the jury finding the accused terrorist guilty on just one count, a result sure to fuel criticism of the Obama administration's handling of terrorism cases.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani stood charged by the Justice Department of conspiring to kill Americans in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

After seven days of deliberations, a jury found Ghailani guilty of just one count of conspiracy, acquitting him of multiple other counts including murder and murder conspiracy, said the Associated Press.

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For hours Wednesday morning and afternoon, while House Republicans went through an almost perfunctory exercise of electing the next Speaker of the House, Democrats vented steam over the results of the November 2nd election. Dozens rebelled against the existing leadership team. Others simply were too shell-shocked to give Nancy Pelosi a vote of confidence so soon after their party lost over 60 seats.

When all was said and done, the leadership team will be the same as last last year's. Pelosi won her race against Blue Dog Heath Shuler (NC) -- a mostly symbolic opponent -- handily, and everybody else took one step down behind her. Steny Hoyer (MD) will become the minority whip. Jim Clyburn (SC) will settle into a new, and ill-defined role as assistant minority leader, and John Larson (CT) and Xavier Becerra (CA) will retain their roles as conference chair and vice-chair.

Getting there was a saga Democrats are eagerly working to put behind them.

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Now that the AP has called the Alaska Senate race for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Neil Cavuto wants to know this of Republican Joe Miller: "Do you feel a little like Custer right now?"

On Fox News this afternoon, Miller told Cavuto that "it's not a question as to how I feel, it's a question as to whether or not the voters of the state of Alaska deserve to have a consistent standard applied to the future, whether or not they deserve integrity in the vote. And those questions aren't answered yet."

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A new New York Times magazine profile of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin confirms the obvious: she's at least considering a 2012 presidential run.

Not only is she considering it, but Palin told Barbara Walters in an interview that will air in full on December 9 that she thinks she can win.

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A chancery court judge ruled today that the construction of a mosque in middle Tennessee can continue. The judge denied a request for a restraining order.

Three local residents had accused Rutherford County of breaking open meeting laws when it approved construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Their lawyers -- funded, in part, by an anti-Islam Christian Zionist group -- quickly made the suit about Islam, however. They claimed that Islam is not a religion, prompting the Justice Department to file a brief noting that the federal government has recognized Islam as a religion since the days of Thomas Jefferson.

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Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) -- yes, that Sen. John Ensign -- thinks he can convince the voters of Nevada to grant him another term in office in 2012.

Broke and under investigation for trying to cover up an affair by allegedly funneling contracts to his mistress' husband, Ensign doesn't have the kind of resume recruiters generally look for when trying to populate the ballot.

Nevertheless, his staff told the Las Vegas Review-Journal yesterday that the Senator is ready to earn a third term.

"Senator Ensign has been focused on earning back the trust of Nevadans and does plan to run for re-election at this time," spokesperson Jennifer Cooper told the paper.

Some new numbers from Nevada suggest that as crazy as an Ensign campaign might sound, on paper it might actually make sense.

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