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During a heated hearing on Friday, the conservative majority of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights approved a motion asking Congress to give it permission to sue the Justice Department if the department does not cooperate with USCCR subpoenas, including those in its probe of the handling of a civil case against members of the New Black Panther Party.

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Jack Conway, the Kentucky Democratic nominee for Senate, has joined a growing number of Democrats publicly calling on President Obama to nominate Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the new financial reform law.

Conway has signed onto the Progressive Change Campaign Committee petition calling on Obama to appoint Warren, who progressives have long praised for her tough talk aimed at banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions. Progressives say a Warren-led CFPB would have the teeth its supporters intended.

In a statement posted to the PCCC website, Conway said he shares the view that Warren has proved her value as the head of the Congressional panel charged with keeping track of how stimulus money is spent.

"Kentuckians deserve a strong nominee to fight for consumer protections in Washington," Conway said. "Elizabeth Warren has gained invaluable expertise protecting taxpayers as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel and continues to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers."

Conway also took the oppurtunity slam his opponent, Rand Paul. Conway said the Republican "wants to get rid of regulations."

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The candidates for governor of Minnesota met Friday night for a debate, addressing such issues as spending, taxes, gay marriage -- and their own drinking problems.

As MinnPost points out, Democratic nominee Mark Dayton and Republican nominee Tom Emmer were asked questions about how they have dealt with their drinking histories. Dayton, a former U.S. Senator, has disclosed that he is a recovering alcoholic who relapsed during his time in the Senate, and that he has also sought treatment for depression. Emmer, a state Representative, has had two DWI arrests from before he entered politics, the first in 1981 and the second in 1991, and has been attacked for his efforts to soften the state's DWI laws.

Dayton answered that he had returned to a program of "spiritual and physical" recovery. Emmer admitted to his past mistakes, and also addressed an attack ad from a labor-backed group, saying that if the ad stops just one person from driving drunk then it would be a good thing.

The TPM Poll Average gives Dayton a lead over Emmer and Independence Party nominee Tom Horner of 44.2%-33.6%-9.9%.

A new Rasmussen poll of the Connecticut gubernatorial race shows Democratic nominee Dan Malloy leading Republican Tom Foley 48%-33% in the race to fill retiring GOP Gov. Jodi Rell's seat.

The new Rasmussen poll is the first survey conducted following Connecticut's August 10 gubernatorial primaries. The last Rasmussen poll, from early June, showed Malloy up 44%-35%. The new Rasmussen survey's findings are similiar to an August 2 Quinnipiac poll, which put Malloy up 46%-31%.

The TPM Poll Average puts Malloy on top 47.3%-31.2%. The latest Rasmussen poll's margin of error is ±4.5 percentage points.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

According to Google, the proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan is 1,275 miles away from downtown Miami, Florida. But that doesn't mean the proposed Cordoba House that's likely to be constructed blocks away from the former site of the Twin Towers hasn't become a big issue in Florida politics.

Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio -- already an ardent supporter of all things conservative (if you don't count his against-it-before-I-was-kind-of-for-it stance on Arizona's immigration law) -- is taking a firm stand with the rest of his party by vocally opposing the Cordoba House project.

"It is divisive and disrespectful to build a mosque next to the site where 3,000 innocent people were murdered at the hands of Islamic extremism," Rubio said in a statement Saturday.

Both men running for the GOP's gubernatorial nomination say basically the same thing. Attorney General Bill McCollum says he'd be OK with a Muslim construction project "farther away" from the Ground Zero site and former hospital exec Rick Scott is already running a TV ad attacking "Obama's Mosque."

So that's that. Anti-mosque Republicans can stand by their men in the Sunshine State.

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As plans to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City become political fodder for the fall elections on a national scale, it's become shorthand to imply that all 9/11 families oppose the erection of the mosque two blocks from the site where terrorists downed the World Trade Center nearly nine years ago.

But in fact, no cohesive position has emerged from the thousands of 9/11 families who have been politically influential on many issues in the past. One group which has opposed war has come out strongly in favor of the mosque project, known as Cordoba House. Others have avoided even addressing the issue.

"There is no simple, singular 9/11 group who really should or could speak for all 9/11 family members," said Donna Marsh O'Connor of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a coalition of more than 250 families which recently endorsed the mosque. Since the endorsement, the membership numbers have grown, she said.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has now spoken out on the Muslim community center in New York -- saying that while the organizers are free to construct the project, it should be moved somewhere else.

"The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else," said a statement from Reid spokesman Jim Manley. "If the Republicans are being sincere, they would help us pass this long overdue bill to help the first responders whose health and livelihoods have been devastated because of their bravery on 911, rather than continuing to block this much-needed legislation."

Reid's statement comes after President Obama's comments over the weekend defending the right of Muslims to build the center near Ground Zero, which Republicans immediately pounced upon. Earlier today, Reid's GOP opponent Sharron Angle came out with a statement attacking Obama, and calling upon Reid to speak up: "As the Majority Leader, Harry Reid is usually President Obama's mouthpiece in the U.S. Senate, and yet he remains silent on this issue. Reid has a responsibility to stand up and say no to the mosque at Ground Zero or once again side with President Obama---this time against the families of 9/11 victims. America is waiting."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Welcome To The Neighborhood? A Look At The Area Around The 'Ground Zero Mosque']

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From Terri Schiavo to "death panels," Congressional recesses have long bred political controversies. But while some (like Schiavo) fizzle, others, (like "death panels") have a lasting impact on policy and politics. An open question for now is whether the row over the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" will be with us past August.

Republicans and conservative activists have made no secret of the fact that they want the issue to have legs, but that gets trickier when politicians return to Washington to actually govern. One option Republicans will have to pressure Democrats on the issue will be to force Democrats to vote on the question of whether they support the cultural center and mosque.

"There are no plans to do that at this point," says a top Republican House aide. "It's a month away, and I'd guess any chances we get to message...will be focused on jobs."

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An amusing meme has popped up on the right, opposing the state education aid bill that passed last week: It's not just bad policy from big-spending Washington liberals -- it's a criminal enterprise!

Here's how the logic goes: President Obama and the Democrats spent a lot of money to prop up school districts in the midst of a tough economy and revenue shortfalls at the district level. Much of that money will pay teachers; some of that money will then go to union dues; in turn, the unions will spend money to campaign for Democrats. Ergo, the whole bill was an act of money laundering, to have the federal government fund Democratic campaigns.

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