TPM News

Holder Headed To Gulf Coast The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration is sending Attorney General Eric Holder to the Gulf Coast: "The Holder trip could signal that the environmental calamity might become the subject of a criminal investigation. Holder has said Justice Department lawyers are examining whether there was any 'malfeasance' related to the leaking oil well, and investigators, who have already been on the coast for a month, have sent letters to BP instructing the company to preserve internal records related to the spill. But federal officials indicated that Holder's trip, which will include a news conference in New Orleans on Tuesday afternoon, will focus on enforcement of environmental laws and holding BP accountable."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. He will meet at 11:15 a.m. ET with the co-chairs of the BP Oil Spill Commission, and he will deliver a statement to the press at 12:15 p.m. ET. He will meet at 2:30 p.m. ET with senior advisers. He will meet at 6 p.m. ET with Peruvian President Alan García.

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It's not exactly breaking news that Washington is stuffed to the gills with lobbyists. One good government group recently tallied 8 lobbyists for every member of Congress during the health-care reform debate. But what doesn't get as much attention is that, over the last few decades, a vast army of what might be called uber-lobbyists has taken shape in the capital, made up of retiring lawmakers eager to cash in on K Street after a lifetime of making do with public sector salaries.

We've compiled a close-to-comprehensive list of former members of Congress currently working on behalf of private interests in Washington's influence-peddling industry. We count 172 of them -- almost one-third the number of current members of Congress.

See an interactive graphic of the Shadow Congress here.

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The BP oil spill has been called an "unprecedented disaster" by both the president and BP's top executive. But the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe has echoes of a 1979 spill, when a rig in the southern Gulf exploded after the blowout preventer failed.

Thirty-one years later, we haven't come that far technologically with how we deal with underwater oil drilling spills. The Mexican company running the Ixtoc I rig attempted a slew of now-familiar remedies --- they pumped mud into the well, capped it with a metal "sombrero," shot lead balls into the well and drilled relief wells -- but it took 10 months to stop the leak even though the drilling was taking place just 160 feet below the surface.

The Deepwater Horizon, which blew on April 20, was drilling 5,000 feet underwater.

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Tomorrow will be a busy primary day in three states, with races that could provide some more hints into the extent of any establishment vs. grassroots party feuding, especially on the Republican side.

The races will occur in three states: Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico. It should be noted that Alabama and Mississippi use runoff elections if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in a primary. And since many of these races are wide-open contests with three candidates or more, there could be quite a few runoffs to come.

So let's take a look at some of the key contested races for tomorrow.

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BP CEO Tony Hayward says he's really motivated. He really wants to get this disastrous oil leak in the Gulf Coast plugged. After all, that's the only way he's going to get his life back.

Tony Hayward announced over the weekend that while he's "sorry for the massive disruption" the oil spill has caused, "there's no one who wants this thing over more than I do."

"Y'know, I'd like my life back," he said. "So there's no one who wants this thing done more than I do, and we are doing everything we can to contain the oil offshore, defend the shoreline and return people's lives to normal as fast as we can."


It's not the first time Hayward has veered off message. Earlier this month, Hayward told the Guardian that the size of the oil spill is relatively "tiny."

The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service has long been known to have an intensely intimate relationship with the extractive industries it regulates. But when President Obama, and his Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, took office in 2009, they proceeded to make some changes to ethics rules in the wake of a sex and drugs scandal in MMS' Denver office -- and that's about it.

The Times has a look at why the administration failed to order a full overhaul at MMS:

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Senate hopefuls Mark Kirk (R) and Dick Blumenthal (D) will likely be dogged from now until November by accusations that they embellished their military backgrounds. But as galling as their transgressions may be, they're part of a rich, scandalous tradition of American pols exaggerating--or simply lying about--their service records in front of the right crowds, when they think they can get away with it.

Herewith, our favorite examples of politicians getting caught red handed fibbing about their war records.

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President Barack Obama's Memorial Day speech at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois was canceled today because of a violent thunderstorm.

"Excuse me, everybody listen up," Obama said from underneath an umbrella as he briefly took the stage. "We are a little bit concerned about lightning. This may not be safe."

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