TPM News

Remember a couple weeks ago when I reported that progressive groups were organizing a campaign--including television ads--to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include the public option in the Senate health care bill, and to enforce party unanimity against GOP filibusters?

Well, check out a new letter, available below the fold, from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to its supporters.

Bold progressive Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) helped us deliver nearly 90,000 petition signatures to Sen. Harry Reid on Wednesday....

We demanded that Reid stand up to conservative Democrats who are threatening to help Republicans block an up-or-down vote on the public option. CNN, ABC, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and others covered the event.... This weekend, we'll be filming a TV ad in Nevada featuring one of Reid's constituents who desperately needs the public option. It will be powerful. More on that next week...

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On October 15, 2009, thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets after the government announced that it would lay off 17,000 workers, to help reduce the $3.2 billion deficit. This will add to some 20,000 workers who were already laid off, leaving Puerto Rico with a 15% unemployment rate. According to the SEIU, "300,000 to 400,000 people -- if not more" came out to protest the "massive cuts in essential public services." There were early reports that Gov. Luis Fortuno had threatened protesters with charges of terrorism if they chose to partake in the general work stoppage, but according to SEIU representative Dennis Rivera, the government eventually "backed off." Rivera also said the SEIU has made a formal request to meet with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in the hopes that it will force Americans "to make a judgment call about what they want to do."

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Roberto Pagán, president of the Sindicato Puertorriqueño de Trabajadores (SPT), the SEIU's branch in Puerto Rico, addresses the crowd.

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The Puerto Rican flag.

cc: SEIU International

Remember how the House sergeant at arms hadn't heard of the call Wednesday by four GOP lawmakers for a probe of alleged infiltration of the Hill by Muslim intern subversives?

It turns out that's because Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), the de facto leader of the group, who also wrote the foreword for the book on which the charges are based, hasn't yet submitted a request for an investigation, Myrick's office tells TPMmuckraker.

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Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) was quick to respond, and to do so in some pretty strong terms, after PolitickerNJ speculated that the Congressman might retire in light of his low fundraising this past quarter:

I wonder who gave out the creative writing assignment to suggest that I was retiring from Congress? After all, I love helping my constituents, bringing an unprecedented amount of federal dollars back to many regions in New Jersey (as our only Democratic Appropriations Committee member); and working with my House colleagues and the Obama White House in matters of our national security and foreign affairs. And I'm running for reelection in 2010, and for many years more.


Rothman also said that his political standing in New Jersey "is as good as anyone's, maybe better," and that he has more total campaign funds on hand than all but one other member of the state's congressional delegation, and he is 10th highest overall among the House Democrats.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is asking her supporters to join her for an online chat about health care Sunday night.

"Later this month, the full Senate will begin consideration of health insurance reform and I have made it clear that I will only support the final version if it is best for my constituents in Arkansas," she wrote in a letter to her supporters today. "As we move to the next stage of this debate, I want to hear from you."

In the letter, Lincoln reprised her talking point from the week that she voted for the Senate Finance Committee version of the bill "not because it was a perfect bill but because it was a major step toward improving health care for Arkansas families."

The chat can be found here and will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. central time.

Portions of her email after the jump.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod.

• CBS, Face The Nation: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH).

• CNN, State Of The Union: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).

• Fox News Sunday: Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove, former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe.

• NBC, Meet The Press: White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), California First Lady Maria Shriver, Center for American Progress president John Podesta.

A former prosecutor with the Justice Department's Public Integrity unit has called the case against Kevin Ring "an extremely problematic prosecution," since the favors that Ring was accused of doing for public officials weren't in themselves illegal.

A mistrial was declared in the case yesterday, after jurors deadlocked on the charges against the former Team Abramoff lobbyist.

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Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, is set to boost his ultra-conservative credentials this weekend, putting in an appearance at the Western CPAC conference -- where he'll be in some pretty interesting company.

Tonight, for example, Pawlenty will be featured at a private VIP reception, which also include none other than Floyd Brown. For those of you who have not heard of him, Brown was the originator of the Willie Horton ad against Mike Dukakis in 1988, and currently runs the Web sites Expose Obama and the Impeach Obama Campaign, which warns: "how long should we sit back and permit Barack Hussein Obama to rip apart the fabric of this country before we take action?"

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