TPM News

Here's a novel approach to blunting the power of public sector unions. New Hampshire Republicans are proposing to penalize state employees if they sue the government for breach of contract. Successfully sue us, they warn, and we'll cut your benefits.

Here's how it would work. A New Hampshire Senate panel just advanced legislation that would clawback state employee benefits more generally. According to the Union Leader, it "raises retirement ages for police and firefighters, cuts back the amount of pay that can be included in pension calculations, and requires workers to pay higher shares of their pay toward retirement costs."

But if you work for the state, and think that's a bum deal, too bad. The bill was amended Monday to force workers to contribute an additional three percent of their salaries to their pensions if they win a court battle on the grounds that the cuts violate the states contract with the union.

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Spring is near! The sun is shining, the weather is warming and holy what the mothercakes, gas is four dollars a gallon right now?! And what mister newscaster? It's going to get more expensive? Geez! This is getting out of hand. We all would appreciate saving some money on gas. Here's how.

Fill Up at Cheaper Gas Stations

Filed in: duh. But, seriously, filling up at cheaper gas stations, no matter how minuscule the difference, saves you money in the long run. And it's not hard to find the cheap stations! Start with GasBuddy, a free app on both Android and iPhone, that maps out nearby gas stations and uses user uploaded prices to tell you where you can get the most bang for your buck. It's the most comprehensive gas price resource around, making sure to tell you when prices were updated, which is crucial given how volatile gas prices can be. But! It's good to have backup apps for gas prices, like Cheap Gas for Android and iPhone, because unfortunately there isn't an official database for an app to tap into. The more crowdsourced apps you have, the better.

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Wisconsin Republicans are now running into a rough sight in the battle over Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill and its anti-public employee union provisions, a sight that might be familiar to Democrats from the 2009-2010 health care debates: Loud, raucous town halls. And when U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) ran into that ruckus last night in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Sensenbrenner declared the meeting over -- after 27 minutes.

As the local paper WauwatosaNOW, which has the same parent corporation as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reports:

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner shut down Monday night's town hall meeting in Wauwatosa early because the overflow crowd was more interested in talking about the state budget bills with Republican host state Sen. Leah Vukmir, attendees said.

The meeting got off to a tense start, they explained. Sensenbrenner threatened to shut it down if the crowd got unruly.

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UPDATE: The U.S. Marshals Service originally said that a deputy U.S. Marshal had died, but new information indicates he is still in critical condition.

A suspect who allegedly told law enforcement officers in Missouri that he was "only going out in a body bag" was killed after a shootout with law enforcement officers that left one deputy U.S. Marshal critically injured, and another deputy U.S. Marshal and a police officer wounded.

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Well this is probably not a great sign for an incumbent Republican Senator facing reelection: a new poll of likely GOP primary voters in Maine shows more than 65% don't think Sen. Olympia Snowe belongs in the Republican party.

The outspoken moderate and sometime aisle-crosser apparently still has a long way to go before she convinces Republicans in Maine she's one of them. But the results of the poll show that against two potential primary rivals, Snowe still comes out on top.

The Public Policy Polling (D) survey of 434 "usual Maine Republican primary voters" found just 27% of them think Snowe "properly belongs in the Republican party." Thirty-four percent said she's best described as an independent, while 33% said Snowe's really more of a Democrat.

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NPR has its first response out to James O'Keefe's latest stunt, a hidden camera video featuring a phony Muslim advocacy group discussing a possible donation, and they are not happy with how their executive handled himself in the film.

"We are appalled by the comments made by [NPR foundation president] Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for," David Folkenflik, NPR media correspondent, posted on Twitter, attributing the comments to the news organization.

NPR added: "The fraudulent org... in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5m check, w no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused."

Schiller, who had already accepted a new job at the Aspen Institute, was not leaving because of the video, the network said, adding he was "surprised" by its emergence.

In the video, posted this morning by O'Keefe's Project Veritas, Schiller criticizes the Tea Party movement as "seriously, seriously racist people" and remains largely silent as phony members of the Muslim group denounce Jewish and Zionist control of media.

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Stephen Colbert cannot not believe the gaffes Mike Huckabee has made recently, such as aligning himself with Darth Vader and incorrectly identifying President Obama's foreign origins.

The first "Huckabomb" fell when Huckabee knocked actress Natalie Portman for being unwed and pregnant. Yet since Portman once played the role of Sat Wars hero Luke Skywalker's mother, Colbert said that Huckabee's attack had essentially aligned the former Arkansas governor with the evil empire.

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As air attacks against Libyan rebels grow more violent, calls for attacking Muammar Qaddafi's Air Force are growing in Congress.

Britain and France are drafting a UN resolution establishing a no-fly zone, which will be considered at a NATO meeting Thursday.

But some in Congress believe time is of the essence and are urging Obama to act independently.

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