TPM News

Update, Oct. 14, 2:27PM: An appeals court has blocked certain provisions of the law.

It's "very clear" that Alabama's new anti-illegal immigration law is keeping children who are U.S. citizens out of school because their parents are scared about its impact, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez told reporters Friday.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce Vance also said that federal officials were "hearing some concerns about vigilante enforcement of the law by private citizens."

"I don't want to overstate, we have heard folks expressing concern that this will take place" but haven't heard any actual reports of such incidents, Vance said. "I never like to be behind crime, I'd like to be in front of it."

"We always maintain awareness and alertness of potential hate crimes, so you know when we say 'vigilanteism' that really means the same thing as the traditional work that we do ensuring that the hate crimes laws in this country are fully enforced," Vance said.

Perez said that they were reviewing some "very troubling data" from schools regarding absentee and dropout data since the law went into effect. He also said there were getting reports of increases in bullying in the wake of the law.

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There are many things special about the number nine, as this video from the early '90s PBS show Square One illustrates so well.

The number that comes right before 10 is having a bit of a renaissance recently, of course, as this video from ThinkProgress which features that Square One clip also shows.

Today, Fox News tried to get to the bottom of the number 9's resurgence.

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The Kansas City Roman Catholic bishop, Robert Finn, and his diocese has been indicted for failing to report an alleged sexual abuse case of a priest taking lewd pictures of young girls.

Herman Cain has a new chief spokesman representing the campaign, former Navy spokesman Jeffrey "J.D." Gordon, who took over recently. But it wasn't always fun and games for Gordon, who first had to overcome an alleged sexual harassment campaign from a female reporter.

Gordon's strange tale began in 2009 when Gordon, then with the Navy, demanded the Miami Herald launch a "thorough investigation" into its military affairs reporter, Carol Rosenberg, who he said was serially harassing him with bawdy language and taunts. As The Daily Caller recounts:

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Herman Cain took a shot at Mitt Romney while speaking to radio host Michael Smerconish on Friday.

“I don’t think he’s a staunch conservative because he’s changed his position on too many things over the years,” Cain said of his campaign rival. “The other thing is, if you just look at Romneycare in Massachusetts, no matter how much he tries to pretend that it was supposed to be good for Massachusetts, a conservative would never have signed that Romneycare legislation in Massachusetts.”

Occupy Wall Street protesters had been gearing up for a confrontation with law enforcement over a planned clean-up in lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park on Friday morning that amounted to an eviction notice. But though there were some arrests made and a few fights with the cops, in the end the protesters were allowed to stay.

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A new Pew report details a sharp decline in fertility rates across the United States that appears closely tied to the economic recession that hit the country in approximately 2007.

The correlation between a faltering economy and the national birth rate is nothing new. What is astounding, however, is that the birth rate for almost every state has dropped dramatically. In 2007, the country experienced a record number of births, 4,316,233. Since then, following one of the worst recessions the U.S. has ever seen, Pew's provisional data shows that the number of births in 2010 was just 4,007,000.

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee's top Democrat let loose on his Republican colleagues on Friday, characterizing their Friday hearing about the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra as a "kangaroo court."

"This investigation is beginning to resemble a kangaroo court," Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-CA) declared at the committee's Friday morning hearing. "At our last hearing, witnesses who asserted their lawful constitutional rights were publicly humiliated. And now the Republican majority is withholding exculpatory information from the public."

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Wisconsin Democrats just recently announced their official campaign to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, following their near-miss earlier this year to recall their way to a majority in the state Senate. But that's not all: The recall-Walker campaign will also include another bite at recalls for the state Senate.

Under Wisconsin's recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their current term before being recalled -- thus exempting earlier this year the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010. With half of the state Senate up for election every two years, this meant that only those senators who were last elected in 2008 could be targeted for recalls during this past year (and also that the attempt to recall Walker would have to wait). But now, headed into 2012, that ceiling has been lifted.

"There is an opportunity here, given the large-scale effort under way, to target some of the senators who stood by Walker," state Dem spokesman Graeme Zielinski told the Wisconsin State Journal. "You will know in time who we're targeting."

On the other side, Republicans are in turn eyeing recall counter-efforts against Dems. "At this point, no decisions have been made, but all options are on the table. We will wait and see what the Democrats decide to do, and then weigh our options and move forward," said Dan Romportl, executive director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate.

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Michele Bachmann issued the following statement Friday, in response to Rick Perry’s energy plan:

“Governor Perry – I appreciate you endorsing my energy ideas. Your plan is exactly what I have been talking about since I entered the race in June. With my announcement of ‘American Jobs, Right Now,’ I am the only candidate with a comprehensive framework to grow the economy, create jobs, unleash potential for American energy, and reform the tax code; the major distinction is that I will implement my framework without abusing executive power.”