TPM News

Republicans can finally relax -- the health care law has finally been repealed. Actually it hasn't -- but only half of all Americans know it.

In a new Kaiser Health poll, just 52% of Americans knew that the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama is still in place. Meanwhile, one fifth -- 22% -- of all Americans believe that the law has been overturned, while another 26% aren't sure what's up with the law.

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The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is up with a new ad attacking Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal to strip public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining rights -- making quick use of Walker's phone call with blogger Ian Murphy, who was posing as Republican financier David Koch.

Around the Capitol, the phone call is something people are talking about -- a lot. From the protestors yelling about Walker's "Koch habit," to reporters who kept asking him about the call during Wednesday's brief press conference. Indeed, it seems likely Walker will find it difficult to put the call behind him anytime soon -- from his discussion of political gamesmanship, brief considerations about planting fake protesters to start trouble, or his passion for busting the public employee unions in the mold of Ronald Reagan's firing of the air traffic controllers, this thing, as they say, has legs.

Enter the AFL-CIO's ad:

"Gov. Walker is set on eliminating collective bargaining for nurses, teachers, people who live and work in our communities," the announcer says. "He tells us it's for the taxpayers of Wisconsin. But to wealthy GOP funders like David Koch, it's a different story."

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Refraining from eating pork? Giving alms to the poor? These could become criminal activities in Tennessee, where a proposed law would make adherence to Sharia -- or Islamic law -- illegal and punishable with jail time.

While a number of other states have filed legislation seeking to keep Sharia out of the courts, Tennessee is going one giant step further by attempting to outlaw it entirely.

Senate Bill 1028, introduced by State Sen. Bill Ketron, gives the state Attorney General authority to designate "Sharia organizations," defined as "two (2) or more persons conspiring to support, or acting in concert in support of, sharia or in furtherance of the imposition of sharia within any state or territory of the United States." Anyone who provides material support or resources to a designated Sharia organization could be charged with a felony and face up to 15 years in jail.

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Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) could be on his way out of the Senate after just one term.

In a new poll of likely voters conducted by 47 North Communications, Tester trails Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) in a hypothetical 2012 match-up. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they would vote for Rehberg, while only 44% said they would back Tester.

Earlier this month, Rehberg formally announced that he would take on Tester in next year's election.

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It's hard out here for a prostitution lobbyist.

George Flint, who has represented the Select Legal Brothels of Nevada for the last 26 years, is still reeling from Sen. Harry Reid's dramatic call for a statewide ban on the world's oldest profession. Flint, 77, told TPM he was particularly shocked because he and Reid have known each other for over 40 years, going back to the Senator's earliest days in state politics -- yet he's never heard him complain about the business.

"We're more or less personal friends and I'm completely blown out of the water," he said. "I have no idea what it's tied to. It's nothing like he's ever done before. We're all trying to get a handle on it."

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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is fully behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) plan to strip many state workers of their collective bargaining rights. And he's pretty sure a number of the protesters pouring into Madison over the past few days to stop Walker are Democratic or union plants.

That's the message from a new web video and petition drive launched by Pawlenty's PAC on Thursday. Like most of the potential 2012 presidential contenders, Pawlenty's gone on record in strong support of Walker's so-called Budget Repair Bill, which critics call plain and simple union busting.

Now he's doubling down, launching a web petition and video campaign to support the embattled Wisconsin governor.

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Just who did former HarperCollins publisher Judith Regan accuse of telling her to lie about her relationship with former NYC police commissioner Bernard Kerik?

As readers may recall, in the midst her lawsuit with her former employer News Corporation, Regan reportedly claimed via her legal team that a senior News Corp executive had asked her to lie about her relationship with then NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. Kerik was at the time being considered as the next homeland security chief.

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When Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) took over as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee early last month, Democrats braced for an onslaught of investigations of the Obama administration and rash of subpoenas.

So far, the subpoenas have been very few in number -- just three to date and all sent last week. But Democrats already aren't liking what they're seeing and don't want to let them go without a fight.

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Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, the 20-year-old who allegedly plotted to target the home of former President George W. Bush and attack other locations in the U.S. with improvised explosive devices led a seemingly lonely life in Texas after he arrived from Saudi Arabia in 2008. But the criminal complaint reveals that he may have compensated, in part, by starting a blog -- and that his alleged online activities had a decidedly darker side.

The investigation into Aldawsari appears to have started when the Carolina Biological Supply (CBS) reported a suspicious attempted purchase of the chemical phenol. Between December 2010 and January 2011, Aldawsari bought a number of items from that could seemingly be used to develop a weapon.

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Leading progressives in the Democratic party are pressing President Obama to get more involved in the fight over public worker rights playing out in Wisconsin and other states across the country.

Obama has publicly sided with state and local government employees against laws meant to crush their right to collectively bargain. But his political shop has run hot and cold on the question of involving him more publicly in the protests.

The co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus yesterday both called on him to speak out more loudly -- or even join the protesters in Wisconsin.

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