TPM News

Questions about entrapment have dogged counter-terrorism cases for some time, most recently in the case of the Oregon man charged with trying to blow up a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony. Now, from The Washington Post, comes the story of Craig Monteilh, a self-proclaimed FBI informant who was so aggressive in his quest to find potential terrorists at a California mosque that the community got a restraining order against him.

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Sorry, Tea Party Nation: Sarah Palin will not be replacing Michael Steele at the helm of the Republican National Committee. This morning, Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips called on Palin to take the reins at the RNC, for fear that it may fall into "establishment" hands after the 168 voting members of the committee convene to choose a chair in January.

This afternoon, Palin gave ABC News her answer to Phillips' request: not interested.

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Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) is now wading into the intramural Republican battle in Alaska, calling upon GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller to concede the race against incumbent GOP Senator and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.

As the Anchorage Daily News reports:

Begich, though, said it's time for Miller "to put Alaska interests ahead of personal ambition and allow the State of Alaska to certify Lisa Murkowski as the winner."

"Failure to certify the election could prevent Senator Murkowski from being sworn into office in early January when other new senators officially take office," Begich said.


"Without both senators, Alaska's interests will be at risk on critical issues from energy development to job creation and reducing the national debt in a way that's fair to Alaskans," he said.

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On his radio show today, Glenn Beck was lamenting the fact that no media outlets (Fox News included!) were covering the growing scourge of Communists and Socialists preaching a violent overthrow here in America. He even proposed that 0.5% of Americans may be violent radicals. Of course, that figure isn't something you're likely to hear about since it was handily overshadowed by another stat the host used: Beck guessed that 10% of Muslims are terrorists. You hear that sound? That's 100% of The View hosts angrily leaving the room. Yeah, even Hasselbeck.

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Navy sailors serving in the Arabian Sea today that despite the push from him and other Pentagon leaders, the military's ban on gays serving openly is likely to continue into the next year.

From the AP report on Gates' visit to sailors aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln:

Gates said that he was "not particularly optimistic" that Congress would overturn the policy soon, even though he wishes it would.

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When the health care law passed earlier this year, Democrats and Republicans had already been bickering for months over one of the central provisions of the legislation: the individual mandate. Can Congress, under the Constitution's commerce clause, compel people to purchase health insurance? The fight was just one of many health care-related disagreements that have divided conservatives and liberals since the issue took center stage, but it's the one major aspect of the new policy that gave Republicans an opening to take the Affordable Care Act to court.

Normally, a lawsuit challenging the scope of Congress' power under the commerce clause would be open and shut -- it's been a perennial loser for plaintiffs going back decades. But in that time, the court has moved to the right, and become more partisan. And the early rulings in these health care lawsuits indicate what Republicans knew all too well -- that Republican-appointed judges will be as sympathetic to their arguments as Democrat-appointed judges will be opposed. And that could presage several major victories for conservative foes of the health care law as their challenges make their way toward the Republican-leaning Supreme Court.

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As TPM reported on Friday, Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs sent an email to its students warning them not to link to or comment on the Wikileaks cables if they plan on trying to get a job at the State Department after graduation.

The email was sent by the office of career services and, not surprisingly, caused a stir. Now Threat Level reports that the school has sent a second email to students reassuring them that Columbia fully supports the freedom of expression.

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Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) appeared today on Fox & Friends, to elaborate on his decision to not attend the local "Holiday Parade Of Lights" in Tulsa, on the grounds that the organizers had officially removed "Christmas" from the table.

"But you know, this is a bigger picture," said Inhofe. "You look around the country, you see the atheist billboards, you see the New York school board saying you can't have a nativity scene but you can have a Muslim star, the North Carolina school board taking Christmas off the calendar.

"You know, I would expect it some other places, but not here in Oklahoma. So my decision was a personal decision. I'm not really boycotting it -- I'm just not gonna be there. To me, last time I checked, Gretchen, Christmas meant the birth of Jesus Christ, and that's what we're celebrating, that's what I'm celebrating, that's what my 20 kids and grandkids are celebrating."

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Lawyers for former Senate Candidate Robin Carnahan are arguing that the Fox News network is singling the Missouri Democrat out in its lawsuit alleging her campaign violated the network's copyrights.

To strengthen their argument, lawyers for Carnahan are pointing to Fox News clips posted on the websites of Republican candidates during the 2010 election season that the network doesn't seem to be worried about.

"Through this lawsuit, Fox News attempts to use copyright law to silence political speech. This distortion of copyright law fails," lawyers representing Carnahan wrote in a court document filed on Friday.

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) says the Senate should vote on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell before it goes home for Christmas -- even if that means keeping Senators in town through the holiday.

"Wanting to go home is not an acceptable excuse for failing to pass a bill that provides essential support for our troops and veterans and failing to take action that the president, the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have called for," a Lieberman spokesperson told The Hill.

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