TPM News

An ex-CIA official named Albert who ran a drill near the head of a terrorism suspect and threatened him with a gun during an interrogation is back on the government payroll as a contractor, and had even trained other CIA operatives, the Associated Press reports.

A review by the CIA inspector general said that the 60-year-old man named Albert, whose last name is being withheld at the request of the government, used unauthorized interrogation techniques against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a USS Cole bombing plotter, at a secret CIA prison in Poland in late 2002 and early 2003.

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Stephen Colbert was ready last night for the campaign season to kick into high gear now that Labor Day has passed. It's "time to put away the white pants," he said, "and dust off the white politicians."

Like Christine O'Donnell, a Republican primary candidate in Delaware, who has some rather old-fashioned views on sex. O'Donnell lost to Joe Biden in 2008, which Colbert said "[proves] once again that nothing makes you want to 'do it' less than debating Joe Biden."

He then showed an encore presentation of his "award flavored" interview with Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), who refused to make cockfighting the official sport of his state. "I am going to cockblock Delaware," Castle said.

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President Obama is in the process of rolling out a job creation package comprised overwhelmingly of the sorts of tax cuts Republicans normally love, paired with a modest plan to create a government-run infrastructure investment bank to help fund transportation projects across the country. But judging from the GOP response, you'd think the specifics of the proposal were reversed: big on spending, small on tax cuts. In other words, so comfortable have Republicans become with opposing Democratic proposals, that they're gearing up for a fight against the policies their most powerful supporters love.

"As the American people, facing near double-digit unemployment, mark Labor Day by asking, where are the jobs, the White House has chosen to double-down on more of the same failed 'stimulus' spending," House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a Monday statement. He was speaking in that instance about the infrastructure bank, but his statement on Tuesday about the tax cuts wasn't much more encouraging.

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Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and his likely Republican opponent, businessman Ron Johnson, each have some new ads out that explore different sides of the same theme. Feingold's ad presents the Senator as a constant outsider who has irritated the special interests in Washington -- while Johnson's ad casts Feingold as a career politician with 18 years of experience.

The Feingold ad shows him meeting for lunches with various constituents back home in Wisconsin, compared to nobody wanting to sit with him in Washington. "Russ Feingold's work to provide our soldiers with the support and health care they deserve has earned him the approval of Wisconsin veterans," the announcer says. "Russ's fight to protect local jobs from being shipped overseas and create jobs here has earned him the respect of Wisconsin families and small businesses.

"And his stand against wasteful spending and automatic pay raises for members of Congress -- has earned him a lot of lonely lunches in Washington."

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Jon Stewart showed the infamous clip of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's (R) trainwreck of a debate last night, and was not impressed: "What happened? Did a Mexican drug cartel sneak across the border and kidnap your tongue?"

But then he figured it out: "Oh wait, I know what happened. Her brain fart lasted the exact amount of time it takes the guy from 'Quantum Leap' to realize he's in a new body."

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Joel Hansen -- the Nevada conservative using some unique arguments in his suit challenging the new health care law -- told TPMMuckraker that his argument that health care reform imposed a form of slavery on the nation might not be his strongest argument, but it was a valid one.

"I think it is involuntary servitude, if they force you to buy a product," Hansen said. But, he noted, "It's not the same thing as the African-American slaves were under."

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On MSNBC yesterday, former McCain campaign economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin faced a tough question from Dylan Ratigan. For all the Democrats flaws, Ratigan mused, isn't being ruled by alcoholics better than being ruled by alcoholic coke-heads?

No joke.

"Are we setting ourselves up to quit drinking by beginning to snort cocaine in November in addition to drinking?" Ratigan asked Holtz-Eakin.

In a telling answer, Holtz-Eakin confessed that the Republican party has been too obsessed with Sarah Palin, and Palin-like personalities, and has thus not had enough time to prepare its leaders to govern.

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Obama Pitches Road Spending, Tax Incentives In Ohio Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama will push billions of dollars in new business tax incentives and spending on big construction projects on Wednesday, as he tries to convince a balky Congress to pass measures intended to spur the economy and create jobs. Obama will travel to Ohio to tout programs that include accelerating $200 billion in business tax write-offs, which the White House says would eventually cost just $30 billion, an infrastructure spending boost of at least $50 billion, and increasing and permanently extending a tax credit for research and development costing $100 billion over 10 years. Obama's speech is expected to be strongly political and it comes less than two months before congressional elections when his Democrats face the threat of big losses."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:45 a.m. ET. Obama will depart from the White House at 12:05 p.m. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 12:20 p.m. ET, arriving at 1:30 p.m. ET in Cleveland, Ohio. He will deliver remarks on the economy at 2:10 p.m. ET, at Cuyahoga Community College West Campus in Parma, Ohio. He will depart from Cleveland at 3:50 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 5 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 5:15 p.m. ET. He will meet with senior advisers at 5:20 p.m. ET.

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Former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte was sailing along in New Hampshire's Republican senate primary. She was way ahead of her Republican opponents -- and her potential Dem rival Rep. Paul Hodes -- in the polls, was backed by the establishment GOP, and was even counted among the ranks of Sarah Palin's "mama grizzlies" when the former half-term governor endorsed Ayotte back in July.

But somewhere between the primary in-fighting and concerns about Ayotte's conservative record, former state Board of Education chairman and Tea Party-backed candidate Ovide Lamontagne began to gain some ground.

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A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention law, granting Attorney General Eric Holder's motion to dismiss the challenge to the law that protects gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from bias-motivated violence because the plaintiffs lacked jurisdiction.

Judge Thomas L. Ludington of the Eastern District of Michigan ruled Tuesday that the claim by Michigan Christians that they would be prosecuted under the hate crimes law was entirely speculative, as they would have had to be at risk of committing violent acts or would have had to admit to committing such acts in the past to be at risk of prosecution.

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