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Several outlets, including ABC News and Fox News, are reporting that Mohammed Zazi, the man whose Colorado home was this week raided by the FBI in connection to a suspected terror plot has admitted ties to al Qaeda, and is negotiating to plead guilty to a terror charge.

That plea would be part of a deal to cooperate with the government. According to a law enforcement official, Zazi received explosives training. Other reports have suggested he was found with plans for building bombs on his recent trip to New York.

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Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is currently a candidate for Senate in 2010, just told an interesting story to the Values Voters Summit, explaining the state of pandemonium in Washington.

A long time ago in India, Blunt said, a group of British occupiers set about building a golf course from what was formerly a stretch of wilderness. Much to their surprise, as soon as the first balls were played, monkeys would run out and play with them. The monkeys might throw a ball from fairway to sand, from sand to fairway -- or even back at the golfer.

Eventually, the golfers had to agree to a new rule, never before used in the game. "You have to play the ball where the monkey throws it. And that is the rule in Washington all the time," Blunt said, to the applause and laughter of the crowd.

"You know the world is turned upside down," he added for context, "when Al Franken is in the United States Senate, and Tom DeLay is going on Dancing With The Stars."

Late Update: Here's the audio, courtesy of Fired Up Missouri:

Health care reform "is very much a women's issue," a part of the feminist movement, First Lady Michelle Obama told a group of women's rights activists today.

"If we want to achieve true equality for women ... then we have to reform the system," she said.

Women, she said, pay more for insurance while earning less and are more likely to work part-time or for small companies that don't offer health insurance. On top of that, she said, eight in 10 women are responsible for the health care of their children and their spouses, and sometimes their aging parents.

"Women play a unique and increasingly significant role in our families. We know the pain, because we are usually the ones dealing with it," Obama said. She spoke of when her daughter Sasha had meningitis -- "We were terrified" -- and how her father had multiple sclerosis.

"What would we have done, as a family ... if my father hadn't had insurance?" she said.

Watch the video after the jump.

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Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) is getting on the anti-ACORN bandwagon established by Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who is of course a potential presidential candidate. This is to say, Jindal is ending the non-existent state funding of the controversial group.

From the Times-Picayune:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order to keep any state money from going to the controversy-wracked Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has its national headquarters in New Orleans.

According to the state's Division of Administration, no state agencies have existing contracts with ACORN.


The Louisiana Republican Party has put out a press release celebrating the event: "Jindal Issues Order Ending Funding of ACORN"

Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: President Barack Obama.

• CBS, Face The Nation: President Barack Obama

• CNN, State Of The Union: President Barack Obama; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

• Fox News Sunday: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA); FedEx CEO Fred Smith, and Moody's Economy.com chief economist Mark Zandi.

• NBC, Meet The Press: President Barack Obama; House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

All the news coverage these last few days has focused on the developments in the Senate Finance Committee. And for good reason! That's where all the news is. But that may obscure the fact that there's another health care bill that's been voted out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and a final package emerging in the House of Representatives, and each of these will help shape the bill President Obama hopes to sign.

Before August recess, each of the three House committees with jurisdiction over health care reform approved different versions of the same so-called "tri-committee bill". Over the break, the chairmen of those committees, working with leadership and the Democratic caucus, made progress on stitching those bills together into a package that will be voted on by the entire chamber. That work continues, and yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will pass a bill "when we're ready," but that she's not waiting for the Senate to move ahead first.

Things haven't matured quite that much in the Senate. The Finance Committee will hold hearings on its bill next week, and the current thinking is that the legislation will likely pass with only Democrats (or Democrats plus Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine). When that's done, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid--working with Finance Chair Max Baucus, HELP Comittee leaders, and the White House--will take the lead merging the two bills into a final product that he thinks can overcome a filibuster, and then pass with at least 51 votes. This will mostly happen behind closed doors.

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Former Miss California Carrie Prejean, who became a conservative darling after saying marriage should be between a man and a woman at the Miss USA pageant, drew a standing ovation at the Values Voter Summit in Washington today.

She said she had learned to stick to her principles even when it's not easy -- even, say, when it costs you a Miss USA crown.

"Even though I didn't win the crown that night," she said, apparently trying to collect herself despite a wave of emotion, "I know that the Lord has so much of a bigger crown in heaven for me."

The crowd got up and cheered.

At the pageant, Prejean told judge Perez Hilton, "I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised." In June, Donald Trump fired Prejean from her Miss California gig for failing to make official appearances, which was part of her contract.

Video after the jump.

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Ex-Bush official Scott Bloch was granted a law license last year after the staff of a DC court didn't notice that he is under criminal investigation by the FBI -- and failed to flag that fact to the Committee on Admissions, despite extensive documentation provided by Bloch.

He now practices at a business law firm in the District he joined several months ago. The clerk of the court for the D.C. Court of Appeals revealed the error to TPMmuckraker today after we inquired about the case.

In October 2008, Bloch ended a rocky tenure leading the Office of Special Counsel during the Bush Administration that was marked by charges of retaliation against his employees and politicization of the agency in charge of protecting the rights of federal workers.

But one scandal refused to go away: while being probed for the alleged retaliation, he allegedly destroyed evidence and, investigating Bloch for obstruction of justice, the FBI raided his home and office.

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According to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), 95 percent of our health care problems would be fixed if we allowed people to buy their own insurance. Plus a little tort reform.

In this utopian world, "You own your health care just like you own your auto insurance," Bachmann said. One might ask, how would that lower costs? "You can band together with whomever you want," she said, "so you have purchasing power."

"It's called freedom!" she said to whoops and cheers. She was speaking, along with Reps. Tom Price (R-GA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), at a health care Q&A, part of the Values Voter Summit in Washington.

The hour-long panel was a lesson in how removed many conservatives are from the health care debate the rest of us are having. Insurance company regulations, preventive care, getting insurance for people who can't afford it -- these things are replaced with calls for tort reform, making sure abortion isn't federally funded and lauding Medicare out of one side of the mouth while attacking government run health care out of the other.

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