TPM News

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), whose ethics hearing was scheduled to begin today before the House ethics committee postponed it indefinitely, delivered a statement in front of the room where the hearing would have taken place. As she has over the past several months, she excoriated the committee.

Waters called the panel's reason for delaying the hearing -- that new evidence could change the case -- "nothing more than an excuse."

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called for tough measures against Wikileaks in the wake of the latest publication of diplomatic communications -- namely, that they be declared a foreign terrorist organization.

As The Hill reports:

"I am calling on the attorney general and supporting his efforts to fully prosecute Wikileaks and its founder for violating the Espionage Act. And I'm also calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare Wikileaks a foreign terrorist organization," King said on WNIS radio on Sunday evening.

"By doing that, we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them help or contributions or assistance whatsoever," he said. "To me, they are a clear and present danger to America."

Question: Would King feel the same way about people who have been entangled with the IRA?

John McCain has a plan for North Korea. To deal with the impudent northern half of the Korean Peninsula, McCain suggested yesterday that it might be time to dig into the Bush administration playbook for the Middle East, circa 2003. On CNN's State Of The Union, McCain called for "regime change" in Pyongyang as soon as possible -- though he didn't say how exactly anyone would go about it.

One option appears to be off the table in McCain's mind, a military strike like the one America used the last time "regime change" was bandied about by high-profile Republicans.

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Today in outrageous new benchmarks for bipartisanship, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) says she'd be more likely to vote to ratify the START Treaty if former Presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were to speak out in support of it.

"It would be wonderful if President [George H.W.] Bush would come out for the treaty. That would be so powerful and definitely help," Collins told the Washington Post.

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Congress Returns To Work With Long To-Do List Reuters reports: "U.S. lawmakers face a lengthy to-do list, topped by a dispute over expiring tax cuts, when they return to work on Monday in a session that offers an early gauge of the chances for bipartisanship when the new Congress convenes in January. The first test of the post-election relationship between President Barack Obama and newly powerful Republican congressional leaders will come at a White House meeting on Tuesday, which is likely to focus on the tax-cut debate."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and will receive the economic daily briefing at 10:30 a.m. ET. He will meet at 11 a.m. ET with senior advisers. He does not have any scheduled public events.

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As we survey the Republicans set to take charge of House committee chairmanships, we can see how some of them have said the darnedest things. For example, just look at the possible next chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL).

The committee's current ranking GOPer, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), endangered his bid for the chairmanship this past June, when he publicly apologized to BP for the way they were cajoled into setting up a $20 billion escrow fund to compensate victims of that whole underwater oil geyser in the Gulf of Mexico.

But let's take a look at Shimkus, who is a key alternative candidate to Barton for that chairmanship, and his pronouncements on climate policy and other issues -- and how environmental catastrophes cannot possibly happen, because God will not allow it.

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Yesterday, Wikileaks released a selection of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables dating from the mid-sixties to the present day -- widely presumed to have been provided to them by the currently-incarcerated Private Bradley Manning -- accessed through the military's SPIRNET system that was intended to reduce the bureaucratic "siloing" on information deemed partially responsible for the intelligence failures in a pre-9/11 world. Those cables were provided earlier under embargo to five international media outlets: the New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, La Monde and Der Spiegel. For most readers, it made for a dizzying array of information: the cables themselves incorporated both banal gossip and important intelligence, and each media outlet attempted to give as much context to their release (and the reactions to their release) as to the nuggets of information found therein.

But for all the Administration's condemnations and the muted international response to date, there were five astonishing revelations uncovered by the 120 reporters given early access to the documents.

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Maine Gov.-Elect Paul LePage (R) hasn't even taken office yet, but he's already ruffling some feathers with his staffing choices.

LePage, a conservative Republican, has been taken heat for appointing Pete Harring to his transition advisory team. Harring, also known as Pete The Carpenter, is a leader of the Tea Party groups the Maine Refounders and Paint Maine Red, and is known for posting on Paint Maine Red that "liberals are like slinkys and that's because they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs."

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In the wake of a number of gay students' suicides this fall, and a national conversation about bullying, Exodus International, a group dedicated to "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ," announced that it would no longer sponsor The Day of Truth. An annual event that encourages students to "counter the promotion of homosexual behavior," The Day of Truth has been organized as a counter-event to the much larger, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network-sponsored Day of Silence held every April.

But The Day of Truth is not going away. The James Dobson-founded Christian ministry Focus on the Family has stepped in to replace Exodus International as the event's sponsor, and has re-branded and re-framed it The Day of Dialogue.

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In 2005, the then-chairman of the House Energy Committee, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), a climate change skeptic, commissioned a report that would challenge the data in two major climate change papers, including the popular "hockey stick" theory. In 2006, the Barton-commissioned report was released and heralded by climate change skeptics the country over, laying the groundwork for last year's "Climate-Gate" controversies.

Last week, experts who reviewed the report for USA Today determined that the report was largely plagiarized.

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