TPM News

Federal prosecutors maintained in a filing on Thursday that Jack Abramoff crony Kevin Ring should face 17 to 22 years in jail because he is "is not entitled to the benefits, or leniency, enjoyed by his co-conspirators who stood in a very different position in 2005 to 2008 than he does in 2011."

Ring's lawyers had argued that the tough sentence the Justice Department has sought against him -- which exceeds the time served by all 20 other defendants in the conspiracy combined -- was a form of retaliation for his decision to go to trial and not plead guilty like many of his co-conspirators.

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FOX News came out with a new poll Thursday evening that confirmed the numbers from other polls showing Texas Gov. Rick Perry shooting to the top of the GOP field in the race for the party's presidential nomination. Unfortunately for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), it seems that much of Perry's success is coming at her loss.



Perry leads with 26 percent of GOP voters, followed by now chief rival Mitt Romney at 18 percent. Bachmann, who had been reaching second place in national polls before the entrance of Perry in the race, was relegated to being the first choice of only 4 percent of Republicans.

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It's not looking good for Democrats in New York's 9th district, where voters will determine Anthony Weiner's successor on September 13th. A Republican-commissioned poll shows the race tied after a week in which Democratic nominee David Weprin fluffed a question on the size of the national debt.

The poll, by McLaughlin & Associates, found a 42-42 tie between Weprin and Republican Bob Turner among 300 likely voters surveyed. A poll last month by Siena University showed Weprin with a 46-40 lead, and even that was enough to raise alarm bells in the Democratic-leaning district.

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A new pre-Labor Day drama has begun and it's not playing on your television screen.

It's the negotiating dance between content owners and distributors. One new episode started playing out Thursday when Starz Entertainment's CEO Chris Albrecht issued a statement saying that Starz has walked out of negotiations with Netflix.

"Starz Entertainment has ended contract renewal negotiations with Netflix. When the agreement expires on February 28, 2012, Starz will cease to distribute its content on the Netflix streaming platform," Albrecht said in a Thursday statement.

Starz, the premium movie cable channel, owns the online rights to movies from two of the biggest Hollywood studios: Disney and Sony.

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The hits just keep on coming for the Pima County, AZ Republican Party, which is in hot water this week after fundraising in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D) Tucson-area district with a raffle giveaway of a Glock handgun -- the same make of weapon used in the Giffords shooting in January.

Late Thursday, the Democratic leader of the Arizona state House -- where Giffords once served as a legislator -- took deep offense at the raffle, and called on the Pima GOP to end it immediately.

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Updated: September 2, 2011, 2 p.m. ET

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a conservative, is responding to criticism from the court's liberals, regarding his allegation to investigators that liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley hit him during a court meeting on September 18, 2008 -- a date when the court did not meet. Gableman's answer is that he is correcting a lapse of memory: It did happen on September 18 -- but in 2009.

Gableman made the allegation during the investigation of a physical altercation in June, about which Bradley accused Justice David Prosser, the leader of the court's conservatives, of grabbing her neck in a "chokehold." Prosser replied to investigators that Bradley charged at him, and he reflexively put up his hands to block her, accidentally making contact with her neck. Ultimately, no charges were filed.

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Three years ago the United States endured a fake controversy centered on then-candidate Barack Obama, whose then-friend and mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright had years earlier boomed "GOD DAMN AMERICA!" during a crowded sermon at his influential Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The imbroglio dominated campaign coverage for days, and presaged a public rift between the two men, and Obama's memorable Philadelphia speech on race.

Imagine for a moment that Obama, not Wright, had uttered those words, during his presidency, not his campaign, and you'll have a sense for what Italy's dealing with right now.

Here's a report from The Guardian:

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A Super PAC supporting Michele Bachmann's campaign, Keep Conservatives United, threw one of the first on-air punches of the 2012 GOP primary this week, lighting into Rick Perry as a big spending governor who is not a "Tea Party guy." Now the Perry camp is pushing back hard, condemning the South Carolina TV ad and releasing a detailed fact check disputing its claims.

"Gov. Perry is a proven fiscal conservative, having cut taxes, signed six balanced budgets, and led Texas to become America's top job-creating state," Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan told reporters. "Congresswoman Bachmann's front-group ad is patently and provably false. Unlike Washington, the Texas budget is balanced, does not run deficits and limits spending, even as Texas added jobs and population in big numbers."

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Fremont, Ca.-based solar manufacturer Solyndra, a company praised for its innovativeness by President Obama and backed by a $535 million federal loan guarantee, declared bankruptcy yesterday, saying fierce competition by foreign solar manufacturers was a main factor in its downfall.

But the CEO of a competing solar company that is doing well says that simply wasn't the case.

Barry Cinnamon, CEO of decade-old Westinghouse Solar in Campbell, Ca., posted an op-ed on the company's corporate website lamenting the exit of rival Solyndra from the marketplace but also not pulling any punches when it came to describing who and what was to blame: Two big bets Solyndra made that didn't pan out.

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