TPM News

Rick Green, the former Texas legislator who had liberals worried about an extremist religious-right figure making it onto the state supreme court, was defeated in a GOP primary runoff yesterday.

Last week we told you about Green, his religious-right view of the Constitution, and his checkered ethical past (including the time he filmed an infomercial for a dietary supplement in his Capitol office).

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) surprised many observers today when she announced she'd introduce legislation to tightly regulate the derivatives market, as part of a broader financial regulatory reform bill. Lincoln's one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, and the White House had been pressuring her not to cede too much to the GOP on the issue. In the end she not only did as they asked, she took them to task for not going far enough to regulate banks.

"Proposals that I have seen from the administration have not gone far enough to prevent bailouts of 'too big to fail institutions' and could contain loopholes," Lincoln said. "If we pass reform, it needs to be real reform. My proposal will go further than any other congressional or administration proposal to prevent future bailouts."

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters today that he sees a bright future for the passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act pending in Congress even though it's an election year. Hoyer (D-MD) said he see that measure and the ban on gays in the military being "resolved," though didn't give a specific time frame.

"We passed that through the House, so it is not like this is a new issue for the members. Already a significant majority of members of the House have already voted for this," Hoyer said after a reporter asked about the bill's chances.

Hoyer also weighed in on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, another major issue that gay rights activists want to see completed this year but which may be passed off until after the midterm election.

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Virginia's slide toward extreme conservative governance under Gov. Bob McDonnell continues.

McDonnell wants to change the process by which non-violent felons apply to have their voting rights restored, the Washington Post reported over the weekend. Whereas before, applicants had had to fill out a one-page form, making the process almost automatic, they now will have to submit an essay outlining their contributions to society since their release.

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With the clocking ticking down on the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, a new poll shows Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak is a dead heat. The poll appears to be an outlier, but it suggests Specter's lead is shrinking in advance of the May 18 primary.

The poll, from Rasmussen, shows Specter ahead by a margin of 44-42. The lead is well within the poll's 5% margin of error.

The poll is well outside the lines of existing polling in the race, which has shown Specter ahead by a comfortable margin. Even with the new Rasmussen poll added in the TPM Poll Average for the race shows Specter ahead of Sestak by a margin of 45.3-30.8.

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Here are some key fundraising numbers from today:



  • Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) may be in a bit of trouble. Between Jan. 1 and March 31, Lincoln raised $1.34 million. That's less than the $2 million her Democratic primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, said he raised just in the month of March.

    Still, the TPM Poll Average for the Lincoln-Halter primary on May 18 shows Lincoln ahead by a margin of 46.0% to 30.3%.
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Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today renewing his call for the House Ethics Committee to investigate Former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY):

It is now readily apparent that Congressman Massa's pattern of troubling behavior continued long after Democrats first became aware of his conduct. Speaker Pelosi's staff has acknowledged they knew about problems in Mr. Massa's office back in the fall of 2009. What action, if any, did the Speaker and the Democratic leadership take to protect Rep. Massa's subordinates from harassment and abuse?

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A decorated Army doctor who publicly announced last month that he is refusing to follow orders because he believes Barack Obama may be ineligible to be president is now under investigation after failing to report for duty at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, a military spokesman tells TPMmuckraker.

NBC is reporting, citing unnamed military officials, that the Army will court martial Lt. Col Terrence Lakin.

Lakin's case has become an instant cause célèbre for Birthers since he declared in a YouTube video and press release late last month that he would refuse orders to deploy for a second tour in Afghanistan until Obama produces his birth certificate.

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