TPM News

Rep. Louie Gohmert co-opted President Obama's old campaign slogan to talk about shutting down the government yesterday, saying that "if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children."

"If you can't get it under control, then we just stop government 'til you realize, you know, 'yes we can,'" said Gohmert.

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Senate Republicans are expected to join their House colleagues in banning the time-honored practice of earmarking in a behind-closed-doors meeting later today. Much has been made in recent days of the proposed moratorium on porking up a Congressional spending bill with federally-funded goodies for your home state or district (or seeing to it that your constituents get their fair piece of the government money pie, depending on your point of view). The president wants earmarks gone. The tea party -- led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) -- wants earmarks gone. And now, the Republicans want them gone, too.

But what will the GOP's proposed ban actually do?

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A key moderate Republican today indicated she might be open to the idea of a permanent extension of middle-income tax cuts, even if tax cuts on the top income brackets are only extended temporarily.

In response to questions from TPM, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said she hasn't reached any conclusions about whether she might support such a compromise, but did acknowledge that she has no objection to the idea of a permanent tax cut for middle-class Americans.

"I don't know. I'm not prepared to say that at this point, frankly. I'd like to see all the tax rates extended for the time being, the next two or three years at the minimum probably, given where we are today," Snowe said.

Pressed, though, Snowe acknowledged that she has no objection to extending some of the tax cuts permanently.

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The scandal started with a check flushed down the toilet and a bra stuffed with cash. But in the days since Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife Leslie were arrested and charged with allegedly trying to destroy or hide evidence, additional arrests have exposed a wide-ranging corruption probe in the D.C. suburbs.

Nine people -- including three police officers -- were arrested on Monday, accused by the federal government of running drugs, guns, and black-market alcohol and cigarettes. FBI agents also moved to seize more than 30 homes, businesses and vehicles as part of the probe of corruption in the county.

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The ethics committee has found that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) violated congressional ethics rules.

The committee ruled that Rangel was guilty on 11 counts. Rangel had been accused of 13 violations. On one, the committee was deadlocked. The committee dismissed another charge, rolling it into one of the others.

The subcommittee that found the violations will now forward the convictions to the full ethics committee. The full committee will then hold another hearing, during which it will vote on whether to recommend a punishment for Rangel. If they do, they will send that recommendation -- be it admonishment, censuring, expulsion or otherwise -- to the full House for a vote.

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Jon Stewart was not surprised last night that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wants to spend a year studying the effects of a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal: "It's the maverick way -- spend a year studying whether soldiers deserve full civil rights, and a half an hour deciding who will be your presidential running mate."

But after even McCain's own wife participated in a NOH8 campaign public service announcement about the bullying LGBT people face, the Daily Show had to take action. So Wyatt Cenac, Jason Jones, John Oliver, and special guest Sean Hayes cut their own PSA modeled after the "It Gets Better Project," which is aimed at supporting gay and lesbian teens.

Called "It Gets Worse," the PSA tells McCain: "We know you're going through a tough time with this 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' thing - but trust us -- it gets worse."

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1||November 16, 2010: Britain's Prince Charles announces that his eldest son with Princess Diana, Prince William, will marry his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton.

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