TPM News

A Swiss politician has apologized today for calling for a ban on Jewish and Muslim cemeteries two days after the country voted to outlaw minarets on mosques.

"I am sorry. I didn't mean it like that," said Christopher Darbellay, president of the Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland, a centrist party and the smallest member of the government coalition.

"It was about the principle that we all belong to the same Swiss society," he added.

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Jon Ralston, the Nevada political columnist who has been all over the John Ensign story, reports in his email newsletter that the Senate Ethics probe of the matter is heating up.

Writes Ralston:

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Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai said after a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden that his country, a member of NATO, is sending 200 more troops to Afghanistan.

It's an increase of 60 percent that Biden deemed "significant" due to the country's relatively small population he estimated is about 10 million.

Bajnai said Hungary "made clear we agree with the strategy" President Obama laid out this week for the war in Afghanistan and that his country is "ready to participate" and will send "up to 200 new" troops.

Bajnai said the new troops are to help the situation "get done." He said Hungary has "a duty" to help. "We believe in the strategy," he said.

Biden said the U.S. is "grateful" for Hungary's support and said they discussed a stable Pakistan in addition to Afghanistan "as the president always does."

Biden said "most Americans" might say 200 troops seems like few, but "this is a significant commitment" since there will be a total of 500 troops in Afghanistan from a country he said has about 10 million people.

Biden said it is a "politically important and courageous decision."

They also spoke about the U.S.-Hungarian relationship and the economy.

Later today Bajnai will meet with National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones and Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner.

As press left, Biden turned to Bajnai and said "I hope Jim Jones is buying you lunch."

We had wondered how the alleged Ponzi scheme of Scott Rothstein, an attorney, not a financier like Bernie Madoff, could reach the sum of $1.2 billion.

The latest eye-popping number in the case seems to provide an answer: one man's hedge funds had $775 million tied up in Rothstein's allegedly phony investments. And now that man, George Levin, is being accused of trying to help Rothstein prolong the scheme.

Five of Fort Lauderdale investor Levin's Banyon funds are in the list of the top 20 Rothstein creditors, compiled by the trustee in the case. That accounts for about 65 percent of the money in the alleged scheme.

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The NRCC has been quick to attack Tennessee state Sen. Roy Herron, who has emerged as the Democratic candidate for the seating of retiring Blue Dog Rep. John Tanner -- and along the way, they seem to be using some rather interesting rhetoric.

Herron is a former minister and an attorney, and he has taught at both the divinity and law schools at Vanderbilt, his alma mater. He has been married for 22 years, and has three sons. He has also written several books, including Tennessee Political Humor, How Can a Christian Be in Politics?, and God And Politics. However, the NRCC says Herron isn't being honest about his social liberalism.

Over the course of the past week, the NRCC has mounted a series of attacks on Herron that taken together could suggest they're trying to say that Herron is gay or effeminate. The NRCC denies that's their line of attack, and the Herron camp hasn't publicly raised the issue (see late update below), but take a look at what the NRCC has been saying.

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