TPM News

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and his Republican opponent, businessman Ron Johnson, met last night for a debate, with topics ranging from health care to outside ad spending to...Atlas Shrugged.

That's right. A U.S. Senate debate ended up including a discussion on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand, about a world where business owners and innovators rebel against and abandon a society that over-regulated them and redistributed their earnings. Johnson, who is himself a plastics manufacturer, has cited it as a favorite book of his.

Read More →

Something not mentioned in this weekend's Times profile of the far-right pundit Ann Coulter: She's accused of committing voter fraud in the 2002 and 2004 elections, and her case is up before the Connecticut elections board this Thursday.

The complaint against Coulter, filed by anti-Coulter blogger Daniel Borchers in February 2009, alleges that she voted in Connecticut via absentee ballot in 2002 and 2004, using her parents' Connecticut address but living in Manhattan.

Read More →

To hear some gun rights activists tell it, President Barack Obama wants to take away your guns and, any minute now, jack-booted federal agents could knock on your front door to collect them.

Such predictions started during the 2008 campaign. "Obama would be the most anti-gun President in American history," screamed a banner at the National Rifle Association's It got so bad that Obama even had to reassure voters he wouldn't take away their guns. Even after the election, gun sales boomed.

You'd expect a President so opposed by many gun rights groups to get high praise from gun control advocates since he took office. But advocates like those from the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence are far from satisfied with the progress on gun control being made in this administration.

Read More →

For Democrats, Even 'Safe' Seats Are Shaky The New York Times: "Republicans are expanding the battle for the House into districts that Democrats had once considered relatively safe, while Democrats began a strategy of triage on Monday to fortify candidates who they believe stand the best chance of survival. As Republicans made new investments in at least 10 races across the country, including two Democratic seats here in eastern Ohio, Democratic leaders took steps to pull out of some races entirely or significantly cut their financial commitment in several districts that the party won in the last two election cycles."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, will receive the economic daily briefing at 10:30 a.m. ET, and will meet at 11 a.m. ET with senior advisers. He will meet at 2:45 p.m. ET with student finalists of the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. At 7 p.m. ET, he will host a "Moving America Forward" town hall meeting at George Washington University.

Read More →

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino may have lost the support of every single gay- and gay-friendly New Yorker this weekend by warning against the threat of gay "brainwashing," but at least he can still claim the support of the self-proclaimed "right-wing Judy Garland" herself, Ann Coulter. Coulter took up the very heavy mantle of defending Paladino's comments on The O'Reilly Factor last night, because "someone on this network should."

Read More →

In what is unarguably the most explosive interview in the infancy of The Last Word, Republican Rep. Ron Paul had a logisitical on-air disagreement with host Lawrence O'Donnell that, while not the centerpiece of the discussion on the Tea Party, certainly colored the rest of the debate an ugly shade of contentious and uncomfortable that recalled his son Rand's debate with Rachel Maddow.

Read More →

Four high school students in Staten Island have been arrested and charged with assault and aggravated harassment as hate crimes for their roles in the continuing, yearlong abuse of a Muslim classmate. What's going on with New York City?

We don't have the statistics to back up the Daily News' claim that we're seeing a "disturbing spike in hate crimes across the city," but that's what it feels like, between the gay-torture gang in the Bronx and the assault at the gay landmark Stonewall Inn. In this case, a 16-year-old high school student named "Kristian" says he was beaten up, verbally abused and spat on almost daily between October of 2009 and the end of the academic year in the spring.

Read More →

At the end of last week, a U.S. district court judge in Detroit issued the first ruling on the merits of health care reform, finding that one of the law's key provisions -- the insurance mandate -- meets constitutional muster.

The news heartened the law's supporters and the Obama administration, which will have to defend the law in a number of cases including -- most famously, in a federal challenge brought by nearly two dozen states across the country. The constitutional challenges to the health care reform law fall generally into two categories. In the first, states claim that their own laws trump the federal law -- an argument that legal experts consider to be almost a sure loser. The second argument is that the insurance mandate exceeds the power given to Congress in the Commerce Clause. That argument is less radical than the first, but is rooted in contemporary conservative legal philosophy that courts have occasionally validated in recent years, albeit under limited circumstances.

The wheels of justice are turning in several cases already, and it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Here are the basics.

Read More →

So just who is John Raese, the Republican businessman who could potentially be West Virginia's next Senator, if he wins the special election for the seat formerly held for over 50 years by the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd? He's a man who has been longtime political fixture in the state, but never actually winning anything -- except perhaps until now.

Raese comes from a family with a large presence in West Virginia business. He is president and CEO of Greer Industries, a major mining company, and also president of the West Virginia Radio Corporation, which owns more than 25 radio stations. He has run for office three times before, each time unsuccessfully.

He first ran for Senate way back in 1984, losing by a narrow 52%-48% against Democrat Jay Rockefeller in an open-seat race, which was held in the middle of the 1984 Reagan landslide. He later ran for governor in 1988, challenging the scandal-plagued Republican incumbent Arch Moore in the GOP primary, losing by 53%-47%. He ran for Senate again in 2006, challenging Byrd -- and spent $2.2 million of his own money -- ultimately losing by a very wide margin of 64%-36%.

With a Stassenesque electoral record like that, one would think of Raese as a sacrificial lamb on his way to yet another defeat. But maybe not this year -- as of right now, he's ahead, with a current lead of 49.4%-43.4% in the TPM Poll Average against Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin. And this is despite the fact that Manchin remains an overwhelmingly popular figure as governor.

"I've been a conservative in West Virginia before that was popular," Raese told CNN. "I've seen a change in West Virginia. Not a change in John Raese, but a change in West Virginia and a change in America.

Read More →